Hello there. How are you? Good? Good. I’m good too. Why? Because: I just got engaged. My man got down on bended knee, and offered up a FANCY ring. In the words of Beyonce: He liked it. And so he put a ring on it.
Before going further, I would like to state for the record here that I believe engagement stories are never that interesting to anyone other than your parents and maybe your very best friend. They’re like weddings that way. It’s like, “Yay for you. You met a dude and the dude bought you a diamond. Congrats.” Or, “Yay for you. You spent a lot of money, and so yes, your place cards were nice and so were the canapés.” It’s not that I’m not excited for people to find love. I am. What I take issue with is the stuff that surrounds the commercialization of marriage. That which asks the betrothed and, more to the point, their guests to shell out so much godforsaken cash, and to get excited at the prospect of doing so.
This is all to say: I know that the details pertaining to someone else’s engagement/wedding aren’t that interesting. But, you see, my boyfriend proposed by hiding the ring in the toilet. He got me to find it by pretending he’d taken the world’s biggest sh*t.
James and I have been together for just shy of two years, and with Christmas approaching, I had a hunch he might propose. We’d spoken openly about marriage. We’d looked at a few rings. Months earlier, we’d made the mutual decision to shut down the conversation entirely, so that whatever did happen in the way of the proposal, it could be at least a bit of a surprise. But now here we were in the week leading up to Christmas, and I couldn’t shake the thought, “So much for a surprise. I just bet he’ll do it now.” I’d recently moved from New York to London to be with James, and Christmas would be the first time my family had the chance to come and visit. We would all be going up to Scotland for the holiday, staying in a house together just outside Abdeerden. There would be beautifully decorated rooms in this house. There’d be daily walks through Scottish moors. There’d be … opportunities. A perfect moment to get down on bended knee.
Then, I decided I was wrong. James just didn’t have the … energy (I can think of no better word) of a man on the verge of proposing. He didn’t seem nervous. He didn’t seem like he was hiding something. And once we got to Scotland, we sat in those beautifully decorated rooms, and went on those walks around the Scottish moors, and I could feel it: No proposal was forthcoming. Not here, and not now.
Christmas morning rolled around, and I awoke to the sound of James moaning (non-sexually) beside me.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“My stomach hurts,” he said.
“Are you going to be sick?” I asked.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I mean, I don’t feel nauseated or anything. I think I just have to move my bowels.”
“Okay,” I said. “That’s good.”
I would like to include for you here two relevant pieces of information: A) As a couple, James and I don’t enjoy much in the way of privacy where bodily functions are concerned. The phrase, “I’m going for a sh*t,” happens just as often as “I love you.” And something like, “I farted?” Forget it. We say that phrase with the frequency another person says a word like “What?” and B) Along similar lines, we have a good friend, Jon, who – were he here now – would describe himself to you as being “prolific of bowel.” He can make some, ahem, sizable movements. I mention this because whenever Jon or James produces an especially impressive Number Two, they take a photo, and send it to each other. Judge if you must. I really couldn’t blame you.
So James woke me up with his non-sexual moaning, and went to the bathroom to relieve himself. A while later, he returned to bed, cuddled back up next to me. A moment passed. Then, “Oh god. There’s more!” And he waddled fast as he could back to the toilet.
Ten, maybe fifteen minutes passed as I dozed in and out of consciousness. Then James returned. Although he didn’t get back in bed with me this time. He came around to my side of the bed and crouched before me. He looked giggly. Elated.
“Sara,” he said. “Wake up. I have taken the biggest dump of my life!”
“Congratulations,” I said. “That’s wonderful news.”
“Will you come and look at it?” he asked. “It’s pretty much the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.”
“Do I have to?” I asked.
“Yes!” he said. “It’s Christmas! I thought we could stand beside it, and take a photo, and send it to Jon. It’d be like a Christmas card. C’mon! You know he’ll love it.”
I sighed. He seemed so exuberant, this boyfriend of mine. And it was Christmas, like he said.
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go.”
James preceded me into the bathroom. He walked to the toilet and put his hand on the lid.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
“Oh, yes,” I said. “I am.”
James opened the toilet lid, and there it was: My engagement ring. He had Saran wrapped the bowl, which I’m happy to tell you was free of all manner of feces. It sat in a box, which sat atop the Saran wrap.
“Oh my god,” I said.
“I was kidding about my stomach,” he said. “I was hoping you would be my wife.”
I told him yes. I figured we were probably a match, seeing as how he’d thought it appropriate to pretend an engagement ring was a bowel movement, and I’d thought him all the more wonderful for doing so.