Taryn had decided to take advantage of "The Ladies Privilege" on February 29 - the extra day in this leap year - when tradition allows marriage-minded women to pop the question to their men.
Being a 21-century kinda gal, Taryn, whose day job involves maintaining the Internode website, wanted to make her proposal memorable for Derek, who works on a help desk for global computer firm HP. So she enlisted the aid of another global tech company, US-based Valve Corporation, which develops Team Fortress 2 (TF2), the online game that Derek can spend hours playing each night.
After noticing a pre-release note about a Valentine's Day "gift" that Valve planned to sell to romantic TF2 players for $100, Taryn emailed Valve's co-founder Gabe Newell to ask if she could use the "gift" - a virtual ring (pictured) - to propose to Derek. Several weeks later, her answer arrived in the form of a TF2 account with the virtual ring - at no charge!
So when the role-reversal rule kicked in on February 29, Taryn met Derek at a local coffee shop to log on to Team Fortress 2. Once the unsuspecting Derek was deeply immersed in the online gameplay, Taryn launched her unconventional marriage proposal by initiating a trade with Derek, who declined. She tried again. He declined, again. With her plan not going so well, Taryn decided to raise the volume.
TARYN: "Accept my trade!"
TARYN: "Accept my trade, b#*@h!"
DEREK: "No! Stop it! I'm trying to cap!"
Taryn (playing as Pyro) then sets Derek (playing as Scout) on fire.
TARYN: "NOW YOU'RE DEAD! ACCEPT MY TRADE WHILE YOU'RE IN SPAWN DAMMIT!"
Having finally viewed Taryn's "trade", Derek sat speechless as Taryn got down on bended knee in front of him in the cafe. The pair then abandoned their online world to adjourn to a nearby restaurant, where Derek finally stopped freaking out enough to actually say 'yes'. It was only several hours later, after midnight, that he remembered to click 'Accept' on the trade request.
Taryn said her surprise marriage proposal was definitely worth the effort. "We haven't named the date, but it took us five years to get to this point, so we'll probably take our time," she said.
"We have no particular plans at this stage, but I'm sure it will inevitably become very nerdy."