You know that girl who somehow gets voted Prettiest and Most Likely to Succeed in high school? That’s Sandra Udis (now Goldman), my best friend and partner in crime for some of the most epic shenanigans of our early twenties. Sometime around 2008, Sandra met Jonathan Goldman, a charming Brit who won her over with one of the oldest tricks in the book – doing the exact opposite of everything a guy should do. The rest is happy couple history, which I demanded a full recount of when I invaded their Williamsburg pad last weekend. Let’s hear it!
Marina: Let’s start from the beginning. How did you two meet?
(Mild bickering over who will tell the story ensues.)
Sandra: I’ll tell the story in Jonni’s version. Jonathan moved to the city thinking an English accent and desperate Jewish girls is basically like winning the Mega lottery, but better. “Say table! Tahble!” (Imitates British accent.) ‘Say cupboard. Cupboahd!” And then they have sex. So Jonni and his best friend and roommate at the time, Scott, joined Jdate and somehow ended up meeting my friends Lana and Renata, who were also living together. The four of them went on a double date. Lana started dating Scott (they are now married), but Renata and Jonni never really hit it off. Meanwhile, I was living in Brooklyn and I didn’t want to commute from Brighton and I hated my life, so I thought “I know what I’ll do, I’ll live with Lana and Renata! I’ll buy shampoo and snacks and they will let me live there.” Renata was on a busy schedule and Lana was always hanging out with Scott at his place in Chinatown, so I though it would just be easier for our whole arrangement if were dating in the same circle.”
Marina: But you didn’t know Jonni yet?
Sandra: No, but that wasn’t important. I heard he was English..
Jonathan: I just want to point out that Sandy was one of those “Oh my god, say table!” girls.
Sandra: I was not. I never asked you to say table!
Marina: So basically you just heard that there was a guy living in Chinatown who would be convenient to date?”
Sandra: “Yeah. I wasn’t getting rent money from my parents and I was willing to do what it took. If it meant dating a friend, it meant dating a friend. So I put on my denim cutoffs and my little H&M t-shirt and my hair was all cute and I came there and I was like “Well, where’s Jonni?” And then he emerges from his bedroom – with a girl. His hair is all messed up and he has definitely just done something dirty and he’s like “Heyyyy, nice to meet you!” It was really awkward. But I wasn’t deterred, because I really wanted to stay in this apartment. In fact, it became a mission. I wanted to get his attention, but Scott kept on telling us about all these girls he was dating…
Marina: Jonny, what was it like on your end?
Jonathan: To be honest, I didn’t want a relationship. Also, Scott had just started dating Lana and I didn’t want to fuck up their relationship by doing something stupid. So, I was just being aggressively single at the time, but then she turned up, and when you meet the person you’re supposed to be with, then that’s it.
Marina: Wait, wait, backtrack. What did you think when you first saw Sandy?
Sandra: Nothing. He said “She’s cute but she has no personality.”
Jonathan: No. When I first met Sandy, I thought that she’s very pretty. But she can also be quite shy when she first meets someone, so when I spoke to her, I didn’t think she was right for me in terms of personality. I also didn’t think she has much of a personality.. I didn’t realize at the time that she has multiple personalities. But now I know better.
Sandra: Eventually he asked me to go see a movie and I thought we were going on a date. And I was like “Finally, my city living schedule is going to come together!” I wore my cute date outfit and everything.. And then he came late and then we walked into the theater and he was like “Well, there were no seats together, so I guess you stay here and I’ll go sit down there” and I was like “What?!” I was really mad.
Jonathan: It was the opening weekend of Inception and we got there late. I told her to grab a seat while I go find us seats together. I found us seats together and we sat together.
Sandra: Anyway, I was sure we would have a drink after the movie or something. But then he gets outside, says “The movie was really cool, lets discuss it later”, hails a cab and leaves to go on another date. At this point, I became determined to date this douchebag and ruin his life.
Marina: You just like a mission. You’re weird like that..When did you feel like there was a shift?
Sandra: We went to this birthday party.. There was a short dress, there was a trip to Rita Hazan, there were curlers and there were YSL Tributes involved. I felt like I was in my element..
Jonathan: I actually really liked her and I was starting to come around the idea of dating her. So I had decided that night I was going to make out with her.
Sandra: Yeah, there was lot of making out that night. And then we started hanging out, mostly at his house. He still didn’t date me, he didn’t take me out on proper dates. He was just really… Rude.
Marina: Tell me the DVF dress story – it’s my favorite!
Jonathan: DVF wrap dresses are for people who are taller.
Marina: Jonni, was this on purpose? The rudeness?
Jonathan: Of course this was on purpose.
Marina: Men are bizarre. So then what?
Jonathan: Then we started dating, and I took her to London and she met my parents… Actually, the first person she met was my dad’s best friend, here in New York and he said to my dad “He’s going to marry that one.”
Marina: Aw. And what was meeting the Russian parents like?
Jonathan: Like being thrown into the deep end. I met them at Sandy’s mothers birthday, so that was nerve-wracking already. It was also my first Russian restaurant and everybody there was super Russian. But I felt really welcome and I really enjoyed it.
Marina: Did you bring her flowers?
Sandra: Yes you did. I bought them.
Jonathan: I don’t like flowers.
Marina: I remember I came over on Valentines Day all heartbroken once and Sandy was like “Its ok, I don’t even have flowers” Anyway, when did you realize you wanted to marry Jonni?
Sandra: When I was applying to law school and he came over with food and wine. I was crying and depressed and upset. He didn’t even call, he just came over and gave me a hug and fed me. Its like in that Iris Apfel documentary. “He was cool, he was cuddly, and he cooked Chinese, so I couldn’t do any better.” That’s how I felt.
Marina: How long were you dating for then?
Sandra: Three months.
Marina: Wow! So you really knew.
Marina: Jonni, how did you realize Sandy was the one and you wanted to marry her?
Jonathan: Well I was thinking about proposing before we even moved in together, but I wanted to live together for a year beforehand.
Marina: How did you plan the proposal?
Jonathan: I knew when I wanted to do it. December 21st was the winter solstice and also the Mayan end of the world, so I was like “best case scenario, the word ends, or my actual worlds ends.” I really like messing with Sandy, so the proposal was kind of funny. Sandy always says to me “Why don’t we stay at a hotel, it would be so romantic..”
Sandra: And Jonny always says “I make X amount of dollars to live here every day, why would I pay for a hotel?”
Jonathan: There’s no point. So, for the proposal, I organized a room at the Wythe and we had dinner at the restaurant downstairs beforehand. I had a nice bottle of champagne and the ring ready in the room.. After dinner, I said to Sandy, “It would be nice to check the rooms in case we decide to move to the neighborhood and my parents come to visit. Do you mind if we go upstairs to take a quick look?”
Sandra: So we were going upstairs and I was like “This is my proposal! This is it!” I thought I would open the door and there would be flowers everywhere. We opened the door and it was just an empty room. And then he said “Listen, just make sure not to sit on the bed or use the bathroom, so you don’t mess anything up.” I was burning up inside, I was so mad! I was like “What a fool. What a fool..” But then he said “Let’s look at the view”, so I came up to the window and then he got down on one knee and he proposed and I felt really bad. And then we opened the bottle of champagne..
Jonathan: Which she drank by herself all and called everyone she knew.
Marina: I remember! I got a call in Paris. Tell me about the wedding and the dress.
Sandra: I only tried on two dresses. I went with my parents and my dad really liked the dress, so I went for it.
Marina: Jonni, what did you think when you saw Sandy in the dress?
Jonathan: Beautiful. She looked like Grace Kelly.
(Collective “awww” from the female side follows.)
Sandra: I loved our wedding. It was stressful to plan, but I had a great time.
Marina: I actually remember, when you were planning your wedding, you said: “I have doubts about everything – the place, the dress, the flowers. The only thing I don’t have doubts about is marrying Jonni.” I think that says it all. What was the best part of the wedding?
Sandra: I think it was the pizza we ordered in the end.. Biting into that pizza might have been the best moment of my life. A close second was marrying Jonni.
Marina: And the honeymoon? You guys had such a cool honeymoon! (They went to India and the Maldives.)
Jonathan: She organized the wedding, I organized the honeymoon. If it would have been up to Sandy, we would have gone to the beach, but we compromised and she ended up loving India.
Marina: I love that you make her travel.
Jonathan: She has that kind of personality. She loves having fun, reluctantly.
Marina: Favorite thing about each other?
Sandra: The way he smells.
Jonathan: That’s gross.
Jonathan: Everything. She’s my best friend.
Marina: Least favorite thing?
Jonathan: Everything. She’s my best friend.
Sandra: I think we have a good balance. I’m emotional, he’s smart and rational..
Jonathan: Actually, I know what I don’t like about Sandy. I spend half of my life closing cupboard doors. She never closes them.
Sandra: What if I need to access something else? It just seems like a waste of energy.
Marina: Jonni, what’s dating in New York like compared to dating in London?
Jonathan. The barrier of entry to date is much lower here, because people are so close to each other and yet so lazy to actually make effort. And now, with all the modern apps, I think people develop ADD about dating and they just view people as options. This is amplified by the closeness of the city, so it becomes like a bit of a microcosm. Whereas in London you actually make a plan to see somebody, you make more effort. New York is very accidental and last minute.
Marina: That’s very true. Any advice on dating?
Jonathan: Don’t do it. Just live and cross your fingers. It’s a lottery.
Marina: Can you lose?
Jonathan: Of course you can. And die alone.
Marina: Wonderful. Bravo!
All wedding photos by Irra Lipke Studios.