When she got engaged, everyone was triply excited. “Oh that’s so exciting!” “Oh I’m so happy!” “Oh that’s so wonderful!” they all exclaimed, enthused, and exulted in excitement. There were three reasons, explanations, and rationalizations for their happiness (ebullience, and exhilaration):
1. A girl got engaged! So never mind that for every girl that gets engaged, a guy has to also. It’s a much bigger deal for the girl, who might otherwise have to look forward to a lifetime of spinsterhood, or at least another few years of it.
2. She was 22! Already, she was experiencing the other side of the hill (I forgot to ask her what it looks like, but I bet it’s bleak). Four whole years out of high school, four whole years of dating (if she started while in seminary in the USA; many girls do, because heaven knows you need a head start; some even start in high school; that’s for another post), four whole years of being gawped at, asked what she’s “looking for,” being frowned at when she didn’t say “long-term learner,” dressing up to appear in public, getting elevator-eyes from strangers, hanging around at shmorgs for the exposure, watching her friends get engaged and married and even become mothers… Oh wait, we all know about it over here.
3. She has a string of sisters right below her. Talk about pressure! Stepping out of high school knowing that your sister is stepping on your heels, knowing that she’s waiting for you to get married so she can, knowing that right behind her is another sister also worried about growing gray hairs at age 21, and behind her yet another, and that if there’s a pileup it’s her fault and they’ll all become old maids together forever and in their old age (think: at 30 years old) they’ll be knitting sweaters for their friend’s children or baby brothers’ kids while rocking on their parents’ front porch watching the neighborhood grow up around them…
Actually, they’re quite reasonable in that family and I believe all the daughters were dating simultaneously, but everyone thinks it’s so awkward, especially when the younger sister gets engaged first and everyone is so sure the older sister is holding back tears while she’s pretending to smile at her sister’s wedding. So everyone who hears the news is triply relieved and triply excited and triply overjoyed about it.
Three cheers for the NEF!