Last week, a coworker and I had dinner with three representatives from a potential vendor. One said he was planning to celebrate his one-year anniversary with his girlfriend in Paris and Italy. It was going to be a really good time, he promised, and he was excited about it.
My coworker and I, both married, looked at each other. We were about to deflate the air from his balloon, but we had to do it.
“Are you planning to propose to her there?” my coworker asked.
Why no, he said, why would he do a crazy thing like that?
You’ve been dating a year, and you go to Europe–there’s only one thing going through her mind, we both said. She expects to come back engaged.
We both ended up relating our stories of how we tried to plan the perfect proposal, and flubbed it. Every guy tries a perfect one, and almost all of us completely destroy it. It’s never like in the movies, I said. They get as many takes as they need, and we only get one. Well, unless it goes too badly, then we may get another take, but it’ll probably be with someone else. So we hope we only get one take.
But besides, I said, what do the people who make movies know? Look how often they get divorced. They aren’t any better at this stuff in real life than the rest of us are.
Then we asked the important questions. Why should he propose, and why shouldn’t he? He had a couple of reasons for each. Good reasons to propose, and his reasons not too just mean he’s nervous. Nervous about what happens next and how fast, which is normal. Completely normal. From our point of view–as two guys who’ve been married 9 weeks and 9 years, respectively–we didn’t see any reason not to. He’s found The One. I think everyone else at the table walked away convinced he needs to go shopping.
About 3/4 of the way through the conversation, we realized we had an audience. A table full of women was listening to us intently.
“We had no idea you put so much thought into this!” they marveled.
“Yeah, we mess it up, but not for lack of trying,” we said.
The next morning over coffee, I related the story to my wife.
“You know, there’s another possibility, besides coming back engaged, that she might be considering,” she said.
I turned my head, inquisitively.
“They could come back married.”
Good thing there isn’t–as far as I can find, and trust me, I asked Google about this idea–an Elvis-themed wedding chapel in Paris. Because I can think of two ways to ruin a perfectly good European vacation. One is to not propose when your girlfriend is expecting a proposal. The other would be to get married there, and have an Elvis impersonator officiate the ceremony.