So Jaimie and I have a system.
It’s a system we use to avoid one of the major pitfalls of the modern relationship. That pitfall being finding a movie or a television show to watch on Netflix.
Everybody’s been there. You and your loved one are snuggling on the couch, still full from dinner. You decide to take a few minutes to find something to watch for the evening. That few minutes turns into a couple of hours and one of you ends up drunk sitting on the other end of the couch while you passively aggressively watch New Girl for the 100th time. And if we can’t agree on something as simple as what to watch on Netflix, then how are we ever going to agree on where to buy a house or how to raise a kid and this is obviously a sign of bigger problems and we should just break up and end it all now and save everyone a bunch of hassle down the road!
Does that sound familiar to anyone?
Jaimie and I have some extra Netflix hurdles to overcome. I’m ten years older than her, so lots of times I’ll suggest something that she thinks is, “dated.” I’m like, “It’s from 2007!” And she’ll say, “Exactly.”
Also for some reason I feel this compulsive need to find THE perfect thing to watch, and I’m willing to go down a rabbit hole trying to find it. Jaimie will eventually give in and be cool with watching whatever. Not me! I’ll be checking Rotten Tomato scores, reading Roger Ebert reviews, sitting there in a borderline panic because how on earth could I spend an entire evening watching something that hasn’t won at least three BAFTA awards???
So back in January, we came up with a system. I would spend some time doing research, suggest three movies that I would be ok with watching, and then Jaimie would get to make the final election. It. Was. Genius. We saved time, we saved arguments, and we saved tons of money on Proseco.
So I started looking for rings back in October. My sister Valerie and I even went so far as to make a trip to Zales. There were two issues, though. 1) I was overwhelmed by the selections. 2) When someone asked me where I got the engagement ring, I didn’t want my answer to be Zales.
Now Jaimie had been giving me hints. She had set up a “Secret Pinterest” page that was nothing but engagement rings, and she would leave the screen up on my computer. She would show me different ones when we were in bed trying to fall asleep. I would make fun of her lack of subtlety, and she would simply say that she liked looking at shiny things that bound us together for the rest of our lives.
At Zales I tried to match the pictures on Pinterest to the rings in the case, but I was lost. She wanted it to be unique and vintagey. She didn’t want it to be a diamond, she wanted it to be a gem stone. I told that to the salespeople and they were not on board. “Gemstone! What are you asking her to prom!”
And Jaimie is picky! She’s not like me. She won’t secretly hate something and pretend it’s ok. She says that since her people wandered the desert for 40 years, if she’s hot, or tired, or sick, or thirsty, or doesn’t like the ring I picked out, she has an obligation to let me know.
Feeling overwhelmed and underprepared, I decided to take a couple of months off from the ring shopping. I’d do over Winter Break, I figured. But then I started coughing. Then no one could figure out what was wrong with me, and shopping for a ring fell on the back burner.
In late May I got back into treatment. Middle of June I started feeling a little bit more like myself, and thoughts again turned towards the elephant in the room. The elephant being the fact that Jaimie and I had been together for four years, and I was still calling her my girlfriend.
We had a July trip to Florida on the horizon, and Jaimie seemed to think that the vacation would be the perfect time for me to propose. I also thought it would be the perfect, but I was still freaked out by the prospect of buying her a ring.
Now I’m not sure why, perhaps it was the months of therapy, but for some reason, I decided to be honest. “Look baby,” I said to her, “I want to pop the question. I do, I’ve wanted to for a while, but to tell you the truth, I’m afraid to buy you a ring!”
“You’re afraid to buy me a ring!”
“No, I’m TERRIFIED to buy you a ring! Because what if you hate it? And if you hate it, I know you’re going to tell me, and if we can’t agree on a ring then how can we agree on where to buy a house or how to raise a kid and obviously this is a sign of bigger problems and we should just break up and end it all now and save everyone a bunch of hassle down the road!”
She sat there for a moment in silence.
“Ok,” she said. Then she got up and left the room. That’s what I get for being honest, I thought to myself. She returned a moment later with my computer.
“I have an idea,” she said. “Remember our Netflix system?”
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of The Ring.