Countdown to Bliss

Courtney Baron and Blair Singer

Met: May 14, 2001

Engaged: Aug. 7, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Oct. 25, 2003

Uh-oh-two playwrights! Will this marriage be more You Can’t Take It with You or Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? You make the call.

Swarthy, blue-eyed Blair Singer, 32, had some success as an actor (studying at Juilliard, this Off Off Broadway play, that bit part on Law & Order ), but then had one of those “turning 30” moments of enlightenment. He’s finished writing an as-yet-unproduced play about the process of adopting children and is now working on one about two Jewish women from Texas.

Meanwhile, Courtney Baron, a buxom, brown-eyed 30, got her M.F.A. in playwriting at Columbia, banged out a couple of plays (one, You Are Not Forgotten , was workshopped at the Royal Court Theatre in London), and got herself published in several anthologies.

Mr. Singer had heard about her work through his friends in the theater world. When he missed a reading of her play Preserve at the Manhattan Theatre Club, he asked her literary manager to send him a copy. It was about a family living on a hunting preserve. “I thought she had a very individual, unique voice,” said Mr. Singer. “There was an authority in the writing that I thought was rare for someone our age.” He asked her to coffee on the Upper West Side. Afterward, they walked to her Morningside Heights apartment, where they sat on the stoop and talked for several hours. The evening ended when a man on crack aggressively offered to perform oral sex on Mr. Singer. “I’d like to say that I was witty and urbane,” he said, “but I think I was really just scared shitless. My legs went numb.” Ms. Baron held his hand as they verbally fended off the drug addict.

They stayed “just friends” for a while. Mr. Singer was used to dating actresses. “I mean, I don’t want to be disparaging about them,” he said. “But Courtney was wildly different.” Things got romantic in a hurry, though, after they took an autumn trip to her family’s house in Aspen.

“I had totally, intellectually given up on him in my head,” said Ms. Baron.

“It all felt really right-but so right that I wasn’t really ready,” said Mr. Singer. “I was very afraid of what it was going to become, and of saying goodbye to the guy I had been in my 20’s and saying hello to this .”

He proposed one evening as they walked their Labrador mix, Ernest, in Riverside Park. He started to cry as he kneeled down by the dog, who was licking urine off the street, and took out a platinum ring set with nine diamonds that had belonged to his mother and grandmother.

“I feel like I can be both successful or unsuccessful and she’ll love me the same,” said Mr. Singer, “as long as I’m a successful person.”

Ms. Baron added: “We’ve chosen this career where almost nobody makes it until their late 30’s, and it’s almost impossible to make a living at it, and yet we’ve found something else in our lives that works and is sort of overwhelmingly great.”

They’ve hired Manhattan über -wedding planner Marcy Blum to stage the nuptials, for an audience of 200, at Peter White Studios in Chelsea.

Vineet Choudhary and Neelam Misra

Met: Fall 1999

Engaged: Aug. 20, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: Spring 2004

Neelam Misra adores her fiancé’s feet (“They’re real soft-like little baby corn,” she said), his belly (“He’s got a little pudge that I like”) and, most particularly, his luscious mouth. “His lips are like Angelina Jolie’s,” said the 29-year-old resident in physical medicine and rehabilitation, “and she’s also a Sagittarius, so maybe it’s a Sagittarius thing?” Actually, Ms. Jolie is a Gemini, but we’ll let it pass ….

Dr. Misra likes to play the domestic goddess, cooking her sweetie garbanzo-bean curries and whipping him up shirts on the sewing machine in their Bowery loft. His name is Vineet Choudhary, but she often refers to him as Badmash (Hindi for “naughty boy”), which must have a certain ring to it during lovemaking. “He’s been pampered since day one ,” she said.

They both have Northern Indian heritage, were raised in the Southern U.S. and met amid Tribeca film snobs at the Screening Room on Varick Street, where a big group of their friends had gone to a screening of The Terrorists . Dr. Misra was dazzled by Mr. Choudhary’s physical charms, but at the time she was involved with someone else of a different religious background-someone her parents didn’t approve of. “For the love of God,” she whispered to two single girlfriends sitting next to her, “one of you should date him, so then I could live vicariously through you!”

When they met again at a party a few months later, she was no longer attached.

Mr. Choudhary, 25, a technology consultant, is beginning a graduate program in art and design at London’s Central St. Martins in January. Dr. Misra recently taught him to crochet, and they’re making a blanket together. They also enjoy origami. “He has a quiet repose about him that I find so calming,” she said.

“She’s just perfect in every way for me,” said the laconic Mr. Choudhary. Pressed for specifics, he mumbled that he likes his lover’s plump behind. (They wear the same size pants.)

He gave her a gold and diamond ring that had belonged to his family at a picnic on their roof.

“I psyched myself up for it,” he said.

The wedding will be a three-day version of a traditional Indian seven-day celebration. Their families have already staged a puja , a group prayer for their engagement that involved breaking coconuts and a lot of ritual foot-washing for Mr. Choudhary. Dr. Misra looked on proudly while this was taking place. “He’s a little prince ,” she said.

Tanya Barone and Brian Farrell

Met: Fall 1990

Engaged: Aug. 13, 2002

Projected Wedding Date: March 29, 2003

Bring out the O.E.D. , baby: Grammar turns this couple on.

“It’s an obsession,” said Tanya Barone, 29, a petite, green-eyed publicity manager at Picador USA whose titles include the first paperback edition of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections and Margot Livesey’s Eva Moves the Furniture . “We just love the English language.”

Her 30-year-old betrothed, Brian Farrell, teaches freshman English at Port Richmond High School on Staten Island. He has hazel eyes, a too-hip-for-my-students goatee and black hair with a Susan Sontag–esque shock of silver. “Most of the time, I’m trying to get the kids to just stop fooling around,” he said. “But if I could just focus on grammar at school, it would be Shangri-La.”

The couple both attended another Staten Island high school, where they had some friends in common but never really socialized. “He was goofy,” said Ms. Barone, who was on the yearbook staff. “He was kind of a clown.” His impression was less vivid. “To be honest, I don’t really remember her,” he said.

They went to different colleges and then were reunited in the grammar class of the College of Staten Island’s graduate English program. After a few sweaty study dates, it began to dawn on them that they might be correcting each other’s grammar … for life!

“His latest thing is ‘whom’ and ‘who,'” Ms. Barone said. “I get confused.”

Mr. Farrell busted out a one-and-a-half-carat diamond ring with an antique setting one evening as they were sitting on a bench near the 59th Street Bridge. “He plopped off …. I thought he was going to tie his shoe ,” she said. “It wasn’t romantic- but it was totally Brian.” They celebrated with a six-pack of Sam Adams.

After they marry at a mansion in Morris Plains, N.J., she plans to make the supreme real-estate sacrifice and abandon her Upper East Side walk-up for his pad in Staten Island. “He likes the ferry,” she said, “because he can read on it.” Mr. Farrell is partial to Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, Herman Melville and the English modernists. Ms. Barone loves nothing better than to curl up with Pride and Prejudice . They’ve registered for a “retro” silver toaster at Fortunoff’s. “If Jane Austen were alive,” she said, “she’d love this toaster.”

They’re both still working on their masters’ degrees.

Countdown to Bliss