Friday, June 15, 2007

A Modest Proposal

So I'm engaged. And here's how I did it.

[Proprietor's note: for those who don't know me, I've used a transgender eponym throughout this post, see if you can spot it. If you can, you win!]

I proposed to my beautiful Moroccan boyfriend, Michael, last Wednesday, and he said "yes." I put "yes" in quotes because a) it's the proper thing to do grammatically (please don't double-check this) and b) he didn't actually say the word "yes." In reality what happened was that I proposed and then Michael broke into song about how his father would never accept this love. Fortunately I hired a string and horn section to help convince him by musical counterargument. My ragtag orchestra quickly picked up on the unusual Dorian C-flat he was using and things went pretty well for me from there, ultimately leading to a dramatic but light-hearted climax by the strings section during which he exclaimed "yes!" in response, and we all went into a delicate and timely pianississimo outro. I really hate musicals, so this meant a lot to Michael.

Michael and I at our celebratory happy hour. Confused?

This is how it all went down like a clown.

Michael was heading out of town for a friend's engagement party last weekend, so I knew he wanted to show off his shiny new precious to all his friends. This meant I had to act fast, considering I didn't really decide until Wednesday at 4:00pm to "pop the question" that evening. Michael was getting home from work late that night, around 8:30pm, so I had time to put some rudimentary plans I had been working on into motion.

Getting home from work at 6:30pm didn't give me much time, but I went into action quickly, and being someone who likes to work under pressure, some natural gay inspiration struck.

The general idea was for Michael to come home at 8:30 on Wednesday night, walk in the entryway, and find a note telling him to meet me at a predetermined (but secret) location, and that there's a cab waiting outside to take him to meet me. Upon meeting me at the location (the Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and WWII Memorial), I'd get on one knee and propose. The trick was for the proposal to be a "sneak attack" (thanks to Jewish Nate for this tactic) by making him think it'd be on Thursday, since it was somewhat expected to be coming. Things weren't quite that simple, as I found out, and didn't quite work out as planned...

So the first order of business was to trick Michael, which I did via text message by saying "we should go to a nice dinner tomorrow night." He replied "that sounds nice..." and I knew he'd taken the bait. The next order of business was to get some flowers.

So I walk into the flower shop on Q St just off Connecticut Ave in Dupont and ask for a dozen roses and the woman running the shop goes to retrieve them. Then that really creepy, sometimes-eye-patched, one-crutch Pakistani dude who runs the $5 "claw" umbrella outfit atop the Dupont North metro stop showed up and started conversing with the woman getting my flowers. That's when I knew things were about to get kinda awkward. Upon bringing my flowers back, she asks "what's the occasion: anniversary, birthday?" I said, "uhhhh, proposal, actually." What came next was completely unexpected and bogglingly long-winded. It's as if I had been thrown into the middle of a fucking Friends episode. I won't bore you with a transcript of the entire one-way "conversation", but it was highlighted by comments like these:

  • "you'll be lucky if you only end up getting married 3 times," and,

  • "you're young, marriage is fun, but when you get old it's absolutely miserable," and finally,

  • "If I had to do it all over again I would never have gotten married, NEVER!"

Seriously, where did this fucking woman come from? If I were a pious man I'd have thought this was a sign. Thankfully, I'm not, and instead realized that this woman is probably just married to the creepy, sometimes-eye-patched, one-crutch Pakistani dude who runs the $5 "claw" umbrella outfit atop the Dupont North metro stop.

So I got back to our apartment and started planning the night out. I set up a little pedestal in the entryway with a single rose in a vase and taped this small Ikea spotlight that I haven't used in years to a doorjamb to make it all dramatic. I wrote out a note about the cab, etc, and stuck it in an envelope and put it next to the rose.

The next order of business was to arrange the taxis; one for me, and one for him. I thought this would be easy, but it turns out that DC taxis won't pick you up at a scheduled time unless you're going to an airport or train station. That would've been good to know beforehand, huh? So I spent 45 minutes trying to find a cab company that would send two cabs at the needed times. Finally, I found this dispatcher with Diamond Cab that, after explaining my dilemma, volunteered to help. He offered some advice though: "Something will go wrong tonight, whether it's the cork on the champagne shooting off and killing a squirrel that falls onto your girl's head or something else, something always goes wrong." Sage words.

So with the cabs coming at 8:15 and 8:30, I was all set. What was supposed to happen next was that I'd get in the first cab and take off for the Reflecting Pool close to the WWII Memorial. Then Michael, getting home from work at 8:30, would go up to our apartment, see the note, and go back downstairs to get in the second cab which would take him to the same place. Upon arriving I'd be standing there in a suit with a little boombox playing "our song" and propose there under the watchful eyes of Honest Abe a handful of teary-eyed tourists. By the way, "our song" is Waltz #2 by Elliott Smith, who stabbed himself to death in his kitchen ...lovely.

So, as I was coming down the stairs of our apartment building to go and hide around the corner in case Michael got home early, this black sedan pulls up. I had no idea who was in it because the windows were tinted black, but just in case I tried to run down a little ramp and duck behind some of the landscaping. Of course, as Michael got out of the sedan he saw me feverishly running around the patio in a suit carrying a dozen roses and a backpack. The next thing I hear is "What are you doing back there honey?"

So I had to pull the trigger early and I proposed in our apartment. The story wouldn't be complete without adding that when the similarly hopeless-romantic cab dispatcher called to tell me the first taxi was outside, I told him that Michael got home too early and the plan had to be aborted. To which he replied "I told you something will go wrong, something always does." Touche cab dispatcher, touche.

If you're thinking about proposing and need an idea, feel free to take mine, but just do me the courtesy of telling me if it worked. And if you're not 100% confident in your decision to pop the question, I wouldn't recommend going to the flower shop on Q St between Connecticut and 19th.


F.J. Delgado said...

I'm sure Michael is a happy young man these days... congrats!

Brice Lord said...

Indeed "he" is, we're such a happy gay little couple right now. It's super!

n8k- said...

Oh, I get it.

Brice Lord said...

Hey N8, you're an all-star.