Saturday, December 3, 2011

Popping The Question

     I sought out the perfect spot to ask Sue to marry me, and finally made reservations at a restaurant in Sausalito reputed to have a beautiful view of San Francisco across the Bay. I knew Sue would enjoy the illuminated skyline of her favorite city. The restaurant, William A. Sterlington, was everything I’d hoped for—I couldn’t imagine a more romantic setting to pop the question. The restaurant was elegant, with linen tablecloths and upholstered chairs, and there were so many ferns and flowers that it was like eating in a botanical garden. I spotted an old portrait on one wall. William A. Sterlington? If so, what had this winking dandy with piggish features done to merit having his face stare down at us?
     We were seated at the table I’d reserved, a table by the window with a spectacular view. Our meal was superb, and the service was impeccable, but something wasn’t right. Something was gnawing at me. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. At first I thought it was just nerves as I got ready to pop the big question, but then I noticed people from other tables stealing glances at us. I figured it must be obvious what was about to happen, and everyone was waiting for a proposal show, but this didn’t explain why our fellow diners looked so irritated. That was when I realized I was the only guy in the crowded eatery with a woman. In fact, there weren’t any females in sight, other than Sue. Now I knew what William A. Sterlington was winking about.
     Of all the places I could have selected for this all-important moment, I’d picked a
restaurant that catered exclusively to…men. 
     I didn’t want to pop the question in enemy territory. We finished our meal and went
out into the chilly night air. After guiding Sue to an empty patio on the side of the restaurant, I ignored the dampness and knelt down on one knee in the middle of a puddle. I produced the ring, a modest thing. My heart was trip hammering in my chest when I asked Sue to marry me.
     She beamed with happiness as she said, “Yes.” And she looked thrilled when I placed the ring on her finger. I doubt, however, that any of this came as a surprise since women are always two steps ahead of men when it comes to this stuff. But Sue seemed to truly love the little diamond that, to me, looked pathetically insignificant before the galaxy of glittering lights erupting from the San Francisco skyline.  
     We hurried home so she could show the ring to her parents. Even though it was late, they were up and waiting with a bottle of champagne to celebrate the event. Sue’s mom passed the glasses around and we toasted our future.
     Then Mr. P. made an interesting offer. “I don’t know what you kids have in mind as far as a wedding is concerned, but I’ll give you a choice. You can have a big, fancy wedding at our country club, or I’ll give you a ladder and three thousand dollars so you two can elope.”
     Thanks to her dad, a few days later Sue and I had our first major argument. Sue had opted for the fancy wedding. I proved I wasn’t the romantic she’d hoped for when I chose the ladder and three thousand dollars.
     That ladder never had a chance.

     Where were you when you asked, or were asked, that all important question? Was it romantic? Share it with us…


  1. Yeah, a woman would go for the big shindig and a man, the ladder. Sausalito's beautiful - great spot, even if you weren't in the restaurant.

    We (my ex-husband and I) were on the beach in Bodega Bay and it was very romantic. I started my guest list on the way home.


  2. Hubby asked me so many times I forgot the original place. Nothing fancy like this though. We had a hard time rubbing two nickles together back in those days.

    Loved this post.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  3. Love your story! How many years have you been married now?

    My husband brought me a big package, wrapped in gift wrap. I unwrapped it. It was a mail box, with letters taped to its the side to read, "Mr. & Mrs. Peeper."

    He made me check if I had any mail; I did: the little box with the ring was inside the mail box. Three months later, we were married in Las Vegas.

  4. oh my gosh! so romantic! I have to say that ours was pathetic in comparison--Jim and I had been together for nearly two years when we were heading up to Tahoe in our Volkswagon bus with my two kids from a previous marriage and his boy from his previous marriage--Jim looks over at me and says "So, do you want to get married?" the honeymoon was even more pathetic-maybe I'll write about it on my blog...

  5. Laughing Boy asked me on a cold day in Newcastle, on the quayside.

    A spur of the moment thing I think, I certainly didn't see it coming.


  6. Great story, much more romantic than mine.

    We were on a road trip when I asked K. I know she was expecting it because as soon as I asked her what kind of ring she would like (I don't trust myself to buy something that important/permanent/expensive) she blurted out "platinum, 3 diamonds".


  7. SWMBO and I had a similar experience. We stopped in a bar in Cologne, Germany, for a rest from our walking tour and saw the only other customer, a guy, necking with the male bartender. Later on the same trip we went into a bar in Nice, France, and enjoyed a drink while we nervously observed the leather clad guys all around us. Maybe we should stop drinking!

  8. In my room at my family's house, Christmas morning, 18 years old (both of us). I got a giant teddy bear and a proposal of "What would you say if I asked you to marry me?" Not exactly romantic, but I'm not a romantic gal, anyway. ;-p

    How are you supposed to know a place caters to men until you're in there?

  9. Great story. But you make me feel like a chump. I didn't ask my wife; she asked me. We got married two months later, and it lasted for 29 years, with two wonderful kids. We had a good run, but ultimately got divorced. Still, we remain friends ... now that she lives 800 miles away.

  10. I don't remember where I asked, I know it wasn't the down on one knee thing, but I'm sure my wife does (the women always go for the romantic stuff)