Is This the Most Unhinged New York Times "Vows" Column Ever?S

Over the weekend, the New York Times "Vows" section published a 1,765-word celebration of one couple’s love that was so aggressively serene—so gratingly ethereal—it just may be the most irksome in the history of the medium.

Between its recipe for a natural abortifacient cocktail, its emphasis on the bride’s overwhelming beauty (“she probably doesn’t have many” bad hair days, the Times observes), and its dash of tragic manslaughter, it's certainly staggeringly bizarre.

Which makes it, for the "Vows" section, weirdly typical? So we're wondering: How well do you know the "Vows" section? We have transformed the most surreal lines of the article into multiple choice questions. Can you accurately fill in each blank?


1. People describe Erika Halweil, a longtime yoga teacher in the Hamptons, as someone who__________________.

  • A) is as flexible in the court room as she is in the studio
  • B) would fix your wagon as soon as your Qi
  • C) has a lot of backbone in every way

2. Ms. Halweil, 36, grew up in New York in a tightknit family of four who loved to spend weekends together ________ in Central Park, watching old Laurel and Hardy movies or surf-casting on Long Island.

  • A) picnicking by moonlight
  • B) constructing miniature sundials
  • C) foraging for elderberries

3. While her marriage — and also her yoga practice— were foundering, she began regularly running into Corey De Rosa, an intense, thoughtful _______ in Sag Harbor. “I was bumping into him three or four times a week, randomly, outside the post office, on a bench on Main Street,” she said. “He was so inspired and I was pathless.”

  • A) chandler
  • B) sage
  • C) yoga teacher

4. Three years later, [Mr. De Rosa] opened his own Ashtanga studio, Tapovana, in Sag Harbor. He painted the walls dark red, installed almost-black wood floors and put yellow candles everywhere. “It was like a _____,” he said. “It took you somewhere else.”

  • A) cave
  • B) crypt
  • C) womb

5. “You always need to go a little further than you think you can in order to make progress,” said Mr. De Rosa, who in a single conversation might discuss Hindu deities, the connection between the _____ and the ego, an energy healer he admires, Indian spices, juice cleanses and his ideas about love (timing is everything).

  • A) dream cycle
  • B) liver
  • C) knees

6. When she recounts the accident (the child died and Ms. Halweil was not charged) you can really see her ______________.

  • A) disconcerting, almost cheeky insouciance
  • B) sober, naked regret
  • C) calm, philosophical and open demeanor

7. In the fall he ____________________. “I just had this realization that it wasn’t time for me and Erika to even be friends,” he said. “I chose not to spend any more time around her. Our relationship was totally innocent but it was getting stronger.”

  • A) ceased selling candles at the seasonal market near her home
  • B) disinvited her from a 5-day floating spa retreat in Hurleyville
  • C) asked her to stop taking classes at Tapovana

8. “This is one of the ways I seduced her: I would cook all the time at her cottage,” said Mr. De Rosa, who is so knowledgeable about food he can tell you what to eat to feel more grounded, to __________ or to sleep better.

  • A) prolong joy
  • B) induce visions
  • C) get over a broken heart

9. “It’s a combination of really loving being around each other; _________ has a lot to do with it; and openness,” he said. “We’ve been so open about even the deepest secrets. That’s one of the keys to really strengthening a relationship because you’re breaking barriers and clearing blockages.”

  • A) the willingness to experiment sexually
  • B) daring sexuality
  • C) perfect sexual chemistry

10. Their daughter, Neelu, was born at home on June 15, 2011, shortly after Ms. Halweil drank a concoction of _____________ prescribed by her midwife to speed contractions.

  • A) chili powder, red raspberry leaf tea, balsamic vinegar, and saffron
  • B) papaya, mugwort, cranberry juice, and black pepper
  • C) castor oil, pineapple juice, vodka and baking soda

11. As 150 guests looked on and bamboo flute music played, Ms. Halweil appeared wearing a backless dress designed by Nili Lotan on a lawn decorated with modern sculptures including an enormous one by Urs Fischer of a yellow __________.

  • A) Pac Man
  • B) yo-yo
  • C) teddy bear

12. The bride described the color of her dress as “_______.”

  • A) fish scale-silver
  • B) bat wing-taupe
  • C) pigeon-blood red

13. He had on a Nehru-style suit the shade of ________, lined with jewels around the lapels and neck.

  • A) winter aconite
  • B) snow white shrimp
  • C) coconut milk

14. The ceremony was led by the bride’s brother, who is the editor of Edible East End, a regional food magazine. He shared several pieces of advice about marriage that he had collected beforehand from family members and friends: think, laugh and love as often as possible; save money;___________; let the other person win sometimes; and, during difficult times, remember, this too shall pass.

  • A) kiss passionately to strengthen the immune system
  • B) make love in the sunshine to ward off rickets
  • C) check each other for ticks nightly to prevent Lyme disease

15. **Bonus Question** What headline accompanied this story in print?

  • A) Two Lovers, Two Souls, Entwined
  • B) Stretching Inward, Love Is Found
  • C) Within Each Other, a Soul Mate

Answers:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15: C

9: also C

[Image via Shutterstock]