Joseph and I started talking about marriage pretty early on in our relationship, in sort of a far-off way, but it was clear we were on that path. In fact, we were constantly jokingly saying “Oh my goodness, did you just propose to me?” At first there was always the assumption that he would be the one to propose because he’s, ya know, the man. In retrospect I’m a little embarrassed that it took me so long to realize that I could propose instead.
Spoiler alert: I proposed. MORE SPOILERS! He said yes.
Why I proposed
I have never been a “conventional woman” as it were. I never liked the idea that there were certain things I was supposed to do, or that I couldn’t do, because I am a female. This has always been apparent in my life and recently, very apparent in my relationship.
I want to be really clear: I did not propose because I was “sick of waiting” or because Joseph “couldn’t get it together.” I proposed because I met the man that I want to spend the rest of my life with, and I saw an opportunity to show him how special he was to me. I saw no reason that I should not be the one to make that move, and I was surprised at the reaction from some who thought he might be offended by this. I was surprised even by my own feelings of needing to justify why I was doing it!
While looking for a hotel in Las Vegas last December for a convention, I saw a coupon that would change our relationship… Mandalay Bay’s “underwater proposal.” Joseph LOVES sharks, and Mandalay Bay has a shark reef. I decided, right then and there, while surfing for deals, that I was going to be the one to pop the question. Our anniversary date coming up gave me a little over three months to plan everything, and so I began to tell EVERYONE about my plan.
Joseph and I are both huge nerds, and I really wanted this engagement to be about him to make the point that I love everything about him. So I reached out to an amazingly talented jeweler friend of mine, Shawny Martin, to get a nerdily custom Cthulhu ring, as Cthulhu inhabits, in one way or another, most of the shelves in our apartment.
I wanted the ring to be obviously Cthulhu, but still classy. Shawny worked with me on my budget as well as speaking with me at length on different designs and images that I liked and what I liked about them.
The weekend before the proposal I was finally able to hold the ring that Shawny had crafted for me. It was beautiful. Exactly what I had hoped. There is an obvious (to those who know him) Cthulhu on the top and tentacles that wrapped around the entire ring, which is sterling silver. On one of the sides there is a tiny gold heart wrapped up in the tentacles. Shawny also gave me a wooden ring box that I took home, added a latch to and aged to make it look as though it had been under the sea for years.
The day finally came. I told Joseph that we had an appointment for a special tour and I was eager to be on time. We started our tour through the aquarium. Casey, the tour guide, and I nervously talked up a storm, trying to fill dead air at each tank. Joseph said nothing, which made me talk more, trying to seem casual. It didn’t work.
Finally we arrived at THE spot. There was a photographer hanging off to the side, and a diver hovering in the main tank, just below our knees near the glass. My hands started to shake. I had been planning this for months and this was the moment. Right there, right then. I was in the moment I had been thinking about for so long and I couldn’t speak. Luckily, unawares, Joseph wandered over to the corner out of sight and earshot to look at a large shark. (Like I said, he likes sharks quite a lot.) Casey whispered “How do you want to do it?” Her question surprised me. I thought there was a plan in place and I didn’t have to do anything at this point.
“I thought, y’all were gonna…” After a millisecond of freaking out the producer in me took over, and I started directing people. I told Casey to get the camera guy ready, and informed her that I’d be handing my phone to her on video mode. Then I called Joseph over.
“Hey Babe! We get a photo with our tour.” Once everyone was ready I turned to Joseph and said “Oh, before he takes the picture, I’ve got something for you” (note: I did not speak again until it was over). I pulled out the small wooden box and handed it to Joseph.
Joseph looked at the box confused. I gestured for him to open it, and he did. Inside the wooden box lay the ring, nestled in black leather. On the inside wooden edges I had carved “Marry me?” in dwarven runes, as Joseph reads dwarven runes… fluently… like you do.
He laughed, caught off guard and then made the ultimate callback, and said, “Oh my goodness, did you just propose to me?”
Instead of answering I pointed to the glass of the tank about 10 inches from us where the hovering diver had now swam up to eye level with a sign that read “She did! Yay! The Best! The Best!”
He laughed, and we kissed, and people applauded. It was at that point that I realized that about 30 people had crowded around us. Oh wow, I did that in front of people and, oh yeah, I picked a public place to propose; I was one of those people. Oh wow, did I just get engaged? What do I do now? Do I tell him things? Or take a bow? Or…
I asked if there was a room where we could sit and talk for a second, and gather our thoughts. And we were led to a room in the back. Inside waited 15 of our friends and family with two bottles of champagne.
Once inside we toasted and then I premiered a 20 minute video that my amazing friend Trevor Lindborg had spent hours editing with me. It contained messages from over 70 people wishing us luck and love in the most amazing of ways.
The rest of the evening was a blur. We bar hopped on Fremont Street, we drank and sang at the Hoffbrauhaus and then I fell asleep next to the man I’m going to marry. Which is still so amazing and weird to put into words.