Friday, July 17, 2009

Male Perspective Guy GuestBlog: Chamber Of Love

Buongiorno, Bellas!

The other night, as Michelle was getting ready for her annual RWA excursion, I offered to write a blog in her absence, not really knowing what I might write about. Then we remembered a conversation we had had a couple nights before, and the blog immediately took shape.

So, here it goes: I’m going to tell you how I proposed to Michelle, and then I have a really important question to ask you.

It was 1991, and Michelle and I had been dating for two years, but I knew what every guy figures out at some point along the way in his “final” relationship. She was the one, and I wanted to ask her to marry me. And so, I went about trying to figure out how to do that.

The first thing I did, and perhaps the best thing I did through this experience, was to buy the largest diamond I could afford. I had it set, and so it was time to figure exactly what I was going to say, how I was going to say it, and where.

I remember thinking a lot about the question of where. That seemed important. I thought about various venues, but in the end, it seemed most meaningful to ask her to marry me in the place where we first met. This particular place would be available, private, free of charge and climate controlled, all good things. And it would be meaningful for a number of reasons, not only because we had met there.

You see, when Michelle and I met, it was actually videotaped and broadcast on the local news that night. That’s because we met when she was Miss Pennsylvania and I was a TV news reporter working for the local station. The afternoon of our meeting, a call came into the news room where I worked. The Miss PA organization was conducting a mock interview to get the state pageant winner ready for the Miss America Pageant just a couple months away. I was a young, single guy at the time, so I raised my hand and said, “I think I can do that.”

So, I headed to the place where the mock interview would take place, also considered the de facto headquarters of the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant. It was the main conference room at the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, Altoona, PA. Now understand that lined up on the walls around that room are huge portraits of a decade’s worth of Miss PAs. Including a larger-than-life portrait of Michelle. That night, I was part of a panel asking Michelle questions as practice for the interview portion of Miss America. The TV station actually sent a news crew out to the mock interview to videotape it and report on it during the late news.

So that’s where we met and two years later, that’s where I decided to ask Michelle to marry me. Fancy restaurant? Nope. On a sail boat at sun set? Nah. In a conference room at a chamber of commerce. Yup. I had the office personnel keep the place open so we could just walk in. I even played a copy of the video tape that was shot that first night. I had some flowers for her. And I had some non-alcoholic champagne ready if she said yes. She did. We got married Thanksgiving weekend, November 28, 1992.

I look back on the proposal now and realize that I was very focused on making the event meaningful and connected to our lives as a couple. But I still wonder whether something might have been missing. So, here’s the question to which I need an HONEST response:

Do you consider my marriage proposal to Michelle “romantic?” And further more, how would you want to be proposed to? And if you are married, how do you feel about the way your husband proposed to you?


Julie in Ohio said...

Good Morning, all!!!

Dave, if Michelle didn't jump into your arms and smother you with kisses, I'll eat burnt toast. You put alot of thought and effort into that proposal and truly that is what counts. Yes, sail boat excursions at sunset and horse drawn carriage rides are romantic and would make a beautiful story to tell your grandkids someday. I won't say otherwise. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is more romantic and heart felt than a guy saying "I remember the first time I laid eyes on you and it made me melt". In your own words, of course. ;o)

My guy did it at our local metropark. He had balloons, flowers and a photographer (aka, baby brother) hiding in the bushes. The proposal brought tears to my eyes (or it could've been the flashes from the camera ;p). But the part that touched me the most is that we went straight back to my house where he asked my parents' blessing.

Anonymous said...

I think your way was very romantic. when I met my ex I was living in Dallas, TX but I grew up in Alabama and it had been months since I'd seen my family so for my birthday he took a weeks vacation and drove 14 hours to meet my family. I should mention he's from Iowa and I spent most of the week translating between him and daddy. The question itself wasn't so romanic but he asked me while we were there and then asked my parents blessing.

David B. said...

Thanks Julie. A lot of thought, I suppose. But a lot of romance. I'm still not convinced. But yours seemed great and very romantic.

Anonymous, I guess a 14-hour car rides is a significant effort as far as location is concerned.

Both mention the part about asking for parents' blessing. Michelle's father had past away years befor we met, but if he were alive at the time, I think I would have approached him for his okay.

Myrin said...

Hey Dave *waves*, first let me say that I had no idea that Michelle has been a beauty queen. That's awesome!

Now to the actual topic. I LOVE the way you proposed to her, however, just like you, I'm not entirely sure if it was "romantic". I hope whoever one day asks for my hand in marriage puts as much thought in the whole thing as you did - I love connections to your life, not only for proposals but also for birthdays, Christmas etc. (you know, referring to things one once said or did).

Hm, I'm still not sure how to define the term "romantic". I'll really have to think about that. It was not romantic in the classical way (like, with flowers and canlelight dinner) but maybe in another way.

Huh, that one makes me thing really hard...

Myrin said...

My oh my, of course it makes me "think", not "thing". I'd love to have an EDIT button...

The Reading Frenzy said...

Dave, you have won my HEA award for the best guy thing in the world to do.
Yes I think that was a very romantic proposal, and it isn't just any guy that can do that. I'll bet she cried. I would have.
I've been married to my best friend for 30 years, and I love him more today than ever, but romantic he isn't. We had been living together for almost a year and he said to me, let's get married so your dad will stop giving me the stink eye. Talk about romantic. If I wrote a book about my marriage it would be a comedy and I'd have to tell how on several mother's days I received gifts like grass plugs and lawn mowers. But you know what, the guy's hear is in the right place and he adores me and that is worth more to me than anything.
So congrats for the great proposal!!

Becke Davis said...

Dave - Nothing gets a group of romance-loving women going more than a romantic guy. You had me at the "final relationship" comment, and the rest of your post was one big "Awww!"

Knowing you two are one of those couples who are still perfect for each other makes the proposal/happy ever after have even more punch! Believe me, you don't need a romantic setting to make the perfect moment, as I'm sure you figured out when Michelle said yes!

I didn't know about Michelle's Miss America fame until it came up in a conversation the other day. I was like,"Wait -- back up, wait just a dang moment! What did you just say? You were in the Miss America pageant and you never thought to mention it before? Hel-lo?" Okay, I'm impressed.

I'm going to go round up my friends and tell them to check out your blog when they have a free moment. (They may be late -- it's my first National, but I've already learned, there ARE no free moments!)

Thanks so much for sharing this story -- Michelle is one lucky woman!

David B. said...

LisaK, thank you for your candor. You seem to get what I'm trying to get at here. Does a thoughtful, planned, organized proposal all add up to "romantic?" Over the course of time, I have come to the opinion that the answer is maybe, maybe not.

Debbie, thank you for your kind words. And after 30 years of marriage, I guess there are other aspects to a relationship that can
make it last beyond the romantic stuff. One time, before we got married, I bought her a TV for her birthday. My rule of thumb ever since has been "no presents with an electrical cord for Michelle."

Becky, I appreciate your kind words. And you introduce an interesting word to the discussion, perfect. "Perfect moment", "perfect for each other."
Hmmmm. Well, nothing's perfect I suppose. But maybe that's what romance is. What we consider perfect. Interesting.

amy kennedy said...

Oh David, I think any man who puts that much thought into something is definately on the right track. Romantic? I don't know.

My husband took me to the mall one day and said, "Hey, let's pick out a ring." Kind of knew it was coming, but still a surprise -- romantic? No. Can he do romantic? Our 10th anniversary was pretty romantic.

But I agree with Julie, when a guy takes you to the place he first saw do know there a songs written about that, right?

Helen Brenna said...

Heck, yes, it was romantic. A lot of thought = romance to a woman, yes?

My dh proposed to me the first night on a vacation in Hawaii. It was very sweet and I wouldn't change a thing about it. Even the part where that night at dinner, the fortune in my dh's cookie said, "Wedding ring like tourniquet cut off circulation." lol. It's true!

Unknown said...

I think your proposal was romantic. Romance is different for every one. My idea of romance is someone knowing enough about me to do something they know I'll like without haveing to ask.

David B. said...

Hi Amy. I'm glad you feel that way about your 10th. And I'm trying to figure out what song you might be refering to...any hints?

I love the fortune cookie story, Helen. Hilarious. How in the world could that message show up right at that time. lol!

Ah Barbara, the "not needing to ask" version of romance. I must say that at times, I find that one a bit challenging. But I get through that one by asking OTHERS what they think Michelle would like. The woman who does her hair, my mother, people like that. That seems to help quite a bit.

And you're right, what is romantic to one person my be total total saccharine to another. My only point is this: No one thinks a conference room is, by itself, romantic.

Julie in Ohio said...

You are right, Dave, if my guy would've taken me to a conference room to propose I would've administered a field sobriety check. The room itself is not romantic but the sentiment behind it is.
Honestly, I don't find the guys who ask their girls to marry them on the big screens at ballgames to be all the romantic. Brave, yes. Romantic, not so much. IMO, it's a private thing between the two of you that should mean something.
I think you should be bring out the charm while dating, propose in a sweet, sentimental venue, but save the big grand gestures for after marriage. That's when you're going to need them most. ;o)

OMG!! Helen, that is priceless. Did you keep the fortune and have it framed??

amy kennedy said...

Helen, I gotta say, timing is everything.

Dave, I barely remember my chidrens' names, you can hardly expect me to remember song titles, but, for you, I'll try.

Julie, I'm with you on the prvate thing. The jumbotron? What if she says, "No." Sheesh.

ev said...

Dave- I think it was very romantic. Romance isn't just flowers and the right atmosphere. It's what makes the memory a great one. I can think of many romantic things hubby has done, and maybe others wouldn't think so, but it was important to us. That is my definition for me.

He also did the same thing at the store. We were at the mall and he wanted to stop in and say hi to his nephew who was the manager at a very nice store (he's now at an even nicer one- LOL) and while we were there they just kind of "guided" me over to the rings and let me pick out the one I wanted. Didn't even have a hint when we went in there. Then he waited and waited to give it to me. One night he kept asking "what time is it?" I finally said 1202 in the morning and he rolled over, handed me the box and said "Happy Mother's Day!". Considering none of our kids belong to the other, I found it amusing.

but then he is nerdy and geeky and knows that I love gadgets with electrical plugs. I didn't mind the new microwave at Xmas, or the Vaccuum for our anniversary. I had asked for them. After 12 years of marriage, we just buy what we want when we want it and save the big stuff for presents. (Unless it's an emergency.

This year I have already gone to see the Nephew about a bigger diamond in the ring. thought I would maked the shopping just a bit easier for him! LOL

Tiona said...

Hey, Bellas and Bellos!
How utterly romantic, Dave! Love it. Yes, I agree, the most important thing is how much thought a guy puts into his proposal! Not that I would know anything about that. HAHA!

David B. said...

Ev, great stuff. I like the thought of your going to the nephew jeweler and making romance easy on your husband. And you are a giving spouse to appreciate the romantic sentiment of electrical appliances!

Princess BB, nice of you to contribute to the discussion. It's all about the thought... Okay, I can dig that. I did put thought into it, for sure.

amy kennedy said...

And can I just say I love the newlywed pic.

Fedora said...

Very romantic, Dave! As other commenters have said very eloquently, I think it's the thought and effort you put into making the occasion special and unique to the two of you! My husband proposed at the end of an indoor picnic he'd arranged for me -- it started when he picked me up from the airport after a business trip with roses, and included his efforts to make it a "beach" setting in the middle of February :) The whole thing confirmed how thoughtful and considerate he is (and he did actually meet with my parents while I was out of town, just to give them a heads-up and get their thumbs up ;))

Portia Da Costa said...

Dave, I think your proposal story is wonderful & any woman would be utterly thrilled at the thought, care and love that went into it.

As for himself and I? Well, it's a long time ago, and it wasn't a formal moment... and as I remember it, I proposed to him! LOL

David B. said...

Flchen1, a picnic on the "beach" in February. Very nice effort, and even I can see that as a romantic gesture. That's a good man you have.

Hi Portia. Actually I was wondering if the idea of women proposing to men would come up. Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

Monica Burns said...

Hi Dave,

Sorry I've not had Inet to access the blog, and have been catching up since I got home around 9pm tonight. I was sooo happy to see Michelle again!

Personally, I think your proposal was MOST romantic because you took her back to that first meeting place. Technically, I ASKed the DH to marry me. Actually, I said, "So when are you going to ask me to marry you, so I can tell my parents what's happening with us?"
LOL He stopped the car in the middle of the back road, kissed and said ok, I'll marry you. LOL

However, he did make a little more official about six months later (he knows how to drag his feet) I'll be honest and say that I'm glad my DH didn't propose to me where we first met. Getting a diamond ring in the checkout line of Kroger just would not have worked for me.

Instead, he romantically handed me the ring when I asked him to pass me the salad dressing. "Here, try this one instead." Funny, quirky and bit Tim "Toolman" Taylorist, but he's mine and I wouldn't trade him for naught!

Great Blog, sorry I wasn't around to post yesterday

Stacy~ said...

Sorry I'm just catching this now. I think the proposal was very romantic Dave, because it was personalized. Sure, a fancy restaurant and roses is nice, but personally, the easy way out. By reminding Michelle of when you first met, it meant she made an impression on you right from the start. That's sweeter than any extravagant gesture anyday :)

Congrats to so many years together.

Keri Stevens said...

So, you've got me thinking--is there an objective standard for what is "romantic"? Certainly there are tropes and cliches,but as a writer, I, for one, want to find romance in novelty: If conference rooms aren't romantic, then someone ought to work darn hard (within the bounds of professional decency) to make them so!

Bottom line--does Michelle think your proposal was romantic? She certainly thought it was good enough to yoke herself to you for the rest of her life; so I'm guessing yes. I bet if the two of you walked into that conference room right now, at the very least some sizzlin' looks would be passing between you--and even a goofy smile or two!

Of course, you've posted on my 16th wedding anniversary, so that makes your entire tale SUPER-romantic.

Dr. Stevens took me back to a park which was the site of our first hike together and the place where he says he knew I was the one.

Great minds . . .

(From the retired Crawford County Harvest Festival Queen of 19 . . . well in the last century, anyway.)

Becke Davis said...

Happy Anniversary, Keri - a little late! And Monica, I think the salad dressing proposal was so sweet!