John Green

Exclusive: Man Who Proposed at John Green Signing Reveals Real Life Love Story

John Green made dreams come true at his book signing in Cincinnati. While touring for Turtles All the Way Down, Green did an Ask Me Anything (AMA) reddit thread in which fan Kenny Schutzman asked for his advice on a future marriage proposal. Green said that it could be done at his upcoming book signing! Well, the proposal went great and we got the chance to ask Kenny some questions about the event and his relationship with now-fiancée, Amy.


Witness the proposal yourself right here!



Tell us the story of how you two met.


My friend Tom Beck asked if I wanted to go to John Green’s book signing at the Cincinnati Public Library in October of 2012. I originally told him no because I had class that night but for whatever reason I tweeted John Green asking whether I should go to class or go meet him. He responded “Go to class! Education is more important. You’ll meet me another time.” His response solidified my decision to go to the book signing. I responded “lies! Sorry Green. If Gus traveled to Amsterdam while dying, then I can travel 15m to see U. What would Hazel do?”


It sounds corny but I appreciated his work just as much as Hazel did Van Houten. Tom and I got to the library and it was packed. Tom later saw Lauren, a girl he knew from high school, and Amy whom he did not know. He proposed that we go talk to them. We all got in line together and talked about John Green’s books until we reached him. Amy went up to John Green with all of his books in her hands to get signed. He did a great job at being excited to meet every fan individually which I’m sure was exhausting. He signed all her books and complimented her voice saying she had “no vocal fry.” Once she was done I walked up and told him that I was sorry that I skipped the class. He laughed and jokingly pretended like he was upset with my decision. My brief interaction with him was one of those rare events where your expectations of someone you looked up to were perfectly met. After hanging out that night, I took the next step and messaged her on Facebook a couple days later. After talking about Disney Channel original movies for a whole week we finally went on a date. We carved pumpkins at her place and then spent the rest of the night talking and looking at the stars. I ended the night with a hug and a kiss on the cheek and the rest is history.




Tell us something about your relationship


A couple months ago we were fighting so I went to the living room. I thought space and time would remedy it but she messaged me saying that she wanted me to come upstairs because she needed to vent to me about her boyfriend. We talked until we remembered what was really important, which is that we support each other. We make sure that love and friendship aren’t absent from our relationship.


What made you agree to propose at the book signing? 


Nerdfighters! The comments and direct messages they made were the most overwhelmingly heartwarming messages I’ve ever received. It convinced me that doing the proposal with them could be something special for all of us. I would NEVER have done it in front of any other group of people. Nerdfighters are unabashed nerds and romantics that never forget to be awesome!



Did you have any private conversations with John Green before the event?


No! He left me completely in the dark. It was funny when John Green said I wouldn’t know when on the reddit page, but it was terrifying in practice. I sat in my seat with my mind racing the entire show until he called our names. A small price to pay for the amazing experience I had, though.




How did it feel to have such a positive response on reddit?


Reddit is crazy. It gave me so many laughs, which really helped with my anxiety from it all. One comment said, “let it be known that i witnessed this and shared in your happiness.” I don’t know why but I laugh every time I see that comment. A lot of people wanted an “OP delivers” video so I spent two hours sending the video to all the people that commented on the reddit saying “I DID THE THING.” They all must think I’m a madman. One person DM’d me saying it had been a shitty week but seeing the AMA brightened his/her week. One couple messaged me saying they’re an older couple but they love John Green. They wanted to see the video so they could watch and cry together. It’s all those messages and comments that are really the icing on the cake. No it’s better than that. It’s just more cake on top of the cake. 




How and when were you originally planning to propose to Amy?


I was ready then, but decided to wait until December. Proposals around Christmas are fun. Right? The thought of a public proposal never entered my brain. To me, public proposals seemed cliché and only looked good in the movies. I knew I wanted it to be private but had no idea on how to do it. That’s why I asked John! 


Was Amy happy with the way it went down?


She was very happy! She is more introverted than I am, so I knew she would always want a private proposal and I felt the same way. Luckily she said this was the one exception because it couldn’t have been more perfect. The opportunity to have John Green help me propose was once in a lifetime. 


Tell us the whole proposal story from your perspective. 


It was all I thought about for eight days straight. I would go back to reddit and read the conversation multiple times a day. I am usually good with crowds, but I spent the whole week being nervous. I felt like I was emitting heat from how nervous I was during the show.


John and Hank were in the middle of answering preselected questions and unexpectedly stopped. To the best of my memory he said something like, “Y’know Hank. We were here five years ago.”


Amy whispered to me jokingly, “I wonder if he remembers us?!”


John continued, “I don’t remember it, but I looked back and it definitely happened.”


She then said, “Guess not” and laughed.


“I do know that two people met then though. Is there a Kenny and Amy in the crowd?”


I shouted, “Right here!”


He responded “Is there something you would like to ask her tonight?”


I said, “It’s a little packed in these seats, can I get in the aisle?”


Hank Green could tell I was nervous and shouted for me to come on stage. Everyone started cheering very loudly as we walked up. This is when I entered a state of shock and have a hard time remembering everything. I apologized to John for storming the stage. He said, “That’s alright!” and handed me the mic. The first thing I said to everyone was how I tweeted John five years ago and he told me to not come to the book signing. John laughed and said, “It’s a good thing you didn’t listen to me.” I then thanked him for being such a great writer because it lead me to the love of my life. I also asked for his “Nerdfighter blessing.”


Poor Amy was standing beside me the whole time incredibly nervous. I finally turned around and bent the knee. She said yes and then we hugged and kissed. John and Hank came over to give us hugs. I really wish I was more prepared because I couldn’t think of what to say to John at that moment. I said “You are amazing, John” and that was all I could muster. I was very nervous still and couldn’t look at John or Hank in the eyes. Regrets!


We walked off stage and the theater was very loud with cheers. I waved and smiled like a dork as we walked back to our seat. Once we sat down just about every face was turned to us and smiling. We were getting congratulated from all angles. I told everyone that could hear me thank you and I genuinely meant it. Their collective embrace made it special. Everyone was very happy. There was about an hour left so Amy and I sat there smiling, but it somewhat felt like torture! We wanted to talk about everything but remained in our seats quietly. I could not pay attention to the rest of the show because I still felt like I was in shock. John Green brought us up a couple times after that.


To the best of my memory, someone asked him about hope and cynicism. He answered that “I have hope in people like Kenny and Amy.” He also later said “Everyone. Look to your left and look to your right. That could be your future spouse.” John finished the night by wishing us the best with our marriage and walked off stage. All the Nerdfighters were incredibly enthusiastic about our proposal for the whole show. Coincidentally, we were seated right next to the middle side exit which ended up being the only exit. We didn’t get out right away because I was giving my email to the person seated next to me so she could send me a picture of the proposal. This resulted in just about everyone in the entire theater congratulating us as they walked by. They were just as excited as we were so it was a very awesome experience. The walk back to the car was a lot of friendly smiles and quick conversations with other Nerdfighters. It was the best night of my life to date. 


Congratulations to the beautiful couple and thank you for sharing your story with us all! 


All Photos Provided by Kenny Schutzman 

Feature Image Via Buzzfeed