For some reason, I felt like I would have an idea when Army Boy was planning to propose. Though we’d been talking about it for months (prior to buying the house), I was sure that I’d get some sort of feeling when he was ready to pop the all-important question.
When I woke up two Fridays ago, I hadn’t the faintest clue that Army Boy had already been scheming for a couple of months. In fact, earlier that week he’d sat down with my parents, asked their permission, and asked if they could keep the ring until he was ready to propose.
(According to my mom, she only took the ring out to look it once. Or twice. Or a hundred times.)
In the spirit of not making myself look like a paragon of patience and womanly serenity, I was getting puzzled by the lack of a proposal. Yes, we’d bought a house. That’s pretty serious. Yes, we’re still getting used to sharing finances and figuring out our monthly budget.
But let’s face it, I’m a woman. A 27-year-old woman, to be precise. I honestly didn’t feel the ticking of the clock until Army Boy and I started dating, and then everything fell into place. There was a clarity and a sureness that I hadn’t experienced with any other guys that I’d dated. I just “knew.” *makes mystical spooky noises* With that knowing came impatience for the next phase of life to start. I’d fully enjoyed and explored my single years, done plenty of dating… It was time to put a ring on it and work on giving my mother the grandbabies that she’s been asking for since I was 6. Or 7. Sometime around there.
As the months passed, and no proposal ensued, I started to doubt that Army Boy was in the same place that I was. Sure, we’d discussed it and he seemed gung-ho for marriage and babies, but what was holding him up? Did he have something planned? Was he still a little hesitant because of his awful first experience with marriage? Was he being oh-so-practical and waiting to pay for the ring in full blah di blah…
Yeah, I know. I was annoyed at my brain too.
I happened to have one of those very conversations with my Mom on the morning of the concert. I’d also like to nominate her for an Academy Award, or an Emmy, or even a Razzie for Best Performance by a Mom Pretending She Knows Nothing. Basically she told me to shut up, quit whining, and enjoy the fact that I might be getting engaged this year. She suggested that I not keep looking ahead, but keep savoring every moment of “just dating.”
I totally bought it, you guys.
Armed with a Mom-Pep-Talk™, up my sleeve, I headed home to the excitement of summer vacation, and getting to see Enter The Haggis perform. I quickly changed into my planned concert attire, and then had to change again when Army Boy and I both emerged sporting tees with a coat-of-arms motif. No, they didn’t intentionally match and no we are not losers. Much.
All I could think about was the week and a half of uninterrupted freedom that lay ahead of us. For the first time since we’d started dating, we’d be going to sleep at the same time every night, waking up together every day and spending all day together. It would be “Scenes From The Bedroom” round-the-clock.
It didn’t take long after we arrived at the concert (on the grounds of the Renaissance Faire where Army Boy and I enjoyed some of our first dates and Queen Elizabeth tried to steal my man) for me to realize that he was a bit… off. I’m still getting used to the Male Model of Linear Thinking, but even that seemed to be failing him. When posed with some simple questions about what he wanted to eat, or what kind of beer we should try, I was greeted with a deer-in-the-headlights stare that puzzled the heck out of me.
Let’s pretend that I am the sweetest and most perfect woman in the Universe, completely unphased by his seeming inability to make a decision, and responded with “That’s ok Love, I”ll order for you.”
Can we do that? Please? Because in all honesty, he got a “What is UP with you tonight?” and then a little extra “nag nag bitchypants” for good measure. I am neither sweet nor perfect. And I have a feeling that he’ll be able to use that line against me for the rest of our lives together.
(“Remember that night that I was going to propose and you—“ “YES I WAS A BITCH HAR HAR WE GET IT.”)(I may have been hormonal)(Or hot.)(Or tired and cranky. Or had low blood sugar.)(Or I am a bitch sometimes.)
Once we had settled in with our food and microbrews to enjoy the concert, both of our moods seemed to evaporate and we were back to easy conversation. We enjoyed the opening act, The Young Dubliners, with their amazing piper Eric Rigler. If you name a movie with a famous bagpipe/flute solo, chances are he’s been in it. I managed to get a wonderful sideways because I don’t know how to work my camera video of him playing the love theme from “Braveheart,” which brought the crowd to near silence as the day drew to a close.
THEN. Enter the Haggis came onstage and we rocked out like crazy. The level of musicality in the band is just ridiculous. Every member plays at least two instruments, sometimes at once. The lead singer came out with his fiddle, then switched to guitar, then played the keyboards with the fiddle tucked under his chin so that he could alternate on the choruses… You get the idea. They played most of my favorites within the first half hour, and treated us to some tracks from their newest album and the stories behind them. I couldn’t believe how different the experience was from the laid-back concert on the lake that I’d seen two years before.
The only problem with the show was that E.T.H. didn’t take the stage until 9:00pm. Army Boy and I are excessively old, and usually contemplating going to bed around that time. Whether it’s a result of the neighborhood we live in, or the fact that he gets up at 4:50am every day, we’re as scheduled as a couple of cranky two-year-olds.
The band was still going strong at 10:30, with no signs of ending the set. Having already sung myself practically hoarse, I couldn’t help but notice that Army Boy was looking a little worse for wear. I made a note to myself that we’d stay for one more song, and I’d ask if he wanted to leave. It’s about compromise, folks.
Though surprised, Army Boy greeted my suggestion with approval, and we started to make our way to the gates of the festival. We walked slowly, enjoying the night as you can when you’re not being herded in a rush of people. I even paused to take a picture of the full moon rising over the faux castle walls around the Faire.
When I turned back to him, Army Boy had a funny look on his face, and before I could say a word, he got down on one knee.
It took a while for me to stop jumping up and down and let him talk, because THIS IS IT. One of The Moments.
So, he proposed. And it was romantic and beautiful and I’m going to be a jerk and keep that moment between the two of us. Then he opened the little box in his hand and revealed The Ring.
Not just any ring, but THE RING that we’d seen back in February when we were totally engrossed in getting furnishings and appliances for the new house. It was Valentine’s weekend, and we took a short break after buying our washer and dryer to make a side stop at a local jeweler. They carried the particular line of rings that I’d been oogling, and he wanted me to try some on to be sure that they were what I really wanted.
It was good that we stopped, because they had in stock the exact ring that I thought I wanted- a princess cut, surrounded by a “halo” of pave diamonds. One look at it and I was unimpressed. Especially considering the ring next to it in the case- a more unusual Asscher cut, with slightly rounded edges and diamonds around the band. I tried it on, we “oooh-ed and aaaahh-ed”, and then wistfully returned it to the jeweler. We were broke and practical. We’d look more seriously in the future, we agreed.
That was the ring that Army Boy somehow managed to return and buy months later.
But honestly? Even without that ring, or any ring, I would have said yes to this man, by moonlight in front of a pirate ship. Because we’re just right.