People get married. The New York Times' Weddings & Celebrations section curates their joy. And then our resident expert Phylis Nefler scores them based on a secret list of criteria we keep in a vault. It's Altarcations!

Jesus, I leave you people alone for just a few short weeks — as for what I was doing, let's just say that my plastic surgeon doesn't want me doing any activities where balls fly at my nose — and all hell breaks loose. Seriously, what is going on over there at the New York Times? Pull your shit together, people!

Actually though, I am completely pro this sort of incompetent kimono-lift, if only because it reassures me, however slightly, that my glorious mental image of the Weddings and Celebrations operation isn't too far off. (I envision, just so you know, a room of ladies peering skeptically over their bifocals at announcement submissions, occasionally pausing to consult worn leather bound address books — "I could have sworn Swoosie Remington was from Darien and not New Canaan," they sniff — while Bob Woletz sits in his office lighting copies of Town & Country on fire.)

And I want there to be a default environment of distrust and disdain, if only so I can better imagine the editorial notes accompanying sentences like "her father works for Wacoal America, the intimate-apparel company." I mean basically it just all comes down to this:

At any rate, this week's Geena Davis memorial "very nice" award goes to Kristen Olson and Joseph Lyons; I can just imagine the curt nods of approval this announcement elicited.

The wedding, between the Texan daughter-of-a-woman-named-"Linwood" and the strapping Columbia-graduate commodities salesman, took place at "the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center," where the bride was given away by her father, "one of the first analysts to call attention to the financial practices of Enron."

The pair met four years ago when one of Lyons' coworkers let him know that she was "traditional" and that he "had to call her." Contrast this with the wanton audacity of Juliette Levy, who noticed the strapping stranger David Millman on a flight from Dallas to Newark. While she did not get to sit next to him, she played it patiently:

After the flight, while waiting at the luggage carousel, Mr. Millman asked her about cab fares into New York.

"It was a nonquestion, but it started the conversation," she said. She had a town car waiting and offered him a ride.

"Mercifully, our bags took forever to come," he said.

Such a non-traditional power-woman move! (She's keeping her name.) And man, not only does she have the waiting towncar but she also was looking fine enough to want to spit game like that? Clearly I've been doing travel all wrong: these sweatpants and sleeping pills may not be the thing.

And then there's Alicia Lowery and Eric Rosenbaum, who brought their cumulative three failed marriages along with them to their first date, which was a ballroom dancing class.

WHAT. No. Why? I'm trying to think of a worst first date and I dunno, maybe a nice matinee of Antichrist? Anyway, she was so nervous she was late, and now her wedding announcement in the New York Times includes this romantic bit of prose:

He, although annoyed, was still there. "Showing up late is narcissistic," Dr. Rosenbaum said. "It's a red flag."

Oof. It's okay though: she passed "what he called the vetting process," survived their second date (a pool party in Larchmont, which sounds only marginally better than my Antichrist idea) and converted to Judaism. Gosh, I wonder what he makes her do when she's late for dinner?

There's some kind of segue here involving domestic violence and Hiram Monserrate that I'm having trouble putting my finger on, but at any rate: the announcements this week have a peculiar connection to the shitshow that is New York politics.

Jennifer Mastin and Brian Giglio, at first, seem like a particularly stand-up pair: she has a PR job and a father who retired as a fire chief in Virginia and Montana, while he earned a Fordham MBA and an NYPD dad. But we soon learn that below the calm surface lurks something more nefarious:

The couple met in 2007 when both were working for the presidential campaign of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Ms. Mastin was the deputy press secretary and director of operations, and Mr. Giglio was Mr. Giuliani's personal aide.

Shuddering. I kind of want to find Mr. Giglio and just tell him, over and over: it's not your fault. It's not your fault.

The same should probably be said to Risa Heller and Ryan Toohey, who between them have held following positions: communications director for Chuck Schumer (the bride); campaign manager for Eliot Spitzer (the groom); and communications director for Governor David A. Paterson (also the bride.) It's not your fault, either.

This week's face-off:

Brian Distelberg and Ryan McAuliffe

  • "The couple, both 26, met at Harvard, from which they both graduated, Mr. Distelberg summa cum laude": +9
  • The wedding took place at the Harvard Faculty Club: +1
  • Mr. Distelberg "is a doctoral candidate in United States history at Yale, from which he also received a master's degree in history": +4
  • Mr. McAuliffe is a second-year law student at NYU: +1
  • One set of parents are "proprietors of the Newfane Country Store" in Vermont and the other are school teachers. Aw!: +1


Arundathi Jayatilleke and Michael Gelfand

  • The pair met deep within the stairwells of Yale's Harkness Tower as they auditioned to become part of the "Guild of Carillonneurs, who play the 54 bells in the tower": +2
  • "Both were studying for bachelor's and master's degrees in molecular biology and biochemistry": +10
  • Jayatilleke went to medical school at Duke, while Gelfand is completing medical school at Cornell and has a doctorate from Rockefeller University: +4
  • Re: the belltower, the article includes the phrase "pummeled the foot pedals" and describes the bride playing a carillon version of Stairway to Heaven that "builds to an explosion of hard, fast rock": +1
  • Their first kiss was borne out of a mis-sent Instant Message to a friend named Ming: +1


Oh, to have a rock and not to roll…