A Not Quite Right Proposal

Women's Health Services Aug 2020


Our annual spring bridal section

begins on page 35, and to celebrate it and that for which it stands, I offer up a confession: I “married up” when, in the presence of God and some 100 witnesses, I exchanged vows with Susan Richtman on Aug. 2, 1980.

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Yet …

On the day that day was first suggested … well, had I consulted the old Magic 8 Ball first, it almost certainly would have said, “Outlook not so good.”

It’s not that our love story didn’t start perfectly. It did. I don’t recall that Susan was expecting our first kiss. Or, even, that she wanted it. I do remember that she kissed me back. And that she kissed me for some time. And that she kissed me in a gently passionate manner that convinced me, on the spot, that I wanted to continue kissing those lips for the rest of my life.

I was heels over head

that moment forward. I could have proposed marriage to her at that moment proper, that’s how convinced I was that Susan was “the one.” I didn’t, of course.

In fact, I waited two whole months to pop the question.

The details of that experience are a bit sketchy, nearly 38 years later, but the gist was this: My heart was racing uncontrollably as I mustered the nerve to coax the four magic words from my mouth. After what was likely the longest pause in the history of long pauses, she uttered her brief response. Historically, of course, there are two brief responses:

“yes” or “no.”

She said neither.

You see, Susan, by nature, was – and is – deliberate. She considers options, weighs reward against risk, sees the “BigPicture” far better than most. And her big picture answer was …


For the record, “probably” wasn’t on the ballot I had etched in my brain that night. And it certainly didn’t segue to the celebration I’d also plotted. So, instead, we simply wound up on a couch watching a romantic comedy, toward the end of which the hero told the heroine he had a question he wanted to ask her. I remember thinking, “What are the odds?”

Wait – it gets better.

Sure enough, the star actor asked the star actress if she would marry him. Sure enough, she paused longer than any guy would like. And then she said …

And I’ll put my right hand on a Bible, if you ask me to, just to verify that I am telling the truth here …


I decided at that very moment that fate was on my side. Every Aug. 2 since that one in 1980 simply confirms it.

Stephanie A. Foster