Why I Almost Decked My Boyfriend 2 Seconds Before He Proposed

Kevin is a man of extremes. He’s an all-or-nothing kind of guy. Basically, he’s either snoring on the couch with our dog or he’s out pummeling the world with his charm, intellect, or extreme hard-headedness. Sometimes all three. He’s also not the type to make impulsive decisions or rush into things, which brings me to the fact that after 7.5 years of dating, we still weren’t engaged.

We’d been talking about taking the next step for a while (read: years), but there we were… watching our friends get engaged, then married, then start families. I was starting to feel like even that first step was never going to happen for us. But then, after years of waiting and—I won’t lie, worrying—we did get engaged. And I realized that everything about the day he asked me to marry him was worth the wait (really). Here’s how the single best day of my life went down.

The lead-up to the proposal was apparently months in the making. He orchestrated an epic ploy that involved me getting dressed up in a retro outfit for a photo shoot with his baby, a Cinderella blue 1967 Pontiac GTO.

He recently started up a muscle car club — a legit one with a functioning website AND custom logo T-shirts to boot — and told me the vintage shoot was meant for the site. He even had a photographer friend from work lined up.

engagement-shoot Like I said, Kevin goes big with the things that matter, and his love of cars (and drinking beer with his buddies) runs deep, so I didn’t think twice about how the day would go down. I got my hair and makeup done and packed a few outfits and headed to the coast that afternoon for the shoot. When we got to the site, I spent two hours posing with the car.

As the sun began to set, I was actually exhausted when the photographer suggested Kevin and I take a few snapshots together — since we were there and all. Kevin walked over to me and I put my hand on his chest. His heart was beating like crazy and I stopped myself from calling him out on it, since I thought he was just embarrassed/nervous to pose in front of his friend.

After a few snapshots together, the photographer asked Kevin to change his position slightly. Kevin adjusted, then he (I thought jokingly) said, “This is the perfect pose to propose!” Then I almost decked him.

I told him he was a jerk and to stop joking about getting engaged — since it was only the 48596th time he’s done so — and before I could finish my last F-bomb, he was down on one knee. From there things get fuzzy. I only remember him saying “Will you marry me?” I didn’t actually say “yes” for at least a couple of minutes.

This is how I reacted instead:
engagement-surprise Dear Taylor Swift, this is a surprise face.

I’ve made Kevin give me his version of the story 64 times already, and he claims I was so frozen that he had to take the sunglasses out of my hand to put the ring on my finger. Then I jumped up and down like a kindergartner who’d gotten her hands on a tub of cookies before bedtime. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t really believe it, and it’s been nearly three weeks.

I couldn’t even call my family and friends because there wasn’t any cell reception out on the coast (a strategic move on his part), and we got to enjoy our first engaged hour with the most fantastic secret between us. And lots of champagne too.

Kevin hadn’t even told my mom! Or my sister! Or anyone other than my grandpa, who helped him craft the ring. Grandpa, who’s been retired most of my life, “works” at a local jewelry store (as a hobby) and the designer there created a ring that I will cherish forever. It sparkles like crazy and includes more stones that my grandpa cut himself, creating the perfect hybrid of stunning and sentimental.

After we got back into town, we met up with some of our closest friends to celebrate over sushi before riding home in the GTO. I didn’t sleep a wink that night.

Everyone who’s already heard our engagement story has two reactions:

1. That’s amazing!
2. Typical Kevin.

While I’m pretty positive Kevin set up this elaborate plan to ensure that I never try to make him sell his car, the love and thought he put into our engagement made all of that uncertainty worth it. Good things come to those who wait, right? I wouldn’t trade our engagement story for anything, even getting a ring sooner.

I couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect way to begin this next chapter of life together. It wasn’t even the pomp and circumstance that won me over. It was more that everything about the day was so…us.

It was Kevin with his two dream girls (the car and me). It was the beach at our backs. It was the fact that I was going along with this whole charade because I know how much the car means to him — and we had already promised to support each other completely long before I had a ring on my finger. And the fact that he knew I’d want a fantastic story to tell our kids someday. I love that s**t. I love love, and especially our love.

But our love isn’t perfect by any means. We fight. We bicker like my grandparents do. Sometimes we’re downright mean to each other. I’ve doubted him on occasion. Even weeks before he popped the question, I cried to one of my friends out of frustration over wanting to get engaged but not being sure Kevin was ready (or ever would be).

She told me to trust him and that it would happen and it would be worth the wait, as I watched him snooze with the dog on the couch.


–By Deena Bustillo

Photos via Greg Grothaus

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