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Darren S.

I have been dating my girlfriend for the last three years, and we had known that we wanted to be together for much of that time. This year, I was preparing to graduate from college, and I had been wondering when to finally spring the question on her. My girlfriend had already graduated last year and was teaching in a town 45 minutes away, so we had only been able to see each other on the weekends. I bought the ring through a friend from the Bay Area and had to wait for it to be made and shipped out to me. For weeks, I had known that I was going to propose, but I needed to jump one obstacle (besides the ring), and that was to get her father's approval. Because she lived with her father, I knew that the only way I could speak to him was to secretly e-mail him and meet with him during school hours. I e-mailed him, but I didn't want to give away the reason I was going down to meet with him, so I just kept the message short and vague. He in turn asked my girlfriend why I needed to meet with him. My cover had been all but blown; however, because I was also pursuing a career in education, I was able to play it off and say that I needed to see him for career advice with my upcoming graduation. She bought it.

I went down to meet with him, and it was the most nervous I had ever been or ever will be. I was dressed in slacks, a long-collared shirt and a tie. I told him that I loved and respected his daughter very much and that I was there to ask for her hand in marriage. I also laid out a plan for a year and a half to two year engagement, while we got ourselves established in teaching. He said he liked my plan and gave me his and his wife's support to propose to their one and only daughter. The only thing left to do was to wait for the ring, which unfortunately was late, so I had to fall to one of many contingency plans. She knew I had come down to visit her dad, as he had told her that detail for the next three weeks. As I was waiting for the ring to arrive, she gave me a hard time for not visiting her in her classroom across town. I just said, "I'm sorry baby. I didn't know I was allowed on school campus." In reality, I didn't want to give away the reason I had been there and why I was dressed up. Her co-workers told her, "It is Christmas, maybe he was getting ready to propose to you?" However, she didn't believe them because I still had to finish college.

We could not be together on Christmas Day, but my brother and sister-in-law were visiting from Seattle, so my girlfriend came up the day after Christmas in order to see them. I had gotten off from work about 30 minutes before she got into town. I quickly went home and changed into a suit and tie. When she got to my house, my mother and sister-in-law answered the door and took her into the living room, telling her I was still in the bathroom. I had printed out pictures of us together over the last three years in chronological order. My mother and sister-in-law showed her the pictures, saying that they had found them in my room. As they sat on the couch flipping through the pictures, I stood in the laundry room behind them, waiting for my cue: the second to last picture, which was from my brother's wedding. My sister-in-law announced, "Oh this was from our wedding!" They then flipped to the last picture, which was a picture of the ring with question marks around it.

I then appeared from behind her in my suit and tie, holding a dozen pink roses, which were her sorority's flower. I handed her the flowers, got down on one knee and asked her if she would marry me. Her initial response was a "Shut up!" I responded with, "Dena would you marry me?" She said yes, and I pulled out the ring and put it on her finger, despite both of us shaking nervously. I then joked about how she thought I had driven all the way down there to talk to her dad about jobs. We had a great laugh and since she's gone back to school from Christmas break, all of her co-workers have given her a hard time.

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