I have always said, “I’m not that girl.”
Of course, I’ve typically said it after doing something especially girly and dumb, like eating my way through a block of cheese and bag of tortilla chips during a Jane Austen film festival, and then vowing to take the stairs all the following week to “make up for it.”
I’m not entirely sure who “that” girl was ever supposed to be really – perhaps some odd amalgam of Bridget Jones and Marlo Thomas – but I clearly need to reevaluate my litmus test on girlish behavior. Because when I find myself making that very proclamation just yesterday after cooing over a color combo of purple and pink, I think it’s safe to say I am indeed becoming that girl.
It’s a confusing contradiction for me, though it certainly explains why I’m suddenly considering once-absurd concepts like idea boards and very nearly taking out a parade of street-crossing geese when the light catches my finger in a certain way.
For all my Bukowski reading, whiskey drinking, and stabby thinking, I find myself in entirely new waters that I’ve always quietly admired from a distance but never truly thought I’d experience: I’m engaged to be married.
The very idea makes me giddy and swoony and whatever else those lovely Jane Austen girls did when they’d found their one love, though unlike them I have the smiling hand of reality to smack me into place and keep my newfound girlish curiosities from usurping what’s left of my brain.
Frankly, we can essentially thank my father for that. My guy and I actually started discussing marriage seriously about six months ago, and in keeping with conventional wisdom of sorts, my guy decided it was only proper to ask my father for his permission to marry me.
He went into their lunch appointment anxious and excited; he left slightly bewildered. My father hadn’t objected to the request at all, quite the contrary: When my guy had worked up the nerve to respectfully ask to marry me, my father bellowed “Great! Take her!” and promptly dug into his fish and chips as though handing over his first-born daughter was no different than handing over the keys to a car you’re desperate to sell.
Not that either of us expected a celebratory party over announcing that we were, for all practical purposes “pre” engaged, but a general “good for you!” pat on the back would have been nice. My guy even went so far as to tell my dad when he planning to officially pop the question … which my father, much to my annoyance, forgot.
He likely never even heard my guy tell him the date to begin with, which only served to make my intense grilling all the more futile. Every week or so I’d call my dad to beg for anything, a number, a day, a sign of the zodiac … any bit of information that would clue me in on when my guy would indeed propose.
That may have been when “that” girl started to take over.
I certainly never expected to be the girl who would scrutinize a calendar to determine possible proposal days, or the girl who checked her ring size three times a day, or who lingered over bride magazines in the grocery store.
Then again, I also never thought I’d be the girl to want nothing more than to come home and be with her guy, to share every moment with him and want to inspire him the same way her does her. Which may explain why I started crying when presented with that little blue Tiffany & Co. box last Saturday night.
Funny how the one thing I’d been hoping for and looking forward to was the last thing I expected that night. My guy’s elaborate cloak and dagger routine had me convinced I wouldn’t be seeing a ring until Labor Day weekend, so our dinner out that night seemed no different than any other.
In hindsight, I can see that my guy may have too eagerly agreed with my suggestion that we dress up for dinner, and that the staff at Ruth Chris seemed far too excited to see us when we arrived, but in the moment all I really knew was that I couldn’t be happier to be out with my guy.
And then, between courses, as my guy and I poked and laughed and chatted, the room was silenced by the start of a violin. Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” moved closer to our table, and as the familiar melody washed over me, I looked to my guy.
“Are you ready for this?” he asks, and reaches into his jacket pocket as my eyes fill with tears and I realize that finally, truly, we’re about to make official our commitment to each other.
I’d like to say that I remember exactly what my guy said to me, or what the next song the violinist played for us was, but in the moment of his sliding the ring onto my finger, all I can clearly see his him holding my hand. I doubt I’ve ever felt more certain of anything than I did right then as I looked back at him and just said, “yes,” over and over again.
And later, as we floated out of the restaurant, high on compliments and good wishes from the staff and patrons, we decided to call our families to share our good news.
My father, true to form, interrupted me as I started to tell him that I was now engaged to be married, and launched into details about his day working on his new car in the garage. I finally had to yell, “Shut up! I’m engaged!” at the top of my lungs, to which he replied, “Well congratulations, it’s about time. Now, put your guy on the phone so that I can welcome him to our certifiably insane family, and tell him all about my new tig welder.”
My dad knows how to celebrate. Note to self: do not, under any circumstances, let dad assist in the wedding plans. That is clearly a job for that girl.