Snowflakes in France

Reflections of a 20-something woman in publishing

Category: romantic

Weekend! Wee!

Today I’m returning to Boston via my old friend Bolt Bus. It’s the first time I’ve been there since Jon moved here. And how appropriate that I’m going back for my final wedding dress fitting.

In truth, I can’t wait to visit our old haunts. The little Turkish coffee shop near Harvard where words drifted up from corner tables to the wooden beams of the ceiling — most of the time the languages evoked thoughts of spices and colors, my own mental symbols of the East. Of course there were the occasional hung-over college kids. Even Harvard students turn to alcohol during college.

I’m really hoping that we can make it to Red Bones, the best BBQ joint north of … well…Kentucky I suppose. It was right around the corner of Jon’s old apartment in Cambridge.

Paul Revere's statue in the North End

And lest I be too focused on food, I must mention the shops on Beacon Hill where one might find the perfect unique stationary set or child’s birthday gift. Most of all, I look forward to the feeling of history and liveliness that swells up from the North End amidst the cemeteries, statues, markets and pubs.

It reminds me that while Boston holds my own story, the story of how Jon and I dated and fell in love, it also holds the stories of countless others. Happy weekend readers! I’m off to The Olde Towne.


A Belt is not a Ring

The Belt arrived!

I was somewhat worried about it, because it’s been about 9 business days since I ordered it! But it was coming from Canada.

Jon is going away tonight for his brother’s Bachelor Party in Michigan. I going to try to fit a proposal in sometime between now and when he calls a cab to the airport… eek!

Happiness, Bliss and a Homeless Man

We’re engaged. Gah!

I ordered the belt, and then he proposed about four hours later. I guess we were definitely on the same page, which is what I was going for, the ring is beautiful, and I still have a surprise for him! So I have no complaints (quite the contrary).

So, the story of the proposal…

As you know, the plan was to go English Country dancing. He knows me so well! But I screwed it up and brought shoes that would scuff the floor of their rented facility. Not allowed. I was a bit heartbroken, but we decided to go on another Tuesday, stopped by a bookstore and then came back to Hoboken.

Why don’t we walk along the water, it’s such a nice night, he said.

So we did. And then he took an abrupt right onto the pier.

We walked all the way to the end of this pier, and looked out on NYC

Well darling, he said, if we had gone English Country dancing tonight, I would have said that you had a very pleasant temperament, and you would have commented that the dance was nicely done. And I would say that although I may not have the annual income of a Mr. Darcy… (which is 20,000 a year, ha!) I feel that I can still provide for you. And I care about you very much, and love you, and Alice…

He got down on one knee…

Will you marry me?

Yes. Yes! Yes!

Did I know he was going to propose? It ran through my head that this would be a good setting, but I don’t think I actually believed it was going to happen. I was also slightly worried about how close the ring would be to the water, but luckily that was not a problem.

So we’re standing there blissfully in our own world, when a homeless man walks up.

Excuse me, he said, I just have to tell you that you are a beautiful couple. I saw you from all the way at the other end of the pier and you’re just glowing.

Thank you! (I probably started “glowing” even more at his comment).

I don’t know much about these things, I’m a homeless man, but you look like you’ll be very happy together. And thank you, for allowing me to tell you.

And he walked away. I don’t even know if he knew we had just gotten engaged. Talk about perfect validation.

The ring? Sorry, I was so caught up in our blissful state, I forgot to tell you about the gorgeous ring:

So sparkly!

I love it. So we went out for dinner, and called family and friends and had a lovely, overjoyful night.

A Country Dance

This, by the way, is called a country dance, after the French, contredanse. Not because it is exhibited at an uncouth rural assembly with glutinous pies, execrable Madeira, and truly anarchic dancing.

-Jane Austen from Becoming Jane

I’m going to a country dance class tonight! It was supposed to be a surprise, but Jon just couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. Besides, he had to tell me to bring an extra pair of “very clean” shoes, which sounds suspicious.

So he told me that he had arranged for us to take a class in Greenwich Village that embodies that famous Jane Austen tradition. A dance. With lots of bowing and walking, as Jon likes to describe it.

I’m pretty sure that he’s trying to think of some witty banter to use during the dance. Hahaha. It’s going to be great.

A belt and a ring

You think we women are the only ones who get overwhelmed and freak out with that awful gut feeling that you can’t, you simply won’t be able to do the things that the Wedding Industry insists that you do to make everything perfect? The men apparently suffer too.

The more I talk about color palettes and bridal parties, decorations and venues, the more he feels the pressure to do his part, the proposal, not only perfectly, but also quickly, so that I can start with all my plans. And I get that, so I’ve stopped talking to him about it because I don’t want to put that awful pressure on him.

And now I feel disconnected. Which is wrong. The marriage/wedding/proposal is about US. And this has become about him planning a proposal and me planning a wedding without talking about anything. So I’m making it about us again. And I’m planning a surprise proposal too, and then we can plan the wedding together.

Knowing that it is important to him that he surprises me and makes a moment of it, I’m not going to steal his thunder. I’m going to propose to him after he proposes to me. I’ve decided to order a custom leather belt from an Etsy seller, with the following text hand-stamped into it:

A belt is not a ring. But with a little effort, it is never-ending. The belt is not–God forbid–sparkly, but it does hold your pants up. A belt and a ring, together? Supportive and beautiful; Sparkling and strong. From Maryland to Boston, Hoboken and beyond. This is our love. Will you marry me?

I thought about getting a ring, but a) I don’t know his ring size and the rings I liked were not re-sizable; b) I think he’d like a belt much better; and c) I really like the juxtaposition between a leather belt and an engagement ring. It’s kind of poetic.

I’m very happy with the entire plan. Please let me know what you think. I realize that it slightly questions traditional proposal etiquette, and gender expectations, but I like that. I also realize that I could propose to him instead of waiting, but I think he’s very excited about his plan and to ruin it would be crushing.