Countdown to Bliss

Peter Meyers and Lisa Silverman

Met: August 2000

Engaged: Aug. 24, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: March 2003

Peter Meyers’ love life wasn’t going so well, and he was spending a few too many nights home alone snuggling with Jack, his beloved calico kitty (we know the feeling). A good friend told him that he seemed to have lost his edge. “And this was when Seinfeld was big, and edge was good to have,” said Mr. Meyer, a 34-year-old freelance writer who’s covered technology for The New York Times , Salon and The Wall Street Journal . “I felt dull.”

He was training for his first New York City marathon, and his running partner excitedly told him that she had a single friend, Lisa Silverman, who had total “edge.” She’d dyed her hair magenta in high school at Stuyvesant, then gotten degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton before taking an e-commerce job at Nickelodeon. Pretty crazy stuff.

Mr. Meyers, a graduate of Harvard and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, pulled out the big intellectual guns, courting her with a copy of Philip Roth’s The Human Stain and a David Foster Wallace story, which he Xeroxed from The New Yorker . “I thought he was really smart but also really warm, and it’s really rare to find those two things in the same person,” said Ms. Silverman, 34, a perky-nosed brunette with big brown eyes.

“I pursued her vigorously, to no avail,” said the gray-haired, green-eyed Mr. Meyers. “She was just like, ‘Eh, it’s not going to happen right now.'”

The truth was, Ms. Silverman felt their relationship was doomed so long as Jack was in the picture. She was so allergic to cats (and pollen and mold and dogs and horses) that her nickname at Wharton was “Wheezie.” We’re talking rashes . She’d rake her new love prospect furiously with a lint brush, but it was all for naught: “He would come over and my eyes would start to water!” she said.

They did “platonic stuff” for several months, like going to museums and discussing their mutual love of Edward Gorey. But when he began trying to go out with her friends, she got territorial.

Enter Dr. Howard Menikoff, an allergist with offices near Washington Square Park.

“The options were to remove the cat, remove the guy or become desensitized,” said Dr. Menikoff. Being “desensitized” involves going for a weekly allergy shot for five months, then for a monthly shot every subsequent month, possibly for life . Ms. Silverman decided to go for it. Mr. Meyers not only escorted her for every shot, but ultimately bought her a ring from Barneys: many small diamonds encrusted in oxidized silver-dipped gold.

“I love her dark sense of humor,” he said. “She’s the type of person who likes to make fun of people without being mean to people.”

“He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me,” said Ms. Silverman. “He’s the lid to my pot.” She added, “I’m such a cat person now!”

They’re bringing Jack-who likes to bat around a thin white silk ribbon that hangs from the bride’s Morgane Le Fay gown-to their wedding reception at a yet-to-be-determined location. Saucer of milk for table two!

Aaron Kehoe and Cara Macksoud

Met: September 1999

Engaged: April 5, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: April or September 2003

Cara Macksoud, 24, is one of the highest-ranking women her age at the finance firm where she works with her fiancé, Aaron Kehoe. (Citing “security reasons,” they refuse to name it, or describe their specific jobs.) A former high school ice-hockey player who said she goes “punch for punch with the guys at work,” she also owns and rents out two Manhattan apartments, and is renovating a third with Mr. Kehoe. She hopes to retire by the time she’s 30. On weekends, she likes to hop in her Honda Civic and hit the craps tables in Atlantic City.

The couple met three years ago when they had adjacent work stations at another firm, which they also refuse to name (mellow out, people!). She’d breeze in with a Ziploc full of Starbursts for breakfast, puffy-eyed, smelling of cigarette smoke, and regale him with stories of her wild love life and compulsive gambling.

“She was always talking to me a mile a minute,” Mr. Kehoe, 26, said at a downtown Starbucks the other day. “Every night she was out with another guy.”

“I have a sugar problem,” said the frenetic, busty Ms. Macksoud, sipping a white-chocolate skim mocha. “I’m like a junkie.”

“When she didn’t have candy, she was literally ripping open packs of sugar and eating them,” continued the relatively tranquil and bespectacled Mr. Kehoe, who has a round face and pale, fleshy cheeks. “She was hopped up on sugar all the time. I thought, ‘ I’d be crazy to get involved with this girl! ‘

He doesn’t gamble much, perhaps the occasional game of poker, but he likes to watch. They travel to Las Vegas every six weeks. “It’s my favorite place on Earth,” she said.

On a big winning spree there this spring, she rented him his dream car, a yellow Ferrari, and he took her to see the inexplicably popular Irish-jig extravaganza, Lord of the Dance , at the New York–New York hotel. On their way from dinner to the show, they stopped in the hotel’s casino for a quick round of craps. She rolled a six, and he told her that if she rolled another, he’d propose to her right there. And she did! So he dropped to one knee.

Ms. Macksoud got teary for a moment, then snapped out of it. “It was in the middle of my game!” she said. “I mean, I love him to death, but I was like, ‘Buddy! I gotta roll!'”

Then Mr. Kehoe handed her a ring-a large platinum piece holding several sapphires and diamonds. Ms. Macksoud took one look and shouted, “That isn’t the one I wanted!”

“She has no problem telling anyone what she wants or how she wants it,” said Mr. Kehoe, who later made good with another, less gaudy one.

Their parents vetoed the obvious idea of a quickie wedding in Vegas, so they’re considering a modest bash at Payard Bistro on the Upper East Side. Ms. Macksoud wants to wear navy blue. “I’m not really a white-dress-wedding kind of chick,” she said.

What makes Mr. Kehoe her kind of fella? “He’s just so stable!” Ms. Macksoud said. “He’s always grounded, and I’m all over the place. I have the energy to do the things that he gets lazy about, but he has the stamina and concentration to finish things that I start …. He’s the Ritalin, and I’m the A.D.D.”

Léa Joly and Christophe Sloan

Met: Dec. 23, 1998

Engaged: March 7, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 27, 2002

Léa Joly was among an angry scrum of Air France passengers pouring into Terminal One’s Brooklyn Brewery bar at J.F.K., their Christmas red-eye to Paris delayed by a snowstorm. Mais zut alors , the manager had already sent his staff home.

Ms. Joly-a spunky mademoiselle with dirty-blond hair and a supple body who’d recently moved to Manhattan-hopped over the bar and began mixing drinks for passengers, slipping hip-hop CD’s on the stereo and grooving to the beat. She poured tequila shots for herself and put a gin and tonic in front of Christophe Sloan, another “bi-continental” (he grew up outside Paris; Mom’s from Pennsylvania, Dad’s a Brit). Ms. Joly’s mother was originally from Milton, Mass. She liked this guy’s dark eyebrows and deep blue eyes. “He has a Clark Kent kind of look,” she said.

“I thought she was a lot of fun when I first saw her,” said Mr. Sloan, 25, a freelance Web-site design consultant who went to Cornell. “She’s good at getting people excited about stuff.”

They exchanged numbers and tried to sit together when the plane finally boarded at 4 a.m., but the notoriously snippy Air France stewardesses, with their little scarves, wouldn’t allow it. They slept the whole way there.

When they returned to New York, they met up for some other “wholesome/edgy” activities-rollerblading, tapas, experimental music at a Chelsea yoga studio-but it took Mr. Sloan six months to make a move. “I thought he was ga y,” said Ms. Joly, 30, who works in programming and marketing at Sirius Satellite Radio. At one point, they stopped talking for a week. “He was in an existentialist mood, and I wasn’t in the mood to deal with that kind of negative attitude,” she said.

But then they made up, eventually moving into a one-bedroom two blocks from the World Trade Center. The trauma of evacuating after Sept. 11 helped take them, like so many others, to the next plateau of their relationship. He gave her a platinum Lucida ring from Tiffany on her birthday, and they celebrated with an eight-course gorge at Jean Georges.

French touches will permeate their wedding at the American Park Restaurant, overlooking the Statue of Liberty: champagne from Champagne, post-dinner cheese, and a choux à la crème cake made of caramel-dipped pastry puffs stacked into a tall pyramid.

“We never feel quite French in France or quite American in the States,” Mr. Sloan said. “We both understand what that feels like. It makes things easier; it makes things whole.” Countdown to Bliss