Well, I opened up my trusty MacBook this morning, logged in to my WordPress account, deleted about 300 spam comments, went to “Posts,” and clicked on “Add New.” And that’s how we got here. Does that answer the question?
Oh, that’s not what you meant? Well let me try again.
Friends, if you haven’t already heard, I’M ENGAGED!!
TO BE MARRIED!!
And this question – How did this happen? – gets asked a lot. I think Will and I both just feel like the whole thing is so surreal. We’ve been asking this question since we started dating, and every time, we answer it as though it had been asked about something totally unrelated, usually wherever we’re sitting. “Well, somebody designed a sofa, and somebody else built it, and then your parents bought it…”
But here’s what really happened:
Will and I met and became friends in the summer of 2006, we think. We’ve always liked each other a lot, just not in that way (well, sometimes I liked him in that way, but other times I didn’t). In November of 2011, The Muppets came out in theaters. We both love the Muppets and decided to go see it together. This was not a date, and it started a looooooooooooooong string of non-dates that would continue for almost a year. We saw every movie released, it seems, and we went to the park and swung in the dark, and we went star-gazing, and we ate dinner in and dinner out, and we talked about life and relationships and men and women, and we played card games, and he dazzled me with magic tricks. And we were not dating.
And all of this was fine because until late March of 2012, I thought I would be living in Europe by the end of the year. And when I knew I would not be moving to Europe, my world felt like had been turned upside-down, but looking back, I can see two things:
- What felt like the world being flipped over was really just things falling into place.
- Will was there with me through the whole thing, asking me questions, letting me process, not trying to sway my decision one way or another, but really hoping I’d stay because we’d gotten to be very close friends.
On March 24, 2012, I had started to get confused and asked Will if we were just friends. I thought we were, but I needed to make sure because I felt my heart starting to open up to him more, and I needed to know how much of it to give and how much to guard. I told him that I was fine with whatever we were; I just needed to know what that was. He said we were just friends, and then we watched Pirate Radio. And I really was fine with that.
Over the summer, I started seeing someone else a little bit. We had hung out a few times over coffee and gone on one legit date when I told Will about it. It was the 4th of July, and I wanted to hang out with someone, but I didn’t want to go to the fairgrounds and hang out with ALL OF RALEIGH, so I texted Will and asked if he wanted to go to the movies. We saw The Amazing Spider-Man, and afterward, in the parking lot, I told him about the other guy. We were just friends, right? So it was no big deal. But when I told him I was sort of dating someone, he got a little uneasy feeling. I don’t know for sure when he really knew he was interested in me, but I think that moment was a turning point of sorts for him.
He didn’t do anything disrespectful, though. He didn’t try to break us up, he didn’t declare his love for me in a grand gesture to sweep me off my feet, he didn’t even act weird. He decided that if I was going to be with this other guy, then he would be friends with the guy because friends make friends with their friends’ significant others. Or maybe he thought that was the best way to get over me. I don’t know.
But things with the other guy didn’t work out. No hard feelings. It just fizzled.
From there, it didn’t take long. Will went away with his family for a week and found while he was gone that he was really looking forward to seeing me when he got back. I found myself looking for more and more ways to get him to come over and hang out. And by this time, I think Whitney was starting to get suspicious. We hadn’t been living together for most of this time, but it only took a couple of months back under the same roof for her to see that something was going on.
Well one night, for no good reason at all, we decided we’d make each other CDs. And the joke the whole time was that these CDs were going to be filled with all kinds of hidden messages. I’d say, “So far, your mix consists of Something to Talk About, I Can’t Fight This Feeling, aaaaaaand Secret Lovers.” Then he’d say he didn’t know any of those songs, and the joke was ruined. But really, I was being VERY careful not to send him any messages I wasn’t absolutely sure I wanted to send. And I wasn’t absolutely sure about anything, so my criteria for the songs I put on his mix were:
- really good song
- not a love song
Which meant I ended up giving him a CD full of really good break-up songs. He was confused, and a bit dismayed, at my hidden messages.
Meanwhile, he was making me the following mix:
- Home – Phillip Phillips
- Feel the Tide – Mumford & Sons
- Ballad of San Francisco – Caedmon’s Call
- All I Want Is You – Barry Louis Polisar
- Three is a Magic Number – Blind Melon
- Just Like Heaven – The Cure
- I Melt With You – MEST
- I Want More – Suburban Legends
- Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (That means I love you) – Violent Femmes
- Start Wearing Purple – Gogol Bordello
- Talk Dirty to Me – Reel Big Fish
- Why Don’t We Do It in the Road – The Beatles
- Bicycle Race – Queen
- Seaside Rendezvous – Queen
- Songs of Love – Ben Folds
- Rainbow Connection – Weezer
- Man or Muppet – Jason Segel, Amy Adams and the Muppets
- Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
It was a mix that basically said, “I love you, and I don’t ever want you to leave.” He gave it to me on a Saturday, and when Whitney saw the play list, any question or doubt she might have had about what was going on vanished. She had plans that night and left to go out. We left too, to go out to dinner and play putt-putt (still not a date).
When we both got home that night and I told her we’d gone to play putt-putt, she said, “Buddy, are you dating him?” I said no, and she asked if I wanted to. I said I wasn’t sure I was willing to risk the friendship, and she basically said that was hogwash. She explained that if we went out a few times and it didn’t work out, it would be super awkward for awhile, but we could go back to being just friends. But also, if we didn’t date, we’d eventually meet other people, and then we wouldn’t be close anymore anyway. So we could try it and risk awkwardness and the loss of friendship, or we could not try it and almost definitely lose the friendship in time.
That was Saturday night. On Sunday morning, I listened to the CD and tried to fight my hopes back down because I didn’t want to assume that the hidden message was what it seemed to be. If he was interested, he was going to have to tell me. But I REALLY hoped he would tell me.
We didn’t talk much until Tuesday, when I texted him something about one of the songs on the mix. It was a very brief conversation, at the end of which, he said, “You know, I’ve been wanting to text you all day, but I couldn’t think of anything to say.”
Well, friends, sirens went off in my head. I knew what that meant and had felt for a couple of weeks like he’d been working up the nerve to ask me out. This was it. I asked if we needed to have another awkward conversation (like the one back in March), and he said yes. The next chance we would have to see each other wouldn’t be until Friday, so I asked if he could just call me because I knew I wouldn’t sleep for the rest of the week if we didn’t have that conversation immediately.
He called. We were both SUPER nervous. He asked me out. I said yes. He was surprised and relieved (after that break-up mix I’d made him). And we had our first date that Friday, September 28, 2012. When he came to pick me up, I gave him a new CD – one with all the songs I was too careful/scared to put on the first mix, including Something to Talk About and I Can’t Fight This Feeling.
And that’s how it happened. Well, that’s how we got together. I’ll tell you the proposal story next time.