The Proposal

[Photo: My fiancée calls her mother, which is what happens after you get engaged.]

Ask me and my fiancée separately to tell the story of my proposal to her and you’ll hear two rather different yarns. We don’t disagree about what happened, we simply choose to emphasize different things. It’s a gender thing, naturally. I have observed this in the ensuing months as we’ve told the story again and again, the details crystallizing as the memory sets into its permanent form. (Memories, like diamonds, are organic material hardened over time.)

My version starts months earlier, with the preamble you read in part here last week — how I resolved to propose while on vacation in Australia; we bought a townhouse together and I secretly decided to make my move around the time we got the keys; I took the big hint that she wanted a ring from hip Toronto jeweller Anne Sportun, then added money and a diamond already in my possession (a family heirloom), put it all together and got an engagement ring — which, because life hates for you to relax, was ready to be picked up only on the day of the proposal.

From there I’ll typically regale you with a tale of cleverness and deception of the kind men are encouraged to undertake as part of the proposal for some reason (maybe because it’s fun). The details involve a surprise housewarming celebration in which a box for a Japanese toy, which she’d be sure to recognize, actually contained the ring neatly waiting in the toy’s place. The box had been resealed with Krazy Glue so it’d snap open unsuspiciously. See? Clever.

Her version starts with me pouring Champagne for her as soon as she arrives on the patio at our new home.

My version might include the Champagne label (Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé). In her version this key detail can be omitted.

Her version goes into, at great length, the fact that I managed to find some fresh red gerbera daisies — her absolute favourite flower — and arranged them in an improvised manner.

My version doesn’t get into flowers.

The heart of her version comes next: I say all kinds of nice things to her about loving her and being lucky to be around her and wanting to be with her forever and you know, all that stuff.

In my version, you just get a shrug of a summary of that part (e.g., see previous paragraph) — and even less if you’re male.

In her version, she says yes. My version recalls that she was too excited to remember to do that.

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