An Engagement Story

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This post doesn’t really involve food, though it takes a detour to Jean-Georges by way of Ssam Bar. Instead, it concerns two prominent figures from this blog who you’ve known and loved for as long as I’ve known and loved them; namely, Diana, my close friend and former roommate, and Mark, Craig’s close friend and film school classmate. We introduced these two back when Craig and I first met; specifically, we introduced them over drinks at Pastis after Diana came to dinner with my parents. Since then, we’ve shared many meals, we’ve travelled together and, last Monday, we celebrated their engagement.

The engagement actually took Craig and I by surprise. Two Thursdays ago, I was at my computer when I received an e-mail from Mark saying that he was going to tell us something that was a really big secret that we’d have to keep for a few days; namely, that he was going to propose to Diana.

The plan was this: Mark would tell Diana that all four of us were going to eat the pig butt at Ssam Bar on Friday night, something we’ve talked about doing for a while. My job was to e-mail Diana a separate e-mail to confirm that we’d be doing this. I was nervous to write the e-mail; I didn’t want to inadvertently give anything away (“We’re going to eat pig MARK’S PROPOSING!!! butt”) so I wrote the e-mail to Mark for approval. He approved it, I sent it, and Diana wrote me back to say that she couldn’t wait to eat pig with us Friday night.

On Friday, Diana came home from work, thinking she’d shower and change for our pig dinner. Instead, she opened the door and found the apartment she shares with Mark filled with flowers and candles that made a path to the kitchen. There, Mark was on his knee and he proposed marriage to Diana. She gave an instant yes.

“I guess we’re going to eat a pig now?” she said, once the excitement was over.

“Nope,” said Mark, revealing the truth: they were going to Jean-Georges.

“With Craig and Adam?”

“Nope, that was just a ploy.”

So Diana and Mark headed off to celebrate their engagement at one of the finest restaurants in New York.

And the story might’ve ended there, but we have to rewind to the night before; I’m with my parents at Ouest on the Upper West Side and I ask them what their plans are for the weekend.

“Don’t be jealous,” says my mom, “but tomorrow night your dad and I are going to Jean-Georges.”

“What!” I yelped. Before I left, Craig made me promise not to tell my parents (or anyone) about Mark and Diana’s impending engagement on the off chance that they ran into each other somewhere unexpected. And now my parents were going to be eating dinner at the same restaurant? I didn’t know at this point that Mark was planning to propose before dinner; what if my parents and Mark and Diana were seated side by side and my mom leaned over and said, “Did he pop the question yet?”

Of course my mom wouldn’t do that, but I was in a frenzy–Craig accused me of being bad with secrets but here I had to tell them what was going on.

“Ok,” I said, “one of my close friends is proposing to another close friend tomorrow night at Jean-Georges….”

“Is it Diana?”

“Yes!”

“We won’t say a thing. Don’t worry,” said my mom.

Indeed, when the big night came my mom accepted an assignment from me; to be a spy. I was home sick on the couch (this was during my nasty flu); I got several text messages throughout the night: “They’re not here yet.” “I don’t see them.” “They’re here; Diana looks lovely in a strapless dress.”

“Is he on one knee yet?” I texted back.

“Nope,” said my mom who, eventually, left with my dad without saying hi to Mark and Diana for fear of spoiling anything.

When I told Mark and Diana later that my parents were there that same night, they couldn’t believe it. Especially since it establishes a pattern: my parents were there the night Diana first met Mark, and now they were there the night they were engaged. If they’re there for the birth of their first born, it’ll be a strange pattern indeed.

So: much congrats to Mark and Diana. The following Monday, I cooked them a celebratory engagement dinner which I’ll write about next. But I figured long time fans of the blog who feel like they know Mark and Diana would enjoy this story. Hope you did and that it leads to marriage proposals of your own.

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