Written March 2009
We got to yapping about proposals yesterday, my friends and I. Proposals of marriage.
It is a subject dear to my spleen, because I have never been proposed to, or proposed at, or propositioned in any way JaneAustenlike and socially correct. But you're married! I hear you cry, as you weep tears of loss and ire at missing your chance of a trip on the good ship Sweary. And it's true. I am married. I wore a tiara and had a harpist and everything. But I was never surprised by a touching request for my hand, or by a dazzling solitaire shopped for in secret by a beau at once honourable and beautifully obsessed. My family was never approached for permission (which is, I suppose, a good thing, as they would be likely to feck me at any would-be fiancé at a speed which would shatter his collarbone). No restaurant bookings were made, no trips to Paris arranged. It was a truly sensible declaration on both our parts, the day we decided to cement our association.
‘Yer man is after proposing to yer wan,’ I told him, as we sat in front of the kettle one fine evening. ‘We're invited to their engagement party.’
‘I'd give a shite if I knew them as well as you do,’ he said. ‘All the same, they're not together long, are they?’
‘Jaysus, I suppose we should get married, when you think about it.’
‘Bollocks,’ frowned he. ‘I suppose you're right.’
‘It'd be the rational road to take, indeed.’
‘Indeed. We'll get some sort of ring tomorrow.’
‘Let's not waste the petrol. Yer wan on Main Street does tolerable costume jewellery. Sure I might even get a ring myself.’
‘Sure why not? You're a working-class boyo now, boyo.’
‘Ah, yeah. We'll go all out.’
Yeah. That's how it happened. Myself and himself decided, seeing as we lived together, and had created a good-looking child together, that we should get married; neither of us were going anywhere, and we would look mighty dashing in finery. We bought a ring together, and eventually wandered over to tell my mammy, who was horrified and asked what had gotten into us ‘in this day and age’. We sat in her kitchen staring at the floor until she sighed and broke out the congratulatory Jaffa Cakes.
I'm twenty-seven now, so all around me my friends are starting to catch on and arrange harpists themselves. I seem to hear of proposals every day of the week - some romantic, some rushed due to nerves, some during the commercial break of The Simpsons. But proposals, all.
A friend of mine, in an argy bargy composed on stimulants of all sorts last Christmas, roared at me the insult, ‘Here comes McInerney with all her fucking logic!’, which may not sound like much, but stung me like a queen bee in platform stilettos. I am logical. I'm horribly, horribly reasoned and thoughtful. And that's why no one's ever proposed to me . . . I logically pre-empted the romantic notions of poor J, like I logically arrange his video games in alphabetical order and all of the thoughts in his head.
Still. Logic would suggest that there's deep, deep love there, because we've been a successful married couple for quite a few years now, and logic suggests we both know that the absence of romantic proposals doesn't matter a tossed shoe horn. And as for the engagement of yer man and yer wan that prompted us to logical thought about our next step in the three-legged race? Well, yer wan went purple and refused to talk to me for yonks, thinking I'd gotten engaged just to get one up on her, as I suppose is logical in the addled mind of a twenty-three year old small-town wagon. And, logically, yer man left her shortly afterwards.
I like hearing proposal stories. I might not have one myself, but like a Picasso original, a Dobermann Pinscher, or a penis-for-a-day, I'm happy enough to know I don't really need one, either.