We’d talked about getting married what felt like pretty early. Like less than a month after we said our first “I love you”s. However, it never seemed like the right time to propose because we either had no money or I just felt like I wasn’t in a great place in life to get engaged. As time dragged on and Karen grew understandably impatient, I realized I couldn’t wait. But what to do for the proposal?
I couldn’t do anything normal because I have this horrible psychological affliction that doesn’t let me do anything normal, but Karen did want the proposal to still be surprising and romantic. I couldn’t just propose at a special place, because all of the places important to us are fairly public and that squigs me out. We didn’t have any money, so I couldn’t do anything elaborate. Or could I?
In September of 2016, I made a list of every TV show and movie Karen and I had watched that was even vaguely important to us. I started collecting clips from that assorted media and tagging them with keywords like “Kiss,” “Flight,” or “Dance.” Months went by and the clips accumulated. It was slow going as I could only work on it when Karen was asleep or wasn’t home. I narrowed down the list further and further, skimming through hundreds of minutes of footage. I had to hide the fact I was rewatching all of our shows/movies, constantly watching myself to make sure I didn’t make too many Steven Universe references or remember too many details about the plot of Heathers.
Several months later, in early April, I’d finally crossed that last title off of that ultimate heavily revised list. I checked my hard-drive and there was over 1000 clips in there. I was amazed, annoyed, and confused. How had I so blindly accumulated all this material? No wonder it took me so long, I thought I’d just been slow. How was I going to take these 1000 clips and turn any of it into a cohesive video, let alone an appropriate proposal? Well it wasn’t easy and it took about a month and dozens of drafts to complete. Maybe at some point I’ll make a post on what I learned while doing it.
On May 4th, the night in question, I rearranged the furniture in the apartment, set up a projector and screen, and heavily decorated with candles and lights. After we’d called our friends and family, I published the video on facebook, expecting people to think it was cute, but ultimately shrug it off. It is a video very specifically tailored to 1-2 people after all. Instead, the response was massively positive. A few close friends and family members messaged me that it’d made them cry. I was struck with this response, but obviously happy (it gave me the confidence to even label this article romantic in the first place).
It’s not perfect. Far from it. Yet somewhere in that mess of clips, in that tsunami of tones and genres, is our relationship. It’s funny yet dark, romantic yet cynical, classic yet quirky, childish yet mature. It’s impressive yet flawed. We’re all of those things and not quite them at the same time. And that’s what makes it the best proposal I could ever make. That’s what makes it perfect.
She said yes, so who cares anyway?