Aloha Aku No, Aloha Mai No


“I will never propose to you,” Lance said to me, repeatedly.

In most cases, we naturally disregard gender norms in our relationship since, you know, we’re both dudes.  However, there are some instances where Lance wants to be “the girl,” and this was one of them.  I wasn’t going to get out of buying the ring and getting down on one knee and all that.

And I thought Hawaii, if anyplace, would be the place to propose.  Though of course, in stereotypical “thoughtless guy” fashion, I didn’t formulate a complete plan before we left on our trip.  There are a pair of reasons for this:

  1. Lance is particular, so I didn’t buy a ring, knowing that it would either be the wrong size or he wouldn’t like the design I picked out (yes, this is your typical “man making excuses” thing here)
  2. To be honest, I panicked.  Though we’d been living together for almost three years at that point, a part of me wondered if Lance’d really say yes.

Remember, folks, this was also waaaay back in the intolerant Stone Age (to borrow a phrase from Jodie Foster) of 2010, when the number of states you could get gay married in could be counted on one hand, so marriage wasn’t something we’d seriously talked about since our sinful union wouldn’t even be legally recognized in our home state of Pennsyltucky.

Still, I knew the time was quickly approaching when I’d either have to lock down Lance in the chains of matrimony, or he’d jump back into the meat market that is gay dating.  Lance is not a terribly patient person!

So, I had a mess of a plan: propose somehow, somewhere in Hawaii.  It was the perfect place–beautiful, tropical, full of mai tais and kalua pork.  What could go wrong?

Well, he could say no and then we’d be stuck together on a tiny island halfway around the world from home…

It was a chance I had to take.

Since it was our first (and presumably only, at that time) trip to Hawaii, I wanted to do as much as possible, which included hiking up Diamond Head crater.  For those of you that don’t know, Diamond Head is a dormant volcano that overlooks Waikiki on the island of O’ahu.  It was used as a fort by American military forces in the first half of the 20th century.  The paths used for these installations have since been adopted as a tourist hiking trail to the summit, from which you can get a wonderful view of the southeastern portion of the island.

The hike isn’t difficult (not like the Grouse Grind in Vancouver), but on a hot day, you still end up sweating quite a bit.  Which we did.


All the while, as we made the hour-trek up to the top, weaving in and out of tunnels and old military observation posts, I was fretting big time.  I knew, in all of Hawaii, that this was the place I had to propose.  I wasn’t going to get another chance at a setting this majestic.  But remember, I had no ring.  And I wasn’t 100% positive Lance was going to say yes.

Of course, when we finally arrived at the top, we weren’t alone, enough though admission to the crater had already closed for the day.  We were surrounded by Japanese tourists, the clickclick of their cameras and their quick, indecipherable native language totally distracting me from my task at hand.  We were both drenched in sweat. This is not quite what I had imagined.

Lance leaned over to me.  “You’re awfully quiet.”

I nodded.  “Err. Yup.”

There were so many people around us, a few dozen at least.  And unlike you straights out there, who’d fawn over a cute proposal on the top of a volcano, I had no idea what to expect if the people around us saw one dude get down on one knee in front of another dude.  We were on top of a mountain–would they through us off the edge of a cliff?

I know this shouldn’t have crossed my mind because love overcomes everything and all that nonsense, but I also didn’t want to ruin the moment with a bunch of rude homophobia.

“Are you ready to go back down?” Lance asked, after a few minutes of taking in the view. (See what I mean about that impatient thing?)

“No, wait…” I said, reaching for him.

I leaned into him, and whispered, “Err…will you marry me?”

This is Lance’s favorite part of the story, because it’s so terribly unromantic.  But, as he says, completely like me. (I’m not sure how to feel about that comment :-/)

Lance, probably not quite sure what was going on, didn’t say anything for a split-second, which obviously felt like an eternity for me.

“Yes,” he whispered back.

And that was that.  Though I didn’t have a ring (that would come later–and then get lost, but that’s another story), we did get engaged on the circular rim of an enormous crater named after a diamond, so…that’s about as close to an engagement ring as I got that day.

Aloha aku no, aloha mai no: “I give my love to you, you give your love to me.”

…Then we went to the Cheesecake Factory Waikiki to celebrate :-/


3 thoughts on “Aloha Aku No, Aloha Mai No

  1. Wow… that’s a great story! Very romantic in a non-traditional way. Rob has told me over and over that he is not the type to get married – especially since it is not legal in CA. However, it did give me a ring in one of the most unromantic way possible. I think do that was a hugh step for him.

  2. I loved loved reading this! But I did want to know what kind of cheesecake you ate afterwards. 🙂 I feel like I could make fun of my own proposal story sometimes too… which I guess is a good thing. It felt high pressure but really wasn’t at all? So that’s a good thing too.

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