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March 14, 2004

The Wedding section


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Today is Sunday. I will read the Wedding section of the New York Times, which I have been compelled to do every Sunday of my adult life. It won't take that long, since it's March. May and June are major time committments. Doing this faithfully for forty years must mean something. Here are some of the trends that I have observed.

Gay marriages came out in the Wedding section at least two years ago.

Grooms are included in most of the photographs now, and almost noone wears a wedding dress for their Times announcement anymore. Out in nature, with the betrothed, hair blowing in the wind, seems to be the latest.

There are also more marriages between socioeconomic classes. The newly weds usually meet in some top notch grad school, so they're undoubtedly intellectually well matched.

There are more interracial/intercultural unions too. The last three or four years, Rabbi Posner (society's Rabbi, he does everyone who's anyone, who's Jewish in the Times) officiates with Pandit Singh, or the bride's second cousin once removed, or the bridegroom's sister, who is a Congregational minister. Surprizingly, I cannot recall one fundamentalist ceremony, Christian or otherwise. Fundamentalism hasn't infiltrated this crowd. That's hopeful

People are getting married less in religious buildings and more in botanical gardens, museums, old mansions., lofts and restaurants. Probably because they provide a more neutral setting for the intercultural matches.

Women are educationally nose to nose with men. Medical School, Law School, Business School --women are there. One rarely sees a groom with two or three Ivy League degrees marrying a bride with an associate's degree from a junior college anymore. That is, unless the groom is forty years older than the bride. There are a number of those May-Decembers, but not as many as you would think. In those instances, the groom is usually famous, and the bride exceptionally beautiful.

Today's parents of the happy couples reflect the past. Fathers are surgeons, provosts and CEOs. Mothers are head teachers at the synagogue day care center, real estate agents and board members of charitable organizations.

In the last decade, everyone has at least a master's degree, maybe two or three. There has also been a massive decline in marriages of PhD candidates at major universities. Probably because they cannot afford to start families on their adjunct faculty salaries, and have to work at Starbucks for their health insurance. Hardly anyone is studying philosophy or history or English lit. They did it undergrad, they even got their master's degrees at fine institutions here and abroad, but they are not making it their profession.

Older people are announcing in the Wedding Section. The editors always tell you about past marital status. "The brides's previous three marriages ended in divorce". I find these announcements particularly engrossing, because the parties involved are usually quite evolved, have accomplished alot separately, and somehow crossed paths. It is alway heartening to me that eighty-year- olds are falling in love and marrying, especially when it is to another close in age.

Often there is a juicy "how we met" paragraph or two included in an announcement. The juicy ones are inclined to be much longer than others, and, therefore, can be easily spotted. More people happen upon one another as a result of their mothers' persistence than ever you would expect. The mother-matched couple always mentions their extreme resistance to this successful intervention.

The internet does not seem to be responsible for much of the action--- except to keep couples in touch who meet just before one of them moves to Singapore on an exotic assignment, leaving the other behind a desk at a Manhattan investment banking firm. Explanation. You cannot smell another's pheromones over the internet.

Did you know if you cannot detect someone else's body scent, the two of you are probably a good match. I shall start a dating service based on body scent. I'll need someone to develop the technology. Instead of a photo, you will receive fifty prescreened, scratch samples of the scents of possible partners. The samples will be like the ones found in perfume ads in women's magazines. Sample collection devices may be a problem.

So, you see, I wasn't wasting my time after all.

Posted by Dakota at March 14, 2004 06:48 AM