This weekend's New York Times wedding section tells the salacious tale of two people who coldly dumped their spouses for each other, and true love. How dare they disgrace the sanctity of the New York Times wedding section!
Four years ago, former WNBC anchor Carol Anne Riddell, then 40, met the handsome president of media sales John Partilla, 42, at the Upper West Side school their kids attended. They became friends and, as rich, skinny parents, they fell in love, obviously.
In May 2008, Mr. Partilla invited her for a drink at O'Connell's, a neighborhood bar. She said she knew something was up, because they had never met on their own before.
"I've fallen in love with you," he recalled saying to her. She jumped up, knocking a glass of beer into his lap, and rushed out of the bar. Five minutes later, he said, she returned and told him, "I feel exactly the same way." Then she left again.
They claim they didn't have an affair, but quickly separated from their spouses. "I did a terrible thing as honorably as I could," Partilla told the Times. The two divorced from spouses 1.0 and got married. In the announcement they were defensive but unapologetic: "I wanted to get up in the morning and read the paper with him," Riddell said.
This story caused a bunch of people to spit orange juice all over their Sunday Times. "Easily the saddest story in the New York Times today," tweeted John Moe, host of the public radio show "Future Tense." "Dig the joyless onlookers." Slate film critic Dana Stevens found it "staggeringly monstrous:" "I'm waiting for the Modern Love column that's a rebuttal from the abandoned spouses."
Others were happy for a wedding announcement that didn't read like a well-written LinkedIn profile: "Better than 'we were led to each other by careerist unicorns dropping rose petals,'" tweeted financial journalist Heidi Moore.
But how scandalous is this, really? Gawker weddings expert Phyllis Nefler, who has spent countless hours poring over the Times wedding section, explained that the Times has been probing the darker side of the "how did you meet" story for a while:
It's like the logical extension of a storyline the Times has been building towards for years. They constantly feature stories with questionable timelines that leave the reader thinking, with horror, 'Wait—what about the guy she was living with when they met at the Purim party? Here they just went all out.
The traditional wedding announcement rubs the reader's face mercilessly in a couple's perfection; this one does the same thing with their flaws. Which one would you rather read if you were the guy left behind at the Purim party?