How We Met: In 2010, I decided to move from my hometown in rural Nebraska to Chicago to finish the improv/sketch comedy conservatory program I had started at The Second City in Los Angeles. Before LA, I briefly attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln (Go Big Red!) for Theatre. After high school, Molly moved from Omaha to Chicago to study Musical Theatre, first at Loyola, then Columbia College.
A few college friends from Lincoln, Christian and Wyatt, were moving to Chicago at the same time, so in early August we went to find an apartment together for September. The night we arrived in Chicago, Christian and Wyatt had invited some UNL theatre friends who were living in Chicago to have drinks. Rachel, Molly’s best friend, had been my classmate in Lincoln and was living with Molly for the summer in Chicago. As fate would have it, Molly agreed to accompany Rachel to Four Moon Tavern in Roscoe Village the night we arrived. I barely talked to Molly that night. I always told her that I was distracted with the daunting task of finding an apartment and moving, but truthfully I couldn’t imagine she would be interested in anything I had to say. I had talked to many beautiful girls in my day (usually apologizing for spilling something), but this was a gorgeous woman.
A month later after moving in, Christian asked me if I thought Molly was cute. It seemed out of the blue, but I said that yes, I thought she was very cute. Probably a week later, Christian invited Molly over to hang out with us and have some wine. He later told me he was wing-manning for me without me knowing it – sly dog. She arrived looking incredible. I’m talking about a woman. But for some reason, I was completely myself – inappropriate jokes and all. And she loved those jokes. In fact, she one-upped most of my inappropriate jokes. I try not to use words that rhyme with “kitten”, but I was smitten. We truly went on a date maybe a week later and have been together ever since.
how they asked: Molly is impossible to surprise. She’s like…if God napped on days 1-7 and was a detective. So she always knows when I’m acting strange. She knew when I swiped a ring out of her jewelry box, but somehow didn’t catch on that I was trying to get her ring size. My mom, Cheryl, and my sister, Brittany, gave me advice about rings.
I knew I should propose in Molly’s hometown of Omaha so that her family could immediately see her. This presented a challenge – I am not from Omaha, I don’t know much about Omaha, and to rural Nebraskans, Omaha almost doesn’t count as part of Nebraska. Mostly they use more turn signals than we do, but there are other differences too. I recruited advice from Molly’s sister, Emily, my brother, Brett, and close friends Trent & Zach. Trent, one of my best childhood friends, was able to secure a nice camera. Together we decided he “wanted to apply for photography jobs” and “needed portrait photos for his portfolio”. We would be in town visiting family, so we were going to “help him out”. We met Trent at the Gene Leahy Mall near Omaha’s Old Market on Saturday April 12. On the way, Molly made fun of me for being a “Sunday driver on a Saturday”. Little did she know, her engagement ring was under the driver’s seat and I drove very slowly to avoid it rolling out.
A street magician had incorporated Trent into his act when we arrived, and as this guy’s act went on and on, I came dangerously close to murdering my first street magician. Years later the magic show ended, and Trent took us to an area that provided a great backdrop for our photos. We moved around a little, even thought about moving to a completely different area, but stayed near the water. On Trent’s cue, he backed up allowing me to say everything I wanted to say to Molly in privacy. As I talked, she got very confused as to why I wasn’t looking at the camera. She finally realized what was happening as I said her full name, fumbled in my pocket, and got down on one knee.
She briefly teared up, laughed, and called me and Trent “suckers!” She then said “Thank you both!” and spent the next 30 minutes in a fog. I didn’t know where to put the ring and she made fun of me. It was the best moment of my life. We met her sister and her sister’s fiance for drinks, called family, and celebrated.