Friday, May 13, 2011

I Want My Hands Back

It was my cousin's - actually second or third cousin's, can't keep track - wedding. She had been dorming in the city as she was from out of town, and she had mixed seating by the tables. I was cool with it, although the fellas seemed unhappy at having to sit with people they didn't know, perking up considerably when more familiar faces showed up. 

By the dancing, she beckoned me over. We bounced back and forth a bit, then she stopped, my hands clasped in hers. I was wondering what was going on, as the music was still blaring. 

Uncharacteristically, she began to prophesy and bless me as though she was Mother Theresa. 

May you have this and that, and so forth. I started feeling a little awkward, and made a tentative attempt to reclaim my hands. 

Her grip tightened. 

"And if you should meet your bashert tonight," she continued to intone, "it will give me joy to know I brought the two of you together . . . " 

Now I started to tug frantically. 

Seriously? She seats me at a table with a bunch of guys who'd rather be elsewhere, and she already has me married and claiming shadchanus?

I do not deny that kallahs have a special day. But they are not exactly the status of Devorah HaNiviah. 
http://jephthahsdancingdaughter.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/deborah.jpg
I eventually managed to yank my hands away, flushed with both exertion and embarrassment. Did she do this to every poor unmarried sap who danced with her? 

From that day forth, I dance with the kallah with great trepidation. 

8 comments:

lawschooldrunk said...

At least she had mixed seating. For me, that's better than listening to socially inept men who only know how to discuss that day's shiur.

Ish Yehudi said...

I thought the blessing is for your benefit, not for hers...

Anonymous said...

I know!! That's what people don't always get about the I"YHBY type statements--as the recipient, you feel awkward and embarrassed. If you really want to be thoughtful, allow the unmarried person to keep their self-dignity intact.
(For me, it's not the dancing part where the awkwardness usually ensues, it's more likely to be before the badeken when I wish the kallah mazal tov.)
I don't have a problem with mixed seating per say, but don't enjoy it especially. I have yet to hear of a shidduch or even a date that came about as a result, either.

Princess Lea said...

Let's be honest - very often the "iy'H by you" is not coming from the most loving and generous of places, nor is it necessary; marriage is such a necessity for the continuity of our people that it is practically guaranteed, so invoking blessing, in my view, is kind of unneeded.

There is a sweet neighbor that I have, and he shakes his head sadly at my single state. When he does it, I don't get upset, because he's a sweet man and really cares for me. One really can tell the difference in terms of where the "well-wisher" is speaking from.

And, if one's "blessing" is going to embarrass the other party, it's better not said at all. Saving others from humiliation is worth more than brachos. Daven for them without their knowledge instead. A bracha doesn't have to be given face-to-face.

Shades of Grey said...

This is why I think the brachos line post sheva brachos is the way to go. People who genuinely want a bracha will ask, otherwise it's a quick mazal tov, nice to see you and goodbye.

I'm not so into or knowledge of Kabbalah, but a good way to frame this issue is probably something like this: A kallah may be overflowing with simcha and bracha on her special day, but you need a willing kli to accept those gifts.

corti said...

Haha, loving the title. I hope that when the time comes I'll know what brachos to give to my single friends... some people just know exactly the right things to say.

About the mixed seating- I had once told my father that I'm not averse to the idea at my own wedding (IYH). He says "You're out of your mind, if I had the choice between talking to a girl I just met or getting up for dancing, I'd choose the girl"-- basically that there'd be more shmoozing than simchas chosson v'kallah. Wonder if that ever happens.

Princess Lea said...

Shades - the thing is, one can kinda tell if the well-wisher is acting full of it or if they really mean it. She was the former.

Corti - Shouldn't their single friends finding potential partners be simchas chosson v'kallah?

Hmmmm. New system in the works.

corti said...

I don't think it's a good feeling to the chosson/kallah when there are fewer people dancing than mingling... but you're right, when couples meet at a wedding there's an indirect simchas chosson v'kallah.