I hate the way showy marriage proposals reinforce the idea that being invited to wed is the most exciting thing that can ever happen to a woman, but I saw one last night at Second City’s annual Letters to Santa benefit that got everyone in the room all verklempt, even me.

Every year a bunch of hardy improv artists do their thing for 24 hours straight, with various bands and guest performers popping in occasionally to give them a break. Attendees, who can arrive anytime during the marathon, pay a small cover charge and kick in extra cash for raffles and auction items. Organizer Heather Whinna raises many thousands of dollars and heads off to buy gifts for kids whose letters to Santa are ripe for the picking at Chicago’s main post office.

For his set, benefit regular Jeff Tweedy sells “lap stanzas,” songs performed at the winning bidder’s table, then pulls in rilly big bucks auctioning off living room concerts. This year his third or fourth song was won by a guy who topped a $350 bid with a loud and confident “$500!” Master of ceremonies TJ Jagodowski (subject of a Reader cover story last June) shouted “Sold” and then disappeared backstage. The winner stood up and, in a voice that got progressively shakier, announced that TJ had given him the 500 bucks to bid because he knew the guy had spent all his own money, more than he makes in a year, on . . . this ring. The room went nuts. 

Someone’s posted shots from the show to the Reader’s Flickr group. Maybe someone else got the proposal?

(She said yes.)