My Marriage Proposal to Mrs. Underdunk

What follows is a copy of my recent marriage proposal to Mrs. Underdunk, with whom, as you know, I have enjoyed a long attachment. Having been married (badly) once before, I thought it would be nice to be happily married before I enter the checkout lane. My being 81 suggests that that eventuality is not exactly in the remote future, after all. Well, all such proposals, I suppose, entail some degree of risk, some more than others. But, as the old platitude goes, nothing ventured.... And so, here it is.

My Dear Mrs. Underdunk,

     I have so long enjoyed the happiness of being received as a happy guest at your house, that I write with the more confidence on a subject of most serious importance to my welfare. From constantly meeting with you, and observing the thousand acts of amiability and kindness which adorn your daily life, I have gradually associated my hopes of future happiness with the chance of possessing you as their sharer. Believe me, this can certainly not be an outbreak of boyish passion, but the hearty and healthy result of a long and affectionate study of your disposition. It is love, founded on esteem; and I feel persuaded that your knowledge of my own character will lead you to trace my motives to their right source.  May I, then, implore you to consult your own heart, and, should I not have been mistaken in the happy belief that my feelings are in some measure reciprocated, to grant me the honor of asking your hand in marriage.

     Without attempting to use fine language, or make a parade of sentiment, I hope you will accept these lines as conveying the plain and honest sentiments of one, who in anxious expectation of your reply, remains, my dear Mrs. Underdunk,

     your most faithful and devoted Edward.


Not too shabby, right? I don't think so, either. As a matter of fact, I give my readers leave to copy it word for word should they ever find themselves stuck for words when proposing. (If you do, you're on your honor to consider it "shareware" and to mail me a postal money order for a modest $25.00 per each use--very reasonable, I think, considering the thought and effort that went into its composition.)

And Her Reply


     First it was all that Martian stuff. Then it was the yard displays, the obsession with the mall, your eating plans, the lectures, those accordion concerts, the odd website, and so forth. Now you're proposing marriage! Honestly, you certainly never fail to come up with something peculiar. But revenons à nos moutons. It's not that I'm not half flattered by your proposal, because I am, but I think it's a bit outlandish for a couple like us to go through all that foolishness of marriage again. Although I did love Humphrey, God bless him, he became rather tiresome toward the end, and I would not want to take the chance of coming to feel the same way about you, as interesting as you are in your own way.

     So I believe I'm doing the right thing for both of us in saying that I believe we're doing just fine the way we are, and that I must turn your proposal down, with some regret, to be sure, that we did not meet sooner, under other circumstances, and were not so quite set in our ways. I do hope you understand, and I look forward to our Saturday coffeetime when we can discuss our relationship at greater length.

     Sincerely, etc., etc.


My Thoughts on Mrs. Underdunk's Reply

I would be lying if I said I was not at first terribly disappointed by Mrs. Underdunk's response. On the other hand, though, I must confess to having felt a little relieved, too. I am set in my ways, it's true, and I am intelligent enough to realize that it would not be easy for a woman as sensitive and particular as Mrs. Underdunk to adapt to my routines, activities, and interests. For instance, I cannot see her wired up to my new roof-mounted antenna, listening for Martian transmissions. It also occurred to me that if we married, then that miscreant Herb (still no Studebaker!) would be my brother-in-law, an unwanted association that would be thoroughly unpleasant for me. Besides, if our marriage would entail frequent conversations as tedious as the minute dissection of our relationship that was conducted over coffee a few Saturdays ago...well, then I know for sure that Mrs. Underdunk and I are better off happily single!

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