I cannot BELIEVE I’ve not yet told this story…it’s probably the best one yet! I always assumed in my naive younger days, that when a couple announced their engagement it was a time of happiness and bliss. For me, it was highly embarrassing, painful and instantly regrettable.
But, aside from the misery and looking back, it is fricking hilarious! Note to readers, italics are my thoughts, I didn’t actually say this out loud! Read on…
I had been with my Boy for what, 7 months or so. I say ‘Boy’ because that is exactly what he was; we were both only 21 and his mental age was far lower than his physical age. He was the epitmoe of the ‘pretty boy’, with baby blues and the gift of the gab that could charm his way out of just about everything.
When we started out, I got instant grief. The ex-factor was still a current-factor and she popped up all over the place, forcing me to resent the very mention of her name. His mum didn’t help either. Say hello to mother-in-law from hell! Accidently (on purpose) calling me his ex’s name at the dinner table, or loudly discussing the fact she just loves blondes (the ex was blonde, and I, a clear brunette. Ta love!). I never felt totally at ease in this relationship anyway. He’d love to go out, lose signal (aka turn his phone off) and stay out all night with the lads (aka hook up with girls) on a regular basis. But when he was hangin’ and wanted pampering like a spoilt brat, I was the best thing that had ever happened to him. *sure*.
I was living in Norwich at the time, and for my 21st birthday weekend, the Boy drove the 3-4 hour trip to spend it with me. Oh so sweet! *pukes* He takes me to a place in the City for dinner, continually questioning me over tapas on the extent of my affections and would I ever cheat? No Boy…I’m with you. Anywho, we get back to my digs, he creeps off downstairs and returns to my room…and kneels down….
Oh F**K, he’s not doing what I think he is, is he?
“Nix, you know I love you, and I want to be with you long term”
Shit. He actually is. I can’t believe this. The Boy is proposing. I’m only 21. I barely know the kid really…
“So, as your 21st birthday present, I’ve bought you a diamond ring. Will you marry me?”
Tumble weed blows through my mind. I’d have perfered a ring with diamonds, not a diamond ring. Big difference. You’ve got to be kidding me. This is my birthday present? So, if I say no, I get nothing? Well, he is shaking with nerves, he must mean it. But then, I don’t even want to get married. Maybe I can keep the engagement a lengthy process…few decades perhaps? I should say no. But, he is on his knee. He means this. And I do love him. They are diamonds too, I bet that looks good on my finger…
Erm, I just got engaged. Not a pretend engagement. A real one, reiterated when I received congratulations cards from his family. Plus, he instantly changed our relationship status, so along with my usual ‘happy birthday’ comments, I got bombarded with ‘engaged???’ queries. Rest assured Facebook friends, I was as shocked and confused as you were. Left to my own devices in Norwich, I continually took the ring off, as (honestly) it felt heavy on my hand. I didn’t enjoy looking at it and often slid it off onto another finger, feeling immediately guilty and putting it back.
A week goes by, Boy is out and on the piss in London…ringing me at early hours absolutely smashed and passing his phone around the train carriage, getting randoms to wish his new fiance congratulations. Annoying, at 2am, but rather sweet. Or so I thought…we’ll come back to this later.
13 whole days past since I became his official ‘missus’, and I was spending the weekend at his place; a welcoming break from finals at uni. Waking up after he’d left for work, his sister and I potter around in the morning and she cheekily suggests checking the Boy’s facebook. Tempted? Hell yeah. Bad move? Of course it was. You know it was, and so did I. But she had his password and had signed in already, sieving through his messages until I spot one from a girl…discussing the fact that they had been ‘shagging’ each other. She was, I assure you, a fugly chav. So much so, that at first I couldn’t believe it as she was hideous and my Boy is damn vain. For added proof, I source her number from her page dial her digits (I don’t f*ck about girls). “Hey, it’s Nix…you don’t know me, but I just want to know how many times you’ve shagged my fiance behind my back” was how the conversation started. I am known to be pretty direct. So alas, it was true.
*insert epic row with my Boy here*
Running on humiliation over-load, not only do I have to remove my relationship but also my engagement status off stalkbook. Welcome the billion messages asking ‘what’s happened?’ or ‘are you okay?’ from nosey acquaintances who don’t really care about me, but want the gossip. I’ve not died guys, I’m fine! Just highly embarrassed, and ready to rip his testicles off and put them in a blender.
It’s good to pause here, and note that I really should have walked away. But, being fiercely loyal, a helpless romantic and frickin stupid, after his begging days got too much to ignore, I took him back. Yeah…I know. Don’t even say it! But, I took him back. I wanted my happy-ever-after, and I deeply loved him. A few months on, everything seems to be working out okay, until I find out from one of his girl mates (who is coincidentally now my best friend and the better half of me) that the night he went out in London and called me drunk from the train…he had been out with her and cheated with a random in the club that night too! So I was initially led to believe the cheating was a pre-engagement phase and he’s “seen the light”, but was actually a 7 days post-engagement event too. Brilliant. Oh HELLO humiliation, welcome back! Knew you’d be around again, just didn’t expect it to be so soon!
Fast forward a year, the Boy and I have established, out of the mess and painful memories, a close friendship. Unexpected, but wonderful all the same. It takes a strong kind of character to stay friends with an ex and salvage the decent memories together. Heck, I even ‘fessed up that after he cheated the second time, through sheer frustration I cheated back (enter Mr. Big), to which Boy just states “fair play my girl”. My thoughts exactly. We’ll still go out for dinner, meet for drinks, or enjoy breakfast by his favourite fishing lake, and I often say to him (after a glass or two) “Can you even believe WE were engaged? What were you thinking!” To which the usual reply from my Boy is “Dunno, feeling guilty I guess” resulting in both of us cracking up in laughter and getting another round in. I’ve even told him I never really wanted to accept in the first place and he’ll say he never really wanted to do it! *sigh* The Boy is in a serious relationship now and has been since we split, so I sometimes can’t help myself say “You’ve been with her, what, a year now? Shit, best whip the engagement ring out, it’s already over-due!” and I’ll receive, as a response, being put into a playful headlock.
What I love about this story, is that I find it genuinely amusing and not painful at all. It’s like the utter reverse of Romeo & Juliet, gone wrong. If I walk past a bridal shop with my girls, they’ll moan “Dont say it…” and I’ll ALWAYS pipe up “I was engaged once, don’t ya know. Best 13 days of my life!” as a running joke. To be fair, I think I rival even Paris Hilton in the ‘shortest engagement’ time frames.
Morals of the story?
Boys: Only propose if getting engaged is the actual required aim of the gesture.
Girls: Only accept aforementioned proposal if getting engaged is similarly the desired outcome.
Nix: Stop dating boys, cheaters and general dudes with psychotic tendencies.