Phyllis Nefler took a break from lounging by the pool issuing bon mots to the assembled C-list celebrities at her feet to score today's New York Times wedding announcements. It is Memorial Day weekend. Wedding season has begun in earnest.
Ah, Memorial Day weekend: the pleasantly warm and mellow gateway drug to the sweaty, pulsating heroin of the harder summer season. SUVs are loaded with Vera Bradley bags, white jeans are pulled from forgotten shelves, and the phrase "summer anthem" is bandied about with easygoing optimism rather than hateful derision.
As is the phrase "I have a wedding this weekend." By August, most folks between the ages of 25 and 40, down to their last dollars and their last nerves, will openly despise weddings and all they comprise: the room blocks, the registries, the receptions, even the romance.
But it is only May, and summer stretches ahead of us like a verdant open road. Our friends are in love, and we love them, and so we tolerate the hassle, the expense, the monotony of conversation at the motley dinner tables. We vaguely know this will not last, but we ignore that fact for now. We are glowing pregnant women, all of us, and we have forgotten the pain of childbirth. But make no mistake: we are well on our way to being torn apart.
This is the one year anniversary of this particular iteration of Altarcations, by the way. I don't know if I'm delighted or ashamed. I'd love to celebrate the birthday with a thoughtful, loving post, but fuck that! This will be a quick and dirty hit replete with random awards. It's the middle of my long weekend and I've got some translucent skin that needs a scorch. So do you, my pretties. Go outside and redden in the sun, and while you're at it chug some wine. If you drink it from a coffee mug then no one has to know.
First things first, a wonky note: is the Times trying to expand its wedding coverage, or are people just out of town? Several new bylines adorn the pages — welcome, John Harney, Elaine Louie, and Margaux Laskey! — and I look forward to rolling my eyes at their kickers and play-by-plays about how she emailed him but then he didn't write back right away but then he did and then they dated and seriously what's your point? I also like that their names sound like Gawkensian pseudonyms, which reminds me: word UP to the two mothers of grooms this weekend who bear the first name Phyllis. Your sons are angels and don't worry, they love you more than they do their brides.
When it comes to names, the Award for Most WTF? Detail in an Announcement goes to Autumn Adkins and R. Vann Graves, son of "the late Albert Van Graves II," which for some reason compels the Times to point out that "his father…spelled his middle name differently." Okay, Captain Obvious!
The Call is Coming From Inside the Building Award, given to the New York Times employee who best worms their way onto the page, goes to national security reporter Mark Mazzetti, who graduated from Duke and Oxford and is marrying a dentist bride with degrees from Brown, NYU, and Columbia. (This narrowly beat out NYT sportslady Juliet Macur, who got made an honest woman this weekend herself.)
The Nobody Tell Joe Biden About This One Award goes to Salony Patel and Maulik Majmudar, for this sentence: "He is a son of Neela D. Majmudar and Maulik Majmudar of Germantown, Md., where they own two 7-Eleven stores." Say it ain't so, Joe!
The Hatefuck Award, presented annually to the least-cute-meet-cute anecdote, goes to Dawn Baxter and Derrin Woodhouse, who seemed to really hit it off on their first hangout:
To top it off, Ms. Baxter said that Mr. Woodhouse did not even offer to help pay for gas or tolls.
"It was not a good first impression," said Mr. Woodhouse, adding that they were dating other people then, and glad to be rid of each other.
Aw, we never really grow out of the whole cooties on the playground thing, huh?
The The "Oh, I Didn't See You There, Mister Hired Photographer!" Award, for Most Startled and Open-Mouthed Portrait goes to Stacy Rukeyser and Clark Peterson, a television writer (for "Greek") and film producer (for "Monster" — which I just realized is NOT the same movie as the one where Billy Bob Thornton bones Halle Berry). Rukeyser is a double winner today, actually, also taking home the coveted Melissa Rivers Cup, presented to the woman whose mama sounds the most delightfully batty:
Her mother, now retired, founded A Drop In the Bucket, a business in Greenwich, Conn., that specialized in herbal supplements and vitamins for horses.
The related (har) award, The Happy Pappy Memorial Scholarship Fund, is earned by Anne Farland, whose grandfather "as ambassador to Pakistan in 1971 helped Henry A. Kissinger secretly enter China to prepare for President Richard M. Nixon's visit there." I'm going to assume there were badass secret assassinations involved.
As should be expected, the Jewiest Jews Who Ever Jewed Prize, given to the couple that best exemplifies the tenets and values of being the jewiest Jews who ever jewed, was a highly competitive battle.
On the surface, you would think it would go to Rabbi Erin Ruth Glazer and Rabbi Joseph Aaron Skloot ("Rabbi Glazer and Rabbi Skloot said that they had once sworn to themselves that they would never fall in love with fellow clergy members." Man, I hope they keep kosher better than they keep personal pledges!)
I mean, we've got the whole double rabbi thing, the participation in their wedding of two other rabbis, a mother of the bride who is a preschool teacher at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center — get 'em while they're young! — and a mother of the groom who was a cantor at Temple Beth Emeth v'Ohr Progressive Shaari Zedek. How could they not go home with the trophy?
Well, I just think their announcement lacks that extra oomph, that happy chutzpah, of Julie Goldman and David Weinfeld, two young pups who must have made their bubbas kvell, both attending Harvard. The bride will begin med school at Columbia, while the groom "is pursuing doctorates in history and Hebrew and Judaic studies at New York University." (He builds on an undergraduate foundation, having done his college thesis on American Jewish humor.)
His mother — Phyllis Zelkowitz!! — is a director at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, outdone only by the father of the bride, who is on the board of the Boston chapter of the American Jewish Committee.
And, in the grand finale:
Soon, he was ready to employ a litmus test by inviting her to his apartment to watch "Curb Your Enthusiasm." He says that he identifies with its creator and star, Larry David, and his fondness for the series is such that he chose a roommate at NYU at least in part because the roommate was also a fan.
And finally, the Thin Line Between Madcap and Maddening Award, given to the person who expertly manages to land on the lovable-rather-than-loathsome side of the battle, is hereby awarded to Jonathan Bresman, whom I think I want to marry after reading the thing.
So, the guy graduated cum laude from Harvard and is working towards a PhD in communication and education from Columbia, and he has had quite possibly the most whimsical job in the world: after working at Mad magazine and writing a book on the art of Star Wars, he now works at Hasbro in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, coming up with "fictional narratives for the company's new products that can be used in games as well as films and television shows."
When he first met his beloved, Nellie Zupancic, he tried to woo her by playing with a party balloon.
And, and and and and AND:
A long exchange of email messages followed. About a month after the wedding he asked her to a concert in Central Park when she was visiting New York.
"He carries around a very, very large backpack at all times and I said, 'What is in your backpack?'" Ms. Zupancic said. "And he brought out some Legos and I thought, I must really like this person if I'm going to accept this as normal."
She added, "We made a Lego dinosaur together."
Jesus. Jonathan, if you're out there, call me! I know you're married and all, but I see no reason why we can't be platonic best friends. I have LOTS of old K'Nex.
And now, the week's Faceoff.
• The bride and groom both graduated from Columbia: +5
• The bride received a masters in poli sci from Yale; the groom in history from Harvard: +7
• The bride is a doctoral student in poli sci at Yale; the groom in history at Harvard: +7
• The bride's father is a law firm partner: +1
• The groom's mother retired as a professor of sociology and gender and women's studies at Connecticut College, and is completing a Fulbright fellowship in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: +2
• His father is the president of the American Society of Criminology: +1
• The wedding was performed at Harvard: +1
• The couple's combined age is only 51 (+1), and already between them they have two Harvard undergraduate degrees (+7); the bride cum laude (+1) and the groom magna cum laude (+3): +12, and…
• …also the groom, on Thursday, received a medical degree and MBA from Harvard: +6
• The groom is to join McKinsey and the bride works at Goldman Sachs: +2
• The bride's father is a founder and manager of the Carlyle Group, the Washington investment management firm: +1
• "He is also the chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, a vice chairman of the board of Lincoln Center, and a member of the Smithsonian board of regents": +4
• The bride's mother is "the chief executive and a founder of the Alaska Native Arts Foundation": +1
Happy holidays, kiddos. Here's some seasonal tuneage for ya. Won't you please promise to wear sunscreen, seatbelts, and condoms this weekend?