Countdown to Bliss

Joshua Freni and Robin Glowski

Met: Spring 1998

Engaged: July 4, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Aug. 2, 2003

The news of Monica Lewinsky’s delivery of pizza, etc., to Bill Clinton was just breaking when Joshua Freni began his internship at TVT Records, but this irony was obscured by the fearsome legs of TVT’s art director, Robin Glowski.

“They’re long and very strong,” said Mr. Freni, 28. “They just didn’t quit. They made me freak out .”

He was in a long-term relationship with someone else at the time-“I’ve been a serial monogamist since high school,” he said-but “it was at a point where it was really funky and I was unhappy with it. When it started to grow totally unbearable, it made me a little more aggressive in my pursuit of Robin.”

He began sending her flirtatious instant-messages over AOL. Badaleep ! And she flirted back. Badaloop !

“Nothing dirty!” said Ms. Glowski, also 28.

Things finally did get a little dirty, however, one night after drinks at Sapphire on Eldridge Street. He was crazy about her button nose. She could no longer resist his dark hair and “swimmer’s body.”

They began to stagger their exits to try and keep their relationship secret from co-workers-“though I should say that this office is a hotbed of relationships,” said Mr. Freni, who has since been promoted from intern to talent-wrangler at TVT. After Ms. Glowski left to work freelance (she’s now art director at Beekman Marketing), they felt it was safe to move into a one-bedroom Brooklyn Heights co-op.

One night after dinner at Bowery Bar, the two went for a walk on the Promenade near their apartment. He had told her there were going to be test fireworks at midnight in preparation for July 4 (there’s nothing like kicking off matrimony with a little lie). Then he gave her a one-carat, princess-cut diamond set in brushed platinum. “The fireworks are on your finger !” he said.

Back at home, there was Veuve Clicquot chilling in the fridge.

After their wedding at the Central Park Conservancy (there’s also a reception at the flora-filled Bloom Ballroom in Chelsea; don’t forget the Claritin!), Ms. Glowski plans to whisk her new husband to Australia to explore the Barrier Reef.

“I love diving,” he said, “but I don’t want to see any big sharks. I’m not keen on seeing anything that can swallow me, but my gal is very into that sort of stuff.”

CherylAnne Jaroslaw and Richard Kilstein

Met: Dec. 30, 1993

Engaged: Late January 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Nov. 10, 2002

These two hepcats are getting married at Bowlmor Lanes, near Union Square.

The bride, CherylAnne Jaroslaw, has already secured three Badgley Mischka outfits for the occasion: a white dress for walking down the lane to meet the groom and rabbi; a glass-beaded skirt (which she’ll pair with high-heeled bowling shoes and a bowling shirt) for the “bowling” portion of the fête; and a blue silk-and-taffeta number for a party at Pressure, the health club turned lounge upstairs from Bowlmor. Sylvia Weinstock will provide the bowling-themed cake.

Ms. Jaroslaw is an elfin, red-haired, high-cheekboned aspiring actress (she works doing voiceovers and had a small part as a “slut” in The Tao of Steve ) who refuses to give an age more specific than “late 20’s.” “I’m terrible with math, and I ignore years,” she said. A Mets fan, she also had a notion to get married at Shea Stadium, but her fiancé, Richard Kilstein, 35, a hotshot lawyer for credit-card companies, argued that she’d be too distracted by the baseball game to pay attention to the nuptials, and she agreed (which is rare, as the Love Beat learned the hard way over chocolate milk with the pair at an Upper East Side Starbucks).

She: “We met eight and a half years ago, maybe? I don’t know.”

He (barely audible): “It’s nine and a half.”

She (barking): “It’s not nine and a half years-it’s eight and a half !”

He: “O.K., you’re right.”

She: ” I know I’m right.”

And so on.

Their first date, a blind one set up by an old friend, was inauspicious: Mr. Kilstein tried to take Ms. Jaroslaw to some fancy restaurant upstate near the Hudson River, but they got lost and ended up at a Bennigan’s. “I hadn’t eaten for like two days before the date because I wanted to look skinny, so I was just, like, dying,” she said. She had pasta and beer. He had a milkshake.

Within six months, though, he’d left New Jersey to live with her in Manhattan, where they now share a two-bedroom near Lenox Hill with several stuffed SpongeBob SquarePants dolls-which often get thrown off the couch to make room for the couple’s frenetic lovemaking.

“I may not be the sexiest person in the world, but Rich seems to think so,” said Ms. Jaroslaw. “It’s the wackiest thing.”

“Oh, yeah! Yep!” he said.

The idea of wedlock seems to have just kind of dawned on them. “I didn’t get down on one knee or anything. I just said, ‘Rich, I think we should get married.’ After he said yes, the next morning he rolls over and says, ‘Will you marry me?’ And I, being my romantic self, started laughing hysterically, going, ‘This has already been decided!’ And he’s like, ‘No, no, no, no-I’m asking you!’ And I’m like, ‘O.K,. he did vote for George Bush senior,’ you know? And he’s had to ask like 300 times since then. He’ll tap me on the shoulder when we’re walking down the street and he’s like, ‘Will you marry me?'”

Mr. Kilstein gave his financée his mother’s two-carat diamond ring, but she isn’t wearing it. She doesn’t really believe in rings. “It all relates to penis size,” she said.

Michelina Pagano and Anthony Parente

Met: March 26, 2001

Engaged: March 7, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Sept. 8, 2002

Micki Pagano, a writer and independent-film director, was by her grandmother’s bedside at a Long Island hospital, getting the classic Italian-grandmother treatment.

“Why you work so hard? Why can’t you just meet somebody and get married?” croaked the old woman. There was more: “Just get it over with! … Marry anybody! … You live at home like a dog! Before I close my eyes, I’m gonna make sure you get married!”

“Then she died,” said Ms. Pagano wryly. “I was the oldest of 18 grandchildren, her namesake, and over 35-a horror for an Italian woman who eloped at age 16, had nine kids in Italy and made her own bread. She couldn’t understand this modern-woman thing. I’m a career woman .”

But exactly a year after her grandmother’s death, someone set her up on a blind date with Anthony Parente, who is in the New Industry Development Group at American Express and has dimples, curly hair and a sense of humor. They went out for Malaysian food. “We laughed so hard,” she said. “All we did was laugh. And then, on the second date, we laughed! And we still laugh!”

After they removed the Singapore noodles from their noses, they discovered that they shared a birthday, a love of Bonanza , a tendency toward insomnia-and, most grandmother-pleasingly, their parents came from the same small town near Naples. But it took the relationship a while to heat up.

“I was still getting over somebody else,” said Ms. Pagano, a svelte 38 with a heart-shaped face, whose first novel is based on Navajo legend.

On Sept. 11, though, Mr. Parente was just two blocks away from the collapsing Twin Towers as he wended his way to work at the World Financial Center. That night, he called Ms. Pagano and told her about running with firefighters down the West Side Highway, away from the billowing clouds of smoke.

It was then, she said, that she realized he was her “soul mate.”

“Wars are fought over love, and you can see the power of it,” said Mr. Parente, 41. “It’s this incredible comfort feeling.”

Three months before moving into Ms. Pagano’s Upper West Side bachelorette pad, he proposed with a treacly poem at the Red Cat restaurant in Chelsea, and then went with her to pick out a ring-a sapphire encrusted with diamonds.

Their wedding will be at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers with sage burning, Walt Whitman readings, an African-American female Unitarian minister, and a priest to appease the Catholic relatives in the 300-plus crowd. The bride and groom will walk down the aisle to the sounds of tenor Andre Bocelli singing “Con Ti Partiro” and recess to the Monkees classic “I’m a Believer.”

The Love Beat may be reached via email at engagements@observer.com.

Countdown to Bliss