Countdown to Bliss

Touré

and Rita Nakouzi

Met: Sept. 28, 2000 Engaged: Sept. 18, 2003 Projected Wedding Date: May

21, 2005

Touré,

the 33-year-old host of MTV2’s Spoke ‘N’

Heard and a writer for Rolling Stone

who prefers to keep his last name private, is marrying Rita Nakouzi, 28, a

fashion consultant at Promostyl, at a yet-to-be determined venue in New York

City. Ms. Nakouzi joked that she could change her name to just “Rita” and they

could be a “very modern” couple. “He didn’t find that very funny,” she said.

They

met “across a crowded room” (as they both put it) at a mini-concert by Lenny

Kravitz for his music video “Again.” “It’s so funny I’m meeting you,” Touré

told the dusky beauty, “because I’m reading Midnight’s

Children [which takes place in India].”

“That’s

great,” said Ms. Nakouzi, who is half-Iranian, half-Lebanese. “I’m not Indian.”

Oops .

“I was like: ‘Foot in mouth!'” Touré said.

Later that night, he found Ms. Nakouzi again, sitting on

the couch in the V.I.P. room. “Hi,” he said, fixing her with a penetrating

gaze. “I want your number, I want your address, I want your cell phone number,

I want your mother’s number. I’m getting in touch with you.'” Expressionless,

Ms. Nakouzi obeyed.

“He

broke all the rules,” she said. “He called right away.” The following night,

Touré showed up at her office in his car and took her out to dinner at La Casa.

“He was such a gentleman,” she said. “That doesn’t happen in New York.”

On the afternoon before their tentatively scheduled

second date, Ms. Nazouki’s office phone system shut down, and she waited all

day for her cell phone to jing-a-ling. After 7:30 came and went, the

disappointed damsel left the office, only to run into Touré on the sidewalk

outside. Turned out she’d given him the wrong number, and he’d driven all the

way to her apartment to leave a note, then rushed back to her place of

business. I know this girl , he’d

thought, and she wouldn’t give me a

second chance if I didn’t make it.

When

he got a four-week gig at a writers’ retreat in Italy, Touré invited Ms.

Nakouzi to join him two weeks before the retreat. “I was like, ‘This is the big

tester,'” she said. “We had really an incredible trip. Crazy things happen when

you travel. I remember when he dropped me off at the train station, my heart

sank. At that moment, I was like: Wow, I

could really see myself with this guy. “

A

year later, she moved from her one-bedroom in Fort Greene into his duplex in

the same neighborhood. And another year later, Touré surprised Ms. Nakouzi

during a business trip to Paris with a 2.75-carat Asher-cut solitaire on the

balcony of a restaurant overlooking the Eiffel Tower (he’d planned to take her

to a bridge over the Seine, but was concerned about her four-inch Manolos).

“She

has definitely the greatest character of any person that I’ve ever met-far

stronger than mine,” said the author, whose first novel, Soul City , a magical-realist tale about a small African-American

town, is due in September.

“I’m

just in awe of his imagination and his talent,” cooed Ms. Nakouzi.

The

kids will get the secret last name.

– Alexandra Wolfe

Jodi

Goldman and Richard Siegmeister

Met: June 21, 2003 Engaged: Dec. 19, 2003 Projected Wedding Date:

Sept. 12, 2004

Jodi

Goldman’s husband hunt had taken her on over 100 dates. “I interview people for

a living,” explained the dark-haired Ms. Goldman, 36, a human-resources

generalist  who lives in ( gasp ) Fort Lee, N.J. “I approach dating

like a job search.”

Though

friends call her the “diversity queen” for her general approach to humanity,

Ms. Goldman was determined to find someone of her faith. “I’ve met the most

horrendous Jewish guys,” she said. “I’d call them up, and the first thing

they’d ask for was my dress size.” She had become the court jester of the

office, her co-workers greedily demanding the latest “horror story” each morning.

Not even back surgery in December 2002 could deter Ms.

Goldman from her quest. Immobilized in bed, she spent the entire month surfing

the Web for potential mates. A friend had recommended Greatboyfriends.com,

“where every single man comes with a woman’s stamp of approval,” and it was

there that she espied Richard Siegmeister, a balding, bespectacled fellow one

year her senior who was taking evening bar classes following his graduation

from Fordham.

Mr.

Siegmeister didn’t respond to Ms. Goldman’s e-mail. “I had no time to be dating

anyone from New Jersey,” he said. “I live in the East Village .”

Ms. Goldman was disappointed but quickly moved on, like

the unstoppable PATH train of passion she was. Later that spring, she found

herself listening to one prospect describing his gastrointestinal distress in

graphic detail the day after their date. “It was the straw that broke the

camel’s back,” she said. She decided to give that guy from Greatboyfriends.com

another cyber-holler.

By now, Mr. Siegmeister was juggling studies for the bar

with a job as the director of talent contracts and guild affairs for Sesame

Workshop, and he quickly laid down the law. “If you can’t deal with my

schedule, then forget about it,” he wrote.

His unfazed pursuer drove in from the boonies on a rainy

day for coffee at Des Moines, a restaurant on Avenue A. After a pleasant chat,

they decided to stroll over to Mr. Siegmeister’s favorite shop, Toy Tokyo (by

coincidence, Ms. Goldman had spent almost six years in Tokyo, on an exchange

program studying the relationship between Japanese business and

culture)-whereupon she slipped, falling on the wet pavement. “She wasn’t

embarrassed at all,” he said appreciatively.

Studying

in self-imposed isolation for the bar, Mr. Siegmeister was delighted to receive

a care package from Ms. Goldman filled with homemade brownies, Sesame Street

trinkets, pencils, Japanese good-luck charms and a screwdriver. “She’s Miss

Powertool,” he said. We’ll say!

Post-bar

restorative trips to Florida and Jamaica quickly ratcheted up the intensity of

the relationship. Mr. Siegmeister rejected his mother’s engagement ring, a

diamond in a butt-crack-like chevron setting, and got Sandy and Lisa from Owl’s

Roost Antiques to reset the original diamond in white gold surrounded by

sapphires. He presented this to Ms. Goldman on the first night of Hanukkah,

along with a handcrafted storybook called The

Story of Richie and Ichi (the nickname given to Jodi by her grandmother).

They’ll be married by Harvard professor Shaye J.D. Cohen

at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. “After all that time searching,” said the

delighted bride-to-be, “we found one another.”

She

escapes from Jersey on May 1.

-Jessica Joffe