Other needed background: Michael and I have vaguely discussed the idea of marriage before, leaving out specifics like anything to do with WHEN :) Early this summer, he promised we'd talk about it again before school started - but he hadn't brought it up yet. I had jokingly brought it up a couple of times, to a less-than-thrilling reception accompanied by a rapid topic change. This had me kind of bummed, but I figured he'd bring it up when he was ready, and if he didn't do it by the end of the summer, well, I'd think of what to do about that at that time - of course, getting more and more nervous as time went by, and teasing him more and more as time went by....
So, about 10 days ago, he says "Ok, I think I know where we should go. How about Brasserie Perrier?" Brasserie Perrier (BP) is a restaurant owned by the owner/chef of Le Bec Fin, the very fancy french restaurant downtown (actually a few doors down from LBF, so that the chef can on occasion run back and forth between them if needed.) Izzy knew that I loved BP, we'd been there for family celebrations with my family before and also separately with his family. It's (in my opinion) beautifully decorated and sort of dim and romantic. I said sure, happy he picked a place I also loved, and thinking I was getting off a little easy because while BP is expensive, he could have said "Il Portico" or "Le Bec Fin" or "Savona," all of which are also places we've been together and all of which cost a lot more. I figured he was being considerate of my wallet as well as my personal tastes :). What a guy - giving me the best of both worlds.
I made the reservations for Tuesday the 11th. I kept reminding him because I was very excited. In all this time, I've never really "asked him out" on a formal date before! On Tuesday afternoon (note: we had 8 pm reservations) I started getting ready. I had worn my hair up in a twisted bun for TWO DAYS because I wanted it to look nice and wavy :) [he likes it that way]. I found that it was STILL damp so I held a blow dryer up to it for a good long while and then took it down and it was, in fact, nice and semi-ringlet-y in a natural looking way (I hate the way hair looks after I use curlers - very phony.) I got all dressed up and I asked him to please do me the favor of dressing up especially nicely as well. While BP *is* a "jacket and tie" kind of place, it's NOT the kind of place where they kick you out if you don't have one. So we got all gussied up and were both ready to go early.
Not wanting to sit around and get cat hair on my nice dress, I asked Michael if he wanted a drink before we went. I happen to have on hand some really good Key Lime juice from when I made a Key Lime pie some weeks back. He said sure, so I mixed us up a couple of vodka gimlets and we hung out in the kitchen having these cocktails.
I'm not sure if it was the drink, or a funny shadow, or what, but I looked over at him and I thought I saw a big protuberance from one of his pants pockets. *grin* Now, sometimes he puts his cellphone in there or something and makes it look - well you know, if a guy has a big object in one of his pants pockets, it can look funny! And, I guess, maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I thought "hey! maybe he's going to bring up that subject tonight!" but I didn't *really* think that. I reached over to touch his pocket and asked "what IS that in there?" He said nothing was in there and he was right - trick of the light I guess. But he invited me to feel in the pocket so I did - nothing was there. I jokingly said "but you have other pockets" and I frisked him head to toe on a whim....I didn't find anything. At that point I put any small thought of tonight being THAT night completely out of my head. I never really thought he'd propose this summer anyway, I just thought he'd talk about doing it eventually. Little did I know that as I frisked him, he's thinking "Oh my god. What if she does it again after I put the ring in my pocket??!!" He excused himself to go to the bathroom [read: get the ring stashed away in his back pocket] before we left, and I put the glasses away and waited by the door. He hustled me out the door and made sure I walked on the side of him that the ring was NOT on :) He says I kept trying to switch sides and he was very worried.
We got there on time and were immediately seated at a PERFECT table. All the way in the back corner of the restaurant, next to a giant mural covered with shattered glass which I love, in a cozy/private spot since two sides of the table were next to walls, not other tables. That was pure luck. The menus and wine list were brought to the table and I, playing the part of the host, asked if Izzy wanted some wine with the meal. He said nonchalantly, "why don't you order some champagne?" This surprised me - we have been getting very "into" wines lately, and have been trying French whites from the Loire valley, and Italian reds, lately. I asked "are you sure that's what you want?" He said yes and I picked one. I thought again that this was a nod to my preferences, because I love champagne and it's probably not his first pick all the time. So I was thinking again "wow, Michael is so great, he's always thinking of what I like." And I ordered it and it came and we sat happily drinking it.
Suddenly a look of concern appears on Michael's face. "what's that on your dress?" he asks me. I look down. I look to the left. I look to the right. I don't see anything, and I tell him so. "Let me show you" he says, getting up from his chair and coming around so he's on my right side with his back to the table of five to our right. His hand comes forward so I start looking over at the right side of my dress, trying to see if I spilled champagne on it or what. I think this must be when he asked me to marry him the first time - I don't know because as I looked down to my right I noticed that he was on his knee, holding a little blue box from Tiffany, and I started saying "oh my god oh my god oh my god" and the blood was rushing to my head or something so I really couldn't hear that much, except then I started hearing people near us muttering "is he proposing? he's on his knee! what's happening? look over there!" and then Michael said "you're not answering me! Will you marry me?" and I said "yes, yes, of course, oh my god, oh my god..." and I took the box and put it on the table and started to unwrap it [note to disbelievers: Michael knows I *love* unwrapping presents almost as much as getting them! In fact, sometimes he lets me unwrap presents for him, just because I like unwrapping things *grin* - that's why he asked them to wrap it up.] and a man from the nearby table shouted out "did you say yes?" and I said "yes!" and then I started to cry because I'd gotten the box open, and there was a beautiful ring in there, and then I just sat there crying and getting mascara all over my napkin [another note: I'd deliberately decided to forego the waterproof mascara in favor of the prettier Chanel mascara because my eyelashes look better with the non-waterproof stuff, and I figured tonight would be fun, and I'd have no reason for my eyes to water! I was now mentally kicking myself for this decision - but just for a moment *grin*]. I don't remember the next several minutes, but eventually I excused myself to go to the restroom, basically because I needed to calm down and splash some cold water on my face.
In the bathroom I was able to remove the smudges from under my eyes, and a woman asked me if I was ok so I told her what happened and she said what a coincidence, she was there celebrating her 20th anniversary, and she admired my ring, and so forth.
I went back out to the table and the meal proceded with me in a daze. I was just overwhelmed. I kept looking at the ring. I kept looking at Izzy. I couldn't eat - literally. I had one bite of appetizer and three bites of dinner. At some point, Izzy got up to go to the bathroom and five total strangers came over to the table to check out the ring!
Eventually we got home (after I'd treated myself to a celebratory glass of 100 year old Grand Marnier!). That's pretty much the whole story. I am still shocked that he chose to do this in a public place, but I'm glad he did because I liked it that way :). We have been slowly telling family and friends and as of last night I believe the word is officially out there. We're both very happy and we're thinking of having a wedding some time in August or September of 1999. The Net Access NOC schedule-generator (aka George) has already informed us that our future children have been scheduled in for NOC duty! *grin*