It is with great amusement that my fiancé and I have agreed to profile ourselves for a forthcoming WaPo Express engagement item in the paper’s “By Invitation Only” section. We did not seek fame, but rather, fame sought us. As is our way, when it came calling, we shrugged and said, “Yeah, sure, no problem.”
But after filling out the paper’s extensive questionnaire and then realizing that it was going to get hacked down to about three column inches, I pondered what to do with the raw material. So in a fit of emotional generosity, I figured I’d break from my typical m.o. of ensuring that this blog reveals as little as possible about all but the most superficial aspects of our relationship and actually share some meat. Feel free to coo appreciatively or eyeroll and gag as you see fit.
A quick explanation of how this was constructed: I filled in my answers, then forwarded it to him in an email and he added his, which we then sent on to the Post. I’ve only just added the editor’s notes for your benefit. Enjoy.
1. Where/how did you meet?
Bird: He was a crime reporter at [REDACTED] down in South Florida when I started there as an education reporter. Technically, I was going to be working in a bureau, but the first few weeks they had me filling in in the main office, sitting right by him.
2. What were your first impressions of one another?
Bird: He was aloof — one of the few guys who didn’t come up within the first day or so to introduce himself to me. So of course I was instantly attracted to him.
Fiancé: I didn’t want to look too anxious, so I let the young guys in the room make a run at her. I joke that I was like an old lion on a mountain, waiting for all small lions to try to impress her. When the time was right, I’d just stroll down the mountain and take over. There’s a joke about this, involving bulls, but I can’t remember the punch line.
[Editor’s note: Seriously. This is the way he thinks. I’m not kidding.]
3. What was your first date?
Bird: Well we just sort of hung out together at work. I would invent excuses to have to come up to the office at night when he was working the night cops desk in Metro. But I guess technically it’s the night he asked me to go to a bar near the paper to get a drink. Which is weird, because he doesn’t drink.
Fiancé: We went to an outdoor Neil Young concert with our gang, and we just kind of made googly eyes at each other.
[Editor’s note: Clearly I have a lower threshold for “date.”]
4. How did he or she propose?
Bird: I woke up one Saturday and was surprised that he was already wide awake. I even teased him about being giddy because it was the start of the Texas A&M (his alma mater) football season that day. He suggested we go get some breakfast down on 18th Street. We started walking down there and he said he wanted to run into Starbucks and get a New York Times. Then he asked me if I would grab a copy of his paper out of the box out front while he got the Times inside. I said sure and started walking toward the box. Then I saw it: he’d had the production guys at his paper make a special front page that said in huge font, “Bird, Will You Marry Me?” and it had a big photo of him holding the ring, complete with an article about us getting engaged. I spun around and he was down on the sidewalk on one knee, right at the corner of 18th and Columbia, holding the ring. (He’d pulled it off by the way, by having two good friends of ours come out a few minutes before we left the house and slip the special front page into the box window, then guard it with their lives to keep anyone from taking it out.)
Fiancé: My co-conspirators were more nervous than I was, worrying about screwing up. They didn’t sleep at all. But I figured if it didn’t go down, we could just do it the next week.
5. What one piece of clothing of your partner’s would you like to see mysteriously disappear?
Bird: His favorite grey pants that he has literally worn a hole into and refuses to toss.
Fiancé: I like everything that she wears.
[Editor’s note: Now I feel sorta guilty.]
6. What’s your song? Why?
Bird: Willie Nelson’s “I’ve Loved You All Over the World.” He’s from Texas, so we’ve always listened to his stuff together. But he also calls me his sunshine, and that’s a line in the song, along with one about “until death do us part.”
Fiancé: “I’ve loved you all over the world; you are my sunshine, You keep my life in a whirl, and you love me sometimes.”
7. What’s the stupidest fight you’ve ever had?
Bird: We got into a fight about whether or not it was ridiculous that a former co-worker didn’t know who Truman Capote was. (I said yes; he defended the guy.)
Fiancé: I don’t even remember that.
[Editor’s note: His inability to recall the substance of fights within 30 seconds of them concluding is often fodder for future fights. And not to start this particular one up again, but seriously, what 27-year-old journalist hasn’t at least heard of In Cold Blood?]
8. Do you have cutesy names for one another? What are they?
Bird: This is so embarrassing. He calls me Sunshine, Busy Bee, Sweet Pea and Tiny. (The benefit of dating a guy who’s 6’1” is that “Tiny” works even when you’re 5’8”.) I don’t really have any names for him I guess.
Fiancé: This is a family paper, right?
[Editor’s note: For the three of you who didn’t need to run to the loo after reading my answer, allow me to say that I really don’t call him anything untoward. That I can remember…]
9. When did you know you wanted to marry your partner?
Bird: We were out having a really fun dinner together one night and he was telling me a story about a football player (I forget who) who had written on a piece of paper that he wanted to win a national championship and put it in his wallet, at his coach’s urging. At the end of the season, after the team won the championship he approached his coach and showed him the paper. Something sort of clicked with me as he was telling that story. That night, half-jokingly, I wrote “I want to marry this man,” and put it in my wallet. It was in there for a few years, even before I knew that I was ready to actually go through with the whole wedding process. I didn’t tell him about it until the morning we got engaged.
Fiancé: I knew early on that she was just a special person and I just wanted to spend my life her, whether that involved marriage or not. But it probably became real when she moved up to D.C. We were doing the long-distance thing for a couple months, and were going nuts, so I just dropped my job in South Florida and moved here without a plan. It was probably a little irrational, but it was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.
10. What music will you walk down the aisle to?
Bird: I wanted to walk down the aisle to Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14” but it turns out we’re required to use music composed for the Church. So I’m not sure yet.
11. Where are you going on your honeymoon?
Bird: Ireland, for 10 days.
12. How will your ceremony reflect your heritage?
Bird: With a Catholic wedding it’s really more about honoring the traditions of the religion; there’s not a lot of wiggle room. But I plan to carry my late grandmother’s rosary down the aisle.
Fiancé: Irish and Texas roots. Hopefully, there will be a lot of drinking?
[Editor’s note: I go churchy, he goes drinky. Awesome.]
13. What are you most afraid will go wrong on the Big Day?
Bird: Bad hair.
Fiancé: That I’ll cry.
14. What would you have changed if you had unlimited funds?
Bird: I’d fly Willie Nelson in to actually sing our song in person.
Fiancé: Her folks are already spending plenty.
15. Any weird family traditions?
Bird: Certainly not that anyone will see that day.
[Editor’s note: I’m going to hope that his silence on this one constitutes agreement.]
16. What will make your celebration unique?
Bird: I’m going to try to incorporate our reporting backgrounds in little ways: antique typewriter font on the invites and on the cards with the favors. And the Hay-Adams has a great bar downstairs called “Off the Record,” where we’ll party afterward, so we couldn’t really escape our journalism connection if we wanted to.
Fiancé: Me and Bird.
[Editor’s note: It’s thinking like that that’s the reason we’re getting married.]