If love is a battlefield, and weddings are your infantry missions, Phyllis Nefler is Sherman, burning up the NYT's Weddings & Celebrations. Well, she just earned her Downfall meme: we've found our first weddings trend. OOH-RAH, Matrimony Marines.
It's finally happened. I've spotted a trend. I feel winking and sleuthy and knowingly with-it. I'm a cross between Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair and Allen Salkin. I'm available for freelance work.
You ready for this?
The root plant, part of the same family as mustard and wasabi, is a delicious addition to the Bloody Mary you are drinking right now, an important part of Passover, and an alleged aphrodisiac. (Gardening website Planet Natural is appropriately blasé on that last point: "It was also used by the Romans as an aphrodisiac. Although, what didn't they use as an aphrodisiac?")
It is also a trend. Thrice between this week and last, horseradish has been spotted in the wedding announcements in one form or another. And three is a trend, and thus it is so.
Last week, Melissa Johnson and Timothy Lagasse drank horseradish-infused vodka on their first date and ultimately held the condiment so dear to their union that they downed shots of same vodka at the altar.
For this week's featured couple Laura Strauss (of the Farrar, Straus & Giroux Strauses) and John Alexander, the horseradish plays a slightly more tangential but no less important role, appearing in a list of several vodka flavors served by the couple at their reception. Vodka because in Soviet Russia, shots take you:
Ms. Straus has, according to friends, a Russian soul. She is "a person of ‘strast,' of passions," said Paul Greenberg, a friend and the author of a love story partly set in Russia.
(I like Paul Greenberg's set of credentials there, by the way. Replace Russia with Brooklyn and everyone's an expert.)
Straus's Russian Soul's online dating page, which contained "lesser-known lines from Shakespeare's Sonnet 116", caught the Oxford-educated Alexander's attention, and the two hit it off on their first date when she learned he had studied Russian in boarding school.
Straus continued to date others, to the dismay of Alexander, but later we learn this probably wasn't the worst idea given the small detail that his divorce didn't become final until a year and a half after their first date.
Anyway then they got into some real Russian culture:
Inspired by a Russian friend, the couple became regulars at a Russian-style bathhouse in Lower Manhattan, where he and Ms. Straus would whack each other with supple oak branches, a method of stimulating circulation.
The largest manufacturer of prepared horseradish in the United States is Gold's, a kosher condiment company based in Hempstead, NY. That's "Gold's" as in newlywed Melissa Gold, the fifth generation of her family to work at the company.
Gold met her husband Adam Gottlieb "the old-fashioned way – set up by their maternal grandmothers, who were in the same Yiddish club at their retirement community in Monroe Township." (I'll just point out that a photograph of her "surrounded by the company's line of mustards in squeeze bottles" was involved in that particular meeting of the minds.)
After some charming fumbling and bumbling on the first few dates the couple finally became serious after Passover, much to the great delight of their sweet bubbes. It took until then, notes the Times parenthetically, because Passover was "Ms. Gold's busy season with stepped-up horseradish production."
You may wonder why the Times is returning to a topic that it already covered (twice!) a month ago. I guess now the "cubs" are pursuing the "cougars" and not the other way around, based on some anecdotal evidence about attendence at a couple of cougar speed dating events and cougar cruises? I dunno, my biggest takeaway was that Benjamin Franklin liked sexing the older ladies because they were "so grateful!"
The cougarticle was made all the more random by the fact that the biggest older woman-younger man age gap in any of the adjacent wedding announcements was one year. On the other hand, bring on the intergenerational gays! Andre Caraco and David Azulay have 12 years in between them, William Gorman and Joseph Nardone are 15 years apart, and James Godfrey and Gregory Miller are separated by 17. Who's the trend piece writer now?
Elsewhere this weekend, Donald Rumsfield's speechwriter and special assistant entered into a second union of lies; this bride has the most random (and thorough!) set of freelance assignments that I've ever seen listed in one announcement; I'm still trying to figure out a way to weasel myself into a Birthright trip; a decorated major in the Army got a nice homecoming; if your iPod keeps breaking you have this guy to blame; and Roger from the final cast of Rent is lightin' some candles of his own.
This week's faceoff is not even a contest, just to make that clear right up front. But while the runner-up couple might not have stood a chance against the winning powerhouse couple in the conventional points system, they have healthy power-Brooklyn cred. I can say this because I once wrote a love story based partly in Brooklyn. In my head.
• The bride graduated cum laude from Vassar: +3
• The bride received a master's in nonprofit and NGO leadership at Penn: +4
• The bride grew up in Brooklyn: +1
• The bride's mother is an education director at Berkeley Carroll School: +2
• The bride's father is an architect: +2
• The groom went to Wesleyan, the most annoying liberal arts school in the US: +10
• The groom works in the documentary department at HBO: +2
• The groom's dad is former New York Times Hollywood institution Bernard Weinraub: +2
• The groom's mom is former Washington Post food reporter Judith Weinraub: +2
• The bride is keeping her name: +1
Total Power-Brooklyn Points: 29
• The bride graduated cum laude from Princeton and received an MBA at Dartmouth: +8
• The groom graduated from Georgetown, from which he also received a law degree, and received a master's degree in public administration from Harvard: +6
• The couple was married at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande by an Episcopal priest: +2
• "The bride is a descendant of William A. Rockefeller Jr., who with his brother John D. Rockefeller were among the founders of the Standard Oil Company": +3
• On the other hand, William A. is no John D.: -1
• "His mother is the secretary of Health and Human Services. Until May, she was the governor of Kansas.": +3
• I have an insane crush on Kathleen Sebelius and her hair of blinding perfection: +2
• No seriously, she must have looked so good at the wedding: +1
• The bridegroom's maternal grandfather is a former governor of Ohio, his paternal grandfather was a congressman who represented western Kansas, and his dad is a federal magistrate judge: +5
• The couple met in Iowa in 2003 while working on John Kerry's campaign: +2
Total New American Monarchy points: 31
My only issue is that I'm bummed the Times didn't take full advantage of the whole meeting-on-the-Kerry-campaign. Because really, they totally could have worked in this.