Welcome to the forum, madjak!
1st) for dealing with your sweetheart- the common advice is to take her with you to take the MSF Basic Rider Course (or whatever the Canadian equivalent is).
2nd) on cruisers- you don’t necessarily have to have forward pegs on the cruisers. I ride a Suzuki S40, and it basically is a standard. The pegs are kicked forward a wee bit, but not so much that I feel off balanced by it. (I’m also not a fan of forward pegs.)
If you didn’t get a chance, you might try sitting on the S40. It is a single cylinder, 650. It fits me just about right. You are a little taller, but I don’t think you would find it cramped.
Also, you indicated that you have no problem tinkering with things mechanical. Bikes are great in this regard. If you don’t like the seat, you can replace it. The handlebars in the wrong place? Get new ones. Same for any number of other items.
Best of luck!