We're Going To The Chapel & We're Going To Get In The New York Tiiiimes

It's 4:39 a.m., and I'm about to pass out for the last time as a single man. Hallelujah.

Also, we got an amazingly long listing in the New York Times this morning, including a video where they do, as I expected, rock the "Sex & The City" music.

Not only am I described as evoking a "young Woody Allen," which is a fascinating description for someone on the verge of marriage, but the engagedguy.blogspot.com gets a holla in the video portion.

What an amazing run. I gotta go marry a girl. We'll see you on the other side.


Our Life In Lights

So my little quest to get into the New York Times wedding section has taken a turn toward even more notoriety than even I may be comfortable with.

First off, we're apparently in. A reporter interviewed each of us over the phone last week for about a half-hour apiece. One amusing anecdote: Deborah told the reporter that we started dating in 2002. When the reporter asked me the same question, I said 2005. Then he made it seem like I was the absent-minded fiancee. "You failed the newlywed game," he said. Truth is, in 2002 Deborah was in college, under the drinking age and dating guys who didn't bathe. At least that's how I think of it.

Secondly, after our initial interviews we got a call back from The Times' secret wedding section hotline. (The number came in on my cell like this: 111-111-1111. For real.) They asked if we'd be their featured online video for the week, to which I responded with an understated "absofuckinglutely!"

So a videographer came down from New York and spent about 2 1/2 hours filming us, separately, on our roof. This will all be edited down to 5 minutes of what I hope doesn't look too much like an eHarmony commercial. Expect cheese when this thing posts on nytimes.com Sunday morning, but also expect that cheese to be very sweet.

Also expect some Carrie Bradshaw references, and perhaps Sex & The City music. They did, after all, film me typing on my laptop.

Above, look at my celebrity wife!


I Married A "Homemaker," and All I Got Was This Lousy Wedding Certificate

We awoke at the crack of dawn today and hauled ass to Room 413 of City Hall for one of the most important to-do items left on our list: Get a marriage certificate.

Weirdly, there's a three-day waiting period from when you buy ($80!) your certificate until when it actually takes effect. That's just two days less than the five-day gun-buying waiting period. Is getting married just two-fifth less dangerous than shooting a gun? Ponder that one.

Also on the weird front, the woman who issued our license was an intern. We know this, of course, because Deborah asked if they were hiring. Who interns at the wedding license place?

But here's the big-whopper weird thing: Deborah is listed as "homemaker" on the certificate. Poor thing has been working her ass off since the age of 13, gets unceremoniously dumped by The Man two weeks ago and all of a sudden everything's in black-and-white and it's 1955 up in here.

What if I was laid off? It definitely would not have said "homemaker." Would they have even given me a license at all, considering my failure to provide?


Booze? Check.

With the help of my anonymous friend pictured here, I ventured across state lines (shhhhhhh....) and bought enough booze to keep our wedding going for four days. With this much liquor, it's hard to believe we still need food.

Some highlights:

  • Ronrigo Rum! Don't be fooled by the plastic bottle. This is the hottest thing in the Caribbean these days.
  • Six bottles of vermouth! I'm not sure why.
  • Huge bottles of Svedka Vodka (my dad's pick) for just $20 each!
  • Two kinds of champagne!
  • A mind-boggling 44 bottles of wine!
  • Three surprise brands of beer!
Distant cousins Kahlua, Pucker, Amaretto, Triple Sec and Peach Schnapps will be well represented. Hopefully this will make some people, who declared themselves sober for the weekend, will rethink that thought.

The best part: We can return all the booze we don't drink! Although I can't imagine that happening.

Now the worst part: My anonymous friend was kind enough to store all the booze at his apartment, but I stopped by his place a few hours after I dropped off the stuff, and he looked like this:


When Homeslice Gets Laid Off, She Lays Out

No, we're not canceling the wedding, as some have suggested. No catastrophe could possibly stop this thing at this point.

And apparently life actually goes on. Hearing the stories about unemployment in comments and emails -- and more specifically the stories about getting laid off right before weddings -- indicates that this will probably not kill us.

Melissa was threatened with a lay-off three days before her wedding and then canned the day before her birthday. Guess what? Still alive. Marilyn lost her job the month before her wedding, and her husband lost his job the month after. Guess what? That was 1971, and she said it was "the best thing that ever happened"!

That's the thinking around these parts, too. To wit, this what the bride has been up to:

1) She went to the beach. Laid out. Had two beers, which intoxicated her. Standard. Posed for picture, above.

2) Started a blog about being unemployed with her friend Allison (above), another victim of the butcher on Sansom Street. It's the hottest thing in the blogiverse right now. Check it! Greetingsfromunemployment.blogspot.com

3) Completed a range of wedding-related tasks, including painting a ketubah! It's like arts-and-craft day at camp around here these days.

4) Organized job offers into alphabetical order.

It doesn't mean it doesn't suck, which it does. But this kind of thing happens on the regular in America in 2008. "Layoff" is the new "black." So we deal. And blog about it or something.


Something Has Gone Terribly Wrong; Guess What It Is

Let's everyone play a game. With 23 days left 'til Showtime, one of these dreadful scenarios actually, really just happened. The other two are bullshit. See if you can figure it out:

Scenario #1: At the last wedding dress fitting, the tailor at the Macy's Bridal Shop spilled her vente caramel-mocha frappucino on the front of the wedding gown, forming a bizarre splotch-like figure that could not be removed, despite its subsequent shipment to Hong. Three weeks left, and we have no dress, people.

Scenario #2: There was a fire at the apartment complex behind our wedding venue that triggered an explosion in a kitchen, which then spread, leveling an entire half-city block and leaving our venue in rubble.

Scenario #3: Out of absolutely nowhere, the bride got laid off.

The Answer: Number Three.

Deborah's agency lost their largest client because the company discontinued the brand. Deborah worked on said client, so she -- along with about 15 others -- were let go at 4 pm on a Friday. It was a fucking blood bath, and she's going to be better of for it. I'm positive. We just don't know when that better-off is gonna be, exactly.

Oh, and they apologized for the timing of her dismissal, considering, well, our wedding. The bossman also told her it was the Democrats' fault, whatever that means.

So, if someone is in the market for the best graphic designer/art director in the greater Philadelphia area, we're accepting offers. Give my startlingly talented future wife a job. Or even a freelance gig. Or she'll walk your dog every afternoon for $5 a pop.

Better yet, check out her new business.

Also, if anyone understands unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania, we could use a tutorial. I don't think their web site is written in English.


Look Who's Already Dressed For The Wedding!

Unfortunately, he won't be in attendance. But since we actually bought Shmelvis a cat bow tie for the wedding, he'll be wearing it instead of a collar for the next 3 1/2 weeks.

And he'll be more formally dressed than either of us.


I Will Beg. I Will Plead. Whatever It Takes To Get Into The New York Times Wedding Announcements.

I have pontificated before about my odd fascination with the New York Times wedding announcements. I am not sure why I'm drawn to them; I am not sure why I was hooked on them long before I even imagined myself in any sort of situation involving marital bliss.

But they are more robust, better read and filled with far more fancier people than any other wedding announcement page in America, so in that sense they are something of a cultural institution. Some mock them, some obsess over them. And that's why I must be a part of them.

Every Sunday, I have my routine with the wedding pages. I scan for personal points of interest (my hometown, college and city). I scan for couples of interest (old gay men, inter-religious matches, vast age differences). And I scan names/pictures of those I might recognize.

On Sunday, my friends Keith and Jen--whose wedding I was in as both a groomsman AND as the official bubbles-hander-outer--made the cut. Shockingly, as the newspaper was passed around during the Sunday morning post-wedding brunch, I oozed with pride rather than bitter jealously. I swear on next Sunday's copy of the Times, I was happy for them.

That happiness is contingent, obviously, on us being in there in four weeks. And with a picture -- and none of them bride-only shots, neither.

We have pitched the Times hard. We sent along our flip-book invitation, a copy of the actual magazine when I proposed and a detailed summary of our relationship and familial pedigrees. The whole preparation process took like three days, so in case we don't get in (bite your tongue! godforbid! perish the thought! fingers-crossed!), here's our announcement:

Deborah A. Hurwitz and Matthew E. Katz are to be married on Sunday evening (August 31) by Rabbi Lee Friedlander in the courtyard of the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, PA.

The bride, 27, is a senior art director for Gyro Worldwide, an advertising and marketing agency in Philadelphia. She graduated magna cum laude from The George Washington University. The bridegroom, 30, is a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, covering Camden, NJ. He graduated from The George Washington University.

Although the couple went to the same college, they met later through friends. At the time, Mr. Katz was a news reporter at the Gannett-owned Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ, where he also wrote a nationally syndicated dating column. Distributed by Gannett to about 50 daily newspapers, it was called The Bachelor Pad, and it chronicled Mr. Katz’s dating life. (See mattkatz.net for back columns.)

Mr. Katz and Ms. Hurwitz became friends, and he told her he was interested in dating her. But she made it clear that she only wanted to be friends. So Mr. Katz began writing columns about wanting to date a friend (see two attached articles). Eventually, Ms. Hurwitz relented. And Mr. Katz began writing about that, too.

Mr. Katz chronicled the couple’s relationship in The Bachelor Pad for about two years. Although he wanted to propose in a way befitting the public, written nature of their relationship, he said he thought it would be too predictable to propose through the column.

Fortunately, just when he was ready to ask Ms. Hurwitz for her hand, the New Jersey Monthly magazine interviewed him for a profile because his column ran in a half-dozen daily newspapers in New Jersey.
The magazine headlined the profile "Mr. Write." In a quoted passage in the last paragraph, he proposed. (See enclosed magazine.)

Ms. Hurwitz read the article in their apartment in Philadelphia, and when she got to this quote – “Deborah, will you marry me?”—Mr. Katz got on one knee. He now writes a blog about their engagement at engagedguy.blogspot.com.

The bride is the daughter of Ilene and David Hurwitz of Randolph, NJ. Her father retired as president of Allerton Enterprises and is a former vice president of Fisher Scientific, now Thermo Fisher Scientific. Her mother is an administrative assistant with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in Madison, NJ.

The bridegroom is the son of Roberta and Richard Katz of Roslyn, NY. His father is an independent insurance broker and retired as deputy director of the New York district office of the Food & Drug Administration. His mother retired as a New York City public school teacher after 32 years.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kelly Turso Photography (this pic is not the one, unfortunately, that the Times got)


Commitment Tattoos!

In one single article last week, the New York Times pointed a shotgun at my head and blew my fucking mind.

I grew up with strong conservative Jewish principles rooted in the northeastern Queens mid-1980s traditions of Judaism, and one of our main precepts was: "Thou shalt not get a tattoo, because thou won't be allowed to be buried in a Jewish cemetery."

Guilt trips don't get any worse than, "When you're dead, we won't let you hang out with us." And as such, almost every Jewish kid I know has kept his and her arms pasty white, free of the cool barbed wire that our goy brethren wrap around their biceps. Religious or not, atheist or not, the vast majority of Jews refrain from getting tatted up because of the whole Jewish cemetery thing.

Unfortunately, it turns out it's bullshit. The New York Times:

The eight rabbinical scholars interviewed for this article, from institutions like the Jewish Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University, said it’s an urban legend, most likely started because a specific cemetery had a policy against tattoos. Jewish parents and grandparents picked up on it and over time, their distaste for tattoos was presented as scriptural doctrine.

This is the first and only time you will ever see me write this: OMG!

I haven't stopped thinking about this article since I read it. It's like turning 21 and finding out you can drink every drop of booze in the bar and no one can stop you. A whole new world is open to me...and us.

Clearly, Deborah and I need to take advantage of this. Should we get matching "commitment tattoos"? Should we write something in Hebrew, to be doubly ironic? Should we just brand ourselves with Shabbas candles?

The options are limitless. Suggestions, as always, are welcome.

CREDIT: Justin Dawson/The New York Times


A Waffle House Wedding

And you thought we were taking some liberties with wedding tradition.

Consider the case of George "Bubba" Mathis and Pamela Christian, two
23-year-olds who work together at the same Waffle House off the same highway in Georgia. Bubba (I shit you not, that's his real nickname) married Pamela in the parking lot of their Waffle House because it was too much trouble figuring out how to arrange their work schedules to make time for a more typical journey down the aisle.

Waffle House holds a special place in our relationship, too, as it is our go-to spot for coffee and cholesterol whenever we take our bi-annual Southern roadtrips. Waffle House has some of the most delectable hash browns man has ever made, and despite the carbon monoxide from the neighboring highway, it has a quaint charm. For the uninitiated, the details to this wedding are all you'll ever need to know about Waffle House.

Nearly all the wedding pictures on the slideshow (scroll down here) include a decked-out bridesmaid with a Newport 100 dropping out of her mouth. The trail of cans attached to the back of the "Just Married" car includes at least one Keystone Light.

Yes, we are getting married at the house where Betsy Ross stitched the first American flag. But these guys? True, blue Americans.

CREDITS: Benjamin Hager (photo)/Randi Max (tip)


The B. Party

Some guys have bags of silicon bounce on their foreheads. Others take the refund money from returned Bed, Bath & Beyond engagement gifts and put $1,000 on black at the Hard Rock in Vegas.

Me? I'd prefer to get shot in the face with 190-mph pellets.

One feature of my 68-hour bachelor party last weekend was a vicious paintball game at one of the most notorious paintball places in the world. Twenty-two of us broke up into two groups, based on the period of time which people happened to have met me. It was 1996-2000 vs. 1990-1995 & 2001-2005. I have no idea who won, but I do know that the referees on our squad were named Knife and Gomer, and they accidentally secured a $180 tip.

I also know that I wore a white jumpsuit (see top of pic) while the rest of the team wore camouflage one-pieces that were ridiculously impossible to detect in the woods . We had the fields to ourselves, and there were games in which one team would man a three-story castle with 10 towers and the other team would have to storm the castle, kill everyone it and then take the killed people back onto their own team as mercenaries.

There was a game where one of our men, Stuart Pines, got shot in the goggles, swallowed some paint and wandered around looking for the rest of our team for a good 45 minutes. A search party was dispatched.

Typically, being hit with a paintball signifies a kill. But for one particular experiment in idiocy, in a match called "President," I was on a team with just three other dudes. And instead of one shot anywhere on my body, I would only "die" if I got hit FOUR TIMES IN THE FUCKING HEAD.

As "President," I had 5 minutes to hide in the woods with my three "Secret Service" agents. When the time was up, the rest of the 18 men were sent to hunt us down. They had 15 minutes.

Eight minutes in, as I lay in belly-down in the grass enjoying my time at one with Mother Earth, I heard: "I see a head moving!" With nowhere to run, and with my Secret Service all but gone, I was doomed. I was shot five times in the head, a couple of times in the jugular, seven or eight times across the rest of the body. A failed jump and body roll into a bush didn't seem to work at all. It also didn't make me look good. I screamed each and every time I was hit, for some reason, adding to the legendary wussiness of the moment.

Best bachelor party ever.


Flip That Invite

One friend flips it daily. Another likes to flip it backwards, just for fun. Some have never flipped before, but now they know the flip is hip.

Because the the wife2be is brilliant, our wedding invitation came with a custom-made flip book. A couple of months ago we shot a short video (see above) on the roof of our apartment building. I wore red; she wore green. Twas a rainbow, ya know.

I double-timed the video on FinalCut Express, and we sent it to FlipClips, which turned it into a series of pictures compiled in a flip-book invite. Deborah designed the accompanying card and the cover, which features a rainbow, the skyline of Philly and the phrase, "come join us under the rainbow..." That makes sense, because of this.

There were mishaps. A flipbook or two cut through the envelope and made a run for it at the post office. One or two folks were thoroughly, thoroughly confused. We were even accused of wasting paper (our response? this is a keepsake, dammit).

But for the most part, our people seemed pumped to get an invite that wasn't written in cursive on off-white soft paper with a faded rose in the background. In fact, the response has been a little too overwhelming. With so many people RSVPing in the affirmative, the line for the bar at the wedding might just be unbearably long.


The Bloggin' Brides & Me

I awoke from the fog of my bachelor party this weekend to realize that something funny happened: I am now the most famous male engaged blogger on earth.

Months ago, I surpassed my only competition,
So I'm Engaged, who hasn't posted since April. It's a shame, too, because he was willing to go places that I'm not: "If I could have it my way, Cousin Michael and Brother Andrew would engage in a Best Man Death Match to suss out who will be at my side when it comes time to sign the ketubah in my blood."

Signing the ketubah in your own blood! Brilliant. He also says the dress theme for the wedding is "pimps and hos," and it will take place on Long Island, the "home of innovation." I hope that's ironic. Either way, funny.

So now it's just me. And guess what? The bloggin' brides have discovered me! It seems that it began with 122lovesme, 23, from Seattle, who blogs about her adoring fiance, Mr. 122. I got a little love from Guilty Secret in London, who got engaged only after her boyfriend stopped slinging drugs. Thoughtfulday in Brooklyn is a designer, just like the ole lady. And two women getting civil unioned in DC (see above) named me an "allied bride"!

And then it rolled from there, when Meg from the uber-famous A Practical Wedding said I had filled the "black hole of groom nothingness," and then began a campaign to get me more comments and "peer -pressure" me into posting more.

Love ya ladies! Welcome! My world is a little rougher around the edges, but let me tell you something sister -- when it comes to weddings and the taking-over-your-life thing, I feel you. I feel you. Mmm, hhhhm.


Bobble Bobble Bobble

We said we would, and oh yes we did. Did we ever.

Instead of the (boring) plastic bride and groom atop the wedding cake, we are taking a different, more personal, more awesome tact: Bobblehead dolls of ourselves. In superhero outfits, of course.

We sent our pictures to the geniuses at a bobblehead company who used high-tech imaging to transfer our faces to the bodies of miniature superheroes. These will sit on our wedding cake on our wedding day, and then they will retire to the proverbial mantle place of our home, where our children and their children and their children's children will come to see us for the creative superheroes that we are.

Either that, or once they're in therapy they'll have something to talk about.


Love Yoy Babe

My poor fiancee, just trying to do her part in continuing 5,000 years of beautiful history.

The rabbi told us that it is a tradition in Jewish weddings for the bride to give a new tallis, or prayer shawl, to the groom. So on a Judaica web site run by some fly-by-night company (based either in Tel Aviv or Crown Heights, or possibly both), Deborah found a pretty awesome -looking tallis threaded in rainbow, which has sort of become the color scheme for our wedding.

Then she decided to add her own non-traditional flourish -- having "Love You Babe" written in thread right there on the tallis itself.

But that isn't exactly how it turned out, as you can see. When I opened the box, I initially assumed that this was some sort of Yiddish pun...Oy! Goy! And Yoy!

That now doesn't appear to be the case. The company goofed. A refund/replacement request has been filed; I will keep yoy updated.

(P.S. Dear Mom, That thing you got Deborah for her shower is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Thanks!)


Rainbow Chuppah!

"We need the biggest gay flag you have," Deborah said.

"This one?" asked the clerk at Giovanni's Room.


$56 later, we have a 5-foot by 8-foot multi-colored chuppah.

The chuppah is the traditional Jewish canopy that the bride and groom stand under as they get married.
People do all kinds of different things for their chupah -- sometimes there's lots of greenery, like the Garden of Eden, other times four friends or family members hold a simple white sheet above the couple.

By popular demand -- if you consider a 16-8 poll on my blog "popular demand" -- the gay rainbow flag will be our chupah. And we're stoked. Gays may not be able to get married, but they will at least be symbolically represented at this wedding.

When you search "rainbow chupah," a link to this blog is the first to come up on Google, which I think is hilarious. But it's not just us. Last month the first lesbians to get married under South Africa's new civil Union Act purposely chose a rainbow chuppah.

If it happens one more time the New York Times Sunday Style section will do an article on this "trend"!


Fun With Photoshop

One good thing, or the only good thing, about having photographer friends who also happen to be insomniacs is that they send you photoshopped gems like this picture -- a hybrid of Deborah's new engagement ring and the unique-looking jeweler who created it.

The question, of course, is whether the jeweler could even make a ring that looks like the one in this picture. And if he could, would we even be able to afford it?

[Pic from Philadelphia Magazine...And as always, more procrastinationary goodness over at tokoni.]



Actually that's not true. The ring was replaced weeks ago, I just forgot to update the general public. So here's the skinny: Deborah and I went to this legendary Philadelphia jewelry store called Halloween run by an even more legendary Philadelphia gay icon. This dude is a friend of John Waters, claims to have been at Stonewall, designs jewelry for Elton John and he looks like this. The store is basically a big jewelry box; it is the only jewelry store I've ever been to where I actually felt comfortable.

In any case, we gave the jeweler, Henri David, a pearl I bought for Deborah as part of a necklace when I was in Vietnam (for vaca, not war). He turned it into the flower-like awesomeness you see above. It's more comfy on her hand, it's more protected from being damaged and it was cheap, cheap, cheap.

So now we're engaged again, which is nice.

[In other news, I'm in love with my dry cleaner. Check out that non-engaged-guy-related story here.]


No One Cares What The Groom Wears, But...

The fancy-ass suit salesman at the fancy-ass suit store told me that no, that wasn't possible. The suit I was looking for was not available in his store, despite the 45,000 square feet of retail space and a clientele so well-heeled that there's valet effing parking for the customers.

Somehow Matt Katz (who has owned exactly four suits since the one I rocked for the Haftorah at my Bar Mitzvah) stumped the suit store salesman with the trademark slicked-back gray hair. I was apparently aware of a suit style that, gray hair said, "won't be found anywhere outside of Milan."

All I wanted to do was combine a little 21st century Eurotrash with some Beatlemania to create a simple, black, relatively fitted number with a narrow lapel and a skinny tie. "You won't find that in America in 2008, period," gray hair told Deborah and I.

And what about this Dolce & Gabbana advertisement that I'm sheepishly unfolding from my pocket? It was in last week's New York Times magazine, so surely it exists?

"Nah," he said. "They don't make those for real. That's just to get you interested in the brand."

Well if it's cool enough to get people interested, why wouldn't they just make it for real and put it on the racks?!?

Something was fishy.

So we left, dejected. And on the way home we stopped at Zara's, an upscale H&M-like place that is, literally, visible from our apartment. I tried on the first suit I saw. It was exactly what I was looking for, and it actually fit. NOTHING fits me without a tuck and a prayer. And it was affordable. Like, seriously affordable. We bought it.

The whole process took 15 minutes. Being a dude is awesome.

(In case you're superstitious about seeing the groom in his gown before the wedding day, I don't post pics. Check them out here at Tokoni.com, where I've been doing some writing lately).

Source: barmitzvahdisco.com


Flower Power!

With the fourth florist, we really thought we found our match. After we told him what we (Deborah) pictured for the wedding, he looked at us, leaned in, and said: "Girlfriends, you guys are having the gayest wedding ever."

"Thank you!" we shrieked.

"We don't have the exclusive rights to the rainbow, ya know," he sassed back.

Our florist had just given us a compliment that might have turned off another couple, or at least another groom. Then again, another florist wouldn't have come out of the closet to a new client. Clearly this was meant to be.

But then, just like the others, he stopped responding to our calls and emails. He never followed up with the names of the plants he was going to research for us, or with an estimate of how much it was going to overcharge us. Apparently he was content making cheesy corsages for junior proms in South Philly. So screw him.

Last weekend, we visited Florist No. 5. First, there was free coffee. EVERY SHOP SHOULD HAVE FREE COFFEE. Good work. Second, the florist told us how her husband's grandfather started the shop 50 years earlier. I'm a sucker for a good mom-and-pop-shop story. So far so good.

And the hits continued: She didn't find it weird when Deborah explained how she wanted the centerpieces big enough so strangers wouldn't have to talk to each other (talking to strangers interrupts the hors d'oeuvres eating process, apparently). She gently explained that the flower Deborah wanted to put on my lapel would make me look like a clown, and not in a good way. And yes, she would put beta fish in the water of the plants on all of the tables if that's what we wanted. But no, that's not a good idea at all.

Sweet honesty! We just sent her our deposit, and that means we've now officially completed the Big Six elements of wedding preparation: Reception place, DJ, caterer, rehearsal dinner locale, officiant and florist. Mazel Tov to us, dammit.


Horah Hooray

Naturally, the answer to my Horah prayers rests with a little-known Norwegian pop band named "Euroboys." (NOTE: It's a bad idea to Google-Image "euro boys" if you're at work, by the way.)

Euoroboys enjoyed moderate success in Europe, or at least in the greater Oslo metropolitan area, with their all-instrumental experimental album "Jet Age" in 1997. Weirdly, the very first track on the album is "Hava Nagila," the old-timey Jewish tune that is traditionally played during the "Horah," a (or the) Jewish wedding dance.

Did I mention that these dudes are Norwegian?

In any case, I have no idea how this happened, but this Horah jam is insanely kick-ass. True, I love all Horah jams, and during my ongoing research of the 162 Hava Nagilas available for purchase on iTunes, the only one I haven't liked so far was by the Meshugga Dance Party. So I'm an easy sell.

But the Norwegian Horah really has all the right ingredients: Rockabilly, California surf rock, tablas and, possibly, a riff ripped off from somewhere on the "Pulp Fiction" soundtrack. I'm talking to Deejay* quick-stat about how we can drop some traditional Klezmer on top of the bass and turn this Horah into the greatest 40-minute extravaganza of music and dance that mankind, or at least Jews, have ever seen.

*this is both the name of a person and the name of that person's occupation.

CREDIT: Shot taken from a photo by Ali Smith on the dance floor during great times at Dan & Sara's wedding in March.


I Got 44 Problems But The Bitch Ain't One

It's been years since I last posted -- and hey! I'm still engaged! Who woulda thunk it?

Our engagement has gone on so long that we don't remember what it was like to be "dating," whatever that means, let alone single. We have no idea what marriage will be like, or when it will come, or whether it will really happen.

But last week we came back from vacation and realized that beyond the big chores -- the place to get married, the guy to marry us, the dress for the bride and the DJ for the Horah -- there were probably some other things we should think about doing. So we made list.

OK that's bullshit, as you know. Deborah made the list. I then took the list, fixed the spelling mistakes and got OCD all over the formatting. I also broke everything down into categories, including "Judaica" and "FIND FLORIST!", because that's how I do.

We finished with, I shit you not, NINE categories, for a total of 44 things to do before the big day. 44! Absurd. And we're supposed to be nearing the end of the process! I've never done anything that required 44 steps in my life, and my future wife can't even name 44 reasons why she likes me, let alone loves me.

That means we have to accomplish one task every three days to be ready for the wedding day, which is enough to keep me awake until the wedding, wondering about any things I might have missed, like....

#45) Call both sets of parents and explain that the title of this post is ripped-off from a Jay-Z song, and not a reflection of my opinion of my future wife.


"I Guess You'll Do"

Sometimes, there's something on the interwebs that makes you (me) realize that my (our) life is virtually indistinguishable from almost everyone else who lives in my building, goes to my yoga class and graduated from my high school. Last month, it was the site Stuff White People Like that made me realize this. And now, thanks to Nora, we have this little diddy about falling in love:


Engagement Ring, December 2006-March 2007 (Part 3 of 3)

Days after Deborah's engagement ring disappeared into thin air like Osama bin Laden on the Afghan-Pakistani border, I was still seriously bummed. Then I read about the unluckiest man in the world.

This jaco in London apparently put a $12,000 engagement ring into a balloon so his girlfriend would "pop" it as he "popped" the question. But before the proposal, a gust of wind rolled by and the balloon, with the ring, went up, up and away. "I had to tell her the story – she went absolutely mad," Leffkos Hajji told Reuters. "Now she is refusing to speak to me until I get her a new ring."

Or, he could tell her to go eff herself, but that's neither here nor there. Bottom line, I read that story and felt slightly better.

But that's not all! Click here for the exciting conclusion to the Ring Saga.


Engagement Ring, December 2006-March 2008 (Part 2 of 3)

When Deborah came home from Washington, DC last weekend, it took a few minutes before I felt her bare ring finger. And then things went something like this:

"Babe, did you accidentally leave your ring in DC again?!?"
"Oh, okay. Good."
"I actually lost it."

Silence. Nothing. We were both sort of speechless. If you've ever spent any time around either of us at any point, you know this must have been quite a remarkable moment.

Deborah explained that after she realized the engagement ring was gone, she spent hours looking for it at the two apartments where she had spent time over the weekend. I wanted to ask her if she left it on her other boyfriend's bedside table, but I was so bummed I wasn't even in the mood to drop B-level infidelity jokes.

Deborah said she had spent so much time worrying about my reaction that she toyed with some ideas about how to tell me what happened, including the following diddy [a name has been omitted]:

"Listen, Matt, I gotta tell you something. Our good friend, -----, has AIDS."
"Oh my God! Really?!?!?"
"No...But I lost the engagement ring."

To find out more about my alternatively mature and self-righteous reaction to the end of the ring, continue here.


Engagement Ring, December 2006-March 2008

Please pour a drop of your morning coffee on the office or kitchen floor today as we sit shiva for Deborah's engagement ring, which disappeared last week.

Oh, ring. You were good ring, ring. Yes, that pearl did sort of stick out a little--a lot, actually--and you sometimes ended up banging yourself against doors, people and pets. You occasionally fell on the floor or behind dressers, which was annoying. But you looked dope on Deborah's hand, and even our wedding DJ, who is considerably cooler than we are, called us the coolest couple ever after seeing you on Deborah's finger.

How did the ring disappear? We'll get to that. In the mean time, this losing-the-ring thing is the most exciting thing that's happened on the Engaged Guy in years, and you know it, so you'll excuse me if I gorge myself on this topic this week...

That having been said, you can find a little background on the first moments of my 15-month relationship with the ring at here, at mattkatz.tokoni.com. Tokoni is a new social networking site based on the idea that we are all connected by our stories, and they've invited me to do some writing for them. Check 'em out!


Blonde Over Blonde

I've been growing my hair recently under the theory that after a guy gets a haircut, everyone thinks he looks good just because it looks different. So if my hair gets really shaggy and I cut it right before (or during) the wedding, then I'll be the handsome groom no one expected I'd be.

These new long-ish locks prompted my boss to suggest I lighten my hair. Possibly she said this as a joke. Either way, I mentioned it to Deborah, and before I knew it she was envisioning this yin-yang thing at our wedding with me in a dark suit and light hair and her in a light dress and dark hair. I have always harbored secret curiosity about dye-jobs, so I listened intently. The next thing I knew, she was in the hair aisle at CVS.

I stripped to my skivvies, we listened to Bob Dylan's brilliant "Blonde On Blonde" album and Deborah began painting my hair. It took a few minutes before the pain in my scalp set in; those were a good few minutes. Then the pain became embarrassingly unbearable, so I showered and emerged from the bathroom...a redhead.

The red soon dissipated to something resembling strawberry blonde, as you can see above. As I gazed at my new doo in the mirror, Deborah said: "It looks better in the mirror than in real life."

What am I supposed to do with that, exactly?

At work, women said they liked it, but they're preprogrammed to say that to anyone with a dye-job. It's a female law of nature, like childbirth. The men, meanwhile, compared me to one of the following: Ellen DeGeneres, Martina Navratilova or David Spade. I'm pretty sure those weren't compliments. Most didn't make any comment whatsoever, but one told me that the next time we were out drinking he'd "tell me how he really felt."

Anyone know how long I'll look like this? Will people talk smack about my roots during the wedding? And should I alert the Human Rights Campaign about the friend who declared this "the gayest thing Matt Katz has ever done"?


Is My Mom Trying To Tell Me Something By Sending Me This Email Forward? If So...Awkward

This is a true story about a recent
wedding that took place at Clemson University.

It was in the local newspaper and even Jay Leno mentioned it. It was a huge wedding with about 300 guests. After the wedding, at the reception, the groom got up on stage with a microphone to talk to the crowd. He said he wanted to thank everyone for coming, many from long distances, to support them at their wedding.

He especially wanted to thank the bride's and his family and to thank his new father-in-law for providing such a lavish reception.
As a token of his deep appreciation he said he wanted to give everyone
a special gift just from him. So taped to the bottom of
everyone's chair, including the wedding party was an envelope.

He said this was his gift to everyone, and asked them to
open their envelope.
Inside each manila envelope was an 8x10 glossy of his bride having sex with the best man. The groom had gotten suspicious of them weeks earlier and had hired a private detective to tail them.

After just standing there, just watching the guests' reactions for a couple of minutes, he turned to the best man and said, 'F---you!' Then he turned to his bride and said, 'F--- you!'

Then he turned to the dumbfounded crowd and said, 'I'm outta here.' He had the marriage annulled first thing in the morning.

While most people would have canceled the wedding immediately after finding out about the affair, this guy goes through with the charade, as if nothing were wrong. His revenge--making the bride's parents pay over $32,000 for a 300-guest wedding and reception, and best of all, trashing the bride's and best man's reputations in front of 300 friends and family members.

This guy has balls the size of church bells.

[I looked it up -- it's a bogus email circulating since 1995 and based on a December 1985 Weekly World News article...Email forwards are seriously the single worst thing to come out of the www revolution. From now on, I'm too busy looking at something awesome on YouTube to open another FWD.]


Let's Hope The Marriage Thing Works Out Better Than The Fantasy Baseball Career

As you can see from these standings, my fantasy baseball career has been less than successful. Just twice in five years, my team Broad Street Butter finished in a position that wasn't last place or second-to-last -- but in both cases the last place team owner died midway through the season and, therefore, stopped playing.

Not me. Death won't stop me from checking my lineup, making bad trades, researching endless baseball sites, dreaming about Peter Gammons and otherwise doing as complete as possible a job as a fantasy baseball owner. Nonetheless, I fail. (I also finish in last place in fantasy football every year, but I actually understand baseball.)

It doesn't make sense, and it has the potential to ruin my marriage. News that another fantasy baseball season is around the corner (draft in 10 days! already one bad trade my belt!) left Deborah's eyes rolling yesterday. My sheer shittiness at managing Broad Street Butter genuinely seems to disturb her, as if my inability to run a fantasy team says something larger about my luck, my business acumen, my earning potential, my ability to produce strong male offspring and my general lot in life.

Unfortunately, I tend to agree with her. As Broad Street Butter goes, the theory goes, so does Matt Katz. That's why the best part of every baseball season is now, before the season begins, when my record is still .500. Hope is unlimited, and the bitter failures of yesteryear don't mean shit.


These Boys In The Basement With The Pecs And The Facial Hair

Several questions came to mind as I watched Deborah clean out her parents' basement this past weekend:

  • Why did Deborah paint so many paintings of her boyfriends?
  • Why are they so good?
  • Why are the boyfriends often in various states of undress?
  • Do I have smaller pectorals than these guys?
  • More to the point, does Deborah think about the fact that I have the smallest pectorals?
  • Are my lack of pectorals related to the fact that there are 0 paintings of me in the basement?
  • Or is it the lack of facial hair?
  • And why is Deborah looking at me weird as I take pictures of these boys in the basement?


Engagemenopause Update: Puns, NBA Jokes, Cocaine & More!!!

We're at the seventh-inning stretch of our engagement, the calm before the storm, the beginning of the end. We have checked off a number of major tasks for the wedding, so there's been a bit of a pause (engagemenopause) in engagement-related news.

To recap: We have a date, a place, a bride and a groom. We have a DJ named Deejay, a rabbi we call Rabbi, and we're looking for a florist named Florist. I even know what I'm watching on the YouTube before the rehearsal dinner to calm my social anxieties.

So I'd like to use this pause in the action to go public with some information. As everyone knows, Valerie Bertinelli has written a new book to admit that she snorted coke while preparing for the ceremony of her wedding to rocker Eddie Van Halen (see above): “The priest we tapped to perform the ceremony gave us questionnaires so he could get to know us better and offer more personal words. As we filled out the forms at home, we each held a little vial of coke.”

Since we're often compared to Valerie and Eddie, Bertinelli's book has made some wonder about us. I'm going on the record now, once and for all, to assure you that when we did our homework before our last meeting with the rabbi -- reading the "Under the Huppah" chapter of "The New Jewish Wedding," which unravels the many mysteries of the broken-glass-mazel-tov -- illicit stimulants were not involved.


WEIRD NEWS: Groom Sees Bride Before Wedding Day

NEW YORK -- Chaos ensued early Saturday evening when a groom busted through a "No Gentlemen Beyond This Point" sign at Macy's bridal salon in Herald Square to check out the dress that his fiancee will wear to their wedding.

Saleswomen, other brides and various family members expressed shock, then horror, then curiosity after the groom, Matt Katz, 29, spit in the face of tradition and odd superstition by viewing the white garment before the appropriate time.

Katz said he was invited by the bride herself to view the dress, which, he added, "looked fucking awesome."

"I just like to involve him in decisions," said Deborah Hurwitz, the bride, matter-of-factly.

Katz agreed with Hurwitz's top pick for a dress -- a classy neo-Grecian number with a hot neckline -- and the purchase was made at approximately 8:41 p.m.

The couple was told that it will take a four months for the dress to arrive, and then another few weeks for alterations, which shocked the shit out of the groom.

Spry 74-year-old saleswoman Sylvia -- a part-time historical romance novelist -- agreed with the groom and assorted onlookers when she said Hurwitz looked "breathtaking."

Among the onlookers was a 21-year-old Macy's employee who was neither engaged nor dating anyone but had come to the Macy's bridal salon to "live in the moment."

The employee, who asked not to be named, tried on a flowing white gown with an even longer veil, stared at herself in the mirror, and repeated this -- "damn, wow, damn, wow" -- for a disturbingly long period of time.

She then turned to those staring at her, which is what happens in the bridal salon when anyone tries on a dress. "You're living in my moment," the employee said, smiling.

"Wow this is weird," Katz said. "How come women are allowed to play out their wedding fantasies in here, but 'gentlemen' aren't allowed to check out their fiancees' dresses?"

Still, he said he was thrilled that his fiancee found a dress she looks and feels gorgeous in, and he rejected the idea that seeing the dress before the wedding will cause bad luck.

"And I'm also glad I never have to go back to a bridal salon," he said.

Apparently that wouldn't be possible anyway. A Macy's spokesman said Monday that the store would not tolerate another intrusion past the "no gentlemen allowed" sign, and at the first sight of Katz the police will be called.


Free Food = You're Hired

"I was told there would be samples," I said.

This is how I open up every visit to a wedding caterer. My first experience with these food pushers was at a bridal show when we first got engaged, which must have been four or five years ago by now, and I ate enough roast beef-horseradish sandies to keep my GERD on overdrive until two weeks ago. It was fabulous.

But recently we've had a string of bad luck with caterers: No free food, no free booze, no free pharmies. Then why am I here? If there's nothing to consume couldn't we just have done this on the phone or on the interwebs? I hoped for a fruit platter, perhaps. Maybe a nice Goat cheese sampling with crisps, or pigs in a blanket and wine in a box.

One caterer kept us 2 1/2 hours without even offering a glass of water, and then after refusing to talk money at the table she never even ended up sending us an estimate! Cold-hearted, food-hoarding bastards.

Well, I'm happy to report, on Sunday we got our first real free meal on the backs of a caterer. And we weren't freeloading off just any caterer -- we ate off a caterer that gives his proceeds to AIDS/HIV patients!

We hit the motherf'nload. For more than an hour Deb and I sat in the office of a warehouse and chowed: "Traditional" coleslaw, multi-colored chips with salsa AND guac, two-potato salad (who knew there were two kinds!), mini-pulled beef sandwiches in little buns ("Mini sandwiches are very in," we were told) and mini-pulled chicken sandwiches. Caterer Dude even gave us leftovers -- so much that the two of us have already had FIVE follow-up meals between us, and as you can see from this pic we've got more shreds of meat chilling in Tupperware.

Even after we're married we're going to go for lunch and food shopping at caterers like this one every week. How are they gonna know if we're already married? Make up a few bogus names and email addresses, and the scam could go on for years. Then, we move.


And Now, We Rejoice

"Without music life would be a mistake. " ~ Nietzsche

"Music is what feelings sound like." ~ Unknown

"Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. " ~ Beethoven

"Music is the shorthand of emotion." ~ Tolstoy

"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. " ~ Confucius

"What we provide is an atmosphere... of orchestrated pulse which works on people in a subliminal way. Under its influence I've seen shy debs and severe dowagers kick off their shoes and raise some wholesome hell." ~ Meyer Davis

We now officially have a DJ. There will be music, and it will be kick-ass. All is well, and nothing else now matters.

PHOTO: Anna Kuperberg


Marriage Is Just A Series Of Tubes

There's a number I came across last week that I can't stop thinking about. The online dating behemoth eHarmony -- you've seen their ads featuring very, very regular-looking people in front of a blue screen -- now claims it is responsible for 120 weddings a day. That's 2 percent of annual marriages in America.

Take all the weddings you'll ever go to in your life and multiply that by four. Now imagine all of those weddings every day, created and constructed by a company that does such a good job that it doesn't even allow you to browse for your own dates. It also doesn't let you search for M4M, if you're so inclined, let alone F4F or MF4MF.

As much a social engineering tool as online dating site, eHarmony has banned browsing and taken the whole "finding love" thing into its own hands. Daters answer a 258-question personality test (so far 19 million people have taken it), and their answers are compiled into a secret, trademarked algorithm to determine whom you are most likely to fall in love with. Unlike other sites, which allow daters to set the criteria for matching, eHarmonizers let the computer weed out the losers automatically.

Clearly the eHarmony model has been effective, but when Deborah and I tested a similar system at PerfectMatch.com for a dating column two years ago, it straight up didn't work.
I came out as an RACV -- risk taker, high energy, cautious, seeks variety. Deb was a RAOV -- instead of "cautious," she was "optimistic," which doesn't even make any sense.

Apparently, RACVs and RAOVs don't hook up, because even though I was emailed 14 "matches" of women of varying ages and hometowns, my wife2be was not among them. And instead of matching with me, Deborah got some well-dressed French dude in Manhattan. I'm not sure what that was about. I think they still talk. It's awkward.

I say all that just so I can brag about this: Last week the science writer for The New York Times essentially Jason Blaired my ass and tried an identical experiment using eHarmony with his wife. Just like us, even after dozens of offerings, he and his wife did not match at all.

So much for you and your fancy computers, eHarmony.

CREDIT: The uber-talented Deborah Hurwitz herself.


Reading Is For Losers; Listen While You Work

For no particular reason whatsoever, The Engaged Guy now has an audio function. Instead of reading this blog, you now have the option of reading something more interesting online while listening to your computer read the blog for you. Just click on the "listen now" button under each headline, or have the blog automatically downlooaded to your iTunes by clicking on the Odiogo Feed on the left-hand side of the page.

Web 2.0!


Who's Better, Gays Or Straights? Time Magazine Tells Us!

A fascinating Time magazine article lists the differences, according to a new body of research, between gay and straight relationships. Check it:

  • Gays are nicer than straights during arguments as couples. They are "less belligerent, less domineering and less fearful." Gays, particularly lesbians, also use more humor when arguing. (Margaret Cho -- loves ya!)
Gays-1 Straights-0

  • Straights are better than gays at making up, or "repairing," after a fight.
Gays-1 Straights-1

  • Gays are more likely to require tension in a relationship. "Gays conduct their relationships as though they are acting out some cheesy pop song: You have to make my heart beat faster for me to love you."
Gays-1 Straights-2

  • Straight men are more sensitive than gay men to their partners' sadness and anger. In gay couples, according to researcher Robert Levenson, "there's a sense of 'We're angry, but isn't this funny?'"
Gays-2 Straights-2

So it's a tie, dammit. Possible solution? Triads.

PHOTO: Elmo from Sesame Street. For some reason, it seemed appropriate.


Study: Mawiage Is (Not) What Bwings Us Togever

A new study shows that married people who fight live longer than married people who don't fight. Those that don't fight are just suppressing anger, according to the study. So this assumes that everyone has problems with his or her spouse one way or another -- the only difference is whether you choose to fight it out or not.

Well that's certainly depressing. Even more depressing is that if you are in a miserable marriage where you're constantly combative with each other, you can't even die and get it all over with. You actually live longer to fight longer. Good times.


When The Cat's Away...

...the mouse doesn't do shit.

Schedule For Saturday Afternoon While Wife2Be Is Out of Town:

Noon: Wake-up

12 - 12:10:
Staring contest with cat. Aspirin for hangover.

Drink two cups of coffee. Check email. Organize iTunes. Watch Royal Tenenbaums on mute (this was confusing). Get OCD on my weekend papers so ads go in recycling and sections are piled in order of reading priority. Read front section of the Saturday New York Times including obituary of anti-Semite chess champ Bobby Fischer, which is odd because I like neither anti-Semites nor chess. Check email.

: Take shower while singing chorus of "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" (4x).

More with the email.

Step into daylight for four activities: 1) Rent episodes 1-7 of Season 4 of "The Wire," because I'm considering a career move into the Baltimore drug trade. 2) Drop $2.50 on a turkey-bacon egg-and-cheese sandy from the vendor across the street. 3) Get peer-pressured by friendly, accented vendor man into getting a hug from one of the UPenn hippies with FREE HUG signs on every corner of my block. 4) Get accidentally hit in head with a FREE HUG sign, but follow-up hug makes the pain go away.

: Watch "The Wire."

This was identical to my Saturdays back in the day, when I was single and lonely, sporting a poofy haircut and a cheesey (but awesome) billboard for my dating column on four South Jersey highways (see above).


Sorry Grandmas and Grandpas!

This, at least according to Maury Povich's babymaker machine, is what your grandson (granddaughter?) will look like. I guess we can rule out fashion model or actor -- hopefully he/she is good at sports!

The proud mother's first words, by the way? "Horrifying."

CREDIT: Maury, keep up the great journalism! And Sugar, thanks for the idea!


On Blawging, Divorcing, And Finding Out Your Wife Is Working At The Local Brothel

William Krasnansky is sort of like my doppelganger: Instead of blawging about getting married, he blawgs about getting unmarried. The Vermont resident has been detailing -- and when I say "detailing," I mean "boring" -- the circumstances around his divorce. He says his account is actually an "autobiographical novel," but that hasn't stopped his ex-wife, Maria Garrido, from taking him to court and having a judge order him to stop blawging.

Fortunately, Krasnansky has continued to write as an act of civil disobedience, and by doing so he is defending the right of blawgers the world over to piss off family members by posting things online. Mr. Krasnansky, you are a true patriot.

Blawging is a fantastic way to complain about your marriage so you don't have to do things like A) Offing yourself with the carbon monoxide in the family garage, or B) Mailing a frozen cow's head to your wife's lover, as Jason Fife of Hunker, Pa., recently did, resulting in a sentence of community service and probation.

Consider the case of a guy in Warsaw, Poland, who recently visited the local brothel and found his wife of 14 years working there. As a hooker. What the hell is he supposed to do now? "I was dumbfounded," he told the local newspaper. "I thought I was dreaming." Blawg it out, baby. Just blawg it out.




Twins Separated At Birth Married Each Other (The Guardian)

Gross, right? But isn't it somewhat sweet that after being torn apart at birth they found each other once again -- even if the terms of the reunion are somewhat vomit-inducing?

No? Okay. Maybe not.

Credit: IMDB


And You Thought Transgender Bobblehead Dolls Would Be Weird On A Wedding Cake

Meet Chidi Ogbuta of Allen, Tex., who had her childhood dream fulfilled when her wedding cake was created in her life-size image. It took a week for the cake to be eaten.

'Nuff said.



BREAKING: Groom (Possibly) Dying

At the last moment, a mere nine months before I'm to walk down the aisle, I have been threatened by the same evil doer that took the life of Susan Biddle Ross in 1996: Toxic glue on wedding-related stationery.

We're sitting here stuffing save-the-date envelopes and, suspiciously, the wife2be gives me the job of sealing the envelopes. But the envelopes refused to close. I try a sponge, but nothing. So I try filtered water with a paint brush. Again, no dice. I try Cisco and Shmelvis and binger H20 -- all the same results.

"Just lick them," the wife2be tells me, again with the suspiciously. And so I did. And it worked. Which is great.

On the other hand, this is envelope glue, and I'm EATING it. Certainly I'm about to die.

Yes, when George's fiance Susan died on Seinfeld, that was the genius of Larry David and not reality. But I do have a shitty taste in my mouth right now, and my stomach feels even more off than normal, so I'm left asking a few questions:
Isn't it barbaric that we still lick our mail? Isn't it weird that we seal all snail-mail correspondence with our tongues? Why isn't there a Netflix-like adhesive for envelopes already? And would the wife2be immediately go to the diner for a cup of coffee if I died from a glue overdose?

CREDIT: NBC ... please don't sue me


UPDATE: Groom Confusion; Bobblehead To Appear On Cake, Not Tables

The bobblehead dolls, contrary to my previous belief, is actually planned for the cake, not the centerpieces of the tables. We're actually having plants on the tables. This means three things:

A) I'm an idiot.

B) Planning a wedding is above my pay grade.

C) Our wedding cake will have what all other wedding cakes will have -- a mini-statue of the bride and groom -- except the heads will rock back and forth, all night long.

Credit: mybobblehead.blogspot.com

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