In front of the Eiffel Tower
Proof we were there! (and freezing!)

This morning President Obama signed the law to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” finally ending the failed, discriminatory policy. I believe that this marks an important and exciting turning point in the fight for equality in America.

On the heels of such an important policy change, now feels like the right time to share some personal news. I know I don’t normally talk much about my private life here, but today I will indulge in a noteworthy exception.

It wasn’t until recently that I would even mention my boyfriend Matty on the blog — and even then, I haven’t said all that much about him (other than he’s a terrific dinner party host).

A couple of weeks ago, Matty and I went to Paris to visit a friend and to celebrate our one-year anniversary.  After a few days of gorging at incredible restaurants like Brasserie Lipp, Afaria, and Tan Dinh, we headed south to the 700-year-old walled city of Aigues-Mortes.

Villa Mazarin
The courtyard of Villa Mazarin the night we arrived.

By the time we settled into our charming hotel, we were exhausted and decided to eat dinner at the hotel restaurant.  It turned out to be the finest dining experience of the entire trip. Distinctively French cuisine, but with a modern bent, it was creative, delicious, and beautifully presented.  When our waiter placed our food on the table, he properly announced its arrival, explaining the dishes and what was in them.  The best part of that was that he didn’t speak any English and our French is practically non-existent — everyone in the room knew that we had barely any idea what he was saying!  It was, thankfully, even more charming than comical.

The next day we were proper tourists, checking out the city walls and the rest of the town. We came across an Indian restaurant, of all places, and decided to go there for dinner. The food was truly superb — some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had. It turned out that the owner, originally from India, had lived in Seattle for a number of years. We ended up closing the place out, but only after he brought over bottles of Jack Daniels and a sweet Cardamom liquor. The three of us drank together for a  few hours until we finally had to call it a night.  Thankfully, the hotel was only a short stumble walk away.

The next day was our anniversary.  We slept late (of course), and then had probably the worst meal of the trip.  The only place that had an open kitchen at 11:30am was a small bar/cafe — it was clearly a local hangout, but nobody seemed to be there for the food.  It wasn’t awful, but by the standards we had quickly grown accustomed in the past few days, we were a bit disappointed.

French Rooftops
View of the rooftops from the city walls.

A few hours later, we were trying to decide what to do for dinner. We both just wanted a simple meal. So we picked up a baguette from the boulangerie, and some fruit and cheese from the corner store.

As we were walking back to the hotel, I glanced over at Matty and realized that it was a perfect moment.  Here we were, in the South of France, and on the evening of the big day we had come to celebrate, all we wanted to do was to break bread together and have quiet night.  We couldn’t have been any more in sync.

We went about preparing our hotel picnic, spreading out a towel to collect the inevitable baguette crumbs, and using the ice bucket lid as a makeshift plate.  Before we started eating, though, I gave Matty a hug, and told him I had a question for him. I then simply asked, “Will you marry me?”

He said “Yes,” and we proceeded to have one of the best meals of our lives.

Our Hotel Picnic
Our Hotel Picnic

In case you’re wondering, same-sex marriage is not currently yet legal in California, where we plan to get married. Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in 2008, was overturned earlier this year by the District Court of California. That ruling is now being appealed.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently heard oral arguments, and we anxiously await their initial ruling. If you’d like to help the fight for equal rights, please consider making a donation to Equality California.

A photo of Andrew Wilder leaning into the frame and smiling, hovering over mixing bowls in the kitchen.

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December 23, 2010 10:40 am

Oh, yay! I’m so excited for you and Matty! Sending LOTS of congratulations and a huge hug from way across the US. 🙂

December 23, 2010 10:38 am

You are so wonderful. What an amazing year this has been for you, truly a whirlwind! I wish you two the happiest and most creative life together. I know in my heart that you will be able to be married soon. We should be excited to be alive at such a turning point in history, though truly, no government can change the reality of your love. I’m so happy for you two! Love, love, love.

Foodie McBody
December 23, 2010 10:20 am

Aww, I teared up. How beautiful! And romantic! And delicious. Wishing you so much happiness.

December 23, 2010 10:18 am

Congrats Andrew and Matty! What a sweet engagement 🙂

December 23, 2010 8:56 am

You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but I don’t care who you are, this is a beautiful story. Wishing you continued happiness in 2011.

December 23, 2010 8:24 am

Beautiful story, and many congratulations!

December 23, 2010 7:34 am

That truly does sound like it was the perfect moment. Not the austere restaurant or Eiffel Tower proposal, but the quiet, intimate, hotel-picnic moment. You two are clearly in sync and totally content and happy with one another. Had you been thinking ahead of time that you’d propose on this trip?

p.s. I had no idea you were so tall! HAH!
p.p.s. How did you two meet last year?

December 23, 2010 5:10 am

Congratulations! What a beautiful post and special trip for you, two. 🙂 Love all the photos!


December 23, 2010 2:28 am

CONGRATS!!! I’m so excited for you guys! YAY!!!! If you need me to make an unprocessed wedding cake, just holler! 😉

Reply to  jackhonky
December 23, 2010 7:35 am

Am seriously chuckling at “unprocessed wedding cake”!

December 22, 2010 9:16 pm

Congratulations, Andrew! How romantic and exciting.