How We Met
We met in our junior year of college. I was a captain of the belly dance club, and he was the president of the ballroom team. In October, the ballroom team hosted a swing social and I wanted to go. Normally I wouldn’t be able to make it, but they only did swing dance once a semester, so I wasn’t going to miss it!
Once I got to the social they separated everyone into leaders and followers and began teaching moves. Everything was going great until they said:
“Find a partner!”
I tried to make eye contact with leaders but everyone had already paired up. Before I knew it I was alone on the dance floor, without a partner. Embarrassingly, they called someone over from the team to dance with me. I looked around and a tall man with dark hair, a well-kept beard, and glasses smiled at me.
We had fun dancing for several songs and then the lesson was over. The rest of the evening passed uneventfully.
Fast forward a month, and my best friend (who was on both teams) encouraged men from the ballroom team to try belly dance classes “so they can learn how to move their hips!” Several guys showed up, including Tony. After a couple meetings, I was sitting in my dorm room when I received a call from my best friend:
“GUESS WHO LIKES YOU?!?!?!?” She squealed, barely able to contain her excitement.
“What? What are you talking about?”
“Tony asked me if you were seeing anyone and I said no! He wants to go salsa dancing on Friday.” I laughed and thought about how roundabout the request was. I later learned I was not supposed to know that he liked me. Either way, I accepted.
Come Friday, I was excited and nervous. I remember arriving at the salsa club and not actually dancing with him for a while, I guess he was nervous too. Then he finally asked me to dance, and five years later, I still remember how comfortable I felt. He had this way of rubbing his thumbs on my fingers as he held my hands and danced. And his smile was so warm and comforting.
Months later, after we had been dating for a while, he reminded me that it was him I danced with at that first swing lesson. We’ve been dancing through life ever since!
How They Asked
Around our four year anniversary, I was thinking about Tony’s and my future. Once I make a decision, it’s hard to keep it inside, so after about two weeks I felt like it was going to burst out of me. Tony immediately knew something was up because I kept blushing profusely and trying to hide my face. Eventually, I mumbled:
“I think I want to get married”
Tony was surprised but saw it coming nonetheless.
“Okay, but you have to let me do this my way.”
I told him I was totally prepared to propose to him if he wanted me to. But I also had initiated several of the major milestones in our relationship so I wanted him to do this. He convinced me to give him a year.
Fast forward more than a year. I was unhappy it was taking so long. But he told me it would happen in early 2019. Between Christmas and New Years we were gifted some tickets to the Nutcracker by the Boston Ballet. Afterward, we went to a lovely Italian restaurant called Mamma Maria, in the North End.
Part way through dinner I joked, “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re going to propose to me. We’re all dressed up, the ballet was so fun, and this dinner is amazing but also so fancy!”
“No, remember I pinky swore it would be after the holidays?”
Any notion I had of proposals was quelled, he would never break a pinky promise! After dinner, Tony wanted to go for a walk, but I was tired and it was raining. He bribed me with seeing Blink!, an enormous Christmas light show nearby. To get there you walk through an extended arbor covered in blue lights. Halfway through it, he saw a bag on the ground and started going into it!
“Why are you opening up someone’s bag? That’s so creepy!” Then he pulled out a Rubik’s cube, and my heart stopped. At the beginning of our relationship, Tony was worried that we might not have similar interests, exemplified by his interest and my disinterest, of Rubik’s cubes. This time it was a ring box.
He got down on one knee in the rain and asked me to marry him. I laughed! I always thought I’d cry but I couldn’t stop laughing. Of course, I said yes, and our friend Alex was there the whole time filming and taking pictures. Afterward, I smacked Tony on the arm and said, “You said not until after the holidays!” to which he replied, “It is after.”
He had orchestrated everything. He spent a year taking jewelry making classes to make my ring. He bought the gold, got a custom cut ruby, formed the metal and set the stone. He even made the ring box! It wasn’t until two weeks ago that he planned the actual proposal. It may have taken him a little while, but he surprised me beyond my wildest dreams and made me the happiest I have ever been.