Last week, my friend John Jannuzzi, with his heart pounding, popped the question to his girlfriend Alex at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here’s how it went down…
John: We both knew that we wanted to get married. But with the pandemic, there never seemed to be a good time to propose. Then we moved to Brooklyn, we got a dog, and I was like f*ck it I’m going to do it.
At the beginning of the year, I started doing my ring research. Alex loves sapphires. As it started getting more serious, I told my parents that I was looking at rings, and it turned out that my mother had a sapphire. (Must be nice, Mom!) My father had given it to her like 20 years ago.
I brought the sapphire to Brooklyn. It was the strangest feeling to be walking around the city with a gemstone. It felt like Uncut Gems. There’s a sapphire in my pocket. If I get mugged, this is a bad day for it to happen.
I brought the sapphire home and it moved around the apartment a lot.
Alex: Wait, I’m hearing this for the first time.
John: Yes! I put it in my shaving kit, various places in the bathroom, and kept moving it around the house. Then I reached out to Laurel Pantin, a jewelry advisor, and Millie and Noah, a jewelry designer. We started this crazy Instagram DM conversation. They’re freaking out, I’m freaking out, we’re sending designs back and forth. We were designing it all over Instagram. I was like, wow, what a world!
Once I got the finished ring, I got really fidgety about proposing. I’m texting all of her friends. Everyone in New York City except Alex knew that I was going to propose.
But I had to figure out a plan. When we first started dating, we’d often go to the Met to see the Degas ballerinas. It came into my mind that that would be a really good place to propose.
Alex: I always want to go to the Met to see my ballerinas.
John: So, I said, I have some vacation days off, let’s go to the Met.
Alex: I was like, respect.
John: First, I went on Google Maps to look at the Met’s floorplan. There’s a beautiful archway leading to the Degas statue of a ballerina. And it’s flanked by two other Degas. Degas is happening all over the place. So, I knew I had to guide her to the archway.
The day actually comes when we’re heading to the museum. I have the ring in my pocket and was terrified that they’d pat me down at security and be like WHAT’S IN THE BOX. But thankfully we get through.
Then Alex says she’s hungry. We end up in the basement cafeteria of the Met, which is the opposite corner from where I need us to be.
The route I had planned — going up the grand staircase, through the photography exhibit, etc. — was not going to happen. So, now we’re walking through the galleries, and I’m looking at the paintings like, beautiful, beautiful, great, okay — trying to find the one I’m looking for.
And then I see a figure sitting on a bench in a gallery cloaked in black, and I realize that’s Hunter. I had asked my old friend Hunter to come there to secretly take photos. But the tricky thing about Hunter is that they have rainbow hair. So, they’re very recognizable. They wore a black hood to cover their hair. Hunter being dressed like a demon was keeping people out of the gallery!
Alex: I wish there were a reverse photo of them sitting there.
John: I was like, that’s either Hunter or I’m going to die from this grim reaper. All we could see was the back of their head. They had a big hooded coat on.
Alex: I’m still completely oblivious. I didn’t notice Hunter. I was on a beeline to the ballerinas like a five-year-old.
John: Up to this point, obviously, my head is racing but I’m keeping it cool. Once we got into the gallery, I could not speak. I said something like, oh yeah this reminds me of when we first started dating, haha. I guide her gently toward the arch. I had everything I wanted to say planned out. I take out the ring box and I’m down on one knee. At that point, I realize she has NO IDEA what’s happening.
Alex: I immediately got down on my knee and panda hugged him. I don’t even remember what he said, I just started crying. I was holding him so tightly.
John: It was great, I didn’t have to plead my case!
Alex: I could hear the click click click from Hunter.
John: And I said, that’s Hunter. And that’s when she screamed LOUDLY.
Alex: I made a scene at the Met.
John: People started coming up to us. Even the docent was like, congratulations.
Alex: It was like slow-mo. It was crazy the amount of happiness I felt.
John: It was euphoric.
Alex: I was crying and pulling down our masks so I could make out with him. It was like anything I could do to feel closer to him. It was a very intimate public moment.
John: We only pulled down our masks for a second! We’re both fully vaccinated!
Alex: Afterward we went to a nearby bar and had martinis. The whole time, I was like, I feel so filthy! I hadn’t showered in two days. I was like, why didn’t you tell me to shower?!
John: But I was like, if I tell her she should shower, she’ll know something’s up.
Alex: The ring is so killer. I’m just now winding down from the exhilaration of it all and truly appreciating this ring.
John: There’s always trepidation about if the person will like the ring or not. But as soon as she put it on, I was like, that ring is Alex, Alex is that ring.
Congratulations, John and Alex!!! Read about John’s cookies and Alex’s organization company here, if you’d like. And if you’ve been engaged before, what was the proposal like? Or did you just talk about it? We’d love to hear.
(Photos by Hunter Abrams.)