September 22, 2003

The Times They Are a Changin'

L and I had a brief conversation about whether or not we want to send our photo and wedding announcement in to the New York Times's "Weddings" pages. She wants to. I'm ambivalent.

I read the "Weddings" pages with as much interest as any guy in New York. That is to say, not much. L reads every detail: where the wedding took place, who officiated, how the couple met, etc. I skim through the listings, but with very different questions, questions that I believe have greater social relevance.

Is the bride hot? Is the groom loaded? Is that how he got a hot bride?

Before my ritual journey to the Times magazine and its crossword puzzle each Sunday, I entertain myself with these and other important questions. Is there any guy listed who isn't an investment banker? Are any of the investment bankers marrying a woman who isn't a promotions director, ad sales representative or production assistant? And if I find couples in non-traditional careers - actor, chef, writer, mortician - I then have one last question: are their parents loaded?

Part of my aversion to the "Weddings" section is that it tends to reinforce traditional upperclass roles for men and women, where the husband is the obvious breadwinner and the wife is destined to become a card-carrying member of the ladies who lunch. It is still common to see pictures of brides without their new husbands, as if to suggest the woman is no more than property akin to the car ads or real estate listings a few sections away. In such an allegedy liberal publication, the announcements are an awfully patrician tradition.

But to me, more troublesome is the underlying racism (or at least classism) in the "Weddings" pages. Despite the dozens upon dozens of listings each week, it is still rare to see minority couples among the sea of white faces. Even though the New York Times has plenty of color photography, usually the only black part of the "Weddings" section is the newsprint.

I guess it's a chicken-and-egg sort of question. Does the Times pick more white couples because more white couples send in announcements? Are black people less inclined to send in announcements because they don't see themselves represented in the "Weddings" section anyway? Do they even care?

At least the Times finally started including homosexual committment ceremonies. L and I agreed that if the Times was still holding onto the outdated practice of outwardly excluding some couples based on a hateful legal technicality, we'd forget about the Times altogether.

So, in the end, we probably will submit our information to the Times to see what happens. Who knows? Maybe someone just like me will see our picture one year from now and wonder, "How'd that guy get such a hot bride?"

Posted by The Groom at September 22, 2003 12:38 PM