Act Your Age… Proposing Fake Marriage

I forget how it ever got started.

She was over. We were talking; planning to put on a movie, but it never happened. And I don’t remember who proposed the idea first: me or her. But that night, April 25, 2011, we decided to get married.

I think it started with us deciding to have a baby… I believe I described it as a freakishly tall baby (a freakishly tall baby that was loved, but considering between the two of us our average height is 6’0, the baby would likely grow to be freakishly tall… that’s just the way it is). She agreed to the baby (while denying its likely freakishness) and the plan developed from there.

I’d have to propose with a ring, but not just any ring. It had to be an onion ring, but not just any onion ring. It had to be from Harvey’s or Dairy Queen (apparently they have the same batter). Since she was missing her copy of Superbad, I promised to include a new copy in the proposal. My fetish for plaid pajama pants and her plethora of pajama shorts (no pants) resulted in a pair being added to the proposal as well. Finally, her pair of sunglasses, which she had left at my apartment, needed to be returned. If I were to provide her with those four things on May 25 (exactly one month later), we’d be fake engaged.

Mind you, the plan was significantly more developed. It’s my philosophy that if one is going to try to plan an unforeseeable future, the plan might as well be ridiculously detailed. She’d get pregnant in July and we’d get married in October. In November, one of our past scorned lovers would attempt to assassinate one of us (I assumed it would be me). Then in December we’d have a blow out of a fight that would last until January (likely because we both ended up kissing other people on midnight instead of each other). Our mutual friend (and coincidentally and unknowingly our mutual fake mistress) would have a heart attack in March.

Now, the thing about the “proposal plan” (as it became known) was that it became a sort of running joke. It came up kind of often… a go to conversation filler during any of the lulls in our time together. And then I got a job in Toronto that I couldn’t turn down and moved away.

There was a “Jeff” once (a younger version of myself) that did this sort of thing often. In high school my string of unrequited crushes resulted in an abundance of projects to impress girls, while repressing feelings. Girls acted as a potent motivator, while projects were a way to safely have some sort of catharsis. Between puberty and my first girlfriend at 18, I wrote 8 scripts and my autobiography, took over every major position in my school (Student Council president, Yearbook editor), produced 12 issues of an unofficial newsletter, and played on nearly every sports team (Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer). And while my motivation was girls (which lead no where), I began to love the projects and the way I felt about completing them. So here I was in Toronto, trying to impress a female friend, with nothing to otherwise occupy my time. Of course I was going to do something for May 25.

Over the first week in Toronto, I began to collect the four things and in a weird way it sort of became a proposal scavenger hunt. I already had her sunglasses. Superbad I found in a bargain bin at Sunrise, a movie store that I stopped into randomly on my way home from work. And the pajama pants I found at Walmart, while picking up a foam liner for my mattress.

The onion ring was a bit trickier. It’s not like you can send an onion ring in the mail. So finally, after a lot of thought, I bought a Harvey’s gift card and attached a note that read: “I’ve enclosed a gift card so you can go and pick out your perfect golden brown ring which will represent our ‘love’ forever… or at least until consumption.”

With my scavenger hunt complete, all that was left to add was the proposal. For some reason, the scene from Love Actually was on my mind; it’s the scene where the guy shows up at the girl-he-like’s house with a bunch of poster boards and he flips through them silently to deliver his message. So I went out and bought poster board and wrote out my message with the intention of going around Toronto and asking people to take my picture holding them up in front of major landmarks. However that didn’t happen. I chickened out that Saturday morning and rewrote the message on much smaller cards so I could take the pictures by holding the message in front of the camera myself. Once the pictures were taken, I had them developed and then sealed them in eleven numbered envelopes.

The message was dirty and sweet (which was suitable given the intent). It read: “Will you do me the honour | of signing a piece of paper | that will effectively bind your life with mine | (both legally and romantically) | until death or divorce | and promising to give only each other (and occasionally ourselves) orgasms | (i.e. not Ted from the office or Jane from the gym, who seems DTF, but no touchy touchy because of the aforementioned signed paper) | all because I could make you happy (or spend my life trying) | and you would make me happy (despite what your palm reading may have suggested) | and we could be happy together as a dirty-minded, freakishly tall, but ultimately… loving family. | Will you marry me?”

I sent it Xpress post, but it ended up arriving two days late. She opened it with our aforementioned fake mistress while I was on the phone and they both laughed and thought it was sweet. Just as she opened the “Will you marry me?” envelope, I got in an elevator and my cell phone cut out. I never heard her fake answer.

I kind of felt like the whole thing went a bit too far. But I had fun creating the project, and while I can’t take a compliment, I do enjoy the opportunities I have to impress. Plus, what’s the occasional creepily romantic gesture between friends?

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