Getting Engaged Is Embarrassing

I’ve never been congratulated more for doing less

June Beaux
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readJul 9, 2019

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Photo by Mel on Unsplash

“Will you marry me?”

“What’s this?” I said, holding a too-small silver ring that looked nothing like one I would have chosen. It took a moment for it to sink in that this was it — this was one of those Life Moments people talk about, and I needed to sit up straight and pay attention and think of something memorable to say and why hadn’t I penciled in my eyebrows today?

“What do you mean?” he laughed. We were sitting outside a small café just off the scenic path we were biking. It was my perfect engagement scenario: no grand gestures, no ceremony, and no audience, strange or familiar. Just him, casually dropping a ring into my hand, and me, not knowing what to say, but managing to blurt out that I “usually wear gold jewelry.”

Despite this being his first time asking someone to marry him, my new fiancé knew exactly what to do next: He took a photo of us with rolling green hills in the background and texted it to everyone in his family with the message “She said yes!”

As if there was some genuine suspense as to whether or not I would.

I, on the other hand, had no idea how to proceed as a newly engaged person. I sat on this information, unsure how to let it out into the world. I wanted to strike the perfect balance, to be the exact right amount of excited. I wanted to say, simultaneously, that this was totally not a big deal and I was happy, but really nothing had changed.

Although we were visiting my hometown and could’ve easily delivered the news in person, I decided to send a group text to my immediate family once I’d left town. It seemed like the best way to keep my casual, cool-but-low-key-excited vibe; something along the lines of:

We have decided it is time to get formally engaged, although we may not have a wedding, and the ring is too small. I’m basically just informing you of a private conversation I had, of which there is not and may never be any tangible evidence.

But without a ring (it’s still sitting in a box in a drawer, waiting to be resized) and a concrete wedding plan, what did we even do? We’d had a few informal conversations about marriage in the past, and I hadn’t made…

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June Beaux
Human Parts

I write about death, relationships, family, and grief.