Assembly Line

Ever hung around the younger sister of the bride at a wedding reception? Or been one? Oh the things she has to endure! When she isn’t being completely ignored, that is. Everyone comes over to wish their most sugary “Mazal tov! Isn’t this so nice?” and then, lacking anything to follow that up with, they smile and add, “So you’re next in line – we have to start looking for you!”

It doesn’t seem to matter if the sister is 18 or 13, she invariably has to pretend that this is the cleverest thing she’s never yet heard at least five times before the night is over.

It’s more common when there is a series of sons or daughters lined up right behind each other in age like dominoes. Outsiders tend think of them as items on an assembly line. Each daughter moves through the stages of life behind the other, oh-so-neatly. One daughter arrives at the marriage station of the manufacturing process, and the others patiently wait behind on the stalled conveyor belt for her to get her husband affixed. When she’s matched, the assembly line starts up again, moving the next daughter up to the marriage station. When aunts at a wedding say, “Sooo, it’s your turn now,” they are metaphorically cranking up the machinery to move the next daughter forward. Under the blare of music and the tinkled of cutlery on china, you should be hearing the hiss of air from pistons and the grinding of gears as the younger sister is shoved forward to be paired off.

Some single women complain that they feel like cattle, what with all the “on the market” lingo and up-and-down glances they get. Cattle, at least, is a form of life. A girl in a line of girls might get the impression that she’s merely a radio or a flashlight.

My favorite follow-up to the “You’re next” line? “Oh! No pressure of course!” when the commenter realizes that there’s a crisis on, and the poor dear girl might wait as much as four to six years at the marriage manufacturing station. If you don’t remind her that everyone is watching and waiting, maybe she won’t notice.

No pressure, gals. Take your time. Just don’t hang around past your “Best By” date. Er… that would make you a gallon of milk.

11 thoughts on “Assembly Line

  1. cleverest thing she’s never yet heard

    wow is this an impressively ambiguous statement I had to look at it a bit to figure out what it ment.


    IT could mean that it was oh so clever, if she’s surounded by people who are not clever, or it could mean that it is not clever, if the reverse were true.

    But at any rate the one thing it does mean is that she does not care, because how can you care about something you haven’t yet heard and don’t know exists?

    lol. That was probably the most priceless line i’ve ever heard.

    unless it was a typo and you really ment “cleverest thing she’s ever yet heard.”

    Oh the difference one ‘n’ can make sometimes. 🙂

  2. When my older sister married, and I received all the “You’re next? I”YH by you…”s I replied with “IY”H by you, amen, amen…”
    They all kinda did a double take that I was throwing the bracha right back at them, and my mom asked me to stop, but I didn’t care. I was having too much fu to stop and cry…

  3. I think the intense pity faced by single women whose younger siblings get married first is a side product of this – chalila v’chas that anybody should marry out of birth order! The line might break down!

  4. the best thing to do is use the same line on them at funerals. “Oh I guess your next” shuts em up quickly

  5. Funny how they don’t seem to say that as much to the older sisters… Like they’re embarrassed to acknowledge that the system got messed up?

  6. I always thought the younger sister of the bride (especially if she is still in high school) was the happiest person at the wedding! That was my observation from watching friends’ sisters.

    Being the older unmarried sister is what really sucks!

  7. Yoni – all I meant was that she’s got to pretend she’s never heard anyone say that yet that night. 😀

    ‘Course younger sisters are happy. (Especially when they have friends over to keep them from getting too bored.) It’s just the annoying and unoriginal people who mar the evening.

  8. Trust me, being the sometimes ignored and overlooked younger sister is nothing compared to being the pitied unmarried older sister, which is even more annoying when one wasn’t planning on pitying oneself and it seems the world decided to take on the job for you. But I enjoyed her wedding anyway. 🙂

  9. Older single sister represented. I did it with my younger sister and my younger brother. The pitying looks and “IYH by you”‘s – it’s amazing I was able to enjoy the weddings! Thank goodness I never felt down about it myself. Why people think siblings have to get married in birth order is just beyond me.

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