Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Worst Marriage Proposal Ever

My wife and I have vacillated between Happy and If you say one more word I'll *&$%#@! punch you in the throat for just over two years. I once heard a guy say, "Sometimes you hug each other to show affection and sometimes you hug each other as a way to get a better grip so you can take a better swing." That's us in a nutshell. It's a functional marriage, and from what I can tell, we're not terribly different from everyone else. However, the process leading up to marriage was quite the circus.

I asked my wife out on our first date to a Chinese restaurant that was promptly shut down a few months later for violating health codes and employing about 20 illegal immigrants via text message. I know what you're thinking: "You stay classy, Travis." I don't remember much of the conversation, but she likes to recount how about 10 minutes into it I started doing some kind of stupid trick where I wave my hands in front of my face. My daughters are not amused with that trick now and their mother wasn't amused with it then. If you were watching it happen on a reality dating show, you would have winced and said, "He isn't going to... Oh God...oooooo" and then promptly turned off the television because you couldn't deal with the pain of watching.

But the drinks took hold and, because of my restaurant choice and the poor magic trick, the date had nowhere to go but up and the relationship lasted a few more weeks. Eventually, because I didn't feel comfortable dating a woman six years older than me, I sent her an e-mail breaking up with her because she was "too old" and I was also interested in someone closer to my age. Yes, I broke up with my wife via e-mail, and yes, I told her she was too old. Again, I know what you're thinking: "You stay classy, Travis." If I can contribute one thing to the "Man's Guide to Relationships," it's this: If you think there's a cold chance in Hell that you will ever ask a woman out again, run into her in a dark alley or find yourself alone in an elevator with her, I strongly advise against ending a relationship on those grounds via e-mail. Tell her anything else. Tell her you're bipolar, being transferred to China, have Typhoid or all three. I figured the worst-case scenario was that we had a few more classes together, a few awkward conversations and that would be the end of it. In retrospect, we got along really well, much better than the ex-boyfriend she literally tried to run over in her driveway.

I wound up getting a job in St. Louis. Tori wrote a fantastic blog about her dating life that I continued to read and comment on, because it was so damned funny. The best story is when she got roped into a date with a midget, but that's neither here nor there. She would occasionally note how she hated her job. I suggested that I was working for a great company in the St. Louis area and that she should apply for one of the open positions. She applied, got the job and started working a brisk 30-second walk from my desk.

Copyright 2014, Travis Ross (Simple Man's Survival Guide)
Marriage Proposal
Not long after she started working we started hanging out, which grew into a relationship. Eventually, things were going well enough that I threw caution to the wind and bought a ring. The day after getting the ring, I pulled one of her work friends out to the car and had her take a look at it to see what she thought. She squeaked with glee and started twitching like a weasel on speed. I said, "Erin, this is very important. You can't tell Tori. Whatever you do, you can't tell Tori." I added emphasis on the second "You can't tell Tori" to hammer the point home with Shakes McGillicutty. She asked when I planned on proposing and I told her I was working on that, but it would be some time around Valentine's Day. I threw the ring box back in the trunk of my car, we walked back into the building and Erin skipped her way back to her desk, right next to Tori's, brimming with excitement.

Not five minutes after Erin got back, Tori asked her a question about work to which Erin promptly responded, "You know Travis doesn't want to get married, right?" Tori's happy face comes with an expiration date, and once you pull the pin on the grenade, her anger has a blast radius that, if it goes off in the center of the contiguous 48 states will rattle the teeth of people in Australia. I don't know how the rest of her work day went or how many people were killed because she didn't say anything to me on her way out the door, but I definitely felt her wrath later.

I was scheduled to look at a house that night and Tori said she would go with me. I pulled up in front of her apartment and she walked out, looking angry as Hell. She usually gave me a chance to talk before she got pissed off, but not this time. No sooner than she got in the car her guns were drawn. She teared up and started talking about how Erin told her that I didn't want to get married and started carrying on about how I was wasting her time. For a proper frame of reference, it's about one week from Valentine's Day and I still have this ring in the back of my car. By the time we get to the house I've made countless wrong turns, each one marked with "YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO GO THAT WAY YOU *^$%#& MORON YOU DON'T WANT TO GET MARRIED ERIN SAID SO I HATE YOU!!!!!" By this time, I've got a thousand different things rolling through my mind: How the *&%$ do I get to this house? Is cyanide traceable and will Erin smell it when I put it in her drink? Is this what marriage is like? And if it is, why don't more men kill themselves? What will happen on Lost tonight? How do I get this screaming psycho out of my car? After what felt the same amount of time it took Odysseus to get to Troy or the government to solve the debt problem, we finally got to the house. I opened the car door and sucked in the sweet air of freedom. I decided then and there that I didn't want to listen to this crap for another week, popped open the trunk, grabbed the box, poked my head around the trunk and, with her stomping in my direction, said "Marry me." She shut up and turned white.

For the next hour I enjoyed the soothing tones of our realtor while Tori didn't say a word. We eventually bought the house, got married in Las Vegas, and had the world's most beautiful baby girls. The only downside is that every argument eventually ends in her saying, "Oh yeah, well you dumped me by e-mail," after which I generally just shut my mouth and walk away. And everything has worked out relatively well, we just took the long way to get there.


  1. You left out the following:
    #1- You asked me out via text in 2006 and then asked me out via text again in 2008.
    #2- You left out the part about running into me at a liquor store with Rock on my arm and your girlfriend at the time with you and how you clearly couldn't take your eyes off of me...or my boyfriend's ears.
    #3- Looking back, Erin was hilarious when I asked her the work question and responded with her answer. Her eyes were big, she talked too fast and she was smiling so I should have known something was up.
    #4- You left out the part where you once left gum in my hair and I still went out with you again. I sometimes sit and wonder which of us is the biggest moron for that.

  2. Dude had some big ears, lol.

  3. This story has Travis Ross written all over it. It was a hot summer day when I was slaving away at the Alestle sports desk, while my slave driver of a sports editor was out "finding stories" (i.e. milking the newspaper). Since I was the most reliable employee on his staff, he calls me demanding that I complete a story for him. As he telling in rather harsh words, what story needs to be completed...he is singing some random Jimmy Buffet song...but little does he know that I have put him on speaker phone and everyone in the office can hear him singing...BOOM!

  4. Wow. I remember hearing about that. Don't you have a state desk job to get back to? Lol.

  5. I don't know you guys but the story was so engaging I feel like I do. That's a great one... the story of my honeymoon could...maybe top that. I will blog on it tomorrow on my blog

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  7. Funny Stuff. I enjoyed reading it... Tori obviously has the same saintly patience as my wife... keep at it -

  8. My first time reading your material. I did enjoy it and will continue to check this site out.

  9. Hi Simone. Thanks for checking the site out. Glad you liked it!

  10. Brilliant story.

    Does Tori still have that blog ? So want to read that midget story.

  11. Hi Dirty,

    It's one of her MySpace blogs, back when MySpace was cool. Her blog now is a bit more tame, lol. Her new blog is here:

    You'll have to hit her up for the midget blog. She's got some dating doozies.