They Might Be Emosogynists
by Molly Lambert
Man, the NYT Vows section’s really been bringing it lately. And by it, I mean the lulz. And by that, I mean, bringin’ on the heartbreak. Which means failure piles in sadness bowls disguised as true romance. After last week’s massive train wreck I thought nothing could possibly top it in terms of sheer patheticness and woe. Guess I underestimated.
On June 21, Dan Miller, the lead guitarist for the rock band They Might Be Giants, became the last of the five band mates to marry when he finally wed his longtime girlfriend, Annette Berry. Their first date was in 1996. Ms. Berry, a graphic artist and art director in Manhattan, remembers thinking he was smart, funny, handsome and “a yapper.” “When I get nervous, I tend to chatter,” Mr. Miller, 41, said. “She said to me, ‘You’re really quite neurotic, aren’t you?’ ”
They started dating regularly, but he was reluctant to use the “L” word. “I don’t throw the word ‘love’ around casually,” he said. But when he signed a book he bought her with the phrase “all the love,” she said, it provoked an exasperated response. “He used the word ‘love,’ but he wouldn’t use the word ‘my,’ ” she said. “Who knows whose love it was?” Though they moved in together in 1999, certain topics remained off limits. “He wouldn’t talk about children or marriage,” she said. “It just made him uncomfortable.”
In 2000 his father, was found to have cancer and died two months later. “His father was his hero and his best friend,” said Danny Weinkauf, who plays bass for They Might Be Giants and was frequently Mr. Miller’s roommate on the road. “Dan was devastated,” Ms. Berry said, but he wouldn’t talk about it.
I promise a whole Jules Feiffer post soon
“He was pushing me away.” And eventually she pushed back. “She threw me out,” he said. It wasn’t quite that drastic, but in 2001, after a year of mourning and five years of dating, Ms. Berry reluctantly concluded that if he wasn’t ready to commit, they should go separate ways.
So Mr. Miller focused on his first love: music. The band went on tour in Australia three months after the split. But on the way to Sydney, he realized how much he wanted to share the experience with Ms. Berry. “He kept saying ‘I messed up,’ ” Mr. Weinkauf remembered. “ ‘She’s the one I want to be with.’ ”Mr. Miller called Ms. Berry, professing his love and his desire to marry.
“I just thought he was jealous,” said Ms. Berry, who had begun dating someone else. He offered to fly her to Australia, but she said no. He sent flowers. He wrote love songs. When he returned to New York, he ardently pursued her. “It was romantic, but I was suspicious,” she said. “I didn’t think anyone could turn around that quickly.” Rather than being flattered by his aggressive persistence, she said that eventually “it just got on my nerves.”
Mr. Miller had a darker response. “When you get rejected, it triggers a lot of things like self worth,” he said. After a year he gave up. (“Begging is unappealing,” he said.) But it wasn’t easy for either of them to move on. “Every guy I dated, there was that comparison,” she said, noting that she never found, over their five years apart, the same level of comfort and intimacy. “We had wrecked it, and I couldn’t find it with anyone else.”
They had no contact until December 2006 when he was shocked to receive an e-mail message from her. It took him four days to open it, but when he did he realized it wasn’t meant for him. Ms. Berry had inadvertently clicked on the wrong “Daniel” in her address book. “I was completely mortified,” she said. He wrote back anyway. It was her turn to be shocked. “But then I was curious,” she said.
This is your wedding announcement folks, not a Modern Love column. Why not, I don’t know, lie? Not emphasize all the horrible parts of your courtship? Do you really want everyone that you know to be aware of the truth that your marriage is built on a foundation of morbid curiosity about how you will be disappointed next? Jeez. Also, there is no way you should be able to call They Might Be Giants a rock band without putting “rock” in quotes, and possibly also “band.”
George Costanza? Just kidding Matty Weiner I love ya
Speaking of successful nerds, with each interview he gives it has become increasingly clear that Matthew Weiner (the creator of Mad Men) is distinctly more Pete Campbell than Don Draper. There was the NYT Magazine article where he begged the writer not to reveal that he smokes cigarettes since his parents don’t know about it (He is 42. Trust me Matthew, they know.)
Then there’s NYT “A Night Out” with the cast & MW:
Elizabeth Moss (Peggy), Christina Hendricks (Joan),
& January Jones (Betty)
Mr. Weiner, 42, recalled how he used to wear his grandfather’s narrow-lapel suits and cardigan sweaters to class at the Harvard School in Los Angeles. “I wasn’t beaten up for it, but, you know, it was the ’80s — skinny ties were in,” he said. “I also wore eyeliner.” “Your grandfather’s eyeliner?” Jon Hamm (Don Draper) asked, in deadpan.
Hamm now lives just down the road in his own place with his girlfriend. ‘We met through some mutual friends at somebody’s birthday party. We didn’t really hit it off immediately. She thought I was a cocky asshole.’
Should I take that to mean her lesbian experimentation phase is over? But 2008 is the summer of bisexuality for show!
Hamm had been a regular for three years on a show called The Division. ‘It was on a network called Lifetime, which is soft programming for women. It was a cop show, five women and me, but the women got to be much more macho than me. I was the slightly emasculated cop; now I get to be a little more masculine,’ he says. But, he shrugs, he’s no alpha male. ‘I was raised by a single mother and I’ve been in a 10-year relationship with my girlfriend. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by women.’
The female cast members discussed how spending their working hours encased in pylon-shaped bras and die-cast hairdos has helped them connect with women who worked in the real-life equivalents of Sterling Cooper. “I’ve had some women come up to me and say, ‘I was a secretary in that office,’ ” Ms. Hendricks said. “And by five minutes, when I’m sitting there talking to them, they’re so worked up and angry.”
Peggy Olson: “Hey, I have boobs too!”
“Love Went Mad” – Elvis Costello (mp3)
“Mad At You” – Joe Jackson (mp3)
“Sea Of Madness (live)” – Neil Young: (mp3)
“Mad Lucas” – The Breeders (mp3)
“Wished I Was A Giant” – Guided By Voices (mp3)
Molly Lambert is managing editor of This Recording.
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