Everyone has that friend who is a total bold-move enabler, the kind who constantly implores you to “Go get her number!” or says things like, “C’mon, what do you have to lose?” He or she is typically the type for whom everything, irritatingly, has always worked out: a missed flight gets rebooked as a first-class upgrade; a blowup fight with a boss results in a promotion. And, just like all beings with charm and no real sense of doom (babies, sociopaths), this friend is super-fun to be around — but also very dangerous. The New York Times wedding section is this friend.
In the last few months, many of the announcements in the wedding section have included a hidden message: Just do it, and how! Sure, most relationships require one party to make something of a first move. But recently the Times sure has been celebrating the people who really went above and beyond in their courtship, doing things like calling six times or sending 7 a.m. texts or, in one case, trailing a dude up the subway stairs.
These stories are fine — sometimes even adorable! — on their own, but I do worry sometimes about the impressionable young people of the world who read these announcements and begin to internalize their cumulative lessons: If you like someone, badger them! Tell them, a few casual dates in, that when you close your eyes you see their face! They’ll appreciate your flattering persistence, and you’ll fall in love and get married, and then you can become the bold-move enabler to others! “Hey, I took a chance, and look how it worked out for me! Go follow him into his apartment lobby and into the elevator!”
The problem with these success stories, as I’ve pointed out before, is that we see only the ones that worked out. What about the cringing disasters?
(Sidenote to the Times: If you wrote even, like, one monthly story of a spectacular breakup, it would be my favorite thing in the world. This one, from the real estate section, was a great start: “Ms. Seale said Mr. Byhoff came home one evening and announced, without much fanfare, “I’m no longer attracted to you.” MORE, PLEASE!)
Anyway, this all brings us to Jennifer Illes, a woman with a “very clean brain” (whatever that means) and what she did when she spotted Jon Wood on the C train.
She later wrote in her journal: “I noted his outfit, which struck me as artsy. His brown boots could have passed for work boots. He had a waist-length puffy green jacket. If I had to give his outfit a residence, it would have been the East Village.”
Stop what you’re doing and look at what you’re wearing. Where would your duds reside? I’m in a Patagonia vest, jeggings, and Sorel boots, which is putting me dangerously in suburban Massachusetts territory.
Anyway, Ms. Illes couldn’t pass up this paragon of St. Mark’s Place, and dashed after him once he got off at his stop.
“I gained on him as he was walking up the stairs,” she said. [ … ] “I tapped him on the shoulder. I said: ‘You’re wearing gloves so I can’t tell if you are wearing a wedding ring. However, in the event that you’re not married, you were on my subway and I thought you were cute. Any chance I could give you my business card?’ ”
He assumed, and rightly so, that he was being pursued by a crazy lady trying to sell him flowers. But when he realized it was actually just a crazy lady trying to get a date — “that sort of thing appeals to me,” he said.
As for the bride, her balls to the wallsiness didn’t end there. Before their first date, she read “every post he had ever written on Facebook” to prep. (This is not surprising from someone who “created an Excel spreadsheet to chart dates that went well, or didn’t, and why” and who looked at SEVENTY-FOUR APARTMENTS before selecting one.) But, really, this was the part of the announcement that finally won me over:
So he smiled and said, “Hi, I’m Jon.”
As usual, Ms. Illes was blunt. She asked how he spelled his name.
(If he spelled it J-O-N, it would indicate that he was probably Jewish, an important item on her list.) He knew exactly what kind of information she sought. He replied, “J-O-N, the Jewish way.”
OK, that’s perfect. Forget everything I said before about not trying this stuff at home, and please incorporate this into your bag of tricks. It can only end well.
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A huge thank you, as always, to Friend of Grantland Alex Morrison for putting together our nifty interactive Society Scorecard, this time around ranking the top 20 couples from December and January based on our proprietary NUPTIALS algorithm. You know the competition is pretty fierce when a bride who met the pope at age 8 only finishes third!
My many congratulations to Lauren Baer and Emily Meyers, who took home top honors thanks in large part to Ms. Baer’s exhausting credentials. (“She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and received a master’s degree in development studies from the University of Oxford, where she was a Marshall scholar. She also has a law degree from Yale.” SUCH a great “also.”)
Right behind them were Matthew Williams and Paul Berg, whose announcement included Columbia, Oxford, and Princeton, as well as the phrases “an elected member of the Representative Town Meeting in Greenwich” and “Webley & Scott Limited, which makes sporting rifles.”
It’s the couple in the no. 13 spot that is no. 1 in my heart, though. After observing that James Shin was frequently arriving late to their Princeton University Orchestra rehearsals, Janet Lee came to a quick conclusion.
“He had this mystique about him, and I always wondered why he was never on time,” Ms. Lee said. “I took him for a delinquent and dismissed his presence.”
It turned out Shin was busy rehearsing his award-winning solo performance. See what happens when you assume? Anyway, that’s still some fantastic shade right there. I can’t wait to have kids one day so I can use it on their little punk friends.
• This is the most “I’ve lived in New York my entire life” couple I can possibly imagine. One bride’s father lived in Forest Hills, Queens; the other’s was an NYU professor. One got an MBA from Pace; the other graduated from Long Island University and earned a master’s from Fordham. They were hitched at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. These two either had nosebleed seats to the Super Bowl, or they bitched about its invasion of their city incessantly. There’s no middle ground.
• There were some great occupations these last two months — we had a furrier (must get awkward if people think you’re saying, “I’m a furry”); a sales associate at a yarn distributor; a father-son pair who sling booze and are welcoming a monogrammed-items shopgirl into the fam; and a dad who is “a senior show director and a writer of theme park shows for The Walt Disney Company in Orlando.” Pretty disappointed the boner priest from The Little Mermaid didn’t officiate that one, to be honest.
• This couple’s relationship is built on a foundation of lies. I approve!
• I love that a New York state Supreme Court justice is married to the senior editorial director at NickJr.com. Think of them coming home at night, venting about their days over dinner. “You think you’ve got problems? You don’t even know what I’ve been through this week with the Wallykazam launch. And don’t get me started on the Bubble Guppies birthday party drama.” In other news, this announcement also contains a “manufacturer of ladies’ garment trimmings in New York,” which is a good reminder that you should read this excellent article about Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction if you haven’t yet.
• “An earlier version of a picture caption with this article incorrectly referred to Meredith Baxter as Mr. Baxter.” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
• Who’s in on a Kickstarter to finance a Showtime series about the relationship between the two mothers of this bride and groom?1 I’m envisioning Joan Cusack as the “customer service and sales representative for Atlantic Can, a wholesale distributor of decorative cookie tins,” and Christine Baranski as “the founder of KMF Partners, a New York hedge fund, and a former chairwoman of Barnard College’s endowment.” Actually, check that, let’s go with Sela Ward. (Season 2 can weave in a B plot about the daughter of a man with “a business in Moscow that distributes Honda automobiles” marrying “a supervisor in the used car division of the United States unit of Mercedes-Benz.”)
This particular groom has two middle initials and described himself to Businessweek as a “serious, experienced mathematician” in 2006.
• I can’t stop staring at this woman who works at the USTA and just imagining her backhand.
• In homage to Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, Rebecca Garcia and Andrew Spiegel invited their guests to an engagement party and then held a surprise wedding. No word on whether the guests dined on chicken fingers or wore these.
• I should probably know this, but has there been an NYT wedding announcement where the pair hung out together while they were still in utero? I ask because this couple “met in kindergarten and began dating in high school,” and it seems like there’s real room for improvement in this realm.
• Which makes Rachel Rosenberg and Evan Levine relative elders for having met at summer camp at ages 9 and 10, respectively. “He was very short, skinny and little, and very funny,” she said. “He pulled a lot of pranks at camp, and his catchphrase was ‘Just kidding.'” Oh man, that’s the best, especially if you imagine him being really bitter about her telling this story — like Adam Scott in Party Down. (R.I.P., Party Down.) Are we having fun yet? And how frequently do you have to say “Just kidding” before it qualifies as a catchphrase?!
• Recently I read a wacky story about a dude who got arrested after he shared his own “wanted” page on Facebook. Cops “pos[ed] as an attractive woman” and messaged the perp, trying to get him to meet up for a drink.
When the fugitive declined, the cop said: ‘The least you can do is come out and have a cigarette with me.’
Lescowitch agreed and when he pulled up in a car at the specified location, cops arrested him.
So that cigarette line worked?! I guess we are talking about someone who commented “lol fuckin love it ASSHOLE” underneath the information that he was wanted for assault. Anyway, my point is just that I couldn’t help but think of that when I read this:
They set up a meeting in the parking lot of a convenience store. Ms. Weinberger arrived first. Minutes later, a police car pulled up beside her. The officer got out of his car and approached her window.
I just hope he led with a “Ma’am, I’m gonna need ya to …” joke. Please let him have led with a “Ma’am, I’m gonna need ya to …” joke.
• “The bar was totally dead, so I decided to start a conversation with Greg,” Ms. Golden said. “He was very attractive and very polite and charming. I was a bit bored that night and was purposely being a little obnoxious and it didn’t faze him, and I really liked that about him.” It’s a little-known fact, but this wedding announcement was actually Ernest Hemingway’s inspiration for Brett Ashley.
• A pair of rabbis!!! Dual master’s degrees in Hebrew letters! The Congregational School at the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York!! “The bride’s father is the senior interreligious adviser to the American Jewish Committee in New York”!! I love when the Chosen Couple chooses itself. (And make sure you check out the video, which is a delight straight out of a Christopher Guest movie. “The witnesses to this incident have used the term ‘vomited anger on me.'” That’s true love. The Jewish way.)
• “Ms. WalkingStick, 78, is keeping her name.” My soul mate.
TREND ALERT: Nice-guy punk rocker grooms! Getchaself a nice-guy punk rocker groom! In November, we had one who “sobbed through ‘Patch Adams’” and shared all his cookies with his brothers as a kid.
Now, we’ve got the bass player in “Parquet Courts, a Brooklyn-based punk rock band with hard-charging, catchy songs.”
He is not a stereotypical punk rocker at all. Neither skinny nor angry, he seems defiantly jolly, especially onstage. “He shakes his head a ton,” Mr. Naseem said. “You look at him and you’re like, ‘Oh, this guy’s having the time of his life.’ ”
He drew pictures of dream houses with his future wife on one of their first dates, made her mix CDs, and “eventually moved in with her and continues to bring her orchids, balloons and weird musical instruments on a regular basis.” He’s the kind of guy who “stops at every puddle and tries to figure out what kind of animal it looks like.”
But beware of what lurks beneath these nice-guy punk rockers. The first one married a woman who takes photos of squirrel corpses and “loves … weird fetuses or syphilitic heads.” And the second?
Ms. Milewski, a former middle-school teacher, now works in Manhattan at the New York City Municipal Archives, cataloging thousands of historic photographs of crime scenes. “I look at mostly dead bodies, but you get a glimpse into old New York,” she said blithely.
These things come in threes, don’t they? I’m really, really scared for the next.