All right, I admit it, I am doing this Valentine’s Day thing to death. Just one more, I promise.
I trust that, if you were going to pop the question on Valentine’s Day, you would have planned it by now. But perhaps you’re impulsive and need the right creative inspiration for how to do it. If that’s the case, you’ll find everything from a talking engagement ring to saying it with sneakers to creative deployment of social media.
One thing these ideas have in common is that it’s all about the storyboard, even if it’s illustrated in one’s mind rather than physically laid out on cardboard or in a graphic design program. How will you stage the ultimate ask (don’t you hate “ask” as a noun?), what effects will help you build up to the big moment and, most important, what steps will you take to ensure the desired response?
I was proposed to on Valentine’s Day. Allow me to share the storyboard.
First, you must know a couple of things about us. One, he was, is and always will be a big fan of the N.C. State Wolfpack (remember, it’s college basketball season). Two, he and I were big fans of the then-popular sitcom, Newhart, in which that week’s episode featured the exchange of Valentine’s gifts.
If I recall correctly (it’s been 26 years), loveable but slightly dimwitted handyman George Utley, played by the avuncular Tom Poston, was advising one of the characters on how to make sure his sweetheart liked her Valentine’s gift.
George suggested, “First give her a box of coconut candy,” to which the man responded, “But she hates coconut candy.” George said, “I know, but then, when you give her the real gift, she’ll be happy,” or something to that effect.
That’s how it played out. Guy gives gal coconut candy. Gal says, “Thanks, but I hate coconut candy.” Guy says, “I know, that’s why I got you this,” gives her the second gift and she loves it.
Back to the storyboard. On February 14, 1985, he invited me over for a Valentine dinner. Even though the Wolfpack was playing, when I got to his apartment, the television wasn’t even on. Instead a Linda Ronstadt album of love songs—might have been Lush Life—was spinning on the turntable.
We ate spiced shrimp and drank champagne. After dinner, we exchanged gifts. I gave him a coffee mug. He gave me a bag of Mounds bars.
I said, “Thanks, but you keep it. I don’t like coconut candy.”
He said, “I know, and that’s why I got you this.”
I unwrapped the box and found inside a diamond engagement ring.
Great storyboard, superb execution, happy ending.
I wonder if the ’pack is playing tonight.