Brisbane man Glen Robinson never uttered the words "Will you marry me?"
He had the proposal tattooed on his wrists instead.
"I really wanted to do something different, or something special," he said.
Fortunately, Glen and his girlfriend Michelle Bate, both 34, had already agreed to marry and had chosen an engagement ring.
Glen, who works for a transport company, had gone so far as to suggest the Albany Creek couple make their engagement official, without a formal proposal.
"I could tell Michelle, straight away, wasn't too happy about that," he said.
"So I wanted to surprise her."
Then a tattoo came to mind.
"To some people it's probably a very, very extreme thing. For me, I've got a few ... so it's not as bizarre to me," Glen said.
"So one thing led to another and I got the tattoo."
That evening, with the new tattoo still raw, Glen bent on one knee in the couple's living room with a ring in his open palms.
"Michelle wasn't feeling well that night ... she was lying on the couch," he said.
"I came home and sat down beside her on the knee and said, 'Hopefully, this will make you feel better'."
Michelle said, "Are you going to ask me something?"
Glen tactfully replied, "Surely you can read."
Michelle said 'yes'.
"I said, 'Yes! But I don't know what I think about that [tattoo]'."
Michelle, a primary school teacher and swimmer who competed at the Barcelona Paralympics in 1992, then had a question for Glen.
"Where's the question mark?" she said.
"His answer was, 'It wasn't a question'."
Confident Michelle would accept his proposal, Glen hadn't given much thought to the alternative.
"But we can always reuse it," he said, glancing at his wrists.
In fact, Michelle said she prefers that her name was not included in the tattoo.
"That would not have gone over well," she said.
As it is, the tattoo is a permanent mark of a treasured moment in their lives, Michelle said.
"It's very him," she said.
"I see his tattoos as a tapestry of his life ... and now I'm part of that."
The couple plan to marry on the Gold Coast next May.
- Brisbane Times