Exactly one year ago today, November 23, 2010, I had the opportunity to participate in what is perhaps the greatest honor any quizmaster, event entertainment producer or NYC corporate team building expert could ever dream of: helping a couple get engaged. It was completely thrilling, nerve-wracking experience – and just a completely awesome story!
Trevor and Julie had been attending one of my Manhattan pub quiz nights for quite some time. Although I didn’t know them, they apparently knew me, and would come all the way from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side each week to play – which, believe me, would have been flattering enough, had I known!
I received an email from Trevor, introducing himself and letting me know that he wanted to propose to Julie at an upcoming trivia event. After re-attaching my jaw after it hit the floor, I wrote back that it would be an absolute pleasure- I myself had just gotten engaged a couple of weeks earlier, and knew exactly what he was going through.
The plan was this:
At this particular pub quiz night, Round 4 was always the “iPod Round” – a music round where we play 10 songs from the bartender’s iPod, to which attendees need to identify the song title and artist. I run a pretty tight ship, so Round 4 usually started at or around 10pm. On the Big Night, Trevor would slip me his iPod, pre-loaded with 10 songs with special meaning for him and Julie (including the 2 songs discussed during their 1st round of correspondence on Match.com, when Trevor revealingly asked Julie to explain who would win in a volleyball game between Men at Work and Men Without Hats). After the 10th song is played, he would present the ring.
On the afternoon of the Big Night, Trevor, a professional musician, drove from NYC to Westport, CT to pick up the ring, as well as purchase a shiny new iPod to be used exclusively for the special playlist, so that he wouldn’t have to worry about the various issues with the iPhone version of iTunes (interruptions from calls, etc). He then drove out to New Jersey for an early evening gig, with the plan to arrive back at the pub by the 9pm start time.
Unfortunately, fate had other plans, and Trevor’s gig ran late- way late. It was already past 9pm and the pub quiz had begun – a lonely girl who I assumed was Julie sat by herself at the bar, staring longingly at the door and guarding the empty bar stool next to her with her life. Trevor began sending me frantic text messages, providing updated ETA’s every few minutes. I honestly didn’t know who’s blood pressure was quickening faster at that point, his or mine.
Come 10pm, I was sweating bullets. With Round 4 upon us and over 100 regular pub quiz attendees in the house, I made the bold move to announce that “technical difficulties” would force us to delay the iPod round to Round 5, and move straight to the “picture round.” People boo’d and jeered, but I didn’t care- I had to buy time for the dude!
At about 3 minutes before the start of the already-postponed iPod round, this tall guy with a dark suit and broad smile comes straight up to me at the bar, IPod in hand. We got it plugged in and playing just in time for him to sit down next to Julie, who fortunately didn’t see the hand-off.
To his credit, Trevor tried to keep the musical selections recognizable and somewhat crowd-friendly by including only songs that had reached #11 or higher on the Billboard charts; however, there were still a lot of groans, sighs, or complete silence throughout the round – with the exception of one very excited girl at the bar, who seemed to know all of them.
The 10th song played* – Romeo’s Tune by Steve Forbert – was Trevor’s cue, and he pulled out the ring. Julie went nuts, I nearly cried and the entire place erupted. The bartender pulled out a pre-uncorked bottle of Champagne for the newly-engaged couple, and I made a special announcement which drew even more cheers and applause.
That was a year ago today, and I am delighted to share that Trevor & Julie were married just last month. It was by far the most special occasion I’ve been able to participate in as a NYC quizmaster, one which I shall remember forever; I am proud to call the new couple my friends, and wish them the very best on their new life together.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’ll be taking a few days off from blogging, returning next Monday.
*In case you’re curious, here’s the complete 10-song set list from Trevor & Julie’s engagement night:
1. Safety Dance – Men Without Hats
2. Overkill – Men at Work
3. Don’t Shed a Tear – Paul Carrack
4. I’ve Been Thinking About You – Londonbeat
5. Time Passages – Al Stewart
6. Waiting for a Star to Fall – Boy Meets Girl
7. Fields of Gold – Sting
8. Bed Intruder Song – Antoine Dodson (feat. Kelly Dodson)
9. Heart to Heart – Kenny Loggins
10. Romeo’s Tune – Steve Forbert