Monday, December 19, 2005

"Hey, you! Over there! Marry me, why don't you?"

It is possible that one day I will get married. Just in terms
of statistics and demographics, it seems very likely. This
means I have to be prepared. If I want eternal wedded
bliss to live up to its reputation, I need to find the best way
to begin it. When I “pop the question”, I want the moment
to be unique, romantic, and–most importantly–unrefuse-
able. I want my lovely and gentle intended one to overflow
with joy, to have a moment that she will be unable to re-
member without tears for decades to come, or at least until
we both die in a horrible snowmobiling accident. I’m not
going to be one of those guys who gets down on his knees
on the Jumbotron at a Vikings game. Nor do I want to take
the safe and easy route, the “special night in our favorite
restaurant” cliche that every other batty lover tries. My
future bride deserves more than that. She deserves a
proposal that will encapsulate in an instant all the special
wonder that is married life with me. To this end, I have
come up with several opinions and I would appreciate it
if you, my small and far-flung internet audience, would be
so kind as to pick out the one you think is the best.

Hypothetical Marriage Proposal Number One: “The

For this approach, I will need a Perkins. Preferably a
Perkins just off a major highway in a second or third
ring suburb. Those tend to be the Perkins with the more
“homey” atmosphere, rather than the sleek, urban
Perkins experience we in the core cities enjoy. I want
this to begin as an evening that puts my intended at
ease. I will rub her sore feet, I will serenade her with
pretty songs from the soundtrack to “West Side Story”,
and I will purchase her flowers. Perhaps the flowers I
purchase will be peonies, but I cannot say this for sure
yet. The flowers will be seasonally appropriate, though,
of that she can be certain. When she is at her most re-
laxed, I will then casually bring up the possibility of a
dinner at Perkins. Now if I know my hypothetical in-
tended, this is an offer she will not refuse. Perkins
provides only the finest entrees from the American
heartland, plus it also has quesadillas. I enjoy quesa-

But it is not my enjoyment that is at issue here. Especially
not when I’ve worked so diligently over the days before-
hand to set up this special evening. You see, prior to her
arrival at this Perkins, I have been frantically arranging
all the details, coaching all the participants, and practicing
my lines. For her, it will be yet another dream date to
Perkins in the company of her committed and charming
man, but to me it will be the culmination of at least three
days of intensive planning and labor. Here’s how it will go.

We will arrive at the selected Perkins and the host/hostess
will, after I display a certain hand-signal, direct us to a seat
near the center of the restaurant. She will also ask if we
would care for anything to drink. After making sure that
the free-refill rule is in effect at this Perkins, I will request
a Diet Coke. My lady fair is free to ask for anything she likes,
as I have already made it clear to her that I will be paying.
We will then have a fifteen-to-twenty minutes of lighthearted
banter, during which I will order the quesadillas and she will
order her own favorite dish, which I predict will be a chicken
and mushroom omelette. And then, when the server comes
by to check on us, I will say, “Oh! These quesadillas are so
GOOOOOD!”, which is the restaurant’s cue that zero hour
is upon us.

Three to five seconds later, a man–my confederate--two
tables over will create a distraction, the nature of which is
to be determined. He may stand up, holler out something
inappropriate, and then sit back down again. Or maybe he
will loudly drop a bowl of soup on the ground. Or maybe
he’ll just bark like a dog. I’ll think of something, I assure
you. The important thing is the distraction. My beautiful
love-kitten will look away from me for a moment, giving
me time to take the ring I have previously purchased from
Sears and place it between my tongue and my gums. Then,
when her attention is focused once again on me, her future
husband, I will pretend that I am choking upon an errant
bit of quesadilla. I hope to take acting classes, so that I
may be as convincing as possible. My eyes will bug out,
my hands will claw at my throat, and I will say “Gaaak!
Gaaak! Gaaak!”.

This is when I will fall to my knees before her, thus cleverly
assuming the proposal position. Another confederate will
then rush to my aid, administering me the Heimlich Man-
euver before her terrified gaze. On the third thrust from
my second accomplice, I will spit the ring into my out-
stretched hands and then offer it up to my glorious bride.
“Here...take’s for you, my gentle lamb!” I will gasp
out before I “pass out” at her feet.

I hope to wake up to the applause of the entire restaurant
and a blushing, brand new fiancee.

Hypothetical Marriage Proposal Number Two: “Perfor-


This one is a little simpler, but it still requires that I find
a Russian midget and a giant who can play violin. Here, I
must pretend to lose my voice about a week before the
chosen date. At the same time, I’ll be acting more and
more agitated around her, as though there’s something
incredibly important I need to tell her, something crucial
and profound that my tonsil infection is preventing me
from getting across. With any luck, my mounting frust-
ration will rub off on her and, by the time my plan has
reached its final stages, she will be delirious with worry
and stress. What is Kevin trying to tell me?, she’ll won-
der, Whatever could he want? But she’s playing into my
hands. Romance, after all, is just that which happens at
the point where utter mystery meets the vaguely compre-

Eventually, this will all come to a head on a Tuesday
evening. I will be wild and inconsolable and she’ll be
confused, distraught, and–perhaps, just perhaps–a
little hopeful. When I feel things have reached a sort
of climax, I’ll hold up my hands to silence her and walk
over to the telephone. Without taking my gaze off her,
I will dial a certain number and then push a secret series
of buttons. This will be what alerts the Russian midget
and the giant who can play violin, who will be waiting for
my call in a classic Volkswagen parked around the cor-
ner from my apartment. When they get the signal, they
will come briskly to my door and ring the bell.

Before letting them in, I will bring my sweet-smelling
lavender-orchid girl to the couch and beckon her to sit.
Then, I will wave the Russian midget and the giant–who,
by the way, can be of any ethnicity–into the room. One
of them will be carrying a portable tape recorder, which
he will place on the coffee table. Then, as the giant begins
to play a lilting tune on his violin, the Midget will begin
to recite a series of very moving Russian poems. When
they have created the appropriate ambiance, I will hit
“play” on the tape machine. From the speakers will
come a familiar voice.

“Hello, young lady, I’m Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former
Secretary General of the United Nations, and I’m here
to tell you that love is a magic thing,” Boutros Boutros-
Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations
will say, “It is all around us, like air. Unlike air, however,
it takes another person to make love real. When two
people get together and find love, the whole world smiles
upon them. As former Secretary General of the United
Nations, this is something I know. I also know that you,
young lady, have been blessed by these feelings too.
And so has Kevin, standing silently by your side, he too
knows the powerful feelings love brings. This is why I
feel compelled, as a private citizen and former diplomat,
to ask you something that he cannot, as a temporary
medical condition has rendered him mute. The question
is this: will you, sweet thing, marry Kevin? Will you?
Will you? Will you?”

And then, just as Boutros Boutros-Ghali wraps up his
speech, when the drama in the room is at its apex, the
midget will stop reciting and the giant will stop playing
violin. I will fall to my knees then, bring out my trusty
Sears ring, and hold it aloft. “Meow!” I will say, my first
word to her in a week.

Licking my lips, I will eagerly await her reply.

Hypothetical Marriage Proposal Number Three: “The

This is the most complicated of my ideas, but also the most
sensual and, for that reason, it holds a certain appeal. Allow
me to set it up for you:

I drive my lady love to a secluded, preferably-wooded area
for a session of “heavy petting” under the glorious, twinkling
stars of the North Country. With the soothing, erotically-
charged music of Johnny Mathis serenading us, I will go to
great lengths to ensure that she is, as they say, lost in the
moment. It is necessary for her to have her eyes shut,
because–as we furiously make-out–curious happenings
are afoot. Five to seven figures in blood-red robes are
slipping out from the underbrush to surround our car. Some
are armed with pitch-forks, some are fitted out with scary
goat-horn helmets. Silently, menacingly, they draw nearer
and nearer.

At this point, I will look away from my sweet paramour for
a moment and cry out in elaborately feigned shock. “Oh
my God!” I cry, “Satanists! Run, honey, run!”. This is
when I throw open her door and push her out into the
night. It is very important that I do this before she re-
alizes what is happening. Under no circumstances is she
to escape the Satanists. If that happens, the whole plan is
shot. They must seize her and spirit her away (gently, of
course) to a secluded cabin. As she is being carried through
the woods, she may perhaps look back at the car. For this
reason, it is important that the remaining Satanists be ass-
aulting me. It would be cool if one of them could actually
be pulling me through the window of the car. I don’t know,
though. Perhaps that’s a little dangerous.

Anyway, at the cabin, my special girl will be forced into a
locked chamber. Don’t worry about this part, though. It
will be a nice locked chamber. There will be attractive
tapestries, comfortable furniture, and perhaps even a
folding table laden with the refreshments she likes. She
will be kept here for a few hours, so I suppose I should
also arrange for a television set or a radio or something.
After all necessary preparations are finished on my end,
a “High Priestess” makes her way to my darling angel’s
cell. The High Priestess must be spooky, but not overly
so. Maybe she could be wearing a fright-wig and some
greasepaint, but I don’t want her completely horrifying.
Her job is to tell my gentle sparrow that the ceremony is
to begin soon, and that she must put on the garments that
Baal has commanded her to wear. These will be robes of
the most radiant white, or at least the most radiant white
available at Joann Fabrics. If my she-consort refuses or
puts up any sort of fuss, the High Priestess will use her
status as a fellow female to convince her. I realize that
this may be difficult. By this point, I imagine that the poor
thing might be out of her mind with concern for me.

Let’s assume that she reluctantly agrees to put on the outfit
given her. Let’s further assume that she allows herself to be
brought back through the woods by her Satanic captors.
These are, I’m sure you’ll understand, great logistical chal-
lenges that I fully admit I haven’t worked out quite yet. I
would, of course, like to minimize the “kidnapping the love
of my life and holding her against her will” aspect of this
event, but some things just can’t be helped. Unfortunately,
for romance to bloom, bizarre and questionable behavior
must often be countenanced.

Putting all that aside, imagine the Satanists leading my
winsome beloved to a clearing deep in the heart of the
wilderness. Here there will be a massive bonfire and as
many dagger-wielding devil-worshippers as I can muster
for the occasion. In the center of this awful gathering will
be an enormous inverted cross, which I will be tied upside-
down to. Weather permitting and assuming that I’ve been
faithful to my exercise regimen, it might make sense that
I be naked for this part of the plan. Or at least clad in the
skimpiest loin-cloth possible. Care must be taken, however,
to assure that the bungee cords holding me to the cross do
not chafe my wrists and ankles. I didn’t get into this to get

As my tender lady-friend is brought screaming and crying
to the cross, the Chief Satanist–who will be denoted by the
black-piping on his robes as well as his elaborate goat head-
dress–says to her, “You must SACRIFICE this OFFERING
TO SATAN! You must STRIKE him from the VERY EARTH!
The GROUND must be SOAKED with his BLOOD!” The crowd
of lesser devil-worshippers will be chanting as this is going on:
they’ll be saying something catchy like “Kill him! Kill him!
Kill him!”.

It is my hope that my dearest one will balk at this command,
even when she is handed a keen and very long knife with
which to cut me open. Because, really, the plan sort of de-
pends on her complaining at least a little so that the Chief
Satanist can bellow out “SILENCE!!!” and quiet down all
his lackeys. After a few moments, which should only be
filled by the terrified sobbing of my soon-to-be-fiancee,
the Chief Satanist will ask, “Have you, pathetic offering to
SATAN, anything to say before your feeble life is released
from the chains of your putrid body?”

This is when I, to use the lingo, “pop the question”.After I
whisper out the necessary phrase, the Satanists will again
to start to chant, only this time they’ll be saying “Marry
him! Marry him! Marry him!” as the Chief Satanist reaches
inside his robe to bring forth the sparkling, magnificent ring
that I had the salesgirl at Sears pick out earlier in the day.

The look on her face, I think, will almost as good as her
inevitable acceptance of my offer of holy matrimony.