Breaking Down This Week’s Insufferable New York Times Marriage Announcement: March 20

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Breaking Down This Week’s Insufferable New York Times Marriage Announcement: March 20

They tried to throw me off their scent this week by posting it late Friday afternoon as opposed to in the morning. “It’s SXSW in Austin,” they (probably) said in a board meeting, “If we post at 6 o’clock, there’s no chance he’ll remember to do it come Monday when he’s tryin’ to piece his life together.”

Luckily for me, I still felt the lingering effects from last week’s cruise and couldn’t imagine going out this weekend.

As always, original text in quotes.

* * *

Fighting a Fake Dating Profile, Together

Brett Barakett and Meaghan Jarensky didn’t find each other on a dating site, but a posting on — a blatantly counterfeit one — nearly broke them up.

At first glance, I thought this was going to be another catfishing situation like we had a few weeks ago. But now we’ve got a Nev Schulman situation. Let’s explore.

“There’s a reason things happen,” said Mr. Barakett, 49, who admitted that he is finally able to look back and laugh about the misunderstanding caused by a meanspirited Match posting about Ms. Jarensky. “We may just not know it at the time.”

Sounds like we’ve got a jealous ex involved, which could be a first for Insufferable Marriage Announcements. Fingers crossed.

He and Ms. Jarensky met in 2014 at a yoga class that she, then 36, was teaching in Midtown Manhattan. He was a successful money manager from Canada who lived in Greenwich, Conn., to be close to his four children from his marriage. She was a two-time beauty pageant winner, also divorced, who ran her own charity and was open with friends about wanting a big family.

Yoga instructor? Midtown? Money manager? Greenwich? Beauty pageant winner? Runs a charity? It’s like God said to himself, “Here, Will, I’ll give you an easy one this week.”

They fell quickly and hard for each other, but that December, as he sat in a doctor’s waiting room reviewing email on his phone, Mr. Barakett, who had signed up with when his marriage was crumbling, was stopped cold when he saw an update from the site pushing a profile of someone who resembled Ms. Jarensky to a T. “Everything but her name,” he said.

Signed up before his marriage was actually over? Love it. Vince Vaugh The Breakup type stuff here. And let’s not sleep on the thirteen year age difference here. Brett sounds like an absolute wolf while Meaghan (which is the hot way to spell that name) sounds like a wounded sheep left behind by the herd.

The profile claimed to be “looking for Mr. Big,” from someone nicknamed 1078YOGI, and had Ms. Jarensky’s photo on it along with other familiar details like her birthday and devotion to yoga. It listed the many ways she expected to be pampered. “You take me to fancy places,” she wrote. “You give me expensive gifts. You give me a credit card and let me go on shopping sprees.” The posting also made clear that suitors with children need not apply. “I am not interested in the hassle,” the woman wrote dismissively.

Okay. It’s early but I’m not ruling out Meaghan making this profile, realizing how horrible it sounds once Brett called her on it, and then going back on it completely.

He asked himself, could this be the same coolheaded, captivating yoga instructor whom he had been dating giddily since the summer?

Yeah, because all yoga instructors are saints. They’re never just teaching the class in hopes some rich dude will come in and be their daddy for life. That’s out of the realm of possibility.

Reading no further than the intro, he fired off an angry text to Ms. Jarensky, wanting to know, “When were you going to tell me you were on”

Damn, that’s a BITING text.

She said she had no idea what he was talking about and insisted that she had never used the site.

He was not sure whether to believe his eyes or his heart.

Believe both and just go with it, Brett. We all know you’re not looking for love in your second marriage, just a hot little biscuit who’ll take care of the kids while you’re golfing on Cape Cod during some summer weekends.

Mr. Barakett had prospered as the head of Tremblant Capital Group, a New York money management firm he founded in 2001, eight years out of Harvard Business School. Tremblant specialized in analyzing stocks of consumer product companies that were rolling out new wares. It was a process honed by walking the aisles of retail outlets, talking up managers and seeing how goods were displayed on shelves.

I cannot even imagine how well Brett’s doing in life. I bet his bathroom product budget is more than my annual salary.

By 2008, his firm had amassed a large stake in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which by then also owned the company that made the soon-to-be ubiquitous Keurig coffee machines and pods.

Oh, nice. So he’s the one responsible for all the pollution those fuckin’ things are producing. While I don’t approve, sharks like Brett don’t care about the earth when they’re living fast and making bank. Can’t help but respect that.

Noted short-sellers like David Einhorn had pushed the value of Tremblant’s stake down 44 percent. With $82 million at risk, Mr. Barakett had to decide whether to bail, hang on or buy more.

Knowing Brett as well as I do, I know he’ll buy in this situation. Brett gets what he wants — everyone knows that.

The same contrarian streak that eventually led him to pocket millions by bucking the short-sellers and continuing to buy stock as the price tumbled also buoyed him in the life he was fashioning after his divorce in 2013.

He just feels like the kind of dude who can lose millions and say, “Well, there’s always next time. Anyway, whose Chriscraft we taking to The Hamptons this weekend?”

Rather than abandon Connecticut for the headier singles scene of New York, Mr. Barakett stayed in the dream house he had constructed for his family in the Belle Haven area of Greenwich, on property that was once the home of Thomas J. Watson Jr., chief executive of IBM.

If you didn’t immediately imagine a Gatsby-style situation the moment they described his habitation, I don’t want to know you.

Mr. Barakett even managed to find a girlfriend, who lived nearby. But when that relationship also ended in shambles, he blamed himself and decided to abandon his quest for love. “I was done,” he said. “I was never going to go on another date in my life.” He added, “I was going to become a monk.”

A monk. Yeah, right, Brett. Classic Brett feast-or-famine attitude. But honestly, I’d pay a decent amount for some pics of his old flame. Bet they’re scorching.

Sitting in his office in July 2014, “I was all stressed out,” Mr. Barakett recalled. He consulted his phone for the nearest yoga class and was directed to one Ms. Jarensky was about to teach.

I bet he went to a review site for yoga studios and looked for the one with the hottest instructors, only to stumble upon the former beauty queen, Meaghan.

An outdoorsy Jersey girl, she had won the Miss New York USA title in 2005. She then went on to be Mrs. New York America in 2010, snagging the prize for most whimsical costume (dressed in green ruffles intended to evoke an apple tree) at the nationals.

“Outdoorsy” in the sense that she likes to drink rosè on patios.

Also, please reread the last part of that section. That’s what I love about these announcements. You can’t make that apple tree shit up.

Upon meeting her in person, Mr. Barakett said he noticed immediately how “shockingly beautiful” she was but said he forced himself to look away lest he “turn to stone. I just wanted to do my class.”

Yeah, sure, buddy. The second you saw her you thought to yourself, “I wish I wore something with some better structure than these thin lulu shorts.”

In Greenwich, he nudges his children to thank coaches after practices and games. In that vein, he said he approached Ms. Jarensky simply to thank her.

Simply to thank her? Bulllllshitttttttttt. Brett knew exactly what he was doing here. This is like when some rich dude “accidentally” leaves his six-figure receipt in the ATM when there’s a babe behind him just hoping she’ll pick it up and see how rich he is.

He was struck by how kind she was to all who buzzed about her, and returned twice more, observing her from afar, before he finally struck up a conversation after the third class. It revolved around gut bacteria, and they continued talking about it as they stepped out onto the sidewalk on 57th Street and Lexington.

…gut bacteria? What? How did that detail even come up when NYT conducted this interview.

Wanting to ask her out but feeling like “a knucklehead” about where to take her, he sought emergency advice from his brother Tim, who was amused that his baby brother was doing yoga to “to help manage the stress” after having sworn off women, only to meet the woman of his dreams in the yoga class.

Yeah, Tim, what a wild coincidence that your rich, hot brother found his future hot wife in a yoga class. Who woulda thunk.

“Dude,” the brother replied, “just go to the Museum of Modern Art.”

“Bruhhhhh, go to the MoMA — babes dig art.”

Mr. Barakett, meanwhile, could not resist applying some of the same intensity he used on stocks to learn more about her. For instance, he watched her appearance on a special edition of “Fear Factor” that featured delegates of the 2005 Miss USA pageant and revealed her grit. The ickiest challenge had her slithering backward in a tank while live worms and dead fish were dumped on her. “She’s a tough chick mentally,” Mr. Barakett said.

She was on Fear Factor?! How do you not lead with that?! Fuck being a former beauty queen. There’s like a million of those. There are only so many people that’ve been on Fear Factor.

But, again, you have to love that a driving factor of him falling more in love with her was because she was a “tough chick” based on her having worms poured on her on national television. Couldn’t make that up if you tried.

Ms. Jarensky, now 37, said that she found him to be “very quiet, very grounded and he’s consistent. He has a lot of integrity, and I trusted him. He wasn’t playing games. If he wanted to talk to me, he would call me on the phone. We texted. Sometimes, he’d meet me in the neighborhood and we’d walk for 10 minutes so he could see me.”

Calling someone on the phone isn’t having “integrity.” It’s just being in the older generation where you call people instead of texting them. He’s 13 years older than you, Meaghan. Don’t be a numbskull.

More polite-enough dates in Manhattan followed before Mr. Barakett invited her to Connecticut. From the train station, he whisked her back to his house. They shared their first kiss in a hallway, after brushing up against each other accidentally. “He’s not slick,” Ms. Jarensky said appreciatively from the breakfast nook they now share as husband and wife.

I’m imagining Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” video, minus the part where she goes completely ballistic. I don’t think that’s an unfair comparison because we all know Brett knows how to live.

“The minute I kissed her, we were a couple,” Mr. Barakett said. It was also the sweetness she showed his children — topping off a dinner with friends with homemade madeleines, to please his 9-year-old daughter with the same name — that ultimately made Mr. Barakett accept that she could not have had anything to do with the tasteless posting.

I don’t think I’m out of line here saying that this whole “ post” storyline is pretty fucking minor. Neither of them seem THAT affected by it.

He said he had an inkling whom the culprit was, but he needed proof.

He probably had a private inspector figure this out. Total Thomas Crown move.

Citing customer privacy, initially refused Ms. Jarensky’s informal request to reveal who set up the profile because she was not the account holder. The person who made the posting — who was impersonating her — was. Nor would the Dallas-based company take down the profile right away, even though Ms. Jarensky believed the unlikable profile could cost her clients.

This entire time, Meaghan could be seen on her phone emailing with representatives just pleading not to out her for having a shitty profile.

She sought relief from State Supreme Court in Manhattan, and obtained the information from two months later, once the subpoena was granted.

Wait, the State Supreme fucking Court? Wow, Brett doesn’t take slander, defamation, or catfishing seriously, does he?

As Mr. Barakett suspected, the perpetrator was a former girlfriend. He surmised: “She was not doing it to get to me. It was to disparage Meaghan.” They took the findings to the district attorney’s office in Manhattan a year ago but did not expect anyone to be charged under the current laws. No money was involved, and the penalties would be too slight.

I mean, honestly, if you miss the boat on Brett, you’re probably going to turn into a psycho. It’s like winning the lotto and losing the ticket moments before going to cash in.

Here, though, is where Ms. Jarensky’s training as a beauty contestant, comfort before the cameras and experience with nonprofit ventures kicked in to help her turn a case of harassment into a higher calling.

Of course. Of fucking course. Fucking nonprofit experience.

Saying that the spotlight should no longer be on her, she told Mr. Barakett that she would make it her mission to ensure that what happened to her did not happen to others. Using One Girl, the nonprofit organization she already ran, as her platform, she is now pressing New York and other states to adopt legislation like New York State Senate Bill S5871. It would stiffen penalties for cases of “e-personation,” as she calls it.

Seriously, Meaghan? Do you really have nothing better to do than get certified as a yoga instructor and battle “e-personation”? There are children getting abused out there and you’re dedicating all your time and Brett’s money to e-personation? Come on.

Much as Mr. Barakett was floored at how well she handled being coated by slime on “Fear Factor,” he said her reaction to the online sliming endeared him more. “The irony was what this person was trying to do was drive us apart, and it did the opposite,” he said.

If you didn’t laugh out loud at the sliming line, you’re a hopeless person with no sense of humor. Absurd comparison here.

Looking back, he said, he came to realize: “I didn’t know what love was. Love is when you can’t wait to see the other person again and can’t stop thinking about them.”

Wow, Brett. So profound. It’s a good thing you’re good with numbers, bro.

He planned on proposing last year on her birthday, Oct. 31. But as they passed Lexington and 57th Street the week before, his resolve melted when she chirped, “Oh, it’s our corner.”

People have corners now? What happened to restaurants or songs?

“I couldn’t wait anymore,” he said, whipping out 18 flash cards he had modeled after a scene in “Love Actually,” her favorite movie. The last card read, “Will you marry me?”

Oh, he just happened to have 18 “Love Actually”-style flash cards while walking down the fucking street? I know these things are all far-fetched, but you can’t just tell me he had them casually sticking out of his back fucking pocket without her noticing.

The wedding planners had recommended waiting for a warmer month, but the couple wanted to proceed and settled on a March 5 ceremony and reception at Mr. Barakett’s Greenwich estate.

Read: shotgun wedding. I bet we see a birth announcement in like 7 months time.

Michael Bartelle, a yoga teacher and friend of the bride from England, arrived to lead the noontime ceremony, accompanied by a gospel choir. Afterward, Jonathan Hunt, a Connecticut justice of the peace, arranged to meet with the couple to legally join them.

Sounds like a pretty low-key ceremony for a dude with as much coin as Brett, thereby confirming that this was indeed a shotgun wedding.

Surrounded by his children, Mr. Barakett was too choked up to smile until he glimpsed the bride. She was wrapped in a beaded Chantilly lace gown by Inbal Dror. Her hair was cinched in place with a sparkling tiara, set with topaz.

Topaz tiara? Yep, sure sounds like a former beauty queen from New York.

The air was nippy and snow clung to the tent, but the bride was unflappable as she set out toward her new family, past the few dozen friends and relatives and several squeaky sea gulls in attendance. “I’ll be fine,” she had said, undaunted by the chill.

God, that sounds so fucking miserable. A tent with damn snow clinging to it? Get married in a fucking cathedral like a normal person, Brett.

Not for nothing, the bride pointed out, she made sure to take the wintry weather into account when trying on dresses and picked one that has “got long sleeves.”

End with less of a climax, New York Times. No one cares that she wore long sleeves. This isn’t Fashion Police.

Image via Unsplash

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Will deFries (Twitter / Instagram) is a Senior Writer at Grandex and the world's foremost authority on Sunday Scaries (Twitter / Instagram). Email me at

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