I can’t tell you how Jay proposed. Both because he didn’t actually propose and because our decision to get married evolved out of a conversation without a definitive starting or ending point. It was the end of a great day. We were happy and being silly and talking about feminism. Jay joked that if I was a true feminist I would propose to him instead of waiting for him to propose. I added that then we could hyphenate our last names … which, since my name is already hyphenated, would make us both Tewksbury-Bloom-Holt. Suddenly, the reality of marriage seemed right in front of us and so wonderful; frightening and wonderful at the same time. In a way that it never had before, it seemed like the right time to talk seriously about taking that step. I talked about faith. Jay countered with trust and love and commitment. And it was as if something changed in the space between us, in the conversation, and we suddenly realized that we were ready. Getting married was still an intimidating prospect. We still weren’t sure what all we were entering into with this choice. But we were ready.
I am used to romantic engagement stories. I eat them up. If I’m feeling stressed, I watch trailers for romantic comedies in which the leading characters always end up getting engaged in the end. I love how the choice about how one partner proposes marriage to the other speaks to their personalities and the flavor of their relationship. I thought I wanted to be asked for my hand in marriage in a romantic and significant setting with a carefully constructed speech that clearly outlined why we were in love and why he was choosing me. I laugh trying to imagine that happening in real life. For that to have happened, it would require Jay to morph into another person, a man lacking all of the traits that I love about him. In being proposed to in that romantic Hollywood way, I would have been rightfully suspicious. Had Jay undergone some sort of Freaky Friday switcheroo? Was I saying yes to my loving partner of 7 ½ years or some alter ego concealing a dark plot.
What actually happened, our engagement via conversation, was reassuring. This was what it looked like when Jay was as ready as he could be. In embracing our un-Hollywood / anti-The Knot engagement, I am looking next to re-examine my expectations of what a wedding looks like.