Is Big Sister Really Watching?

Another complaint of the girl-who-is-not-an-animal was that she feels like cattle in the market whenever she attends a wedding. She feels the eyes boring into her, scanning her from top to bottom, evaluating her, and pigeonholing her away…

I think she needs a therapist.

Seriously, has anyone ever seen any of these Women in Black who stand on the side with their little notebooks jotting down details about every female of age in the room? I’ve looked and looked for them, but couldn’t for the life of me find any.

There was a point when I believed they must exist because everyone told me they did. However, they were so good at disguising their snooping that I couldn’t immediately pick them out. But I kept trying.  It got to the point where I’d be talking to a friend at a shmorg and suddenly spin around, hoping to catch a Big Sister with her telescope still pressed to her eye or her little black book still out. But nobody was ever paying me any attention at all.

I was insulted. Every other single woman in the tri-state area has a dozen shadchanim scrutinizing her at weddings, but not even one deems me worthy of attention?

Then I thought  perhaps I need to be more approachable, so I began smiling at strange women at odd moments. All I got were polite “who the heck are you?” smiles back. Another dead end. A heretical suspicion began to grow: maybe these women don’t exist.

So I started lurking around the edges of the room observing people surreptitiously, looking for the ones who were looking at others. But everyone always seemed busy chatting with their friends or stuffing their faces with expensive meat from the carving stations.

Eventually I gave up and concluded that they are a myth created by the establishment to keep in line the young women who might otherwise feel liberated and get a bit wild.

OK, mild exaggeration there, but seriously, I’ve only once seen a would-be shadchan at a wedding, and I’ve been to dozens and dozens. If I can’t find these ladies when I look for them, how on earth can this poor girl feel their eyes on her when she’s not? It must be in her mind.

Unfortunately, it’s in everyone else’s minds too.

Last week, while schmoozing at a shmorg, I tried hitching a post-chupah ride home with a neighbor. I barely knew the bride, and saw no reason to stay longer.

“Leaving so soon?” my neighbor was horrified. “You need to stay around, not go home with the old ladies!”

“No, I need to get home,” I insisted.

“You need to stay around a bit longer – good advertising, I tell my daughter.”

Now it was my turn to be horrified. What a backwards reason to attend a wedding.

“Not that you’ll wear a sign,” the neighbor assured me, seeing my face. “But just to… be seen.”

“My life goal,” I assured her crisply, “Is to do everything that is bad for shidduchim and get married anyway.”

She laughed. “And I’m sure you husband will love you for it.”

“I hope so,” I said. “So can I get a ride home with you?”

“No, no. You stay here and walk around.”

Must give those Women in Black a chance to see how nicely I stand around and look pretty.

I did get my ride home, but only after I put on my coat and stood outside demonstrating my willingness to get any ride home with anybody, since she was unwilling to do me the service.

19 thoughts on “Is Big Sister Really Watching?

  1. I don’t think these ladies exist at the weddings I go to…but then again, I tend to run with a more “modern” crowd, so that might explain it.

    Your neighbor sounds ridiculous to me. What a stupid reason for not giving you a ride. Hmph.

  2. It was one of those where officially you know the bride but in actuality you don’t – like cousins you never see or people who are somehow part of your chevra even though you have little to do with them, or people you consider friends even though the last time you spoke to them was several years ago… So you come for part of the wedding – either beginning or end – but not the whole thing. I only managed to finagle a ride to the reception.

  3. Seriously though, who are you pleasing? The “friend” who doesn’t really care about you, and you don’t really care about them?

    A “friend” went over to me a few months after his wedding and asked why I didn’t show. I replied that not only did I show, I even danced with him. After that, I stopped going to “friends” weddings.

    (It also helps that pretty much all of my “friends” and friends are married, and therefor I don’t have that many weddings to go to in the first place).

  4. lol. Well, at the few weddings that I have been at since I got back, I actually did spot THREE “Women in black” (at different weddings, of course) jotting down notes into a small legal pad. And I was approached a few nights ago by two women who asked me what I am looking for. So I guess it depends where you go.

    But the girl is probably just feeling a teensy bit paranoid. I mean, sure, there are the scrutinizers. But you can still have a good time and stop thinking so much about it.

  5. these women (and men, too!) do exist. especially in the circles my family is in.
    believe me, it ain’t a pretty site.

    sometimes, they don’t have the pad, but commit all to memory.
    those are a weensy bit more difficult to spot, but not that much.

    hey b4s – i thought you were observant….

  6. Hey, B4S, what about that post a while back… not going to look for it now to link, but I’m sure you know the one. Are you saying now that it was a fake? You’ve never actually spotted a specimen?

    As for “friends'” weddings — this isn’t really so relevant, but the WORST (imho) is when you meet them a short time before and they say “Oh, you’re coming to my wedding, right? Can’t wait to dance with you!” Are you trying to give me a guilt complex, or do you believe that no one could possibly be doing anything else while you’re getting married? …buy maybe, just maybe, my presence would really be that meaningful to you? I’m never sure, which is why I hate when they say that…

  7. Lawyer Wearing Yarmulka,
    Maybe your friends are like that….but I get the feeling that it actually means a lot to my friends when I attend their weddings. And they even make sure to express it in words. I’m sorry that your friend turned you off from attending weddings. I really believe that he was “not the norm” and most ppl do notice and appreciate everyone who comes.

  8. I do say that I’ve seen one in this post. But that’s it. Just one. If anyone should see me lurking at a wedding in the future – can you point these creatures out to me? I honestly feel deprived.

  9. I’ve had friends say to me that they don’t remember a thing about their weddings; that’s why they have a video made, so they have a crying chance of remembering who was there. And it’s not just “friends” who forget, but sometimes friends as well.

  10. Maybe your friends are like that….but I get the feeling that it actually means a lot to my friends when I attend their weddings. And they even make sure to express it in words. I’m sorry that your friend turned you off from attending weddings. I really believe that he was “not the norm” and most ppl do notice and appreciate everyone who comes.

    I’m distinguishing “friends” from friends. I like going to friends’ weddings. I don’t like going to “friends'” weddings.

  11. LWY – i go to weddings even when i don’t know the kallah that well because at my age (though i’m not that old) there aren’t that many people who show at weddings, and if they do come, they don’t stay for the second dance… so even though these people may not have been good friends of mine, they’ll still remember that i came.
    and sometimes, i’ll go to a wedding i barely know just because i feel the need to go to a wedding…
    🙂

  12. One of the benefits of getting married a little later is that the people at your wedding are truly people that you chose to celebrate meaningfully with, and will likely be lifelong confidantes.

    I look at my wedding photo album from when I was 23, and I see people that I would completely lose touch with soon thereafter, and probably have little in common with today. They included random people that we briefly worked with, or met the previous summer, went to elementary school with, etc.

  13. “the WORST (imho) is when you meet them a short time before and they say “Oh, you’re coming to my wedding, right? Can’t wait to dance with you!” Are you trying to give me a guilt complex, or do you believe that no one could possibly be doing anything else while you’re getting married? …buy maybe, just maybe, my presence would really be that meaningful to you? I’m never sure, which is why I hate when they say that…”

    Exactly!

    I’ve also always wondered where those ladies were. I never imagined them quite as you do, but everyone was always insinuating that if i smiled and did my hair for a wedding i would be seen and get suggestions. many weddings later, i have yet to receive even one. so now i go for the kallah not for me, and it’s surprisingly so much more meaningful:)

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