With graduation near, love is in the air

By Daniel Gilbert

“Will you marry me?” Benjamin O’Glasser, a graduating third-year in the College, asked his girlfriend Avital Strauss-Benjamin, as the two enjoyed a picnic at the Point two weeks ago. As Strauss-Benjamin snacked and listened to the words of O’Glasser’s proposal, she began to realize what was happening, her hands began to flutter, and she began to tear up. He asked her if she was okay. She said, “I think I’m choking on a carrot,” and, recovering from her shock, she answered, “Yes, of course.”

College sweethearts O’Glasser and Strauss-Benjamin will become part of a legacy at the University when the two exchange their wedding vows. While they have dated for over two years and had discussed the prospect of marriage beforehand, O’Glasser’s proposal was still a surprise to Strauss-Benjamin. “At first I felt stunned, almost frozen, but in a good kind of way,” she said. “I was overwhelmed and overjoyed.”

O’Glasser made his proposal after reading a long love letter, which he intended as a prelude to make the moment less abrupt. Once Strauss-Benjamin had recovered from her shock and the ring was on her finger, O’Glasser suggested that she descend the steps of the Point where he had chalked, “Avital, will you marry me?” She marked a check inside the “yes” box O’Glasser had left for her.

Next year, O’Glasser will attend the University of Pennsylvania’s law school, where he will be close to his fiancée, who will be a second-year at Thomas Jefferson University medical school in Philadelphia. Though they noted that the distance had proved to them the strength of their commitment, both expressed happiness at not having to continue their relationship long-distance. O’Glasser cited Liberating Narratives, a class offered by Professor David Smigelskis, as instrumental in showing him where marriage fit into his life. “My relationship with Avital helped me figure out who I was in the context of school and life,” he said.

Mandy Oskin, director of student life at Hillel, has had the opportunity to watch the development of their relationship. “I do think Avital and Benjamin are great together—every time I see them together, they’re both beaming with excitement!” said Oskin. “It’s wonderful to see two people so happy with each other—I just can’t wait for the wedding.”

Another long-time couple, Benjamin Antieau and Megan Wade, has decided to tie the knot a year from now. Antieau, a graduating senior, asked Wade, a rising senior, to marry him on the evening of May 15. Wade, who had no clue as to Antieau’s intentions, first realized something was out of the ordinary when Benjamin began to act nervous. “He laughed at something that really wasn’t funny, and then tried to avoid my questions by kissing me,” said Wade, who grew more suspicious as a result. He led Wade into the living room of his apartment, where he got down on one knee and said, “Megan, I’d like you to marry me.”

At first, Wade was speechless with excitement, but was finally able to say: “You know the answer.” Antieau and Wade, who both lived in Vincent house, said their relationship “kind of fell into place” after a trip to New Orleans the two took together over spring break their first year. “After spending seven days in the exclusive company of each other, certain things we hadn’t noticed before became evident,” Wade said. Before dating him, Wade said she had found Antieau “incredibly arrogant.” After some time, the two became friends and confidants, and while Wade still finds Antieau arrogant, she notes that “the arrogance has become more endearing.”

After the their engagement, the couple called Wade’s parents, and were met with contrasting responses. While Wade’s mother cried at the news, her father tersely told Antieau: “Congratulations. Don’t fuck up. Congratulations.” Antieau said that was the sort of response he had expected.

Next year, Antieau will live with his parents on the North Side, saving up for the wedding while Wade finishes her degree. They tentatively plan on having the wedding during reading period of spring quarter next year, so that their friends at the University who live far away will be able to attend.

Nicholas Dahmann, a second-year in the College and sports photo editor for the Maroon, is the progeny of U of C students who met in class at Pick Hall, and whose union has lasted 30 years. Some called it fate or destiny or some other mystical term. “Really, it was just one geography class in Pick,” he said.