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Engaged and Confused: A Man's Guide to Marriage - Part 3: A Decent Proposal

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Prague is beautiful. We spent the first couple of days of our trip in relationship bliss, it was like walking around with a constant theme tune written by The Carpenters, if every now and again over the top of the songs Karen or Richard just screamed 'SHE'S GOING TO FIND THE RING... YOUR PROPOSAL WILL SUCK... YOUR HAIR LOOKS AVERAGE TODAY!' You know overtly nasty things like that.

So I spent time thinking of new things to do when I proposed, and also perfecting my hair, because those Carpenters are a judgemental bunch.

One thing I'd realised I hadn't figured out was what song to have playing in the background. So as always I turned to the only advice source I could trust - the internet, a place where it is possible to buy toilet roll with Obama's face on it: trustworthy. So I googled my ever-loving-tits to the bone looking for the perfect song, en route I came across a song called Marry Me by the band Train - Deal done. So I finished tidying myself up with the face of the leader of the free world and pressed play.

Now that the weight has lifted

Love has surely shifted in my way

Marry me

Today and every day

Marry me

If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe

WHAT?

I know it's tricky to get past the uncomfortable concept of what it would look like if love shifted in his way, but he doesn't even know her. Creepiest. Song. Ever. It may as well say:

Marry me

Today and every day

Marry me

Even when you find my DNA in your Latte

I'm really starting to wonder what a Drop of Jupiter is now Train, and what is it doing in that woman's hair. Never in the hair, it's disrespectful.

Anywho, the day had arrived, months of planning had come down to this. My favourite part of the planning process had been what I called 'operation scent thrower,' in which I, your heroic protagonist Alexander Smith, would spend time attempting to make my beloved feel that I would seemingly never want to fully commit myself to her. Unfortunately, I have an uncanny ability to get far too into character and so by the day I planned to propose I'm pretty certain she was ready to leave me. Like a cupped fart in the face of a rival, that scent had been thrown.

Just north of the city is a large quiet secluded park with a view over the entire city, and to get there all you have to climb is 17 trillion steps, a stairway worthy of Zeppelin. Just as a quick tip for any future visitors, the correct attire is not a three piece tweed suit, hell even a two piece would have been too much.

Reaching the summit I felt similar to if I'd climbed Everest for charity, or the time the escalator was broken at Tottenham Court Road station. As I looked out over the park I expected the Carpenter's to sing to me about birds thrusting into existence, but instead all I could hear was the part asthmatic, part epileptic rhythms of aggressive Dub Step. It soon became clear that they were holding an ode to the Sochi Olympic games, which just entailed lots of people ice-skating.

Phoebe asked if we were going ice-skating, and if so why had I told her to wear her nice new dress? We wandered through this park forever: days fell off a paper calendar on the wall, the sun set and rose 100 times, seasons's changed in the background, and yet still the same dubstep song was playing. Okay I'm exaggerating. It could have been a different dubstep song but they all sound exactly the same.

At one point we stopped two policeman to ask for directions and they just laughed at us as if to say 'Who comes ice-skating in a tweed suit' WE WEREN'T GOING ICE SKATING.

We finally arrived outside the chateau, it was luckily a long way from the sounds of cats being made to watch Eat, Pray, Love - the only torture worse than a physical one.

So from England I had organised a private dining room at the top of a turret in this chateau, all with the help of a lovely Czech man I had hired named Martin, and like a 90s pen pal Martin had become a weirdly close friend. He greeted us and led us into the tower, above us lay many flights of stone stairs covered in rose petals and candles. We reached the last flight of stairs and Martin left us. I'll never know exactly what was going through Phoebe's mind as we walked up those stairs but when we neared the top she looked at me and uttered a sentence that perfectly summed up her anticipation

"Alex, I need a piss, but I think I'll hold it." OH MR DARCY!!!!

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We reached the summit and there was a beautifully laid table for two with a panoramic view of Prague, roses, Dom Perignon, and enough candles to make any moth climax.

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And then in the corner a random 80s style electric heater (this room is basically on fire why is there a heater here) which was about as welcome as the guy from the office with the wacky socks the heater irked me to the very core. Fuck off Jonathon, your socks have polka dots they didn't cure cancer!

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Look at Jonathon the heater in the corner

Phoebe was in shock, and I told her to film a video of the room starting where I was and pan around, she did, and when she panned back round to me I was down on one knee. All of the planning came down to this Martin and I had nailed it, in that moment the heater was the last thing on my mind, the only thing on my mind was:

FUCK! WHAT DO I SAY????

I had run over this moment a million times in my head but not once had I thought about what I would say, so as it turned out this fell out of my mouth:

"Phoebe... err... I love you ... I wanted to know if you would please ... would you like to be my married wife?"

This is exactly why Martin shouldn't have left me to do it alone; my 90s French pen pal Jacque would never have done this to me, that said he hasn't replied to my letter in 19 years so I am worried about him.

Phoebe just cried and shook, in fact she cried and shook for the next three hours, come to think of it I'm not positive she ever said yes but we've booked a DJ now so too bad.

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We spent the next five hours more in love than we had ever been, the beautiful four course meal came and went (without Phoebe eating any of it - which is fine except when it left it almost looked like the waitress was carrying £50 notes on the plate instead of an untouched salmon terrine) The champagne flowed, the candles died down, Phoebe took that piss and as far as I know it went as magically as the rest of the evening.

Returning to our hotel we were greeted by the sounds of the couple next door; if I'm honest originally I thought they were just playing dubstep, but then I realised they were consummating their relationship with the delicacy and rhythm of a panic attack. And as Jim (name confirmed by the affirmative support his other half was giving him) reached a climax of apocalyptic proportions, a climax that must have looked like when the agents in the matrix take over a civilians body, I thought to myself 'this is the best day of my life.'

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Well played Jim

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