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Amy Deneson is a writer in New York via the Heartland. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times Modern Love column, The Guardian, Toast, Bust, Salon, The Brooklyn Rail, and Curve magazine, amongst others.

Marriage Proposal Follies

Getty / Photo illustration by Katie Kosma

Amy Deneson | Longreads | October 2018 | 16 minutes (4,022 words)


This will be the day

That you will hear me say

That I will never run away

– Prince, Diamonds and Pearls


On the day New York State legalized same-sex marriage, I proposed to my girlfriend in the New York Times Modern Love column. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The column’s editor, Daniel Jones, had emailed me to request an essay he’d previously rejected for being too political. He explained the paper was dedicating part of every section in the Sunday edition to Marriage Equality. “If it’s not already committed elsewhere, there isn’t much time.”

I accepted his retraction and, being a personal-is-political kind of lesbian, sent back a few additions to his notes and ended the revision with a marriage proposal.

“Are you sure?” Jones called. “This will be the column’s first.”

“I’m ready, if you are, Dan.”

He recommended I find a way share the piece with her before Thursday, when the digital edition went live. “You want her to be the first to know.”
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