I fell for an expertly pulled off proposal prank on Saturday. A good friend of mine and his girlfriend have been talking about getting married for a while and he told me that he was planning on proposing, so when I saw the engagement thingy pop up on my Facebook timeline, I believed it. My first reaction was mildly unpleasant, though.
Last year, I had a dream that he got engaged and I found out on Facebook. I told him about that dream and told him he better not let that happen. So my first reaction was Um, excuse me? You promised you would warn me first! But she’s an awesome lady and she makes him happy, so after I got over the initial shock, I was excited and happy.
Then I realized it was April Fools Day.
Of course, since they’re both smart people, they had prepared for this. She photoshopped the ring he’s actually saving up for onto a picture of her hand and posted it.
All doubts momentarily disappeared, but I was still wary. I have fallen for engagement pranks before. One couple I know went so far as to actually buy a ring and she wore it all day. Another couple actually sent out fake wedding invitations. In my experience, rings are easy to fake. I messaged him and told him I would punch him if this was an April Fools prank.
But then she posted the story of how he supposedly proposed and it was so perfect and just so him that I believed it. I messaged him again and said he was off the hook.
Then off course, yesterday, they changed their relationship status back to “in a relationship,” and basically said not to worry because the real deal is in the works. And he messaged me back and said Peter and I are both welcome to punch him.
I was definitely irritated, but then I got to thinking. How many times have I told this friend that I’m engaged only to later not get married to that person?
I have known this friend for almost ten years. For clarity’s sake, we’re going to call him Sam. We first met at college. Sam lived in the apartment building next to mine and we had three classes together the first semester of freshman year. We didn’t interact much that year, probably due to the crushing homework load associated with being an engineering major. (I honestly don’t know what the crap I was thinking. I hate math.) When I went off to college, I was in a relationship with a former coworker who we’re going to call Leonard. He was seemingly sweet. About a month and a half after I left for college, Leonard and I started talking about getting married. My roommates overheard and blabbed. They told the whole apartment complex that I was engaged. Sam of course heard and probably congratulated me, I don’t really remember, it was a while ago. And like I said, we didn’t really interact much that year because we were both being crushed to death by calculus and physics homework.
Leonard turned out to be incredibly mentally ill and super jealous. We fought almost constantly, and my parents tried to talk me into breaking up with him basically the entire time we dated. The tipping point came during summer break. He faked his own death out of jealousy when I was spending time with a male friend that we’ll call Jack. Leonard got super scary. I’m not kidding about the faking his own death part. He convinced one of his friends to pretend to be an emergency responder. He contacted me, told me that Leonard had been in a car accident and had died. Later, I got a phone call from Leonard, who was obviously not dead. He told me he had had a collapsed lung and needed a blood transfusion. After talking to Leonard’s mother a few days later, I broke up with him, because when I asked how Leonard was doing after his car crash, she said, “What car crash?”
Within seconds of me changing my Facebook relationship status to single, Sam messaged me to see if I was ok and if I wanted to talk. I told him I was ok, and it was actually kind of a relief to be free of Leonard.
Leonard got scarier after I broke up with him. My friend Jack, who I had dated in high school, started spending a lot of time at my apartment in case Leonard showed up because I was honestly terrified to be alone. Jack and I ended up getting really close again. We had dated for a few months in high school, but not really anything serious. I didn’t want to be in a relationship again so soon after the whole Leonard mess, especially not since he was still contacting me at least twenty times a day, so I told Jack I wouldn’t be his girlfriend, but I allowed him to comfort me with lots of hugs and kisses.
I ended up going back to my college for summer semester because I was so terrified of Leonard. I figured putting several hundred miles between us would be safer than sticking around and waiting for him to ambush me as I left work or something. Jack and I talked on the phone almost every day still, and I put my Facebook relationship status as “it’s complicated” with him.
A few weeks after I got back to campus, I put out a plea on Facebook to find someone to go see the 6th Harry Potter movie with me. Sam was living with his sister a few miles from campus, and he said he could borrow her car and drive me, which was a way better option than the walking the four miles to the theatre that I had planned. Looking back, it’s highly likely that he was thinking of this as a date, but that wasn’t anywhere close to on my mind. I was still being constantly contacted by Leonard and just wanted to be around people as a safety measure.
Sam and I spent a lot of time together in the next two weeks. A friend from high school died in Afghanistan during that time, and I was a complete emotional wreck. My roommates had only known me for a few weeks and probably thought I was completely nuts because I cried constantly. They also were super judgey about how often Sam and I were alone in the apartment together, but nothing happened. I think we kissed once, but it was a comfort thing for me, not really an emotional connection thing.
At the beginning of August, Sam left to go spend a few weeks with his parents in Illinois before he left for two years. The day before Sam left, Leonard called me and asked me to proofread his entrance essay for Utah Valley University, which was walking distance from my apartment. I freaked out, called Sam and begged him to come over. After he went back to Illinois, I spent a ridiculous amount of time texting him, even while on vacation in Savannah with my BFFL. (She was actually highly annoyed by this and still gives me side eye when I mention “Sam.” When they met two years ago, it was far from the “Yay, two of my best friends are meeting each other” fun fest I was hoping for.)
I got back to Utah around the same time Leonard called me from a local number. I freaked out and got a restraining order. I spent hours on the phone with Sam that night. Luckily, the restraining order did its job, because Sam left for Brazil two days later.
I’m pretty sure Sam had created a stronger relationship in his mind than I had, because he wrote to me ever week and told me he loved me for at least the first three months he was in Brazil. I probably perpetuated this by writing him back “Love you too,” but I meant it in a friend love way. Young and naive, y’all. Sam told me not to “wait for him” while he was gone, which is this thing that girls in our church tend to do when they get a crush on a 19 year old. They spend two years without dating and write to their missionary every week, and have a wedding planned for two weeks after he gets home. That’s sweet, but I was way too emotionally vulnerable at that point not to have a strong guy around me constantly, restraining order or not.
Sam left at the end of August. I signed up for an online dating account sometime in October. I had a boyfriend by the beginning of December. We’ll call him Kevin. I wrote to Sam and told him about Kevin. When Kevin bought me a ring, I told him about that. When I went dress shopping with my friend Lesley, I sent Sam a picture of the dress I wanted. (That letter never made it, though. There was something going on with the mail in Brazil at that time and it got sent back as undeliverable, which is lucky, because Kevin and I had broken up by then.)
Kevin’s parents were very against us getting married. It wasn’t anything against me. They adored me. They thought I was too good for their son and tried to talk me out of marrying him from the day they met me. Also, Kevin didn’t want to go on a mission. That wasn’t a big deal to me for some reason, even though there was no reason he wouldn’t have been able to do a mission. The thing that did our relationship in was that he lied to me about pretty much everything.
A few weeks after buying me a ring, he asked me to go on a drive with him in Provo Canyon. I agreed. He told me that he had lied about serving in Afghanistan, that he had been in the army, but he got kicked out during boot camp. I told him I wasn’t going to break up with him for it and thanked him for being honest. It hit me hard, though. My great-grandma died a few days later. I went up to Canada for the funeral and told my cousin about Kevin’s lies. She told me to break up with him. I did when I got home.
It still bothered me that Leonard was nearby. I still creeped on his blog from time to time, and the photos he was posting had the same mountains I could see from my front porch in the background. At the end of the semester, I went up to live with my grandparents in Canada.
That summer, Jack came up to visit. He confessed that he still loved me, then totalled my car, then proposed to try to keep me happy. For some reason, I said yes. Again, I wrote to Sam. Poor Sam. He replied with something along the lines of, “As long as he makes you happy and you can get married in the temple, I’m happy.” Jack technically filled neither of those two requirements, but as I’ve said, I was in an extremely emotionally vulnerable state and was terrified of being alone. Leonard was now saying on his blog that he wanted to come to Cardston, which was the nearest town to our family farm. I told Jack about this, and he begged me to come live with him in Tennessee. I started making preparations to go. Luckily, my parents talked me out of it.
I ended up breaking up with Jack because he couldn’t get his drinking under control. I met Peter a few weeks before breaking up with Jack. It may have been the emotional vulnerability that initially drew me to him, because he’s all about guns and martial arts, but he fit Sam’s two requirements for a thumbs up on the relationship, which was a big go ahead for me. When I told BFFL about Peter, she said, “Are you actually getting married this time? I’m not buying my plane ticket until you buy your wedding dress.” And when Peter introduced me to his best friends, they said, “Yay, Peter finally gets to be the groom instead of the groomsman!” He was a groomsman or best man 13 times before we got married. That started our joke, “He’s 27 Dresses, I’m the Runaway Bride.”
Moral of the story, don’t be a hypocrite. After all of those times telling Sam that I’m getting married, only to cancel later, he deserves a few passes. My happiness about their engagement isn’t misplaced, just premature. His girlfriend definitely fits the two requirements that he set for me. She also fits my requirements for him about not being completely nuts or using him for Comic Con tickets. No word yet on if she texts while driving, but that’s an easily fixed habit. Happy fake engagement!