In The Professor’s Girl, Dr. Todd totally screws up his first attempt at proposing to Lucy. As it happens, I know a bit about botched proposals…
My husband flies hot air balloons for a living so he is witness to quite a few proposals. More often than not, the guy chokes. I’m not criticizing– it’s a huge question to pop, even if both parties have discussed it beforehand. Sometimes the guy can’t get it out before my husband has to land the balloon. Once he was trying to hint to the guy to hurry up and the guy looked at him and put his hand over his heart and made a beating motion, admitting he was too nervous. Another guy couldn’t get it out in the balloon and did the lame propose under the tree at brunch AFTER the amazing hot air balloon ride which would’ve been the perfect spot.
I’m sure my husband has all the sympathy in the world, since he managed to bungle his proposal to me.
We had talked about marriage. He’d asked what kind of ring I wanted and I’d said not a solitaire, I preferred a row of small diamonds. Like any girl who has been asked what kind of ring she wants, I waited with excitement for the big “Proposal”. When I opened the ring in a wrapped box under the Christmas tree in front of his whole family, it was unexpected, but I ran with it. The ring was perfect, I was marrying the man I loved, everything was fabulous, even if there was no official “proposal” right? Wrong. My brother and sister-in-law came over and I flashed the ring (which I had placed on my left hand ring finger). My sister in law exclaimed with excitement but then her husband mumbled something under his breath and she whispered back, “I know it’s not an engagement ring!”.
Huh? What? Oh shit…it’s not? Dude… I had already called my mom with the good news!! WTF?
I finally manage to get my husband alone to ask him point blank, “Is this an engagement ring?”
He said “well no, but I’m going to get you one.”
Another WTF. We’d been living together for six years at this point. He’d bought me the ring I described. Why wasn’t it my engagement ring? I was so totally confused. Somehow I get out of him that he got befuddled because the jewelry store called this style of ring an “anniversary band” so he choked and thought it wouldn’t be good as an engagement ring. I insisted it was the ring I wanted. He said, well, I’d just have to wait. Sigh.
He took me on a romantic walk in the snowy woods and…nothing happened. He told me later he meant to propose then but couldn’t get it out.
The morning we were leaving his parent’s house to fly back, our bags are packed and we’re standing around (read: NOT a romantic moment) he gets down on one knee, removes the ring from my right hand where I’d moved it after the humiliation of discovering I wasn’t engaged and put it on my left, asking me to marry him.
And that, my friends, is the dreadfully romantic story of our wedding proposal–LOL.
Here’s Dr. Todd’s flubbed up attempt in The Professor’s Girl (note–it’s my ring! :))
“Open up that bag there,” he said indicating a small store gift-bag in the center console.
She picked it up and looked inside, pulling out the little jewelry box with wide eyes.
“I talked to Ruefield last night, the department head at Duke. I told him I was bringing my fiancée and we were looking for some kind of joint situation, with you transferring to their Ph.D. program.”
She cracked open the box and stared at the engagement ring he’d bought her the night before. It was white gold, with a row of twelve diamonds. She looked at him in confusion. “I don’t understand.”
“Well, it’s just that bringing my lab assistant probably wouldn’t pull any weight, so I told him we were engaged. They put a spacer in it, in case it doesn’t fit.”
She continued to gape at him. “Um…okay. So this is a pretend ring? For the interview?”
He realized too late he had blundered.
What an idiot!
Once more, he had compartmentalized things in his brain, but approaching engagement from the business angle was just plain wrong.
“Well, no—” He took his hand off the wheel and reached for the box.
She yanked it out of his reach. “Wait, was that a proposal? Is that the way you propose to me? Hand me a box with a ring and tell me I’ll need it for the interview? I think that’s quite possibly the worst proposal I’ve ever heard of!”
He crooked his fingers. “Give it back. Give it to me.” Glancing at the road, he lunged across her to snatch it out of her hand. “Nevermind. You can’t have it now.”
She giggled and tried to snatch it back, prying at his closed fingers.
“Miss Larson, if you cannot sit back quietly in your seat, I will pull this car over and put you in the back seat with a sore bottom. Understood?”
She giggled again, but sat back obediently. “So now I don’t get it?”
So how about you? I asked the question during the School’s in Session release party and got a lot of funny stories. Dinah McLeod’s took the cake. I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing here– her husband asked her while doing sit ups! LOL. She told him no!!