Gawker Weddings Expert Phyllis Nefler has #GoneSkiing again, leaving me at the Altar(cations) with the NYT's Weddings & Celebrations in my hand. Thankfully, our J-School Embed and onetime weekend editor Hunter Walker did me a solid. Hunter, be fearless.
I think I might be one of the first guys to try their hand at writing this column. [Ed. Technically true. But back in the day when Leon Neyfakh and Jon Liu did weekends, they posted Ad-Hoc Altarcations, which pitted them against the New York Post's weddings. It was....glorious. So don't fuck this up.] Weddings are a much bigger deal for women. [Ed. You're fired.] Thanks to the toy, movie, and magazine companies, girls spend their whole lives being force-fed bridal fantasies. Without that background, I'm not nearly as well-versed in matrimonial customs as Phyllis and the other women who've written in this space over the years, but I'm glad to add the male perspective here. As a guy, I think I find the people in these pages even more contemptible than our regular Weddings experts do.
[Ed. Hunter, I'm totally absolving myself of any responsibility from anything that comes after this sentence.]
Unmarried men are on the bottom of the social totem pole. A recent report from the Pew Research Center breaks down these "New Economics of Marriage." The data shows that, while the wage gap hasn't completely closed, women are making major gains and dudes are on the decline. Wages for married women are growing faster than their husbands' salaries. Salaries for single women of all education levels are rising faster than the incomes of bachelors. Unmarried men with no post-secondary education have actually seen their wages drop. For the first time, more women are graduating from college than men. This may be good for campus bros, but the rest of us single guys are screwed.
At this rate, we'll be making less than the ladies in a few years time. This especially sucks for us since the current job market is brutal and centuries of sexist dating practices mean it's still hard for guys to attract a mate without stable financial prospects.
Single men like me aren't doing well in the workforce and we're definitely on the outs in the dating game. Society has progressed to a point where the balance between feminism and sexism allows women to choose between climbing the corporate ladder or taking advantage of the old system and seeking out a sugar daddy.
For example, among the brides this week's edition of vows there are flacks, financial analysts, and executives, but there's also a 27 year-old community theater actress who married the chief executive of "Mapleton Communications, a company... that owns and operates 40 radios stations" on the West Coast
and a 25 year-old "freelance photographer" who married the 44 year-old senior partner of a Dallas law firm.* Men don't have this dual set of options.
All of this means that for guys like me, twenty somethings with questionable job prospects and more debt than savings, marriage often seems like an unattainable goal. Stereotypical guys supposedly fear commitment, but most of the dudes I know are much happier when they're in relationships. Settling down means getting laid regularly and having someone who helps us avoid the male tendencies toward binge drinking and living in our own filth.
That's why, as a financially unstable bachelor, I have an especially cold place in my heart for the wealthy newlyweds who feel the need to show off their relative financial security and allegedly happy relationships in the pages of a national newspaper.
In this week's Vows Wai Gen Yee and Lorene Yue provided an extra meta example of the blend of self-promotion and self-love that's showcased in the Times' wedding coverage. Their story included a picture of the couple at their wedding holding pictures of themselves. It was a picture inside a picture of an egotistical celebration used to illustrate a column that is essentially, little more than an egotistical celebration. Contemplating this media whore mobius strip is enough to make your head explode:
Their story also included a tale that may be the all-time most completely unromantic recounting of a proposal ever:
"As the years passed, the couple rarely talked about marriage or commitment. Last July, as Ms. Yue's 39th birthday was approaching, Mr. Yee, who wanted to be a father, did a rational analysis.
'I was thinking, ‘She's getting kind of old,' ' he said. "I would either have to have children with Lorene immediately or find a new girlfriend and start the whole process all over."
For her part, Ms. Yue said, 'I figured it would be something we'd do in a couple of years...'
Instead, he pulled out a jewelry box one night over dinner and caught Ms. Yue by surprise...'
'I think my first words were ‘You must be joking,' ' Ms. Yue said. He sat back down in his chair. She eventually said yes."
So, who among this week's crop of Times couples is the most obnoxiously ostentatious? Let's score this sucker and find out!
Both work in media +2
Her mother teaches at a Montessori School in New York +1
Their wedding took place in Tribeca +2
The bride is the "descendant of George Mason, an author of the Bill of Rights" +4
He graduated from Cornell +2
The groom is the "founder of Dolce-Goldin, a public relations firm" +2
Both work in media +2
The bride's mother's is named "Muffit C. Allen" +4
Her father's first name is the initials "E.P." +1
His father is the President of a home-building company +2
Their wedding took place in South Bend, Indiana -2
This was an epic battle between two pairs of flacks. In the end, Betsy Burton & Davidson Goldin won by being just a bit more high-powered, a lot more blue-blooded, and by not having their wedding in the Midwest.
Hunter Walker is Gawker's J-School Embed. Phyllis Nefler will be back next weekend.
*The bride's parent's were the law partner and the photographer.