How We Met – her side
In May 2013, less than 24 hours after I graduated college, I moved to southeastern Virginia to start my first post-graduate job. Moving to a new place by myself proved harder than I thought it would be. I was lonely and had started going on a few dates with a guy who was very wrong for me all while struggling to find friends. At the end of June I called my best friend in tears, asking her when it would get easier. She suggested that I sign up for online dating if only to go on a few dates with some better guys and boost my confidence. Armed with liquid courage, I decided to follow her advice and made an account on Match.com. After looking over a few profiles, I stumbled over an amusing one liner from the user “captivatingdork” He had humorously described some of the things he enjoyed doing, including a one-day trip he had taken to Europe. Still unsure about online dating, I hastily sent him a single line message asking him why he had spent that ONE day in Germany before signing off and heading to bed. As I fell asleep I convinced myself I was going to delete the account in the morning. To my surprise I woke up to a long response. Impressed that this guy had even wanted to respond to what could have been perceived as a rude or spammy message, I sent him a much longer message back.
We started sending chatting back and forth constantly and within the next day or two, David offered up his cell phone number for us to begin texting. I had taken some time to visit my family in Maryland and while I was there David started to tell me this long and drawn out fictional story that was as detailed as it was imaginative. With this story, I knew I was hooked. While visiting my family, we texted constantly each and every day (something that I now realize is very rare for David – he hates using his phone). We made tentative plans to get dinner in person that Monday. Meanwhile, my Mom had begun asking me what was next in my career, how everything was going and I very clearly remember a feeling washing over me that something amazing was waiting for me back in Virginia. As I headed back to my Virginia apartment, David and I moved our plans from Monday to that night: Sunday, July 7, 2013.
We decided to meet at a place we both had never been before which ended up being a Carrabba’s restaurant down the street. In an out of character move for me (I’m always on time), I arrived a little late at our first date having spent a lot of time beforehand getting ready – a telltale sign that I wanted everything to be perfect. Before getting out of the car, I texted him, “I’m really nervous!” However, all of my fears were quickly abated when I walked in the bar and a cute guy with a captivating smile stood up from the bar to give me a hug. My first thought was, “He’s so tall!”
We spent dinner talking over calamari and spaghetti and meatballs (a funny combination, but we realized later that we both ended up eating foods that we genuinely loved) before going back to his apartment to watch some TV. We drank a bottle of wine and talked until it was almost two in the morning. Realizing we had to go to work the next morning, David walked me out to my car. Both of us were regretful that the night had to end, though we knew it was the right thing to do so that neither of us were exhausted at work. Next to my car, we kept our conversation going and I realized then that he wanted him to kiss me. We shared our first kiss leaning up against my car in his apartment parking lot at 2:30 a.m. And the rest, as they say, was history.
how we met – his side
In May 2013, I was living alone and working at the shipyard. After a long day, I settled in with a hastily home cooked meal, as was the case with all of my meals, watched some TV, had a good cry while listening to some T-Swift and played video games. Ya know…the usual for a single engineer. I noticed before going to bed that I had a message on Match. This girl was too lazy to type more than a sentence, asking why I only spent one day in Germany, which I had mentioned in my profile. Some messages went back and forth, she was cute, funny, and most importantly…responding to my bullshit.
We exchanged numbers, texting back and forth …something I hate….but she seemed worth it. So she told me to tell her a story while she was visiting her parents. I don’t recollect exactly what it was about…but a tiger was involved…so you know it was good. So Sarah came back to town, and I suggested we go get dinner at Carrabba’s. It was half-way between our places, and neither of us had eaten there before. I made sure to show up 15 minutes early – something Sarah would eventually learn is an absolute lie compared to my patented “Hughey Time.” So I get to the bar and order a glass of wine. Sarah arrives…late. I ask Sarah if she would like to share a drink before going to the table. She declines….and I figure I’m out…I love booze and she doesn’t like drinking. NOPE…instead, someone had already drank some liquid courage before the date and didn’t admit it for like 2 months. Anyways…dinner was fine…good date…nothing notable… So I offer to go back to my place, have some wine, watch TV, and then part ways since we have work the next day (correction…I had work…Sarah just became a hobo after Busch Gardens had its usual mass mid-summer layoff to hire cheaper workers).
So we get to my place, and I show off my wine fridge. She couldn’t believe how fancy and sophisticated it was compared to her two buck chuck. She wanders around my apartment, which happened to be almost spotless. So she was assuming I’m fancy, intellectual, and an upstanding gentleman…got her…hook line and sinker. No more game necessary. We watch some TV, drink some wine, and I kicked her out. We talked as I walked her out to the car. Sarah wanted me to kiss her. I didn’t want to because I’m a gentleman. That….and I stupid and didn’t notice any of the multiple cliche signals she was throwing down, like the foot twirl, hair twirl and all that dumb girl stuff. She she goes in for the kiss, my brain clicks, and we had our first kiss.
how they asked – her side
After a long year of work with absolutely no time off between either of us, David and I decided to book a vacation to relax, just the two of us. We had really enjoyed cruising on our previous trip and I really wanted to try it again. Because of that, we decided to splurge and use some of our credit card points to fly to Florida and take a cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale. A few days before we left, full of excitement, I casually asked David if he was excited too. He said no, that there were too many things that could go wrong between then and now (i.e. the flight would be cancelled, our transportation wouldn’t pick us up at the airport, we’d have an issue getting on the ship, etc.), and that he wouldn’t get excited until we were on the cruise ship and settled. Over the next two or three days, I got more and more upset that he was not excited and we ended up having a small fight before we left about him not being happy and excited to go on vacation (little did I know what he was actually nervous about!) After a problem-free flight and night at our hotel, our cruise departure date was finally here! I remember waking up early and laying in our hotel bed thinking about how lucky I was to be there ready to go on vacation and how lucky I was to be there with David – something I would be even more grateful for a few hours later. We woke up, grabbed breakfast (a comical event in Florida, complete with a fake yet geriatric ship captain who you could take photos with while eating your eggs) and got dressed.
When traveling, I usually opt for something more comfortable and casual but that morning, for some reason, I had decided to wear a dress I had purchased for this trip (and was very happy about that later. On some level, I must have realized what was coming) We hopped on the cruise ship’s shuttle, sped through the check-in line and were on the Independence of the Seas less than an hour after we left our hotel. We began exploring the boat and stopped to grab our first drink of vacation from one of the bars onboard – two La Fin Du Monde beers, one for each of us. After exploring, we ended up at the top of the pool deck. As we walked around, I had been taking photos with and was shooting a few off the side of the ship when I looked around to say something to David. He had found another “secret” deck at the front of the ship (a small area to sunbathe on the bow) and was waving me up to join him. I headed up, took a few more photos of the view on the deck and sat down on a chair next to him. While sipping our beers and talking about the ship and the trip, David leaned over and pulled out a box that had his class ring in it. I remember having the thought of, “Why didn’t he just check this in with our normal luggage?” but waved it off in my head, remembering that we had had some issues with security on our last cruise and our bags had ended up being searched.
I reasoned with myself that he didn’t want to have his class ring in our bags for fear of it being stolen if we got searched again. He handed me the box and, still not realizing what was happening, I made a comment about a sticker on the bottom and handed it back. David then chuckled, opened the box and started fiddling with his class ring; as he moved it around, I watched him pull it out of the box and underneath was another beautiful ring! In that moment, my heart both stopped and sped up at the same time. I felt a rush of nervousness and excitement – a feeling I’ve realized will be exclusive to that moment. I remember saying, “Um. What are you doing….??” to him and then not much else after that. He had grown very nervous at this point and his hands had started shaking – which, if you know David, is not a normal thing for him. He responded with, “What do you think I’m doing?” and got on one knee in front of my deck chair. He pulled the ring out of the box and said, “Sarah – will you go on more cruises with me?” (See? I told you he was nervous – he didn’t even say the right thing) However, I was so happy and so excited that I didn’t even say yes before I leaned forward and kissed him. When our kiss finished I said, “Did I say yes? I didn’t say yes. YES!” I quickly realized that this was exactly why he had been anxious this whole time! He laughed, we put the ring on my finger and spent a few minutes just the two of us.
Those few moments will always be one of the best moments of my life. His proposal was perfect – just the two of us, in a quiet place and at the beginning of a perfect trip. After spending a few minutes reveling in our engagement we called our parents. Because we had only another hour or two before the ship was about to leave (and we would subsequently be out of cell service) we decided not to tell anyone BUT our parents – not even my siblings or our friends. We realized we couldn’t get to everyone in time. Once we told our parents and had them promise not to tell anyone, we settled into our room on the ship. We celebrated that night in a specialty restaurant onboard before spending the week enjoying being engaged and keeping a secret no one else knew.
how they asked – his side
My god…I’m an engineer…I am incapable of making a story as long as hers. Well…here goes I guess… Let’s start with ring selection. Mid-summer 2015: I spent weeks, maybe even months, researching the perfect ring. I wanted perfect clarity, which is cost prohibitive, but didn’t want something small. I spent hours every week performing calculations to determine the perfect ring. The perfect shape. The perfect cost to weight ratio. The perfect clarity as definable by the naked eye. After a spreadsheet with every local jeweler listed, as well as accredited online dealers comparing all of these facts, I had narrowed down the perfect ring. Just kidding…. Sarah knew my taste was shit and I wasn’t to be trusted. So, one day when we were drunk, sitting on our porch enjoying beer and sunset, she said “I want it to look like this.” DONE. In retrospect, this was a good thing, because I had showed her what style I thought was pretty. And she was astonished at my “THAT ISN’T EVEN CLOSE TO WHAT I LIKE” choice. So, the fact that we were both armed with liquid encouragement, she showed me what she wanted and, most importantly, gave me her size…. truly smart. Her choice was within the budget I had imagined, so I purchased the exact ring she linked me to shortly after that day. The price was right, but WAY more important, I knew that when the day came, it would be exactly what she wanted.
So, unrelated, we had booked a cruise. Screw it. That’s my time. I hooked her on cruises, she will be happy to be on the ship, let’s up the fucking ante on this one. This particular cruise stops at one of the two Royal Caribbean private islands. I think Sarah has never been at her happiest than sitting on these little beaches with no cares in the world. That’s going to be my chance. It will be tricky but I will VERY carefully sneak the ring onto the beach and propose in a private area with just the two of us (you know…in case she says no in order to make the last half of the cruise awkward…just kidding). So, the easiest way to hid this thing, but know it’s protected – I hide it in my college ring case. When it comes to the dressed-up dining night, I enjoy putting on the little bling I own (remember? I’m an engineer…all practical clothing rather than showy…just my style). I hide her ring below my college ring within the ring box. The day comes. We fly to Florida, spend the night in a hotel, and make our way to the port in the morning. Sarah has been complaining at me all morning, claiming I am being a cranky asshole. She says I’m being short, refuse to relax despite that we are on vacation, and generally just a bit grinchy. I respond that I’m just worried about all of the little things that need to be done to get us on-board. That is absolutely true…. until I’m completely checked in, and on the boat with a drink in hand, I am a bit touchy. Also, SCREW YOU WOMAN…I’M ABOUT TO MAKE A HUGE FUCKING DECISION. AND YOU DON’T HAVE A FUCKING CLUE.
So, we board fairly seamlessly, probably the most seamless experience so far for boarding for our multiple cruises, but disembarking BLEW…thanks, customs. Anyways, we are checked in, sitting in the waiting room to board because we, for the first time ever, got there too early. Sarah asks why I’m still on edge since we have successfully completed check-in and we are good to go now. I tell her I’m still nervous because we haven’t booked the drink package. I wanted to get on board and book that by eating up our onboard credit and until that was done, I will remain antsy. Internal monologue: “WHAT DA FUCK AM I DOIN?” We get on board, immediately see a drink package station, sign up using our onboard credit, and head to the first bar, which tradition has proven to always be the pub on Royal Caribbean ships. We begin to explore the ship, looking around and eventually reaching an overlook of the bow. We enjoy the view of Florida from the vantage point with no other passengers around. She once again annoys me by stating, “We made it through check-in, we are on the boat, and we have booze package and beers in hand…what is wrong?” Internal monologue: “FUCK IT, I’M NOT WAITING 3 DAYS TILL THE BEACH!!!!!!!!” I sit down and ask her to sit beside me. I pull out my ring box. She asks why I’m taking stuff out of my bag. I slowly pull my college ring out of the box as she watches, not having a single clue what’s about to happen (so she claims) revealing the ring hidden below
I fumble my words, which doesn’t matter because she realized what was going on and was too flushed with emotions to remember what the hell I said. Somehow, some “Marry me” and “I do”-s get said. We begin to call only our parents and tell them the news, just as this guy shows up.
And we supposedly live happily ever after…
…hey look at that…I can write a story…