Earlier this week at (Le) Poisson Rouge, Daily Show writer Matt Koff told a very East Village engagement story involving fro-yo, cats, and a trip to Halloween Adventure. Koff was the third of five readers at “How I Learned Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” the latest iteration of the monthly “How I Learned” storytelling series hosted by Blaise Allysen Kearsley.
In 2006, Koff moved to NYC and found himself a girlfriend on MySpace. Three years later, they were on the phone and she asked, “Why aren’t we engaged yet?” Koff started saving up his unemployment checks to buy a ring — he’d recently been laid off from a proofreading agency — but quickly discovered that it was a lost cause. Instead, with his mom’s help, he got a diamond from his grandmother’s ring and paid for a new setting.
On the recommendation of a friend, Koff began planning a proposal, a good story that his future fiancée would want to share with her pals. Neither of them were sports fans, so a JumboTron proposal was ruled out. “But she did like frozen yogurt,” Koff said. He placed the ring inside one of those plastic bubbles dispensed from a 50¢ machine, and handed the trinket to an employee at Pinkberry, asking if — when he returned with his girlfriend in a half hour — she could place it in a cup, obscuring it with the fro-yo and toppings of their choosing. Side note: since his girlfriend also liked cats, the folded piece of paper inside the bubble read, “Will you meowry me?”
After he and his girlfriend grabbed dinner at Chipotle on St. Mark’s, they crossed the street and went to Pinkberry. Koff’s partner-in-crime was no longer behind the counter. After he and his girlfriend sat down with their (engagement-ring-less) fro-yo, he spotted the employee he sought. She’d forgotten to let her co-workers in on the stunt, and she returned the ring to him.
“I should have let go of this yogurt idea but I thought, ‘When adversity strikes, I strike back,'” Koff said.
Thus he decided to take his girlfriend for more fro-yo. The now-closed Yogurt Station on St. Mark’s Place was self-serve (“the logo was a picture of a gas pump”), and after failing at trying to be coy, Koff finally presented his girlfriend with a fro-yo-logged ring (that bulbous plastic bubble had been impossible to obscure, so she could immediately tell that he’d tampered with her frozen treat). She accepted, and because it was Halloween, they walked through Cooper Square and went to Halloween Adventure, where she dressed as Spock and he dressed as a member of the DHARMA Initiative from Lost.
But it was not meant to be. His girlfriend forgot to wear her ring when they went to her family’s home for Christmas — which was a red flag. Eventually, she admitted that she’d been swept up in wedding fever among her peers; she said she didn’t want to be engaged anymore, though they could keep dating (Koff declined).
“She was an idiot, I’m glad we’re not together anymore,” he said. “Just kidding, she was very smart. I don’t want to lower the stakes here, I was in love.”