As told by Mike...
We both knew pretty early on that marriage would happen, sooner or later. We were completely in love and committed to each other forever. It was really a question of when, not if.
Since it's traditionally the man's duty to propose to the woman, I took it upon myself to decide when. Besides, I had a really cool scheme in mind where the important dates would work out just perfectly. Oh, and Bev told me on numerous occasions that for this one thing in our relationship, she wanted to be old fashioned - meaning she would not propose to me.
My idea embodied a great symmetry in our timeline that can only be fully appreciated by those who enjoy the sciences - those who look at the mathematical and logical relationships of things in the world around them and say, "Hey, neat!" I guess that's me.
I realized at some point that June 1, 2002, exactly three years to the day after our first email contact, was, in fact, a Saturday. Weddings typically occur on Saturdays, and getting married an exact number of years after you met is pretty neat. But wait, it gets better. In our early discussions about marriage, Bev and I decided that it would be best to wait until after she graduates from college (if for no other reason than she would likely lose her financial aid if we merged our incomes). It so happens that she is scheduled to graduate in the Spring of 2002. Perfect timing!
Why all this thought about the wedding date when I was simply deciding when to propose? Well, here's where the great symmetry comes in. I quickly realized that December 1, 2000 - exactly 18 months after our first contact and exactly 18 months before our potential wedding date - was a Friday. What better time of the week to propose than on a romantic Friday evening? The writing on the wall was clear: I had to propose on Friday, December 1, 2000.
Now comes the hard part. How? I racked my brain for weeks and even months before the magic date to come up with just the perfect moment. I searched the internet for ideas and scoured my memory for little tidbits that would make the evening extra special. By the way, I should mention that I'm a big procrastinator. Though I may not enjoy it, I've always done my best work under the time pressure of the last minute. This proposal was no exception.
The ring presented a bit of a challenge. Traditionally, the man purchases the engagement ring ahead of time and presents it to the woman as part of the proposal. I knew this wouldn't work for me because Bev doesn't really like jewelry - if she's going to wear something, it has to be exactly what she wants. I knew her basic likes and dislikes - no big diamond solitaires - but nothing specific. Rather than pick what I liked best from this general description, I wanted it to be exactly what she wants. So I had two choices: either shop for the ring with her beforehand and only surprise her with the timing, or shop afterwards.
The first choice seemed like it would lose some of the magic of the proposal, so it was out. Now - what to present her with? Nothing? An empty box? A promise ring? I agonized over this more than any other part of the plan. Then finally, just a few days before the day, It hit me. A Ring Pop!
A Ring Pop, you say? Well, very early on in our relationship, Bev had presented me with a Ring Pop of my own, more as a token of her affection for me than as a piece of candy to eat. I still have it today - in fact, it is the one pictured on this page. We used to joke that I would propose with a Ring Pop and we would wear both of them for our wedding. Perfect. I picked one up that afternoon at the local 7-11.
The rest of the story is pretty typical. I took Bev to The Summit House, one of the nicest restaurants in Orange County. We had a wonderful dinner, although the entire evening I was looking for just the right moment pull out the Ring Pop and "pop" the question. Imagine my anxiety when at one point in the conversation, Bev began joking as if she were a two-year-old, saying "No!" to everything I said! Of course I knew that she wouldn't say no to this, but still, it was a bit unnerving.
The check came and we were ready to leave - and I still hadn't found that perfect moment (always the procrastinator). So out to the car we went. Once inside, I knew this had to be it. I pulled the Ring Pop out of my pocket, handed it towards Bev, and mumbled something that hopefully sounded like "Will you marry me?" She was stunned and the first thing she managed to say was, "Of course." Truly one of the greatest moments of our lives.
As a footnote, after dinner we went to a Sammy Hagar concert. He just happened to be playing that night and we had decided beforehand to go - though it had nothing to do with the proposal. The concert was good, but nothing compared to earlier that evening.
We quickly began looking for the real ring and soon found the perfect one. We had it custom made by Philip Press and within a month or so, Bev was wearing this beautiful ring on her finger.