Listen to Beyonce’s fire set during the first weekend of Coachella while reading this. Actually, listen to and watch it instead of reading this. It was amazing.
So, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything here about the Weddings section (or, come to think of it, anything at all here). Have I been neglecting this unread and joyously ignored (by all including me) blog? Yes. Have I still been reading the New York Times Weddings section with the self-loathing guilt of a chocoholic who continues to scoff M&Ms on the sly while swearing he’s going to give it all up? (Yes, on both counts.)
Still, it’s hard to ignore the section when Spring is springing, even if, in our mid-30s with graying hair and less motivation to live, some of us don’t feel so young any more. In these days of global warming and white pants at New Year’s Eve parties, the change of seasons in New York isn’t what it was. Even in these confusing times, as surely as the look of confusion that eclipses my face every time anyone mentions Cardi B’s blockbuster career, the Weddings section starts to perk up with the leaves on the trees following the winter thaws and the disappearance of yellow snow from the streets. Gone are the winsome five featured couples, replaced with a dozen or two (albeit of varying quality). Here are a few of note that have marked the change of season this year.
This is a story about Florida, and face paint. Vargas didn’t like Cheng initially because he was wearing face paint. Cheng wasn’t intrigued because she didn’t drink; he focused on her boozer friend instead. When that didn’t work out, he had another crack at Vargas. Classic. Later, despite being “drunk and challenged”, he offered to make her dinner. (Neither had had a significant other at the University of Miami.) Fortunately, “she loved food and found him attractive without paint on his face”. Clearly Cheng’s text game was strong, as Vargas “discovered” that he was “smart, cultured and funny”.
So cultured, in fact, that their first date was at the Cheesecake Factory. And then love blossomed when, at a Miami-Florida State football game, Cheng was beaten to a pulp. (Seriously, this bit is sad and quite touching.) She saved his life. They moved in together, he started singing to her but wouldn’t write letters. This was bad. He also had friends. This was also bad. And, almost worst of all, he didn’t like going to the grocery store with her.
They broke up, but stayed in touch in cheerful fashion. (He sent her updates about his uncle’s death, divorcing parents, illness, depression and anxiety.) He was sad. Spoiler alert: they reignited things after he met her mother “in a local lounge” and eventually married, deciding to have their first dance to Billy Joel’s “Just the way you are”.
The bride now runs a networking group for female lawyers, and thinks she’s going to live happily – imperfectly – ever after. The article doesn’t mention whether or not she drinks yet. Maybe she should. I also want to know more about the lounge where her mother hangs out. Welcome to Miami.
Part II: Other Stories That Deserve Attention
It’s hard to make fun of the hope and sadness that intermingle in the story of Michelle Vestal and Bob Kitcheon. She’s had a tough life; he’s spent a long time coping with grief and seems not to like society’s confines. They found each other living in a tent community (she stole from him to buy crack), he’s helped her get clean, and they married under an underpass. It’s a nice story after the Times has spent some of the winter trying to pander to conservatives through the weddings it covers. (Don’t make me link to them. You’ll find them if you look with enough desperation.)
Another sign that winter is going? Same-sex couples start marrying again. There are a number from the last fortnight. I liked the phenomenal Alix Strauss’s take on the Rabbi and the labor leader who almost never dated because, after “flirt entered the emails” (what a delicious expression!) the labor leader invited the Rabbi to go to Obama’s state dinner for David Cameron. And the Rabbi said no! Instead they had Indian food in the West Village, managed not to be put off by the fact that it was almost certainly too sugary and inauthentic (since there are only four good Indian restaurants in Manhattan, none of them in the West Village).
Part III: Assorted Gobbets and Morsels
Two Indian doctors married each other in Texas. I bet you didn’t see that one coming! They met at a Jain Family Institute Conference in Detroit. Sounds like about as much fun as someone can have at a weekend with no alcohol or onions.
Disney has a wedding pavilion in Florida. I know this because Rebecca Weiler and Bret Sohn were married there.
If your name is Meggie, it’s likely your grandmother was a New York socialite named Nan. I based this on a sample size of one, but I think that’s probably enough. (Please note that I’m still looking for a Bethie and Amyie so as to come to snap judgments about other names from Little Women that are short and have been unnecessarily infantilised.)
To everyone who’s ever claimed that love can never blossom on the Upper West Side, you’ve got mail, haters! Also, the story of Shifa Mahmood and Ramy Fakhr is nice and unconventional.
The story of Alicia Ciccone and William Thomas unfairly and mercilessly leaves out details about whether the bride is related to Madonna. I’m going to have to assume not, but how will I know? (Wrong 80s singer, I know. RIP Whitney.)
And finally, a round-up of dating apps.
The League seems to have brought together a pair from California and and Louisiana (who met in 2016) and a couple of go-getters from California and Texas, respectively, who met in February 2017. Does it say something about men in California that accomplished women from there with an urge or willingness to be featured in the Times weddings section within two years of a first date can’t find love instate? I hope so.
OkCupid has found its niche among same-sex couples. Eric Chow and Christopher Chambers are Exhibit A, Lindsey Pearl and Leah Rubin-Cadrain, Exhibit B. The latter couple lived less than a mile apart from each other in Brooklyn, but it took an impersonal dating app for them to find each other. I’m sure this says something about Brooklyn.
Finally, Tinder only managed to bring together a couple who married at the wonderfully named Sugarboo Farms in Georgia this time around among the announcements to which I paid any attention, but I hope its creators don’t lose heart. After all, the rise in popularity of the app has coincided with bringing so many New Yorkers so much closer to the three joys of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia than they ever were before.
If that statistic and Jay Z’s thirty seconds rapping during Bey’s set during Coachella aren’t happy stories and signs that love is blossoming in New York this Spring, then perhaps it’s still winter after all.