Are Weddings for Kids?

Why I want to elope (or at least have a backyard barbecue wedding).

Is it just me, or do older singles look more bored at their weddings? It’s like they’ve realized that the wedding is empty pageantry, paying homage to social norms, and they want to finish this minor step and move on to the important business of being married.

Or maybe they just have boring weddings because all their friends are sitting on the side, highly pregnant, or have already left because their babysitters were waiting and their husbands were bored, and the only people dancing are the uninvited 19-year-old girls who came because they heard it was a chesed wedding for nebach an older single who didn’t have anyone to dance with her.

Sigh. It is just a tad nebach

Myself: I never liked dancing. And I don’t like crowds. And being stared at. In fact, I can’t think of any particular aspect of the traditional Jewish wedding that sounds appealing.

Here’s my idea of a great wedding:

Buy a kesuba. Walk into a random OOT shul after Mincha one day and perform a quick ceremony. Then call home to let your parents know. (Or you could let them know before you elope. It’s kind of antithetical to the idea of eloping, but your parents would probably appreciate it. They can be in cahoots, and feign dismay at not having a wedding to plan. Nobody has to know.)

Then you can organize sheva brochos with all the people you want to celebrate with: the friends, the family, the parents’ friends, whatever.  It’s just supper, so nobody has to dash out early, and there’s no dancing to get pathetic, and no do-gooders waving pagan symbols of fertility at you. (Seriously. What’s up with that?!)  You get to spend time with the people you like, instead of just 30 seconds swapping brochos at the reception and another 30 seconds dancing.  Plus, even if you sponsor every sheva brochos meal yourself, you still can put a healthy remainder toward your mortgage.

NMF#19 said she always wanted a block party wedding. Some hot dogs in the back yard, everyone milling around licking mustard off their fingers. The mesader kedushin with sauerkraut in his beard. Bride in a white shirtwaist dress. A happy, relaxed event to the sound of laughter and the clang of barbecue tongs on grill. I was really looking forward to it. But then her mother-in-law happened.

It’s always the mother-in-law, isn’t it?

That is the thing about marriage. It involves other people. Getting along with them and compromising and so on. And somehow, everyone winds up compromising in favor of the jello-mold wedding, not the barbecue. Go figger.

Does anyone want to elope with me? Or, better yet, does anyone have a mother who wants them to elope with me?

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You Can’t Win (Unless You’re Clued In)

Diagnostic Criteria for 299.803 Social Asperger’s Disorder
[The following is from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM IV]

(I) Qualitative impairment in social normalization, as manifested by at least two of the following:

(A) marked impairments in the use and comprehension of social conventions
(B) failure to develop career aspirations and dress preferences in lockstep with peers
(C) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share and duplicate the life experience of the peer group

(II) Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

(A) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal for the demographic
(B) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, functional routines or rituals in opposition to non-functional social conventions
(C) persistent preoccupation with purpose, point, or utility of behaviors
(III) The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of interaction with the given peer group.

(IV) There is no clinically significant general delay in language (E.G. single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)

(V) There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.

(VI) Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasively Weird Disorder or Antisocial Mania.”

Do you ever get the feeling that everyone else in society was issued a manual at birth, or maybe upon graduation, but somehow you were left out of the distribution list? I imagine this is how an Aspie feels when everyone is laughing at a well-turned bit of sarcasm. Which is why I decide to call it Social Asperger’s.

Every now and then the fog of incomprehension that often hovers between me and today’s yeshivish/ultra-orthodox Jewish norms lifts, and I see the light, and a big “Eureka!” pops out of my mouth. I bask in smugness at unraveling the mystery, when suddenly I realize: everyone else knew this all along.

I had one of these “aha” moments while rereading this post last week. In the post, I complain that I’m branded as “immature” and “unready for marriage” because I don’t have plans for a career yet. This struck me as unfair because my flexibility was what left room for a spouse in my life.

I laughed when I reread it because now I have the opposite problem. Having chosen a field, I’m considered too nerdy or smart to date anyone in any other field. Having launched a career, I’m now considered too career-oriented and geographically bound to date pretty much anyone.

Catch-22, right? You just can’t win. I mean, what kind of career would have satisfied these Women? Only one that’s more obviously transplant-able and non-ambitious. Like masseuse maybe?

Or – oh. I see.

OT, PT, SP, and SE.

Ooh. I get it. Now I get it.

Man, I am slow.