Countdown to Bliss

Raoul Meyer and Dorothy Sandler

Met: May 2000

Engaged: Nov. 16, 2001

Projected Wedding Date: Dec. 21, 2002

Two mornings a week, those haute-hippie high-school pupils of Friends Seminary, the Quaker private school on 15th Street, assemble in a large meeting room and sit in pious contemplation for 20 minutes.

One morning the silence was broken when Raoul Meyer, the lanky, bowtied chairman of the history department, stood up and asked Dorothy Sandler, a pretty Latin teacher with long bronze hair, to marry him. The normally cynical teens burst into applause and cheers. The music teacher began banging out chords on the piano. As everyone started settling back into the silence, one young bohemian punk yelled, “Well, what did she say?”

She said Amo, amas, amat ! And the rest of the day was a grand celebration. The school band serenaded the couple in the yard beneath a “Congradulations” ( sic ) sign fashioned by Mr. Meyer’s 11th graders. Ms. Sandler’s Latin students presented her with a cake inscribed with dubiously conjugated Latin good wishes. Some kids doubtless took the day off and smoked pot.

The two teachers both attended Friends in their youth, but never ran into each other during class. When Mr. Meyer was a senior, Ms. Sandler was 11. “I didn’t know there were boys ,” said Ms. Sandler. (When she discovered them, she transferred to Trinity.)

They met when he interviewed her for the position of sixth-grade homeroom and history teacher. Mr. Meyer, who’d studied classics at Brown, decided this young Yale grad could use a mentor. “It was her first year teaching, so she needed a lot of help,” he said with a wink. This being Friends, there were no “ethical” issues about dating a superior, and so they went to the Foundation of Hellenic Culture on 57th Street to see drawings of Aesop’s Fables done by the New York Review of Books cartoonist David Levine, and Mr. Meyer told Ms. Sandler about the jewelry-making classes he takes at the Y. (He designed their engagement ring, which has a round diamond set deeply into a twisted platinum band.)

They live near the U.N. and are planning a wedding at the Brotherhood Synagogue and a honeymoon in Spain.

“She’s the best-she’s smart, she’s beautiful,” said Mr. Meyer, 32, who is popular because of his very downtown-progressive course on the history of New York City ethnic groups, taught mainly through walking tours.

“He’s so sensitive ,” said Ms. Sandler, 26. “Everything I read or see or experience, he makes it more interesting and brighter … Everything I do, he makes more exciting. Even just walking around New York, he’ll point out something interesting about the architecture of the buildings, or he’ll know some fabulous story about a statue I walked by a hundred times and never noticed.”

 

Beth Gissinger and Luis Rivera

Met: July 1998

Engaged: April 16, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 13, 2003

Warner Books is known for publishing moony romance novels like The Bridges of Madison County and The Notebook , not to mention inflicting the retro dating-guide series The Rules upon the world-but love in its very own halls?

Luis Rivera was a cooperative advertising manager there, bald but self-assured. Beth Gissinger was a fresh-faced, reserved sales assistant with blond hair and blue eyes. “When I first met her, I thought she had an attitude problem and that she was rude,” said Mr. Rivera, 31.

Then one sunny day, they ate their brown-bag lunches together and happened to stop at Häagen Dazs afterwards. He was impressed when she ordered orange sherbet-it’s apparently sort of an “iconoclast” flavor-and watched, mesmerized, as she licked her cone. “He says that right then, he knew that I would be it,” said Ms. Gissinger, 26.

They began pawing each other surreptitiously in the office at every opportunity. Once the receptionist caught them in a clinch, but jolly Warner publishing big cheese Larry Kirshbaum remained oblivious (though we’re sure he’d approve).

Ms. Gissinger has gone on to become a senior publicist at St. Martin’s Press-she’s representing a novel about the life of Sylvia Plath and, perhaps even more grimly, Joyce Maynard’s new novel about Sept. 11. Mr. Rivera is working in human resources at Pearson Education, a textbook-publishing company.

He presented her with a round solitaire diamond set in platinum on a recent trip to St. Bart’s, and they plan to marry at an old whaling mansion beside a rose garden in New Bedford, Mass., where the bride grew up. They live in a two-bedroom in Sunnyside (that’s Queens). “He can iron like you wouldn’t believe,” said Ms. Gissinger.

Mr. Rivera, who has two small children from a previous marriage that ended in the mid-90′s, is grateful for this second chance. “She makes me a better person,” he said, sounding as if he might have a Robert James Waller novel in him. “The best time of my day is going home and knowing that she is there.”

 

Melanie Abramsohn and David Levine

Met: Sept. 1996

Engaged: May 10, 2002

Projected Wedding date: May 25, 2003

Melanie Abramsohn and David Levine were casually acquainted throughout their undergraduate years at the University of Pennsylvania. “I thought he was cute, but I never thought about him like that ,” said Ms. Abramsohn, 24, a slim brunette with dainty hands who works in institutional sales at Goldman Sachs.

Then, one day, she walked into the gym to do some light lifting, saw the 6-foot-6 Mr. Levine hanging from a bar doing pull-ups-a pitcher for the Quakers, the school’s baseball team, he was training for a muscle-and-fitness charity show-and found herself suddenly quaking with lust.

“I saw his stomach,” she said. “I remember coming home and telling my roommates, ‘Dave Levine is so hot !’”

Mr. Levine, 24, is an equities trader for First New York Securities. “My mom always called me an underachiever, but I find myself very motivated,” he said.

They live together in a Greenwich Village one-bedroom. The kitchen is stocked with fat-free frozen yogurt and fat-free candy. There is basically nothing with any fat in it in the entire place. They work out at least four times weekly at their local New York Sports Club. “That’s pretty lackadaisical for us,” Mr. Levine said.

He proposed at a bed-and-breakfast in Newport, R.I., with a round diamond set with two baguettes in platinum. She said she cried “hysterically.”

Their pastel-trimmed wedding will be held at a temple in New Jersey, where they both grew up.

“We’ll splurge at the wedding,” Mr. Levine promised. “No nonfat desserts.”

Um, can you say “manorexic”?

“He’s just perfect,” Ms. Abramsohn said. “He’s caring and considerate and gorgeous and emotional. He’s motivated and driven. And very muscular.