That Awkward Moment: When The Times Wedding Section Makes You Choke Up



You know when you’re reading a story in the weddings section of the Times, and suddenly there’s a surprisingly romantic, or sweet moment, and it gives you a little catch in your throat? I’m often caught off guard by those moments, because they can even occur in the most obnoxious of Vows columns. For example, there was one about this super Type-A bride a couple of weeks ago, who spotted a cute guy on the subway and hoped he was going to get off on her stop. When he didn’t, she got off at the wrong stop and literally chased him down and asked for his name.

The whole announcement was pretty unrelatable for me (although they seem like nice enough people – he was a shy rabbi in training, she sings in an a cappella group as a hobby) and included mildly distressing anecdotes like this:

In past relationships, she said, her “propensity for directness and excitement” always led her to be the first to bring up the subject of commitment or to say “I love you.” This time, she let him take the lead. “Because of how much I liked him, I was really careful about not smothering him,” she said.

On their seventh date — she kept a meticulous record of their developing relationship — she wanted to say “I love you” but stifled it.

Mr. Rosenberg, Mr. Wood’s stepbrother, said: “Jenny masterfully read the situation and knew not to pressure Jon in a way that would be off-putting. She knew how to be honest without making him feel there was an ultimatum or any kind of pressure that would make him balk. And when he was ready, he let her know he was ready.”

“I know my sister is crazy, but by managing to not be crazy in this situation, she landed a husband. Masterful, huh?” Life is awesome, guys.

Anyway, the point is, even though this was full of off-putting details (“On our second date, she crossed the street without waiting for the ‘Walk’ signal . . . That act was a signal to me confirming that she didn’t wait for life to happen around her.”) there was this one moment where even though I thought these people were aliens, I got a lump in my throat. It was right here:

On Sept. 1, 2013, when visiting Manhattan, he knelt down and proposed as they were riding a crowded No. 6 train.

UGH, that’s all it takes. The shy rabbinical student makes a public proposal to his Type-A bride on the subway, because that’s where she chased him down when they first met. Choked up!

Today’s weddings section, meanwhile, had a couple I could totally relate to: two white gay guys who seem smart enough, but who both made the dumb decision to both work together in a field that wasn’t banking, doctoring, lawyering or consulting. (We’ll just ignore the fact that these two government employees were able to budget for a ceremony at the spectacular Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center.)

And these guys, Chris Coffey and Adam Riff, have a very cute story. They worked together for Mayor Bloomberg, and got to be friends. One even asked the other to set him up on dates. They chugged along as buds and colleagues until:

“The more time I spent with him, the more time I wanted to spend with him,” said Mr. Coffey, who started sending Mr. Riff emails on the rare days they had off. But Mr. Coffey didn’t consider their growing bond to be romantic. Not even when they made plans to have dinner on a Saturday night. “Two guys can go out on a Saturday night. I didn’t think it was weird.”

Mr. Riff did. Or if not weird, at least confusing. As he characteristically deliberated about where to make a reservation, he was looking for a restaurant that would make it seem “a little bit like a date,” he said.

They ended up lingering for several hours over a meal on a candlelit patio, but when Mr. Riff walked Mr. Coffey home, there was just a quick hug goodbye before Mr. Coffey turned to go.

That’s when Mr. Riff kissed him.

“Then everything made sense,” Mr. Coffey said.

Then everything made sense. [Shakes fist at sky.] There we go again. Lump in throat! Every time I see a gay wedding announcement that has a moment like that, I’m glad. I imagine the young guy or girl who is reading his or her parents’ copy of the weekend Times, and sees that, and thinks, That could happen to me one day.

All that said, if you want to feel good about love and marriage, DO NOT READ THIS WEEKEND’S MODERN LOVE. That is some real Entering Dante’s Inferno shit, right there.


One comment

  1. Adorable and total lump in throat material, especially because Adam Riff was my little brother’s freshman year roommate! So as if his wedding weren’t cute enough, he totally helped a kind straight man relate better to his big gay brother.

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