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Friendly Fire

We weren’t friends yet, but planned on being. It would just be convenient, our husbands were close friends, our kids, of the same age and gender, it seemed meant to be, we just had to get to know each other. One such opportunity rose by the out-of-town wedding of our husband’s close friend. Neither of us knew anyone else, so our conversing would save face for both us, and didn’t seem so contrived.

Neither of us were really comfortable dancing, we didn’t know anyone but the other, not even the bride. So we sat and watched, our babies on our laps gave us more validity to sit this one out.

I saw her eyes narrow, but not knowing her well enough, I felt it wasn’t my place to ask what was irking her, but she let me know though, taking me into her confidence,

“These girls are dancing so unrefined.” Lips pursed together, arms crossed. I hadn’t noticed, to be honest, it looked like a regular wedding to me. That didn’t seem the right thing to say, I wanted her to like me, for us to get along and understand each other, so I just sat there, and gave a slight nod – not of approval, but for her to continue.

“Girls would never dance like this in Lakewood, shrieking their heads off, waving their hands so high, and, I dunno, shaking their hips.”

Girls don’t know they have hips in Lakewood, I thought.

But now looking at the wedding from her Lakewood girl perspective, I guess she had a point. The girls were dancing very aggressively, lively, and I thought quite beautifully, the bride was happy, wasn’t that the point? But for Lakewood, yes, I suppose it was a bit unrefined. This wasn’t Lakewood though, and who said Lakewood is right in the first place.

I gave a slight nod again, and said,

“I hear.”

We moved on to more pressing topics like which socks actually stay on babies feet and are Target’s up & up diapers really that good. I thought we could still be friends; friends are entitled to their own opinion, right?
She called me up three days later. The Chosson and Kallah had eaten breakfast by me, and she was curious.

“How were they?” she asked.

“Really cute, y’know.”

There was pause on her end.

“Were they passing things?”

This was 5 exits past different opinions, and I knew then, she wouldn’t ever be more than a husband’s friend’s wife.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Humor, Jewish, Marriage, Weddings, Writing

 

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Compliment Complex

Cana someone tell me what the wait time is before I can start believing people when they compliment me?

It’s one of the woes of getting married.

“Didn’t they teach you to cover your hair in Kallah Classes?”

“It looks like it’s growing out of your head!”

“It looks just like your hair, amazing!”

Look, I love my shaitel (as much as you can love an itchy net with someone else’s hair [Thank You Olga, Yetta, and maybe even Sven] sewn into it). I look amazing, but it’s not that good, and any Jewish person with a discerning (or not even so) eye will notice how it doesn’t bristle in the wind, how humidity will not frizz it, and when I run my fingers through it, it goes perfectly back into place. They may also notice the tell tale line at the forehead (go with bangs my friends, most natural!)

And then there’s everyone going on how amazing I look.

“You lost weight!”

“I can feel your ribs through that hug”

“Such cheekbones!”

“Oiy so Cheenush” (gotta get the right accent on that line)

Gimme a break, I gained weight, like most people do after their wedding. Nothing significant, 2-3 pounds, but it shows up in my face first, so it’s like “Hello, fat”.

I’m just not used to eating such complete meals a day. Lunch is a whole sit-down affair with with fruit and salad and bagels and cookies for dessert. I’m used to eating cereal and milk for breakfast, lunch and dinner .

OF COURSE I GAINED WEIGHT and you denying the fact, and actually proclaiming the opposite makes me feel even fatter, and like a baby, “Awww you’re so cute, such pulkes”, except when you’re a newlywed it’s “Awww, you’re such a cute couple, look how they look at each other, you look amazing, you’re shaitel…..”

So, I’m on a diet.

And hiding away in my snood (one of my shaitels is right where it belongs, back at the shaitel macher, yay)

Compliment me if you dare…and if you do, you know how I’ll respond.

“Oh, thank you so much…really, you think so?…I dunno, I’m not used to it yet…Thanks, I’ve been feeling so fat, it’s good to hear someone think otherwise…”

I’m so good at smiling and nodding it’s terrible; I guess I’m just lying right back at ‘em

 
18 Comments

Posted by on July 14, 2009 in Marriage

 

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NEWS FLASH

Just wanted to give everyone a furniture update.

I bought a Dining Room Set on Craig’s List (be jealous it was dirt cheap, practically never used, and GORGEOUS)

And forget the Amish, I bought an antique bedroom set, circa 1930’s. It comes with a vanity table. Which woman is honestly not dying to have a vanity table, with a three way mirror in which to powder her nose?!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Everyone Loves a Conspiracy

There is a Jewish Price Gouging Bedroom Set Conspiracy.

The average Jewish newlyweds purchase 48 inch beds. It’s in between a twin (39”) and a full (54”). Since two beds are necessary for the master bedroom, a lot needs to be taken into consideration. Not all rooms can accommodate two full beds…and furniture, or even room to squeeze around. A twin is a wee small, and from this quandary arose the 48 inch bed. Necessity in the mother of invention, and unique to the Jewish community is this size bed, seems like a perfect compromise, right?

WRONG

It is a Jewish Conspiracy that forces newlyweds to shop exclusively in Jewish furniture stores. Jewish stores that only sell overly ornate, ostentatious, gaudy, over-priced, planks of wood!

I cannot find a decently constructed set that is in my taste and price range.

I already bought my linen, so I’m stuck with the 48, and even if I were to switch to the full, Id have to purchase new blankets, because standard blankets look silly and small and inadequate on a full….it’s too much of a hassle, so I need to find a way out.

#1 VENT (which is what I’m going now)

#2 Go Amish

My brother is carpenter so he knows quality wood and construction. I checked out several Jewish furniture stores, and the few bedroom sets I may have considered, my brother checked out and deemed them a la c___p.

He kept on hocking me to check out the Amish, because their products last as long as their beards.

So I did.

Nice stuff, a little more than I wanted to spend, but feasible. But then I fully recognized the Jewish Conspiracy. I couldn’t order their beds, or a bed from anywhere else…cause 48 inch beds don’t exist anywhere else but Brooklyn and Lakewood!!!

But then there was a nice little message on the bottom of the Amish webpage that they can do customization, just call ‘em.

And I did.

Robin, the overly perky customer service rep informed me that she thinks 48 inch frames can be done, but she has to contact the builder to make sure

“They don’t have phones y’know, so it may take a day or two to get back to you.”

I thanked her, and waited in anxious suspense for a response.

She called me back today…….they can do it.

I BEAT THE SYSTEM

(yay me)

 
28 Comments

Posted by on May 1, 2009 in Jewish

 

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Why You Should Get Engaged, Reason #23

I recommend engagement to everyone.

 

Not for the blissful utopia that it is.

 

Where the entire world seems to fade away, have no significance and you seem to float along with a lingering smile.

 

Where you are the center and the world just revolves.

 

Where there is purpose to Monday and Wednesday and Friday, and any other day he chooses to surprise me.

 

Where the sun shines even when it doesn’t, and you get away with vague answers like, “Ummm…..”

No, get engaged because it will reveal all your social insecurities, and then trounce them!

I went to a close friend’s wedding last night. Now I don’t generally consider myself to be that inhibited,

I laugh heartily,

say what I mean,

run down Boro Park streets,

sing along to the music in stores you get my drift…

And last night I broke free. I have never danced at a wedding like I danced last night.

My friend (the Kallah) wanted to know when I turned so ________. I told her I got engaged.

I did whatever I wanted, disregarded the hierarchy of the circles (family first, then cousins, then friends, then acquaintances that have to show their face)

My other friends kept telling me to behave, but I didn’t have to, Hello, I’m engaged…it doesn’t make a difference who looks at me. They were secretly jealous that they couldn’t let go…well not really secretly, it was pretty open.

Another friend warned me to watch myself because the creepy mustachio wearing video dude couldn’t stop following me…and the camera guy got in several shots himself.

A friend of a friend who is a professional dancer couldn’t stop commenting at my skill.

And random strangers came over to tell me, how it was beautiful how I was misameach the Kallah.

I could have never done that had I not been engaged. Yes, I would have had a lot of fun at the wedding. I would have danced my heart out, because she’s my friend and I want to make her happy on her wedding day…but with inhibition, I’d have stopped and started, letting go and then holding back. I’d have been glancing around surreptitiously wondering who has potentially looking at me, what are they thinking, how much to I have to watch myself if I want to get married…

I know a lot of you out there are going, “Who cares what people think, do what you want!”…but you’re reading my blog, and blogs aren’t standard reading material for the Jewish population at large, so you’re off this bell curve in terms of standard deviation…

So yeah, get engaged. It’s so liberating…until the wedding, that is.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on March 24, 2009 in Weddings

 

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How to Know If You are a Close Friend of the Kallah: An Annotated Guide

 

  1. You arrive early for picturesYou show up early ooh and ahh, and after everyone else is done take two pictures with the Kallah:  one nice, one funny face. They will never make it past the proofs. 
  2. You get dressed in the bridal suiteYou have no real pressing need to get dressed there, but you’re showing up early enough, might as well look like you actually have something to do 
  3. You have access to the bride and bridal suiteYou can talk to the bride like a person and she  will respond like a person, not with a pasty smile for the aunt twice removed she hardly knows, or the old classmate that she has a nice bracha ready for. The bridal suite is a place for you to dump your stuff, like extra lipstick, a coat, and a change of clothes. It’s instead of the communal bathroom, has a lot more reliability and prestige. 
  4. You know the combination to the Yichud roomWhy you need it, no one knows, but you just had to put something there, are make sure something was just right…so you got access, you are a close friend after all. 
  5. You wear something longwhy wearing long signifies closeness and fraternity?…because the family is wearing gowns, and you are like extended family…maybe because long outfits are generally more expensive and you’d spend more for a close friends wedding…I’m not really sure, since I like short better, but that’s the rule.
  6. You get your makeup/hair doneThis friend is worthy enough for you to pay someone to do something you probably could do yourself (unless you REALLY have two left hands)
  7. Your place card has the longest letter written in the insideNever mind that the entire world can read this letter if they want to, and this it’s usually senseless garble mentioning every private joke you’ve ever shared; it’s all about the thought, and comparison competition.
  8. You arranged for the Tefilah pamphlets at the Chupah – I don’t know why these don’t come standard, or even optional at halls yet, but this is a very important job. Make sure you have enough for the Ladies side, men don’t bother. It’s mostly single girls who feel obligated to say it because the won’t look like they really want to get married, and young married girls who say it in the presence of their single friends who feel guilty that they are already married.
  9. You hand out the Kallah’s jewelryOf course you keep the diamond ring for yourself. You have the list that lets everyone else know the hierarchy of the Kallah’s friend, who got the bracelet, the watch, who  was relegated to an earring, and who got nothing at all. You are all powerful dispensing and informing people of their place…you also get to run around like a chicken, squawking for girls to return the jewelry by the time the Kallah is out of the Yichud room
  10. You arrange the shtick – You make sure the arches are up when she walks in. You look ever so incongruent in your black little number shlepping around heavy duty garbage bags
  11. You dance with the Kallah by the first danceFirst dance is reserved for family, whether the Kallah likes them or not…of you make it the Kallah is letting you know that if she could have chosen her family, you’d have danced with her before Great Aunt Bertha who wears too much #5.
  12. You do the hugging dance when you first dance with the KallahYou are pulling off her veil, inhaling hair spray and foundation, but go right ahead
  13. People start clapping when you dance with the Kallah‘nuff said, acknowledgment from everyone else that you are in fact a close friend
  14. You dance in the inner circle at all times-  People respect your place, never cut you off or relegate you to third string shuffle
  15. Arrange the dancing, instructing everyone to back up and spread outEveryone always feels bad for this person. They look so stupid, with their arms waving, and very pushy telling everyone to go around the photographers stepstool…but somehow when you’re the close friend, it just happens and you morph into the being for the night.
  16. You bring the Kallah water-  At the slightest beckon you are there with glass in hand…it’s a segula you know.  
  17. You bring the Kallah a chairYou are clairvoyant, and when you see a wide-eyed Kallah, mouth agape and beads of sweat, you somehow know that she needs to sit down. Close friend to the rescue!
  18. Have napkin at hand to pat down the KallahWhen beads of sweat start trickling, and make up creases start forming, and mascara seems to be traveling…you are there. Make sure you pat, and not smear, or you’ll find her eyeshadow performing blush duty.
  19. You end off the dance with the Kallah-  This is done by interlocking arms, spreading out and twirling at nausifying speeds. This is done regardless if the Kallah is the type, or has the energy or the stomach for it. Likewise for yourself. What are you three years old dancing and frolicking in the meadow?
  20. You stay for Mitzvah Tantz/ Sheva BrachosYou have no one to talk to, nothing to do but sit on the side and listen, but YOU ARE THERE.

 

 
10 Comments

Posted by on January 7, 2009 in Jewish, Weddings

 

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Driving Home a Point

I went to a wedding the other night. This is not about the wedding, but how I got there and the wedding is just the context as to why I was in a car in this particular case.

 

The wedding was a little distance away, about a 45 minutes drive from Brooklyn. I printed out directions, and promptly left them at home. My friend brought an unreliable GPS. We got lost, paid 4 tolls for no reason.

We asked for directions.

We laughed so hard.

We banged the dashboard.

My friend, who was driving, was all anxious.

 

“My heart is in my throat, you don’t get it,” she said. “I hate driving not knowing what the next step it, I want to see ahead know what I’m doing, follow the steps, and I’ll be fine.”

 

And I thought what a great metaphor to how most of us feel sometimes about life.

 

But reflecting on the experience the way home…we made it there, we had fun, have a story to tell, made it through the bumps, the paid the tolls, and knew the roads a lot better for our trip home…so I got two metaphors for the price of one, and two perspectives to pick and choose depending on what mood life puts me in.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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My Life: In Verse

I found some notes I took at a Literacy seminar over the summer.

 

The speaker had us quickly jot down where we found poetry in our lives.

 

This is what I wrote:

 

My hate the world days

Standing by a friends chupah

Insomniac night wishing I could fall asleep

The things I do to procrastinate

The silent moments between friends

The awkwardness of first impression

Taking off new shoes that hurt so much but look so good

Walking away from a tiff and coming up with the perfect retort a moment later

Watching a storm from safety of my window

Cold fingers that are outside my blanket holding my book

The anticipatory moment before I eat something

Waking up to the smell of brewed coffee

 

Where is the poetry in your life?

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 15, 2008 in Poems

 

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Melave Malka Mincings

My school had a Melave Malka last night, fascinating sociological observations.

 

First off, there are a few rules concerning how one is allowed to procure food

 

1)     Never go alone. You must go with at least one other person, even if she just stands next to you without making any motions to take food herself. (If you go by yourself you must be a fat loser…or you will be soon)

2)     Figure out the proportions of your plate – the salad must be taking up more place than the pasta. You can spread the salad thin, and compact the pasta, so really you have more pasta than salad – it’s alright, as long as it looks like you have more salad.

3)     You cannot go back more than 2x’s. Period.

4)     If you go back more than once, you must take a new plate. Carrying a used plate makes you look gluttonous.

5)     Do not be over eager for food. This means waiting your turn, letting people ahead of you, even if they finish off what you really wanted.

6)     You must whine about how much you ate, and how fat you are before each food you serve for yourself

 

Second, I was able to identify the different types of personalities and their expression in the dance form.

 

1)     The uninhibited crazy dancer – she doesn’t necessarily have the best moves or grace, but she makes up for it in exuberance and shrieks.

2)     The overconfident cocky girls who know all the organized dance sequences and execute them methodically with perfection.

3)     The in-between girl. She’s relatively uninhibited, but she has little rhythm, and just following the steps a second after everyone else started it. She’s constantly looking at others and herself to make sure she’s keeping pace.

4)     The girls who dance and try, but they hold back, unsure and end up looking stupid because they don’t commit. They think they’re preserving their dignity and poise, but they really end up looking as self-conscience as they are.

5)     The girls who stand on the side- too cool, say it’s stupid, say they can’t really express/dance the way they want to because the principals are watching, but they really wish they could just let go of their inhibitions.

6)     The girls who clean up.

7)     The girls who stay home.

 

And then there was me, getting a premature experience.

 

I now know what it’ll be like in about 30 years, standing around at my niece’s, nephew’s, friend’s daughter/son’s wedding watching from the sidelines commenting.

 

Boring.

 
13 Comments

Posted by on November 16, 2008 in Food, Teaching

 

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Kallah Confrontation

I have/had a wedding every night this week. This of course brings up the question that everyone has, but no one talks about in fear of sounding socially retarded.

 

What do you say to the Kallah?

 

I never know what to say.

 

Tell her she’s beautiful? She’s heard that enough tonight, and seriously, there’s no substance, what’s she supposed to respond?

“Thanks.” ???

Besides, HELLO, it’s her wedding of course she’s beautiful and even if she isn’t everyone would be saying so anyway.

 

What can I say that not trivial and appropriate. For G-d’s sake, it’s her wedding. The usual small talk doesn’t do. I can’t talk about the weather, traffic, shopping or whatever stupidity we girls ploiter on about. It’s a wedding; say something significant.

 

Even if my best friend is getting married, I can’t talk about moral relativity, the genius that is Jane Austen, or my latest dating fiasco.

 

And I don’t do the bracha giving thing, I leave that for the Rabbis.

 

So what do you do? Dance and smile serenely at each other…Awkward anyone?

 

My friend tells me this why girls shriek.

 

 

 
18 Comments

Posted by on October 29, 2008 in Weddings

 

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