English, Department of


Date of this Version



THE NEW YORK TIMES, SUNDAY, JULY 24, 2016 (Sunday Review), page 8.


Copyright (c) 2016 NYT. Used by permission.


My building thinks of itself as Lincoln's premier wedding venue. I was not told this when I signed the lease. A glitch of duct work sends the sounds of every single party straight through the exhaust fan of my apartment's bathroom, so loud and clear that I can hear the names of everyone in the wedding party as they are announced -- not just in the bathroom, but from the living room. I can hear when people are clapping, can hear the claps as individual sonic events: I can almost always make out the crisp echo of the last person clapping.

This March, the reception space in my building was host to a wedding fair. I went in my pajama pants. "We make sure every wedding is unique," one vendor told me while gesturing to a Mason jar with a candle in it. I'd wandered over because she was giving out chocolates. When asked, I told most of these well-meaning vendors I was a bride-to-be or the sister of a bride-to-be. What I learned quickly not to say was that I was divorced, as this got me politely shunned from whatever free sample they were offering. "You only get married once!" they reassured me. Divorce threatened the very angle that has made weddings a $60-billion-a-year industry.

"The Mason jar thing is so over," another vendor told me. My mouth full of bacon-wrapped dates, I asked what, then, is the new thing.

"Industrial Modern or Bohemian Classic." She added, "We're seeing a lot of unique things come out of those themes." ...