So I got engaged.
Yep, might as well just say it here because I feel like my entire universe is talking about it. My fiancé is a wonderful woman named Monika Olko, who (shameless plug alert) owns the Monika Olko Art Gallery in Sag Harbor. We’d been together for exactly one year to the day, and it just felt like the right thing at the right time.
Relationships grow slowly from being “just dating” to “it’s getting serious” to “boyfriend and girlfriend.” The differences between each stage are so gradual, you hardly notice them. But the line between getting married and not getting married is night and day. In one instant, just like that, you’re engaged.
I will say this about popping the question: wow, does it make a woman happy. I don’t know what it is about a guy getting down on one knee and presenting a ring to his future wife, but I had absolutely no idea it would be this level of smiles and happiness and a few laughs.
Probably the funniest part of my proposal was Monika’s reaction to the ring.
“Is that real???!!! IS THAT REAL OR FAKE?!!!”
“It’s real, Honey.”
“It is? OH MY GOD!!!”
I’m not exactly known for being loose with money.
One of the surprising things about getting engaged, for me, is this odd sense of calm that comes over you once you’ve done it. I feel very much at ease now. There’s no longer a lingering fear of whether I’m going to get engaged or not—that has been completely lifted. It’s a freeing sensation, which is sort of the opposite of what everybody tells you. (But by now I’ve found that my reaction to practically every major life event has been the exact opposite of what people older than I am have told me to expect, so I don’t pay too much attention to them anymore.)
What nobody did bother to tell me was that engagement would also bring an unimagined level of exhaustion, at least when it comes to telling the story of how I did it, over and over again, to everyone who asks. I told my sister the story in great detail—it took nearly 30 minutes—but when I was asked by my father’s cousin’s nephew’s brother’s former roommate, I summed up it up like this:
“Well, basically, I got the ring from my diamond guy in Nassau, then I drove back to Southampton and called her dad for permission to marry her and he got really happy on the telephone, and then when Monika got home I asked her if she’d like to take a walk in Southampton—because we like taking walks because it feels like we’re doing something—and then in the middle of the street on First Neck Lane at the end of the walk under the stars, I just got down on one knee and asked her to marry me and she said ‘Yes.’”
That’s pretty much the whole story. I could tell you about every thought that went through my head while we were taking our walk, but they all came back to a single notion: I can’t believe how terrified I am to ask this question right now. Don’t wimp out!