And so we meet again. I know I’ve said this before, but this time I mean it – this is easily, without question, the worst New York Times marriage announcement to date. The amount of submissions I got expressing reader disdain for this couple was so overwhelming that I had to bring this series out of retirement and go in on them.
The Sound of Music Is in His Blood and Now His Heart
When Nathaniel Peters goes for a walk, he often sings aloud, which may be a genetic trait. His great-grandparents were Maria and Georg von Trapp, who founded the Trapp Family Singers with their children and whose story was the basis for “The Sound of Music.”
Oh, no. No. I’m currently imagining this little twerp walking down the street with his arms spread wide open like Maria running through Austrian mountain fields. And while The Sound of Music is an absolute classic film, it has its time and place. And that time and place is watching it on Mother’s Day with your mom in attendance, not when you’re strolling down Third Street trying to get your steps in on your Fitbit.
Mr. Peters, 30, also appears to have inherited Maria von Trapp’s exuberant climb-every-mountain attitude. “You know that look that a golden lab has when chasing a tennis ball — that’s how Nathaniel chases life,” said Ryan Sayre Patrico, a friend.
How many Sound of Music references are we going to get here, New York Times? I know you like to go over-the-top cheese with this stuff, but let’s pump the brakes before it gets out of hand.
I can already tell Nathaniel has too much energy for me, and that’s not just in the sense of this marriage announcement. That’s in life. He and I would not vibe.
Growing up on Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Peters was bookish and interested in existential questions and distinctive clothing from an early age. “He’s the kind of person who wants to wear bright orange shoelaces in his very fancy dress shoes,” said Clare Rose, a friend. “He’s often seen in a bow tie or some kind of hat.”
Ms. Rose added, “He knows what he likes, and nothing he likes is run of the mill.”
Oh, great, we’ve got a potential flashy sock guy on our hands as if this guy wasn’t miserable enough as it is. And a bow tie to boot? Come on, dude. Choose one tacky schtick and stick with it.
By the fall of 2013, he was a graduate student in theology at Boston College, fluent in Latin, fond of three-piece suits and living in a house on the edge of campus that was full of people studying religion and philosophy.
A theology grad student at BC who grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and has an affinity for three-piece suits. Gee, you think this dude came from money, or?
When asked for words to describe himself and his friends, he replied: “You could try ‘heady.’ On the one hand, we are people who enjoy lots of books and investigating particular questions having to do with the human existence, or God, or the nature of beauty. But at least three of us are capable of cooking dinner to Taylor Swift and enjoying that, too.”
I’m fairly certain that when I describe someone as “heady,” I’m not using it in the same way as Nathaniel is using it. My heady friends smoke weed and have usernames on Nugs.net. Nathaniel simply means that his friends have pretentiously intellectual conversations before dancing in the kitchen. I get the feeling a third of his friends have been in acapella groups at some point in their lives, and that’s a low estimate.
Barbara Jane Sloan, a fellow graduate student in theology at Boston College who is known as Jane, lived in a house across an open field from Mr. Peters.
You know she only goes by “Jane” because of Jane Austen and/or Jane Eyre.
The two had met briefly during the summer of 2012 at a mutual friend’s wedding and he remembered her as quiet and thoughtful. ”There was an introverted loveliness about her,” he said. (By contrast, Jon Petkun, a friend, said Mr. Peters possessed an “ear-piercing loveliness.”)
Introverted loveliness sounds like a real snooze to me, but hey, I’m no theology student at Boston College so what do I know?
That fall, Ms. Sloan and Mr. Peters got to know each other better. She wore Warby Parker eyeglasses that were almost identical to his. She appreciated both liturgical music and Ella Fitzgerald, as he did.
This is the beauty of these pompous hipsters – they think they’re individuals, but they’re really just the same. Yeah, you all wear Warby Parker glasses just like all frat guys wear Costas. And you all listen to Ella Fitzgerald just as all frat guys pretend to hate pop country. You’re collectively all the same person.
Growing up in Carmel, Ind., she was a bookworm with an early curiosity about God. “When she was small, she’d say things like, ‘This summer, I’m going to read the Bible,’” said her father, Dan Sloan.
Uh, what? This girl is either the most plain Jane in the world, or her dad is fudging quotes for The New York Times in an effort for his family to sound put together. I’m going with both.
The two began walking back and forth to each other’s houses for long talks about early Christianity (her specialty) or the pros and cons of joining a religious order. “Sometimes, I could hear him coming because he would be singing to himself, usually opera,” said Ms. Sloan, 31.
Singing opera to himself, huh? Alright, Jane. You sure this is the guy you want to spend the rest of your life with?
When she visited his house, she generally arrived with an armful of baguettes and pastries, leftovers from the bakery where she worked. “I started referring to her as our ‘friend with breadifits,’” he said.
There are punchable paragraphs and then there’s the paragraph that just burned holes in your eyes. “Friends with breadifits” is the line they used at every Zooey Deschanel-esque dinner party they ever attended in an effort to make people think they were the cutest couple ever.
He did not own a car, but she did, which also helped forge a bond between them. She often gave him rides to Trader Joe’s for groceries.
I don’t know how they structure writing these columns, but one would have to assume there’s an interview process with the bride and groom. In this particular announcement, you get the feeling that these two had a list of trendy things that they wanted to sprinkle throughout, and in this instance, it’s the fact that they go to Trader Joe’s.
“It was always an adventure,” she said. “He’d get in the car and he’d have a CD, or a magazine article he wanted to read to me, or biscuits he baked that morning. I was like ‘Who is this guy?’ I’m a more slow, plodding, contemplative person, and he’s always on the go.”
Are we so old that listening to CDs is hipster now? And what self-respecting dude in his 20s is just making biscuits on the low? Don’t worry, Jane, I’m also currently wondering, “Who is this guy?”
One day, he borrowed her car and got into a minor accident, which left a bumper dented and a headlight wobbling like a loose tooth. When she saw the damage, she just laughed and got out some duct tape, which really impressed him. “His words to me were, ‘Mom, she’s being saintly about this,’” said his mother, Elizabeth Peters.
Nathaniel is a bad driver? Man, who would’ve thunk?
Still, neither thought of becoming more than friends, partly because one or the other was usually dating someone else. Also, Ms. Sloan said: “It took a while for me to wake up to how great he was. It took a year of friendship.”
Come on. While it doesn’t surprise me Nathaniel sucks at pulling the trigger, it does surprise me that these two were somehow both caught up with other people. Neither scream “catch” to me.
During that year, they created several traditions together. “Sunday nights were ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ or, when those were not on, Shakespeare,” he said. They formed a group that gathered regularly at his kitchen table to sing in harmony, and he taught her how to cross-country ski on the trails outside the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt.
You know that these two exclusively watch British television and cinema, for no other reason than that hearing people talk with British accents makes them feel more refined and tasteful. But seriously, can you think of a worse situation to be in than sitting at this gruesome twosome’s dinner table singing in fucking harmony? I’d take an invite to the family lodge, though. That sounds like a chill sitch.
Eventually, Ms. Sloan said, the two were spending so much time together that she asked him: “‘Is this fair? We are not too close, right?’ He said, ‘No, we are just two pilgrims along the way, traveling together for a while.’”
With all due respect, what the fuck does that mean? Two pilgrims along the fucking way? Come on, dude. Come on.
Early in the summer of 2014, he invited her and some other friends to his family’s house on Martha’s Vineyard. “It was a disaster weekend for me,” she said. “My hat blew off while we were sailing. I lost my sunglasses in the water. Nathaniel and I went swimming and there was a riptide.” He ended up carrying her out of the waves. “I had this moment of, ‘This is really nice!’” she said. “But at the same time I thought, ‘We have to not be holding on to each other anymore.’”
For most people, losing a hat and some sunglasses are just the results of a weekend bender. But you get the feeling that these two weren’t drinking, but rather sharing homemade kombucha recipes and testing croissant variations in the kitchen while singing show tunes.
Not long after, she recalled, he asked her: “Remember our conversation about being two pilgrims along the way? Well, I would like to make a slight amendment. I’d like to take you down to the Public Garden and have a picnic and read from P.G. Wodehouse.” For once, both were single at the same time.
I just put both of my hands on my desk, put my head down, and pushed away before wiping my hands down the front of my face. Just what the fuck, guys. Loosen up and be kids for once in your fucking life.
On July 23, 2014, they arrived at the garden carrying a picnic basket and “Something Fresh,” a novel by Wodehouse which he read aloud to her under a willow tree. “It was the best first date ever,” she said.
I’d love to watch this dude throw a football. He probably hasn’t played a sport since his pre-teen tennis lessons on the vineyard.
Over the next few days, they continued reading the book together. Near the conclusion, Mr. Peters said, there is a great description of a kiss. “We both got impatient so I thumbed to the end of the book, read it and kissed her,” he said.
Oh, you got impatient? Maybe that’s because you didn’t fucking kiss her until you got through a literal fucking novel. Honestly, waiting to kiss someone until after you finish a book screams, “I don’t want to kiss this person.”
It wasn’t long before they were musing about marriage, which Mr. Peters imagined would be like “entering into a deep mystery with my best friend.”
There’s really nothing worse than when people talk about how they’re marrying their “best friend.”
Ms. Sloan, who is now a Ph.D. student in theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee, said she could never have conjured up a partner who could cook, analyze medieval texts, climb trees and dance as adroitly as Mr. Peters. “If someone asked me for a list of qualities I would want in an ideal person, my list would fall so short of who Nathaniel is, so far short,” she said.
Cooking? That’s fine. Analyze medieval texts? Now we’re in a grey area. Climb trees? Alright, Tom Sawyer. Dance adroitly? You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.
On May 31, 2015, he proposed in a tiny stone chapel that his great-uncle, Werner von Trapp, built in the woods behind the family lodge. He asked her to wait outside while he decorated the floor with beeswax candles arranged in the shape of a heart and a cross, which glowed in the dark like a constellation.
“Join my cult, Jane. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make. Now here, let’s eat this purple apple sauce to celebrate.”
“I came in and the first thing I remember is this beautiful smell of beeswax, this lovely, warm smell,” she said. “I gave him a hug for support, like: ‘We both know what’s happening. You can do it!’”
I would’ve run for the hills. There’s a thousand percent chance he was wearing suspenders and argyle socks while this all happened.
By the time his proposal was over, and she accepted, all of the candles had melted. “I said, ‘I have a feeling this is what marriage is going to be like,” he said. “We’ve just had this moment of intimacy and now we’re sitting here scraping wax off the floor.’”
Well yeah, what kind of idiot doesn’t use candleholders in a fucking chapel? You’re lucky you’re scraping wax off the floor instead of perishing in a ball of flames on the Trapp family stone oven.
On June 4, they were married at Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, he in a vintage morning coat and she in a gown that was both subtle and sparkly, like her. The couple created a 16-page illustrated pamphlet to guide the 172 guests through the carefully curated nuptial Mass, which was led by the Rev. Brian E. Daley, a Roman Catholic priest. Along with many prayers, blessings and readings, there were 15 different pieces of music performed. Mr. Peters described the music as: “Joyful, rich, lush. Lush like a forest, not like an alcoholic.”
And now announcing our award for the worst wedding to attend in the history of weddings: Nathaniel and Jane’s! 16-page illustrated pamphlet? 15 different musical pieces? The signal of a great ceremony is one where you get in, get out, and enjoy the reception. This isn’t a fucking children’s sermon for forest children, guys.
Mr. Patrico, the best man, watched the groom throughout the ceremony. “He is sitting very erect in his chair and he’s swerving and bobbing just like a conductor,” he said. “He picked out all the music and he knows it by heart and it’s the music he chose to express these feelings he has for Jane. He was crying at the end of every piece.”
What can we say about Nathaniel that hasn’t already been said? Oh, that’s right, about a million fucking things. I lose respect for grooms when they cry as their bride walks down the aisle, but this motherfucker was crying fifteen separate times after every musical piece? If that’s not a signal that this dude was emotionally unstable at the time of the ceremony, I’m not sure what is.
Afterward, there was a reception in the “wedding meadow” outside the family lodge, with views of the Worcester mountains and maple syrup in little leaf-shaped bottles as gifts for guests.
“Wedding meadow” is the most cringeworthy phrase since Gwyneth Paltrow and the Coldplay dude called their divorce a “conscious uncoupling.” They probably spent their honeymoon watching Wes Anderson movies in a Canadian cabin.
“In the days leading up to the wedding,” the groom said, “I’ve felt like I’m wading into a pool of joy and I don’t know the depth of the joy yet.”
Ugh, just shut the fuck up already. I can’t with these two anymore.
Update: There’s more.
Beneath the write-up, there was also this gem:
Who’s What The couple made a graph of their wedding guests’ professions, for fun and to examine the kind of people with whom they spend time: There were 12 doctors, 3 astronomers, 4 computer programmers, 18 Ph.D. students, 4 Roman Catholic priests, 10 teachers and 1 private investigator in the crowd.
It truly does not get much douchier than listing the professions of the people attending your wedding. Like, we get it, you’re high society. But if you’re old money and still rubbing it people’s faces that you mingle with an affluent crowd, you’re scum in my book. .
[via New York Times]