Don't mistake a tryptophan coma for Phyllis Nefler's mellow; Thanksgiving weekend involves sitting in Mama Nefler's basement and packing a round of the NYT Weddings & Celebrations. This week: Trekkies, West Wing fans, and Scopes Monkey celebrities.
"The way to not end up divorced with four children is to not get married."
On this weekend in particular, this gem could have come from any number of mouths straight to your ear: the drawn, harried aunt with the sullen kids; a character played by Ray Romano on TV in the background; the gossiping blonde at your 20-year; your wisecracking grandfather, killing it.
And so to have it nestled in a Vows column is almost overkill, just one more nugget of depressing realist wisdom to top off a weekend containing many. Having spent several days discussing she and dissecting he, ducking in and out of bathrooms and judgmental conversations, and receiving advice and opinions both solicited and un, I am running low on the prying and meritophiliac stomach acids necessary to properly digest the back pages of the Sunday Styles.
So forgive me in advance. This will be quick. The NJ Transit is going to suck this afternoon. Too many Vera Bradley bags; two of them mine. [Ed. "Vera Bradley?" SHUT UP, CORNELL.]
Our preemptively single speaker, as it turns out, was film producer Kelly Macmanus, who for over 4 years periodically flaked on Jonathan Funke, a "debonair Harvard grad … who reads three daily newspapers, runs marathons and habitually quotes 'The West Wing'".
"Marla Hooch. What a hitter!"
Her excuses for stringing him along / staving off divorce involved, variously, Harrison Ford, political campaigns, Kevin Spacey, grandmother's funerals, and private planes. Maybe I need to diversify my portfolio beyond "have 2 go 2 dentist!" But at long last, after setting the mood by making jokes about urinary disorders, Funke converted in the soft glow of his office's Xerox machine.
Anyway, Macmanus's axiom is kind of the tone-setter for a weekend that features a number of folks whose previous marriages ended in divorce. Like power-divorcee yinzers Trish Ramirez and John Whitehill.
The bride comes from an ACLU lineage straight out of your high school history textbook: her father was the lead counsel in a 1962 landmark case that ended state-prescribed prayer in public schools, and her mother's father was involved in the Scopes Monkey trial. And the groom, who has been divorced twice, that old tomcat, has among many other things a masters degree in E-commerce, which reminds me: bid on the Most Important Literary Document of Our Time on eBay TODAY!
This weekend's other Depressing Truth is brought to us care of a bad blind date out in LA that admitted to Andrea Sabesin that "it was hard to settle for one person because he knew there would always be more women coming along." Excuse me while I clutch my heart and digress:
I spent a good 60% of my waking hours on Friday watching the incredibly addictive TLC series Say Yes To The Dress in my parents basement and one common refrain from the no-nonsense, over-lipliner-ed, bifocal-peering-over salesladies was this, to an indecisive bride: "Hon, choosing a dress is like choosing a man. Once you found him you stopped looking. You didn't keep looking for new men." (One girl, confused: "But he's been my only boyfriend." She didn't end up buying the dress.) But anyway, the cloudier implications of this otherwise brisk advice were too devastating for me to spend too much time considering.
Luckily for Sabesin, because she seems far too nice to be dealing with douches who would actually say that on a first date, she found Scott Mantz, the film critic for "Access Hollywood" as well as "'The Billy Bush Show' on the Westwood One radio network." I love that that's his job. And besides being a marathon runner (I think at this point the designation is implied for any man over 40 who shows up in the Times?) Mantz is also, and here comes the big reveal, a Trekkie.
"I don't need to be with someone who loves 'Star Trek', just someone who allows me to love it," explains Scott, and isn't that just it?
And so he got even better in Sabesin: someone who "surprised him by dressing up as Uhura, the "Star Trek" pinup character, much to his inner-nerd delight."
No offense to anyone, but the rest of this week's couples are kind of just happy to be here. It's kind of an awkward weekend to get married, no?
But I suppose Ana Yang and Casey Muller, a pair of Facebook employees with Harvard and MIT degrees, are much richer and more influential than I'll ever be (she was Employee #1 at FriendFeed!). I didn't need to know the gory details of their black mold "situation" though, Rosalie R. Radomsky.
And I was pretty impressed with the credentials of Jocelyn Kirsch and Evan Guggenheim — phrases like "nurse in the pediatric epilepsy clinic" and "from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology" piqued my interest — and they even had me with the parenthetical aside about grandmothers known for awesome brisket and noodle kugel. But then the last third of the announcement devolved into borderline offensive food porn the likes of which I haven't read since my middle school Spanish teacher let us watch Como Agua Para Chocolate with the subtitles on.
Anyway, I've managed to get all the topics in here: divorce, angry relatives, food porn, Star Trek, and mold. Happy Thanksgiving! In honor of family overload, this week's face-off features two couples whose parents are given no role in the announcement whatsoever.
• The bride graduated from Georgetown and received a joint masters in health policy, planning and financing from LSE and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LOVE that name - so very very British): +2
• The bride received her masters in nursing at Yale: +4
• The bride works in the neonatal intensive care unit :( at New York Presbyterian: +1
• The groom graduated from Rutgers and received a master's degree in cell and developmental biology at Rutgers and UMDNJ: +1
• The groom earned a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton: +4
• The groom works at a research unit of Columbia University +1
• One bride went to Princeton and received a PhD from Yale: +7
• The other graduated from Wisconsin and received a PhD from Columbia: +5
• Ms. Trumpler is the director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies" at Yale as well as a senior lecturer in women's gender and sexuality studies: +5
• Ms. Dudley is a professor of American Studies and anthropology at Yale: +2
• She has written two grim-sounding books: +1
TOTAL: +20 oh and also a rousing middle finger to all of the relatives, including my own, that anyone may have encountered this holiday weekend who continue to approach the issue of gay marriage with such frighteningly closed minds. I would threaten that history will judge them harshly, but I'd also like to think that the people who will be looking back in retrospect are the same ones who today manage to avoid such binary forces of thought.
In other words, NEVER eat the piece of pie I was saving ever again.