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College Comment
Nuptial News Stuns Students!

It takes a lot to shock a Yalie in the year 2000. But after nearly four years in the shadow of Harkness Tower, I have finally figured out how to get this jaded bunch riled up.

I’m getting married.

  ©Robert Grossman '61

I didn’t think it would happen this way. One evening in the fall of my freshman year, I found myself perched on a stretch of Old Campus fence, chatting with a new friend about our parents. We discovered that our fathers were both alums, and both had met our mothers—Seven Sisters graduates—while at Yale. My friend wondered if we were somehow destined—or doomed—to spend our four years at Yale searching ’neath every elm for our future spouses. We resolved that this would not be our fate.

One year later, that friend introduced me to a classmate of ours, the man I’m going to marry in December. We dated for two years, and by the time he proposed, I’d been engaged in my mind for almost as long. Our parents had been expecting it for so many months, they barely raised their voices when we called to tell them the news. Our friends were not so quiet. “Ohmigod!” shrieked the first girlfriend I told. “I’m buying you a drink!”

A few minutes later, we were safely installed at a nearby bar, and it was rapidly becoming apparent who actually needed the drink. “You need another,” she said, waving to the bartender. “And as long as you’re having one, I might as well.”

My best friend from high school sent a huge arrangement of flowers and assured me that he’d be fine, if I’d only give him some time. “Egad!” was all one friend could bring herself to say. I attracted a great deal of attention at the parcel pickup window in Yale Station when the clerk handed me a four-inch-thick issue of Bride’s magazine.

Seeming to hold up better that the rest, my roommate threw herself into planning an elaborate engagement party for us. The party was lovely, populated though it was by incredulous undergraduates gripping their wine glasses with both hands and slowly shaking their heads. The toasts were heartfelt, if somewhat strained. Most of our friends are in long-term relationships, but plan to live the good life for a few years before they even think about marriage. Unfortunately, it seems they’ll all need as many years of psychotherapy—or a lot more champagne than we can afford—to recover from the shock of our marriage.

The scene at the engagement party my parents gave us was quite different. “You’re waiting until after graduation! How interesting!” gushed one of my father’s friends as my jaw dropped open. “I guess that’s one way to do it.”

At that moment I realized that our decision seemed as natural to my parents’ friends as it did to us. My parents are surrounded by other happily married couples, most of whom married young and have happily stayed that way for decades.

Whatever my dear friends may fear, my parents’ Yale courtship did not predestine me to pass my undergraduate days in spouse-hunting. But their marriage did show me that married life can be the good life. My new awareness of how to draw a crowd in Yale Station is just a bonus.  the end


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