Countdown to Bliss

Kevin Kuntz and Amanda Mason

Met: August 1995 Engaged: Aug. 9, 2002 Projected Wedding Date: May 4, 2003

Halloween! The one day of the year when it’s O.K. for decent women to dress like Paris Hilton. And Amanda Mason, a delicate-boned senior at Washington University in St. Louis, was decked out in full “vampire slut” regalia: Betty Page wig, slinky, short dark red dress, fishnets, strappy silvershoes,plasticfangs.You’ve gotta love those women’s studies majors.

Meanwhile, fellow senior Kevin Kuntz was dressed as the Incredible Hulk in green body paint, baby powder in his hair, cut-off jeans and a shredded shirt. “I thought he looked sooo good,” said Ms. Mason, 24.

She’d liked him since freshmen year, and they’d actually fooled around a couple of times-in that drunken, semi-private collegiate way-but his friends found her grating. “I was loud,” she said.

“I was there to learn ,” said Mr. Kuntz, 25, who has deep-set eyes, short dark hair and a shy smile. “I was in the engineering school, and I was there all the time. And when I got home, I’d be like, ‘Oh, good, there will be some peace and quiet now.’ But nooo !”

On that Halloween night, Ms. Mason said, “He was, like, ignoring me, and it was really weird. I told him I wanted to be something more than just making out sometimes, and he said no. I called him a baby, and I told him he would live to regret that moment.”

“She’s very aggressive,” Mr. Kuntz said.

He used to work behind the information desk at the school library. “All these little freshman girls would come over and, like, flirt with him around the desk, and it would drive me crazy!” said Ms. Mason.

By graduation, they had hooked up a couple more times and-defying all known laws of male-female relations-Mr. Kuntz had decided that he was ready to be her “boyfriend.”

They now share a one-bedroom with water views on the Upper West Side. She does P.R. at Fleishman-Hillard, where she works on birth-control accounts. He’s a computer consultant for Accenture.

His proposal was no-nonsense: dinner at the Atlantic Grill, several dozen roses and a 1.5-carat mine-cut diamond set in platinum. They’ll marry in Mamaroneck.

“We realized at a certain point that we wanted to be together, and we didn’t want to be like kids about it anymore,” said Ms. Mason. “He’s everything I wanted in a man.”

Jessica Ettinger and Eric Gottesman Met: June 1, 2001 Engaged: June 12, 2002 Projected Wedding Date: Nov. 9, 2002

Have you rode those new No. 6 trains yet-the ones with the ghastly fluorescent lighting that makes your pores look like craters? The calm, canned female voice announcing the next stop is that of Jessica Ettinger, 38, a co-anchor on Bloomberg Radio (AM 1130).

Before he was readying himself to run for Mayor, Mr. Bloomberg volunteered his employee’s services gratis to save the M.T.A. some bucks.

Lord, how we wish Ms. Ettinger were marrying the “Stand clear of the closing doors” guy. But her groom-to-be is actually a pulmonologist at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park: Eric Gottesman, also 38.

When the blond, chipper, dimpled Ms. Ettinger moved into a new apartment on the Upper East Side last year, she had just gotten divorced from a D.J. at 106.7 Lite FM (he was “evil,” she said) and broken off an engagement to a musician whose band specialized in weddings. But she wasn’t ready to give up on love just yet. Her doorman suggested she “borrow some sugar,” if you know what we mean, from a burly doctor who lived on her floor.

The neighbors struck up a conversation in the laundry room, went out for chocolate-swirled frozen yogurt and never looked back. Eventually, she gave up her apartment and moved down the hall to his. “Eric can be very mature, and very responsible and together,” said Ms. Ettinger, a Cornell grad with a law degree from Fordham. “But he also can be a little boy who is goofy, and that combination is really good.”

Dr. Gottesman said that he loves his sweetie’s massage technique, and the way she is “always wanting to help out other people.”

He took her to Daniel for her birthday and he had the maître d’ bring over two flutes of Veuve Clicquot. Submerged in her glass was a 2.5-carat diamond in a platinum Tiffany setting. She cried and said yes.

Five days later, the practical lass had the ring appraised.

They are graduates of the Kevin Zraly wine course, and recently went biking and tasting around the French Bordeaux region. Dr. Gottesman loves a good Chambolle-Musigny Burgundy. Ms. Ettinger prefers Opus 1 ’83.

Mayor Bloomberg turned down the chance to officiate at the wedding, a black-tie affair at the Mark, but may attend. Another potential guest is sexy pop-country singer Shania Twain. The couple will have their first dance to her hit song “From This Moment” and have asked Ms. Ettinger’s brother, a vice president at Mercury Records, Ms. Twain’s label, to pull whatever strings he can to get her there in person.

“The reason I like her is that she is my brother’s artist, and the reason Eric likes her is that she’s hot,” said Ms. Ettinger. “That’s not true!” yelped Dr. Gottesman.

Next stop: Couple’s therapy!

Jim Curtis and Rachel Napolitano

Met: October 1999 Engaged: June 4, 2002 Projected Wedding Date: June 28, 2003

Jim Curtis was watching Howard Stern on the E! channel with some beer buddies. He noticed one guest in particular: a size-zero coed with brown curls down to her tush. “I want to date a girl that looks like that ,” he said. Somebody belched.

The following year, he was checking out a West Village bar and struck up a conversation with a young cocktail waitress named Rachel Napolitano. Mr. Curtis admired her very straight white teeth. And that wasn’t all.

“I thought she was really smart,” he said. “We talked about spirituality.”

It was many months of dating later that they realized-incredibly-that she was the very same girl he had lusted after on Mr. Stern’s program.

Ms. Napolitano stressed that she only went on the show to get the autograph of another guest, actress Lucy Lawless ( Xena )-not to do any “Howard-esque things.” She is 23 years old, a fastidious feng shui consultant who lives on Central Park South.

Mr. Curtis, 27, a tall green-eyed guy who works in sales at WebMD.com, is remaining in his slightly disheveled Upper East Side quarters for the time being. “We’re waiting on joining spaces until we’re husband and wife,” said his fiancée firmly, adding that they’ll hire a housekeeper if he doesn’t clean up his act.

The proposal happened on a Cape Cod beach with a two-carat-plus diamond set with baguettes in a handmade platinum setting. They’ll be married there, too, with a 200-person reception in an old manor house with a “New York chic meets Cape Cod casual” vibe. “I like the idea of incorporating nature and water,” Ms. Napolitano said in her high-pitched voice.

“I think she’s really hot , ” said Mr. Curtis. “I like to watch her walk. I find myself-even four years later-turning around to watch her walk by me. She just looks good .”

You can submit your engagement to the Love Beat via engagements@observer.com .

Countdown to Bliss