Vorts should be outlawed.
As a general rule I don’t go to them. But my mother was polishing her shotgun and informed me that if I didn’t attend my cousin’s vort I could enjoy my last (and first) cigarette against the wall of our garage.
So, for the sake of sholom bayis, I went. There was also some muttering about all the shadchanim they were going to introduce me to, but as usual, the shadchanim were most notable in their non-presence. Or maybe just dis-interest? Anyway, I didn’t see any.
So, here’s my question: who enjoys vorts? Is it the parents of the couple, who tend to insist on it? They’re the ones happily rushing around making introductions. Then again, they’re the ones who have to pay for it, so they can’t like it that much.
Some brides like it. It gives them a chance to show off their husbands. But most tell me they’re happiest when it’s over and they can stop smiling.
And friends of the bride? Well, most of my friends grumble about getting all dressed up for a half-hour visit (or even 5 minutes) just to say mazal tov. None of them want to stay any longer, and if they didn’t feel that they had to attend, they wouldn’t go at all.
Of course there are always the friend who say, “How can you not like vorts? They’re so nice…” Yes, very nice. But so is staying home and eating a tub of rocky road ice cream. In fact, I’d rate the ice cream as far nicer. Besides, whenever someone begins something by saying “How can you not…?” I tend to think they’ve been brainwashed into assuming that something is nice without really think about it. I’d counter with, “Exactly which part of a vort is ‘nice’?”
None of my cousins think it’s nice. The only difference between this vort and any other family vort is that the cousin who is most organized in preparing ways to get of vorts was the blushing bride.
Usually she manages to schedule a can’t-cancel event to coincide with these family affairs. If she’s threatened with decapitation for no-showing, she’ll arrange to have to leave early. If nothing can be scheduled in for the same time slot, she lines up friends to call her during the vort so she has to rush out and talk to them. Often the conversation revolves around when they’re going to drop by and pick her up for some cruising around the neighborhood.
Of course, now she was out there in a dress greeting people, so even if she wished she were miles away, she couldn’t be. That left me and a few other cousins.
We tend to group together in our misery. There’s the first 15 minutes of “So, where are you now in life?” after which we make small talk about the food. Then a cousin texts her friend, “Whr R U?” and the friend replies, “im cmng”. Five minutes later, cousin gets a call; her friend is outside and waiting.
Preparation is key for these fast escapes.
Unfortunately, my mother sprang this one on me at the last minute, so I hadn’t had time to prepare any friends. I was left behind with the cousin who only talks about clothing and the cousin who doesn’t talk about anything at all and my sister.
We strung out the agony with more small talk, and then I cracked. I went to my father, demanded the car keys, and snuck down to the car to study. Grabbing my textbook on the way out our front door was the sole prep I’d been able to manage.
On my way out, I encountered the younger sister of the engaged cousin. “You also sneaking out?” she calls cheerfully.
“What would you be doing?” I countered.
“Leaving!” she answers.
What is the point of the vort? I’m not clear. I’ve been told that it’s so you can meet the other side. Presumably that only applies to family. I know that here my parents met the groom and his parents, but I’m fairly certain that at more yeshivish weddings, where ‘mechitza-crossing’ is taboo, all they get to do is meet whoever is on their side of the partition, whether they already know them or not.
I’ve also been told that the point is to say mazal tov. Oh come on! How many times and how many ways must a person say mazal tov? When someone you know gets engaged, you call and say mazal tov. Or you email mazal tov. Or you post on onlysimchas mazal tov. And when you meet them in person you say mazal tov. Or you do all four. But is it really necessary to dress up and arrive at a decked out hall and say your mazal tov there?
So can someone enlighten me? What is the purpose of a vort, besides wasting everyone’s time and money?