Monday, July 30, 2007

How I Used Food to Get Married

Some foods are naturally linked to romance. Some are even reported to be powerful aphrodisiacs. For me, cooking and food has always been a way to open social doors and get dates. It even played an important role in helping me get married.

In my last post on food and dating, I mentioned how I used a particular marinara recipe as a way to entertain dates. Italian food is wonderful but, if I was going to turn My Future Wife (MFW) into my bride, I was going to have to up the ante. I resorted to one of the most powerful cuisine's I know - Chinese.

After dating MFW for a couple of years, we were both wondering where the relationship was going. What were we doing? We were both single, out of high school, and were expected to start making something of our lives. I had already served in the military and, although the opportunity for serving a mission for the LDS Church had been offered me, I wasn't jumping through hoops to sign up. I was too busy courting a lovely young blonde. Getting her to drop all semblance of common sense and marry me seemed to be the only way to make sure she tayed around.

So, I made my plans.

'Making plans' is really pretty deceptive. It makes it seem like I had taken several hours to come up with things, all down the last letter. Nothing could be further from the truth. How quickly this came into my head, and how quickly I executed it, would make your head spin. It had certainly made mine spin. I pretty much decided I wanted to marry her, and asked her as much, on the same date.

I had taken her to a local Chinese restaurant, the 'Canton Village.' (Sadly, it's no longer in business.) It was on the way to that restaurant that the decision to ask, and the plan itself, came nearly fully formed into my head. No, this wasn't a spiritual impulse from on high. I blame it on my infatuation with her and my natural impulsiveness. I've lost a lot of that impulsiveness over the intervening years. Some days I wish I had it back.

Right after being seated and placing our orders, I started into my act. I patted my pockets and said, "Oh, no. I forgot my wallet. Wait here while I go get it, okay?"

She gave me a look of concern but, as I'd never dumped her with the check before, she was probably safe to let me leave for a moment.

Instead of leaving right away, I stopped and spoke with the manager. I scribbled a quick note on a small piece of paper and tasked him with part of my quickly formulated, but super secret plan. MFW naturally assumed I was explaining the whole "forgot my wallet" thing to the manager and had no idea the real deviousness of my intent.

I left the restaurant and drove down the street about four blocks to 'The Flower Patch,' a flower shop I had used in the past. I ordered a dozen violet roses in a vase. (I was young. I didn't want to do traditional white roses. I wanted to be different.) They didn't have any long-stemmed ones, so short-stemmed would have to do. I was on a schedule.

Driving back to the restaurant, I secreted away the roses on the floor of the car, on the passenger's side. I knew they'd be the first thing she'd see when we got back to the car.

As I walked back into Canton Village, the manager greeted me with a conspiratorial smile, told me the preparations were in place, and I went back to dinner with MFW.

It was a very nice dinner. I love Chinese food. We had egg rolls and I think I ordered Mu Goo Gai Pan. It was all I could do to makes small talk without revealing myself. The food helped keep me occupied, thank goodness.

When the time came around for the bill, and the fortune cookies, they brought the cookies out on two separate plates - one for each of us. I don't remember what mine said, but MFW will always remember that hers read, in my horrible pencil scratch, "Will you marry me?"

MFW's eyes lit up. She gave me a broad smile, took my hand from across the table, and said, "Yes! Yes, I'll marry you!"

Then it was my turn to smile.

As I went to pay for the meal, the manager, and the rest of the staff, we're all huddled around, looking eagerly at me. "Well? What did she say?" my co-conspirators asked. I was glad to report the mission had been a success, and they seemed glad. I suspect it's not often that they got to help a guy propose.

Back out at the car, MFW found the roses, and hugged them all the way home.

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