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the tards from 5F* get engaged

Really, I can’t remember when it started. The incidents of our combined brainlessness being greater than the sum of their less-than-brilliant parts are too many to count, though it very well likely could have been the day we were trying to hang pictures on the exposed brick wall. “But they said you could mount it with these!” “Why won’t it stay up?” “Oomph! I think we lost one…” We had a brief moment of wondering what the neighbors must think, but quickly realized that after two months of cohabitating, the neighbors must be more than aware of how challenged we were, expecting little else. We thus began referring to ourselves as the Tards From 5F.

The Tards from 5F went to Mexico and fried themselves silly, drinking awful things called Dirty Monkeys. The Tards from 5F tried to romantically sip Piper and nibble chocolate-covered strawberries on Valentines Day, got drunk and fell asleep in front of the television in their dress-up clothes. The Tards from 5F tried to flee the Republican Convention and found themselves on a RNC Refugee Camp named Cape Cod. The Tards from 5F returned from Paris to a freezing apartment, it occurring to them days later that the heat might actually have to be turned on to work. And in an incident too embarrassing to share, one night The Tards from 5F tried to find porn on the internet and failed.

This, however, is the story of how the Tards from 5F got engaged.


I promised not to swoon when I saw the Eiffel Tower that first night; it's about as old and tired of a postcard image as one can try to snap up. But, I also didn’t know that the lights would twinkle, actually sparkle, in intervals every twenty minutes or so. Look, you can take your edge with you to Paris, you can disbelieve all this frou-frou romance stuff, you can spend your time in dark cafés smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and pontificating on the dire state of intellectualism. (I always assumed I would, but then again, heh, my constitution isn’t very strong.) But you didn’t see the way it glowed that night.

I was under its spell instantly, taking pictures from each corner, peeking up its skirt. It was so cold that my fingers and several of my toes were quickly numb, so you can imagine my reaction when Alex suggested that we sit down for a minute. Huh? What?

Moments later he was fumbling in his jacket pocket, and I realized Something Grand might be about to take place – something I had always hoped would happen, anywhere, anytime, but especially there and then. He was really fumbling, and I briefly considered what one should do with five seconds to spare before something possibly really big and life-altering comes to pass, coming up blank. I instead stared at my fingernails and thought, Wow, I am so glad I got a manicure before we left!

Again, this Tard from 5F.

Down on one knee before me, shaking, watery, Alex asked me to marry him and opened the box containing the ring. As you would expect, I reacted with taste and class:

“OMIGOD! It’s so pretty! And sparkly! And I love you! And I’m so glad we’re here and you’re so awesome and you surprised me! You really surprised me! And we’re going to be so happy, baby! We are! It’s so pretty! We’ll eat canned soup all of January, I promise! OMIGOD!”

There might have been a tear, but it froze in disbelief.

“Put the ring on, babe!”
“I CAN’T. I don’t know which HAND to put it on! I’ve messed up everything…!”

And so the Tards from 5F sat on a bench beneath la Toure Eiffel and tried to figure out on which hand an engagement ring is to be worn.

“The right? No – the left!”
“But I’m left-handed! Shouldn’t it be done opposite?”
“No – I think it’s the left. No matter what.”

It was too small.
My ring was too small.

“I went into your jewelry box, found a ring, and had the jeweler match it.”
“Which ring?”
“The green one?”
“Eek! That was my grandmother’s and it never fit, I just kept it because I always love to play with it and… I’m sorry baby! I’m sorry I keep rings around that don’t fit and I don’t know my ring size and I should have dropped it in some hint somewhere and…”
“We’ll get it resized, don’t worry. It’s not a big deal.”
“Well, at least I get to look like a Mafioso with a diamond pinky ring for a few days!”
“Should we go inside somewhere? Get some champagne? Dinner?”
“Yes, please!”

Leaving the Eiffel Tower, I stopped short.

“Did I even say YES?”
“Don’t worry – I got the impression that’s what you meant.”

And so the Tards from 5F pranced off, gazing lovingly at the ring and each other for five straight days, and ignoring Paris almost entirely. Just like in the movies - our movie, that is; flustered, clumsy, goofy, and mushy, drunk and stumbly, sappy and at times misguided, but really with the best of intentions.

I can’t wait.

* Yes, I am aware of how patently offensive this is.

comments (41)

Longtime lurker, first-time commenter -- I just couldn't resist posting congratulations to you both, especially after that hilarious recap of the proposal. You two are just adorable!

1 | sakka | December 22, 2004 08:35 AM

What a really great story!!

2 | pomegranate. | December 22, 2004 08:58 AM

Oh, Yay! Congratulations! What a beautiful, sappy, clumsy, goofy, hilarious, not offensive story.

But truly. You two deserve each other. wink.

3 | Kelly | December 22, 2004 09:09 AM

Thank you everyone!
I figured I had to tell that story, at least for the saps (like me) out there...

Just to note, there are now Google ads for "community living for mentally disabled adults" as well as for a "new acrylic nail system." I really hate it when Google is funnier than me.

4 | deb | December 22, 2004 09:19 AM

I love that story - it's perfect. Congrats again!

5 | mingaling | December 22, 2004 09:26 AM

beautiful... done in true smitten styles... congratulations! :)

6 | j | December 22, 2004 09:36 AM

I've always thought you two were a very special couple.

7 | bionicroach | December 22, 2004 09:53 AM

congratulations again and again and also again! the mister and i simply couldn't be happier for you and can't wait until we can toast you two properly with all the bourbon we can muster! (oh, and michael: you TOTALLY owe me a dollar. because i told you deb was going to come back with something sparkly on one of her wee fingers . . . ;)

8 | grumpypants | December 22, 2004 09:55 AM

Congratulations! A loyal reader from Maastricht/Netherlands overcomes his hesitation to comment. I wish you the best!

9 | Remy | December 22, 2004 10:03 AM

Okay, I don't know if it's the story, the season, the fact that I know exactly what the Eiffel Tower looks like in winter, or the fact that I understand exactly how head-over-heels in love you are, but I definitely got all misty-eyed reading your story. I couldn't be happier for you both, and I wish you many years of being the deliriously happy tards from 5F.

10 | Charlie Gordon | December 22, 2004 10:07 AM

This is so sweet. You got the proposal everybody wants.

11 | Sally | December 22, 2004 10:24 AM

Congratulations again. Thanks for sharing your story with us. It's quite lovely--both his sweet and earnest proposal and your wonderfully flustered response. And, here's the good part, it will get better.

12 | Collette | December 22, 2004 10:32 AM

Although somewhat reticent to comment, I feel that the lack of a comment could be misconstrued by some, so ... Ya did good Alex Kiddo; ya did good!

13 | SantaDad | December 22, 2004 10:40 AM

Will someone please tell SantaDad that we love his comments here?

(That is, until he starts telling stories of the mini-tard smitten, then I'll have to start the IP-banning again :)

14 | deb | December 22, 2004 11:44 AM

Do you really think we are all here to read Smitten antics? No, we're here for the Santadad posts...

15 | Meg | December 22, 2004 11:50 AM

How incredibly sweet and endearing are the two of you after all?! My goodness. You both are fantastic and I love that story with all of my hardened and black heart. You kids bring hope to the desert ;). Congrats again, I'm so damn happy for you two.

16 | Ari | December 22, 2004 12:52 PM

you guys should have hit a paris strip club to celebrate. i bet an engagement is good for at least one free lap dance each. congratulations!

17 | i'm a little lemming | December 22, 2004 02:31 PM

This again proves the axiom that any girl who tells you she's just fine living with her boyfriend and really isn't interested in getting married is lying. It's the same with people who proclaim they choose to be abstinent--the reality is those people usually just can't get laid. A girl I work with has lived with her boyfriend for over a year and claims they're happy the way they are, but I'm sure if he asked her to marry him she couldn't say yes fast enough... or would forget to say yes at all because she's so excited a la Deb. I'm glad I was never naive enough to think that when a girl says "Oh we don't want to get married" she actually means it.

18 | Eddie D. | December 22, 2004 02:56 PM


19 | deb | December 22, 2004 03:30 PM

Eddie D., you apparently didn't get the point. And you are seriously killing the "congrats" buzz.
Yay for the newly engaged!

20 | Africankelli | December 22, 2004 03:42 PM

so eddie, if a girl really is "just fine" living with a boyfriend, but someday he does ask her to marry him, she should say no? because doing that, in effect, would end the relationship.

whatever, the important thing here is deb and alex. and many congratulations to both of them...!

21 | e | December 22, 2004 04:00 PM

Oh, Eddie. I'm not visiting my parents this Christmas to get gifts, it's because I want to see them. But if they give me gifts, I'll be very pleased indeed. Ever learn about logical fallacies?

Now wish the happy couple well, dear Grinch, and you might feel your heart grow three sizes today!

22 | ej | December 22, 2004 04:04 PM

reading about your proposal is even better than watching a 'bachelor' final rose ceremony.


23 | wendykay | December 22, 2004 04:07 PM

you guys are too cute. congrats!

24 | Devlyn | December 22, 2004 04:14 PM

The eiffel tower totally beats out the dirty parking lot where I said yes. I'm smitten with your fairytale.

25 | amanda | December 22, 2004 05:49 PM

Eddie, you sound like the bionicroach of old! Shame on you! ;)

Although...I would have to admit that I do prove your abstinence theory. Dammit.

26 | bionicroach | December 22, 2004 05:54 PM

You're not "tards."
You're just slow.

27 | Lance | December 22, 2004 08:13 PM

awwwww--that is a sweet story. Anyway, Merry Christmas--see you next week!

28 | jocelyn | December 22, 2004 11:25 PM

I vote for "special needs."

Anyway, a lovely and amazing, human and romantic, tale from two lovely, amazing, human and romantic people.

And what Ari said about hope and the desert.

29 | Esther | December 22, 2004 11:50 PM

God, how romantic and I don't care how others feel about this "mushy" stuff, but I simply loved it. Aren't you a luck girl Deb, getting proposed to in the most romantic of all cities ? Wish Alex hadn't abandoned his blog, would have loved his comments on THE moment.

30 | Jigsaw | December 23, 2004 01:07 AM

yay!! congratssssssssssss!! :D i am truly happy for you both. whoopeee!

31 | anantya | December 23, 2004 06:21 AM

I totally knew you were coming from Paris engaged! COngratulations! I think it's fabulous. I'm really confused by Eddy D's comment - seems like a non sequitur to me.

32 | writersbloc gal | December 23, 2004 06:59 AM


33 | Emily Drew | December 23, 2004 08:41 AM

I love it when you're patently offensive.


34 | Belle | December 23, 2004 11:35 AM

gosh, i'd say this story sucked - if i wasn't such a hopeless romantic who could practically feel your toes getting numb while looking at the tower :0)

35 | girlwonder | December 23, 2004 08:31 PM

I always wondered how men were supposed to figure out ring size. I certainly don't know mine.

Very cute. :) Congrats.

36 | jennn | December 23, 2004 10:26 PM

Yeah, I blew the ring size, too, the same way - by picking the wrong ring.

Resizing the ring is pretty much a fact of life unless you take a plaster impression of her hand while she sleeps - or she picks the darn thing out for you.

37 | Mike | December 24, 2004 10:35 PM

I certainly meant no ill will toward the tards from 5f. I've been a faithful reader from before they were even together and am very happy that their togetherness will last until death do them part. Deb once addressed my question of how to get my girlfriend (now fiancee) to, uh... perform oral sex more often, and allowed me to share with the world how I lost my virginity to my (now ex-) girlfriend. She rocks with a rock now, and that's great.
I still stand behind my position, though, that people only tell you how much they're fine with the status quo of living together with no intention of getting married until the proposal. Then it's all about GETTING MARRIED--not the fact that you're living together.
I love it when people are so proud of the fact that they're living together before any sort of real committment. It's like, wow, you're gaining a roommate. You'll save on some bills. I don't think it says anything about the strength of your relationship. An engagement in Paris? Now that's impressive.
So, seriously, congratulations.

38 | Eddie D. | December 25, 2004 08:21 PM


39 | k | December 28, 2004 11:42 AM

Yep an awesome story, easily topping FuW and ours, congrats

40 | Sparky | December 30, 2004 01:44 PM

wow reading this makes the iPOD story cooler

41 | Master Foley | January 4, 2005 02:36 PM

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