In August, it ain't where you're from, it's what wedding you're at. Not getting married/watching other people get married? Then you're probably single, friendless, or me. Enter Phyllis Nefler and the NYT Weddings & Celebrations to help ease/exacerbate our pain.
I'm reporting live from a rooftop hotel bar in Maine – their lobsters, like their anal sex, might be overrated, but their low-bush blueberries are prettttty prettttty great – after having attended my second wedding in as many weeks with two more on the horizon before Labor Day. So I'm a little hungover, understandably, and a little sunburned and a LOT disappointed with this week's batch of smug marrieds. So instead I'll digress.
The nice thing about hotel weddings is that you need only a few brain cells left in order to fumble your way to the elevator at the end of the evening (although those lobby couches sure do make for dangerous obstacles) and it's also really easy to slip away to the hotel parking garage during the awkward interlude between salad and main course so your buddy can show you his brand new car, which you can then hotbox.
(In case you're wondering, it was a Honda Pilot.)
And then you can slip back to the ballroom and make an easy detour to the ladies' because you're paranoid that you've probably been gone for a conspicuous amount of time and also you are too uncoordinated to use Visine without a mirror.
As you sit in a stall, mildly panicked, you reassure yourself that everyone else is probably just as fucked up and there is no reason to worry that anyone will notice you in particular. And then a roll of toilet paper rolls over your feet from the adjacent stall and a voice slurs "haaaa, whoopsieeeees" and a hand – the hand of a friend-of-parent or parent-of-friend, you note, based on its veins and its jewelry – reaches underneath and tries to retrieve the roll but just ends up unfurling it further. You stand up and open the door and in front of you is a girl who you don't recognize (she must be a friend of the bride) trying to untuck her dress from her underwear but having some trouble on account of some stubborn beadwork.
You feel better.
As you're washing your hands and re-caking your makeup, some older ladies – the kind who don't sweat but glow, the kind who don't get drunk but merely get tipsy - bomb in and immediately hone in on your shoes, which are magenta and suede and gave you blisters last time you wore them. You can't really hear their praise because you're thinking about how much they sound like seagulls and you're noticing that one of them kind of looks like you in 20 years but only if you were to start buying expensive eye cream between now and then or at least stay out of the sun, which is not likely.
"Oh my GOD, I just love these GOODIES!" clucks one of them, motioning to a small courtesy basket on the counter containing hairspray and mints and those thin sheets of oil-absorbing plastic that are pretty gross to use when you really think about it. Earlier you had taken a piece of gum from the basket, but you notice now that all the packs are gone, probably lifted by ladies who just lovesed them some goodies.
The women fuss over the baskets and your shoes for a little bit longer until the maid of honor walks in and they turn their attention to her and how pretty she looks and how her speech was just so touching and it's a good thing they were wearing waterproof mascara, let me tell you and you take the opportunity to slip out and back to the ballroom where your lasagna has by this point congealed but it doesn't really matter because you ate about 2000 calories worth of passed appetizers at the cocktail hour and the band just started playing Great Balls of Fire which you once did a tap dance to in like third grade that you then proceed to reenact on the dance floor.
You never get around to introducing yourself to the bride.
Anyway, I'm really not kidding that these couples, in aggregate, have reached unprecedented levels of boring. The amount of Yale Law degrees is making me pine for the heady hedge fund heavy days of 2006, and those who aren't lawyers are either professors or have vague "registrar" positions at art galleries. Seriously, the coolest pair I can find is Danielle Venokur and Timothy Greenberg, because the groom "writes, directs, and produces field segments at "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" in New York". Which means that he's funny, but probably also kind of condescending and unfair. Husbands!
We have Alexandra Bullock, who as the "great-granddaughter of the late Joan Whitney Payson, the art collecter and founder of the New York Mets, and the late Charles Shipman Payson, a financier and philanthropist" is basically responsible for the abortion that is this season, if you ask me. I mean, things at Shea Stadium have gotten so bad that when Steven Tyler of Aerosmith faceplanted off a stage and was airlifted to a hospital his situation was compared to that of the 2009 Mets. Matthew Olsen, you've been warned.
The Times gives its featured Vows column to the wacky tale of Anne Miller and Michael Davoli, a groom with two problems: mild Tourette's, and a history of having attended 183 Phish concerts since 1992.
The bride says it best, folks: "Tourette's is a pain, but it doesn't make life unbearable. The Phish thing is far and away something more we have to negotiate than the Tourette's." Haha, talk about a squirming coil, eh? Eh? Stun the puppy, burn the whale! Have I gotten enough Phish refs in? I dunno, I only ever owned Lawnboy, and I'll jam out to Farmhouse as much as the next person who hotboxes a car during a wedding, but this dude a) got married wearing what the Times termed "a skullcap with a Phish logo" and b) flew to Denver for a Phish concert three days before their wedding. Warning signs, people.
Elsewhere this weekend, a former Hillary Clinton aide married a former David Souter clerk; a young woman of but 25 is a way more accomplished writer than you'll ever be; we learn that it is possible to be a "Candidate in Philosophy" in "atmospheric and oceanic sciences" (hey, I think God has that on his resume too!); and in a modern day Hatfield-McCoy, we have a "bride and bridegroom, both 37, [who] work for competing online travel sites."
In honor of the ridiculous number of advanced degrees, this week we feature two overeducated couples and their egghead parents.
• "The couple met at Yale, from which they graduated, she summa cum laude": +9
• The bride has a veterinary degree with distinction from Cornell and is pursuing a PhD in comparative biomedical sciences: +6
• The bride's parents are intense sounding biomedical types: +2
• The groom is a visiting assitant professor of philosophy and history at Duke and the managing editor of the Journal of the History of Philosophy: +2
• The groom has a PhD in history and philosophy of science and "until June 2008 was an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the humanities at Yale": +3
• The groom's dad is a lecturer at the Columbia School of Law and the editor of the Futures and Derivatives Law Report: +3
TOTAL CLASS CREDITS: 25
• The bride graduated cum laude from Yale (+4) and the groom graduated magna cum laude (+3) but from lowly Rice (-1): +6
• "Later this month, the bride, 28, and the bridegroom, 30, are to begin jobs at Duke Law School … she as a lecturing fellow and he as an assistant professor. They received law degrees from Yale, where they met, and each has a master's degree from Cambridge University in England, he in land economy and she in history and the philosophy of science and medicine": +13
• The bride's mother is a professor of health economics and policy at Harvard School of Public Health and her father is the Daniel Rose professor of urban economics at MIT: +4
• The groom's father is a professor of accounting at the Kenan-Flagler Business School of UNC: +2
TOTAL CLASS CREDITS: 25.
There are no winners in academia, only tenured professors. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be in the parking garage.
[Image via Eli Valley.]