Phyllis Nefler has had a very long wedding season. But she's back! Join Phyllis as she soothes her bruised feet in a balm made of equal parts scorn, envy, and four-cheese artichoke dip. Let's score the Times' Wedding Section!
You'll have to forgive me, my darlings, for the lack of wedding-related scorn these last few weeks. Trust me, though: it's much harder for me than it is for you. For I am smack dab in the middle of a wedding bender, with four ceremonies, each involving some precious form of travel, packed into six weeks.
This is after two other weddings earlier this summer. So not only am I borderline broke, what with the hotel rooms and the train tickets and the bottles of wine for pre- and post-gaming purposes and the wedding gifts, oh the wedding gifts — look, a skillet on sale for $40, down from $75, perfect! But wait, will the bride know that i bought it on sale? I think she'll know, and hmm, I wonder what she paid a head? It is at her country club, so maybe it's cheap cause it just goes on their account or whatever. Nah, she holds grudges. Better get that $40 muffin tin too, for a cutesy little breakfast buffet spread-themed present that is now costing me more than the price of the Original. Fucking. Skillet. Do they even eat eggs? — and the dresses and the pedicures and the cabs to the train station because I'm running late and the cabs from the train station because I'm hungover and oh yeah, all the ladies are chipping in for some monogrammed napkins for the bridal shower, and who do I make the check out to again?
But I'm tired, too. So very tired. I have a bruise on the bottom of my foot and I've gained 10 pounds. (Whatever, those artichoke-beef-cheese things were delicious. Which is why, in advance of being a bridesmaid next weekend (the dress has pockets, thank god) I'm shamefully involved in one of those haute hobo diets where you only drink unpasteurized juice procured from expensive East Hampton spin gyms during a four-hour window on Sunday morning, gyms which have manicured stone-set entrances that trip you by your flipflop and skin your knee and ten years hence your goddaughter will gaze upon her mother's wedding photos and say "why does Auntie Phyllis have a bandaid?"
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The opposite of me right now was Erika Ebbel in 2004, which is when the trim MIT graduate was named Miss Massachusetts.
Using the age old "my friends signed me up for it!" excuse (yeah, same with me and the juice cleanse!), Ebbel talks about how she found herself in the pageant world, concluding that it's not all bad — the areas of competition "are important in life." Yes, how else would you know to pose like so?
Ebbel, who is now a PhD candidate in biochemistry and "the chief executive and founder of Science From Scientists, a nonprofit organization based in Boston that sends scientists into classrooms in grades 4 through 8 to give lectures and to perform laboratory work," married Colin Angle, another MIT grad. I love his job description:
Mr. Angle, 43, is a founder, the chief executive and the chairman of iRobot, a company in Bedford, Mass., that has developed robots for home vacuuming (the Roomba) and for industrial and military uses.
Parenthetical aside of the day! Who cares about industry and the military. The Roomba! I love the Roomba. I just got one! It has made me late for work multiple times because I just stand and watch it go, like a Brooklyn mama gazing adorably at her kid as he dismantles the espresso machine at Starbucks.
It's a good time to be a hot show-woman who hopes to settle down: we had the Knicks City Dancer from the other week, the Miss Massachusetts, and now also a Rockette: Alana Niehoff, who met her Law and Order-appearing actor husband Matthew DeCapua when they were both working at a restaurant in Lincoln Square. Whatta town!
Two lovely ladies who've known each other since high school on Maine's Mount Desert Island were joined this weekend in a commitment ceremony made bittersweet by the fact that one of the brides' fathers has thus far unsuccessfully fought for marriage equality.
She is a daughter of Bonnie Y. Damon and Senator Damon of Trenton, Me. Her mother teaches the third grade at Trenton Elementary School. In 2009, her father [a Democratic state senator in Maine whose district includes the coastal Hancock County] was a sponsor of a marriage equality bill that became state law and was later rejected in a referendum.
Fight the good fight, Senator Damon! Seriously, may his work one day be recognized as an important step to the ultimate passage of such a bill.
The featured couple this weekend, Nina Planck and Rob Knaufelt, was fine I guess but I just couldn't get into it, no matter how much "[Rob Kaufelt's] ideas are like frogs' eggs." I mean, super cute kids and nice story I guess but I dunno, this was just sort of a weird passage:
Mr. Kaufelt brought the age issue up with Nicolette Niman, who is married to his friend Bill Niman. "There are a lot of advantages, especially if the woman is successful on her own," Mrs. Niman, 22 years younger than her rancher husband, recalled telling Mr. Kaufelt. "A lot of men your own age are threatened; older men are very appreciative."
Mr. Kaufelt certainly appreciated Ms. Planck. "Nina's a truly independent woman, a post-post-modern woman," he said. "I lusted after Nina, and still do, in a very primal way."
Whoa pal, TMI! Who do you think you are, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman?
A much more heartrending show of love came courtesy of Modupe Akinola and Craig Robinson, who went church shopping together and developed a bond so close that when Robinson underwent life-threatening surgery to repair a blood clot in his spine, he granted Akinola, then his girlfriend, power of attorney. ""I knew I'd be there," she said. "I just knew I would."
Elsewhere this weekend: first he beat them in softball, then he beat them in flip-cup "- a drinking game -" and then he stole their women; I like the sounds of this "Old Catholic Church"; an offhand zinger about woodwind players threatens to tear a relationship apart; not to be insensitive, but maybe this isn't the best name for a language learning center? ; it's always adorable when a 23-year old wants to "is named "Brackett Badger Denniston III"; and aw man, poor Patrick van Keerbergen, just trying to impress Mimi Choy-Brown!
After much e-mailing, their first date came three months later at a restaurant in Chinatown. They shared a beef dish boiled in red-pepper broth. Mr. van Keerbergen, reluctant to admit his low tolerance for spicy food, began perspiring heavily.
Ms. Choy-Brown pretended not to notice.
"He was using his chopsticks to slowly take all of the hot peppers off of everything he ate, and he was sweating, blowing his nose and drinking a lot of water," she recalled. "He was trying to be very subtle, but I noticed and didn't want to laugh at him."
Remind anyone else of this?
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This week's Faceoff:
• "Officiating was Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit": +2
• "Until last week, Mr. Kessler was a law clerk to Judge Ginsburg": +1
• The bride graduated summa cum laude from Penn and the groom summa cum laude from Harvard: +11
• The couple met at Harvard Law School, from which both received law degrees, the bridegroom magna cum laude: +10
• Both are to become associates at fancy law firms this fall: +2
• The groom's mother is a professor of Renaissance history: +1
• The pair "sat together at a dinner hosted by Elena Kagan, who was then the dean of Harvard Law (and now an associate justice on the Supreme Court)": +2
• Kessler proposed with an onion ring: -3
• "The bride and bridegroom, both 25, met at Princeton, from which they graduated with highest honors, and from which the bridegroom also received a doctorate in economics": +15
• "The bride is pursuing a law degree and a doctorate in political science at Harvard": +5
• The bride's mother is a professor of Spanish and film and her father is "the dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, and associate professor of Hispano literatures, at Hampshire College in Amherst": +3
• The bridegroom "is a junior fellow in economics and philosophy at the Harvard Society of Fellows, a three-year program for a small group of scholars": +3
The couple met in a Latin American politics class in fall 2003, where Mr. Weyl, who traveled to class on inline skates, noticed how well she was doing in class, and was also intrigued by her fashion sense: "She has a Latin style with very big and unusual types of earrings. Always different, with a lot of detail," he said.
That whole paragraph: +2
• The pair talked again "over guacamole and sangria at the Christmas party for the Latin American studies program": +1
• "They soon also got caught up in the presidential primaries and decided to take a trip up to New Hampshire to campaign for Wesley Clark": +1
• "During the six-hour ride in Ms. Holland's mother's car, called Tallulah, they listened to old Libertarian speeches from the 1960s and to John F. Kennedy's inaugural address": +1