Before I get into the retelling of the proposal, I wanted to give a little glimpse into how my man and I got our start. Before this recent grand gesture, there were others--big and small--that really shaped us as a couple and I'd be remiss if I got too caught up in the proposal stuff without first reflecting on how we got here. We've been together as a couple for about nine years, but have been best friends for almost 12. Plus, stories just make more sense told chronologically.
I met Vin a year after moving to New York City from Texas. We worked for different magazines at the same publishing house, but didn't meet until the company Christmas party. I was still trying to establish friendships in the city, so I approached him and a few other guys because they all appeared to be in their early 20s like me. He was the only guy there wearing a suit, so my first impression of him was that he was polite and respectful. He told me later that his first impression of me was that I talked a lot. Turns out we were both right.
When I arrived at work the next morning, he was sitting in my chair with his feet propped on my desk.
This is a significant detail since it was the first and last time he has ever shown up early for anything.
Me and Vin at the office, circa 2001
And that was it. We were fantastic friends right from the jump, and it felt like we'd known each other for years. We went out to lunch together several times a week and walked around our work neighborhood pointing out hot girls (there were a lot of modeling agencies in the area). It was purely platonic--he had a long-term girlfriend and I had just started dating someone seriously at the same time I met Vin.
By 2002, my boyfriend and I had broken up, and I was itching for a change. I decided to pick up and move to Denver. Before I left, Vin found the email address of my roommate Ashley, who he had never met before. He contacted her and suggested they throw me a surprise going away/birthday party before my departure. I was completely shocked to see all my friends gathered at the same place and remember exclaiming, "This is so weird! How do you guys all know each other?" as if it were a happy accident that they just happened to all show up at the same bar on a Saturday afternoon. As you will see, Vin is very good at pulling off surprises.
Vin and I chatted on the phone regularly while I was living in Denver. He and his long-term girlfriend had broken up, so we talked about that a lot. I also talked a lot about my dating adventures in Colorado. I was hell-bent on finding the most pretentious losers to date in the western U.S. and was doing a bang-up job.
I couldn't take any of them to meet my family, so I invited Vin to be my date for my brother's upcoming wedding, in March 2003 in Texas.
Vin and I had a great time hanging out together in my hometown. We bought matching cowboy hats at my favorite western wear store and went to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, where we had this little gem of a wall hanging made.
While at the rodeo, I swooned over this wooden western wall art despite its painful grammatical errors, but didn't buy it because it weighed over 20 pounds and I didn't know how I'd fly it back to Colorado. Looking back, I'm able to see that my decor choices were pretty terrible in my early 20s.
So of course, the inevitable happened. Sparks flew, we made out, and had our "When Harry Met Sally" moment. The following day we sat on the porch swing in my Dad's backyard and talked about where to go from here. He wanted to start dating long-distance; I thought it would just be too hard and we should remain friends. We parted ways at the airport, both of us feeling kind of conflicted and confused.
A few days later, back in Colorado, I got a delivery at my apartment in Denver. Vin had sneakily grabbed the business card of the vendor selling the western wooden sign, and had that enormous thing shipped to my house. Later that day, a freak blizzard rolled into town and I was completely snowed in for three days. I sat staring at this big wooden thing propped against my wall and realized I'd be a total idiot if I didn't give it a shot with the most thoughtful person I'd ever met.
And for the first 14 months of our dating relationship, we schlepped between Denver and New York City. I moved back to New York in 2004, and we've been been a duo ever since. So after 12 years, a cross-country move, a few apartments, a motorcycle accident, three surgeries, lots of smiles and lots of tears, many trips and countless family celebrations, we're finally getting married.
And we're doing it where our relationship really began, in my Daddy's backyard in Texas, where we first considered the idea of becoming more than just friends.
I guess we really were destined to be homies for life.