Announcing your nuptials in The New York Times is a sacred and important ritual that rich people have been performing for years. After all, if you don’t have someone write up your entire relationship in rosy detail for the delight of millions, did you really have a relationship in the first place? Is it truly worth getting married? That answer is a resounding no (at least if you are one of the rich people who gets written up in The Times) so couples have been working harder and harder to make their wedding stories as memorable as possible so that others would sit up, take notice, and maybe share the announcement with an “awww OMG” on Facebook. And then Nathaniel Peters and Barbara Jane Sloan — you can almost hear her saying “It’s Barbara Jane, not Barbara, and never Barbie” (even though she allegedly goes by Jane) — happened.
Why are Peters and Sloan so incredibly special, you’re asking? It’s hard to describe. It’s not like we haven’t seen insufferable marriage announcements before. But the reason that P&S (can I call them P&S? That’s probably what they’ll have emblazoned upon their custom-made vellum stationery, anyway) are particularly amusing is the same reason the entire world hates Anne Hathaway despite the fact that she’s an excellent actress and seems like she’s probably a very nice human being — they’re trying way, way too hard.
When Nathaniel Peters goes for a walk, he often sings aloud, which may be a genetic trait. His great-grandparents were Maria and Georg von Trapp, who founded the Trapp Family Singers with their children and whose story was the basis for “The Sound of Music.”
No, really, take it, please! Because it feels so incredibly shoe-horned and affected that if Julie Andrews were reading this she would slowly shake her head and just say “oh, honestly” over and over. Does Peters truly sing as he’s walking down the streets of his fair city (as he likely refers to it as)? Probably not, because most people would agree that this is not appropriate behavior for a public setting in which others have not consented to hear your voice. If he really does, though, I imagine he also likes to tell people that it’s okay because The Sound Of Music was based on his relatives. (A thing I still don’t believe even though it is in The New York Times.)
But there’s so, so much more:
Growing up on Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Peters was bookish and interested in existential questions and distinctive clothing from an early age. “He’s the kind of person who wants to wear bright orange shoelaces in his very fancy dress shoes,” said Clare Rose, a friend. “He’s often seen in a bow tie or some kind of hat.”
Ms. Rose added, “He knows what he likes, and nothing he likes is run of the mill.”
This is the kind of dude who shows up to a party wearing a tuxedo T-shirt and expects everyone to exclaim about how wiiiiiiild and crazy he is, isn’t it? He’s the one who hopes that people talk about him as they sip their craft beers, quietly wondering “man, who is that fun guy and how can I be more like him?”
“I don’t know,” whoever they’re sharing this private moment of ecstasy would reply, “but I hear he’s got a beautiful singing voice.”
Oh, and then there’s this:
When asked for words to describe himself and his friends, he replied: “You could try ‘heady.’ On the one hand, we are people who enjoy lots of books and investigating particular questions having to do with the human existence, or God, or the nature of beauty. But at least three of us are capable of cooking dinner to Taylor Swift and enjoying that, too.”
First: “You could try heady,” is the second-most pretentious thing I have ever read in my entire life (the first being the part about the Von Trapps).
Second: How interesting that Peters has friends who enjoy discussing both the true meaning of life and can also partake in the phenomenon that is popular music, which is only meant for the most common people! How wonderful that at least three out of his five friends would admit to that kind of thing in a moment of profound weakness. It’s unfortunate that Peters doesn’t divulge if one of those friends is him, but it’s nice to know that he’s so down-to-earth and relatable even though another fun fact about Peters is that he loves three-piece-suits!
Let’s not dwell too much on Peters alone, though, because the story of how he and Sloan met, after living across an open field from each other, (code for very, very rich) is even more unbelievable and so far out there that you may be wondering if this is being copied directly from Clickhole.
That fall, Ms. Sloan and Mr. Peters got to know each other better. She wore Warby Parker eyeglasses that were almost identical to his. She appreciated both liturgical music and Ella Fitzgerald, as he did.
“Make sure to get the brand in there! That’s very important! They might tweet this out, which could be very good for our Q score!”
When she visited his house, she generally arrived with an armful of baguettes and pastries, leftovers from the bakery where she worked. “I started referring to her as our ‘friend with breadifits,’” he said.
He did not own a car, but she did, which also helped forge a bond between them. She often gave him rides to Trader Joe’s for groceries.
Like normal people!
Still, neither thought of becoming more than friends, partly because one or the other was usually dating someone else. Also, Ms. Sloan said: “It took a while for me to wake up to how great he was. It took a year of friendship.”
More like a year of systematic deprogramming, but that’s pure speculation on my part.
During that year, they created several traditions together. “Sunday nights were ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ or, when those were not on, Shakespeare,” he said. They formed a group that gathered regularly at his kitchen table to sing in harmony, and he taught her how to cross-country ski on the trails outside the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt.
And then they fell in love:
Eventually, Ms. Sloan said, the two were spending so much time together that she asked him: “‘Is this fair? We are not too close, right?’ He said, ‘No, we are just two pilgrims along the way, traveling together for a while.’”