For a female partner, this period of time is filled with moodiness, piles of bridal magazines, and excessive showing off to her friends and family. She alternates between showering you with grateful affection and mercilessly hounding you to make sure you "truly love her". Often, the simplest question -- such as "what do you want from the grocery store?" -- provokes a fit of insecurity and accusations about you cheating on her "with that slutty stocker in aisle 9". She will also ask you peculiar and often terrifying questions, such as how many kids you want to have ("six or seven?"), in an attempt to secure certainty of your complete sincerity and fidelity.
At other times, she will obsessively plan out every detail of your wedding without your explicit consent. Do not be taken aback by her behavior -- she has had practice with this since she started fantasizing about her wedding at about the age of seven.
You will also often see her surrounded by other women, usually her close friends and members of her family, all weeping in joy or clamoring to see that damned expensive ring you got her. At this time, they will tend to squeal and cry at random times and speak in their own cryptic language. Warning: do not attempt to approach such a hoarde of women. Such an action would not only be suicidal but also extremely stupid. See "The Darwin Awards" for accounts of such follies.
For the male partner, this time is often filled with depression, anxiety, and indecision. The gravity of the situation finally sinks in, and you will find him alternating between absolute compliance to your every word and hesitant dodging of your questions. You may find him indulging in beer, coffee, ESPN, or Spike TV more than usual. His sympathetic friends may throw him a bachelor party, which will be his last chance to guiltlessly peek up another girl's skirt. Do not be taken aback by this infidelity; it will be his last breath of fresh air before you may legally and emotionally smother him for life.
During your latest sexual encounter, you may also find that his left nut is missing. Do not be alarmed; that was the cost of your diamond ring.
For certain couples in Massachusetts and Canada, this brief period of time will be filled with fabulous celebration. There may be little actual decision-making involved; you're obviously going to play that heart-wrenching RENT song at your wedding, you already picked out your handsome tuxedo months ago, the pink champagne's in the mail, and maybe you can even convince that sexy pool-cleaner to be your best man. Hey, can't a guy indulge a little before he ties the knot?
According to Hollywood, engagement is also the time when couples are most prone to affairs, scandals, and general promiscuity. It is the default status for any hot celebrity couple, as they can afford the thousands of dollars on ten diamond rings (just to be sure) and their emotions are somehow more flexible and breakable than that of a regular couple.
Man #1: I'm engaged.
Man #2: Shit, man. She got you?
Woman #1: I'm engaged.
Woman #2: Oh my god! Oh my god! I'm so happy for you! Have you picked out your wedding dress yet? Hang on, I've gotta call Barbara and Michelle and Jessica and Holly and...
Gay Man #1: I'm engaged.
Gay Man #2: Oh god, that's so fabulous! I totally knew you two were meant to be. It's like your souls just color-coordinate, like all the time.
Britney Spears: I'm engaged.
General Public: Again?