Countdown to Bliss

Susan Vargo and Christopher Anderson

Met: Feb. 27, 2001

Engaged: Feb. 3, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 13, 2002

Christopher Anderson was the head electrician at a large Boston

production of I Love You, You’re Perfect,

Now Change ; Susan Vargo, the show’s associate general manager, was his

boss. And the sparks were flying!

Though they had both dated theatrical co-workers in the past-and

lived to regret it-Ms. Vargo couldn’t resist Mr. Anderson’s chameleon-like

blue-green eyes and slim, 6-foot-1 physique. “He flirted the exact same way I

flirted,” she said, “which is a witty, insulting-barb-type thing.”

One of the first times she dropped by his place, the 5-foot-6,

auburn-haired and hazel-eyed Ms. Vargo noticed a picture of Mr. Anderson as a

5-year-old, looking forlorn and scared. Ms. Vargo cradled the picture to her

chest, saying, “The boy in this picture needs

this.”

Mr. Anderson was touched. “I knew I could trust this person and

feel safe with her,” he said.

Back at the theater, tongues were wagging. “I got this feeling

like, if I’m risking my credibility as an employer, I can’t just have a fling, ” said Ms. Vargo. “It better be

amazing. It better end in marriage .”

Every Sunday morning they would play the children’s playground

game “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” and the winner would decide if they stayed

together another week.

“There wasn’t really any fear that either one of us would decide

to break up,” said Mr. Anderson, “but it took the pressure off.”

On a Sunday morning about a year after they first hooked up, Mr.

Anderson woke up next to Ms. Vargo and held out his fist. She held out hers.

They both shot rock. Tie. Next round, she shot scissors and he shot rock. Then

he uncurled his fist and lo, there was an actual

rock: a  1¼3-carat, blinding-bright astral-cut diamond

ring. Holy cow!

The next day, they moved back to New York. Ms. Vargo, 25, is the

company manager for an Off Broadway show called The Last Five Years , while Mr. Anderson, 27, is working as a

freelance electrician at the Public Theater. They will be wed at the Lotos Club

on the Upper East Side. Curtain!

-Blair Golson

Abby Szoszun and

Richard Weiss

Met: October 1997

Engaged: Nov. 17, 2001

Projected Wedding Date: Nov. 28, 2002

Richard Weiss, a systems analyst, was teaching computer skills to

special-education students at the League School in Crown Heights when Abby

Szoszun, an aspiring child therapist seven years his junior, came in for her

first day of an internship. Mr. Weiss swooped right in on the 5-foot-7 newbie

with long brown curls.

“I’m pretty outgoing,” he said. “It’s not difficult for me to

strike up a conversation with a stranger.”

Ms. Szoszun found the 6-foot-5, well-muscled Mr. Weiss soft and

approachable, a “gentle giant,” and it wasn’t long before he started pushing

for romance. “As we computer people say, I was performing an upgrade,” he said.

But Ms. Szoszun, who had just gotten out of a five-year

relationship, was a bit skittish.

“I was dating the bad-boy types,” she said. “I didn’t think I was

going to meet someone I was going to marry, so why ruin the friendship?”

Two years later, they were sipping gin and tonics and Cosmos at

Sola’s in the East Village when Mr. Weiss finally busted out. “I love hanging

out with you and being with you, but I think I’m crazy about you,” he said. “I

really, really need to kiss you.”

“O.K.”

A month later, Mr. Weiss leaped atop the table of an Upper West

Side restaurant, narrowly missing their pasta, and shouted: “Isn’t Ms. Szoszun

the most beautiful woman in here?”

“I like that craziness,” Ms. Szoszun, 27, said. “You never know

what he’s going to do.”

Indeed. In November 2001, they went for a skate at Wollman Rink

in Central Park. Mr. Weiss had secretly called ahead and arranged for five

minutes of solo time on the ice. After a quick spin, he knelt and proffered a

two-carat round-cut diamond ring. As Ms. Szoszun nodded a hysterically tearful

“Yes!”, the rink’s D.J. began crooning “I Want to Grow Old with You,” the song

Adam Sandler penned for Drew Barrymore in The

Wedding Singer -one of the couple’s favorite movies. Skaters around the rink

began to cheer.

“That’s when I lost it,” said Ms. Szoszun.

They will be wed at Water’s Edge, a restaurant overlooking

Manhattan in Long Island City.

B.G.

Eric Wiener and

_Jungsoo Kim

Met: November 1999

Engaged: April 2001

Projected Wedding Date: May 12, 2002

Eric Wiener was Prospect Avenue–bound on an R train, feeling

stylish in his dyed fire-engine-red hair, matching tight pants, a white leather

jacket and T-shirt decorated with a picture of a large mushroom. He noticed a

beautiful woman looking at him from across the car and thought to himself: She digs me .

Jungsoo Kim thought to herself: Cute guy … but what the hell is he wearing ?

By the time their commute was over, Mr. Wiener and Ms. Kim had

exchanged phone numbers. Later that week, she invited him to a party she was

throwing at her apartment in Park Slope, though she wasn’t quite sure what she

would do with him once he got there. “I thought he was gay,” she said. “He was too cute and nice to be straight.”

A few hours into the soirée, however, Ms. Kim realized that the

tall, lanky Mr. Wiener, a freelance software developer who was born in Brooklyn

but spent his formative years in Texas, was actually doing his best to lure

every girl in the room with his Southern charm.

It would take countless sushi dinners, endless evenings at

nightclubs and a trip to New Orleans for him to erase her conviction that he

was a “player.”

Ms. Kim first moved to Brooklyn in 1996 from Seoul, South Korea,

fleeing a conservative family of strict parents and three older brothers. When

she hit her mid-20’s, her father told her she was too old for him to arrange a

marriage and that maybe she would find someone if she was “lucky.” Ms. Kim, who

is now 30, taught herself English from watching Channel 11 sitcoms, enrolled in

a graduate theater program at Brooklyn College, and picked up work waiting

tables, acting and modeling. Last year, she earned a second master’s degree in

video editing.

When the expiration date on her student visa approached, Mr.

Wiener, who is also 30, offered to marry her for citizenship purposes, but Ms.

Kim said that if the green card was the reason for the ring, she’d rather wed

someone she wasn’t sleeping with. Mr. Wiener hated the idea of her marrying

someone else, so he began proposing incessantly, starting at the turn of the

new millennium. But it’s always hard to trust a former player. “It took me till

that  Easter to get her to believe that

I wanted to marry her her ,” he said.

Eventually, Ms. Kim began proudly sporting the pink-and-green

plastic engagement ring he’d bought her from a gumball machine for a quarter.

They’ve invited 130 people to the wedding, which will be held on

a docked boat in the Hudson River. They briefly considered getting hitched in

Korea, but “over there, the night before the wedding,” said Mr. Wiener, “they

hold down the groom’s feet and beat them with canes in order to keep him from

running away.”

Anna Jane Grossman

The Love Beat can be

reached at engagements@observer.com.

Countdown to Bliss