The Vows section of the New York Times.
Yes, I admit it — I’m a Sunday Wedding Announcements addict. Every Sunday, I sit down to a cup of tea and Sunday Styles. I skip through the articles on fitness or hats, over Bill Cunningham’s column and right to the pictures of the happy couples. Why do I do it? Because it gives me hope? Because I’m a hopeless romantic? Maybe. I do really enjoy Platinum Weddings on WE. And we all know I’m a sucker for Jane Austen. But, no — it’s not because I need hope or because I’m the type that cries during the final episode of Sex and the City when Big tells Carrie “You’re the One.”
It’s because I like people.
I like to read about people being happy. Think about how much news in the Times is bad news. GM files for bankruptcy. North Korea lets off nuclear bombs. A cop shot another cop. scary, scary news. But every Sunday we get 2 pages (4 in June and September!!) dedicated to people making each other happy, hopefully for life. I like to read about the couple that met in a bar in Chelsea on Halloween. He lived in England, she in Buffalo. They had a long distance relationship and then one day he flew to Buffalo. Like the gentleman he is, he took the long weekend as an opportunity to ask her father for her hand in marriage. Overjoyed, the father started screaming, alerting the daughter that something was the matter. “I had gone to ask if I could propose…not to propose.” He didn’t have a ring yet. Woops! But the Joy of the parents turned into their personal joy as that day they made their engagement official, down on one knee and ring not required.
Yes, I like happy news. Yes, and visions of white dresses and bouquets of flowers.
I’ve learned a lot reading Vows. Like that it’s never to late to find love — almost every week 2 of the couples are well into their 50s or 60s. That Columbia/Harvard/UPenn magna cum laudes with masters/law degrees from those same schools are a dime a dozen, they inbreed and then they almost all work in finance — they never get a long column and only 3 in 10 couples like this get a picture (this is not an official statistic). This has also taught me that if you want a picture and a column, and you’re an ivy leaguer, you need a good story and at least one member of the couple needs to have accomplished something more than a desk job on Wall Street…. like write a book or win a Noble Prize. The harvard couples are the most boring — there was one pair that had done their ugrad there, gone on to do Fulbrights/Marshalls, then went back to Harvard Law. I think they both became bankers. I didn’t like them.
Most importantly, I learned that if your first marriage ended in divorce, don’t tell the Times — it’s always the closing line.