The decision on location had been made, and there I was, removing any metal before walking through the airport detector. An engagement ring hidden deep inside my hand luggage and my heart beating like Ringo Starrs’ foot drum! Please don’t stop and search, please don’t stop and search…
‘This way please sir… is this your bag?’ Holding back the palpitations, I nodded as a gloved-up security woman started to unzip my bag. Toothbrush, moisturiser (yes, I moisturise, I’m a modern man!) aftershave and finally, the travel wallet… Oh sh*t! To my amazement she placed it to the side. Was I home and dry? The moment of elation quickly dwindled as she pulled my favourite eyebrow tweezers from a hidden pocket. ‘You can’t travel with these sir!’ TAKE THEM. TAKE THE WHOLE BAG, JUST LEAVE THE TRAVEL WALLET!
We were with friends; both were in on the big secret. My blissfully unaware fiancée-to-be was all set, G&T and snacks in hand – Vegas here we come! Nobody mention the ‘E’ word!
We spent a few days in LA before taking Interstate 15 and heading North through the desert. A number of pit-stops later and we were approaching the bright lights… The King was in touching distance. We turned downtown in search of our hotel as the sun was setting. What a place!
The night was here. New Year’s Eve. If you’re looking to splash the cash, you can spend upwards of $3K for a table in a swanky hotel and drink champers on tap. I wasn’t feeling that flash after blowing six months wages on ‘the rock’. We took to the street party, armed with our retro ‘2013’ plastic drinks containers filled with vodka (Natalie’s filled with extra lemonade to ensure she would actually make it to midnight), we hit ‘the strip’, ending up at the Bellagio Fountains at 11:45.
This was it. The moment of truth. The minute countdown to New Year had started. Our friends slowly retreated to ‘watch the fireworks’ as Natalie and I stood watching the fountain display. 10, 9, 8… As nervous as a turkey at Christmas, I took the ring from my pocket. 5, 4, 3… I started to bend my shaking knee (for a moment I considered tying my lace – jokes!) 1… Happy New Year! – As I took to one knee and opened the box. I remember Natalie looking at me for a split second with a bewildered face and then a squeal of a YES! – I had pulled it off!
Many kisses, selfies and phone calls home later, we were in a hotel lobby with Natalie and her ring (that was about four sizes too big!) She insisted on wearing it, so a bit of Blue Peter DIY and we had the ‘perfect’ ring. As pissed as a fart in a vacuum cleaner, she decided she wanted to ride the rodeo bull… only in Vegas?! Now I could relax, I sat at the bar enjoying a well-earned drink with one of my best-men to be while we watched the bucking bronco have his wicked way with our women!
For those men who have dirtied the knee, we’re looking for ‘proposalspiration’ and the best suggestions for an engagement to remember.