Monday, August 4, 2008

Family Ties

Most of the Husband's family lives out of state, but he has an uncle who lives nearby. We sometimes visit this uncle, who also happens to be gay. This weekend, the Husband's entire extended family was in town for a combination Bar/Bat Mitzvah of two of this uncle's grandchildren. We attended the religious ceremony on Saturday night, and a large brunch on Sunday morning.

This was the first time I've met anyone in the Husband's family aside from his parents and the aforementioned uncle. The good news is that my mother-in-law seems to be the only member of the family with an open, burning hatred for me. So that's nice. The bad news is that the large family occassions of other families are just as dreadful as the large occassions in your own family.

The temple we attended didn't seem to have air conditioning, so the lengthy ceremony was a little painful. I don't recommend wearing a suit in a crowded, airless elevator; a crowded, airless subway train; or a crowded, airless temple. Another thing lacking at this temple, and this is going to seem a little obvious, was nuns. I was raised as a Catholic, and I had never fully appreciated nuns until I spent two hours sitting next to a large group of Hebrew school students. If I had behaved like these kids, a nun would have pulled out a shotgun.

"It's very nice of this temple to offer shelter to the local orphans," I whispered to the Husband.

He gave me a blank stare.

"Well, it's obvious that none of these children have parents."

It was hot, I was sweating, and the 12-year-old sitting next to me couldn't stop tearing strips of paper from the evening's program. Once his own program ran out, he moved on to the programs of the kids sitting next to him, and eventually my program. Shhhhhhhhhhwit! Shhhhhhhhhhhwit! Shhhhhhhhhhhwit!

The next morning, we were invited to a brunch. The Husband had led me to believe that this was to be an intimate affair. And I suppose it was, if a 250 guest wedding is an intimate affair. Maybe my experiences are just limited, but when I am invited to brunch at eleven in the morning, I expect to attend brunch at eleven in the morning. Instead, we attended some sort of disco-DJ-in-a-spangle-vest middle school dance at eleven in the morning. There are not enough mimosas on this earth to make me ready for the macarena at eleven in the morning.

I had also been led to believe that something Jews and Italians had in common was eating. This is clearly not the case. As I previously mentioned, when I am invited to brunch at eleven in the morning, I expect -- naively! -- brunch at eleven in the morning. I do not expect an hour and a half of childhood stories, lighting of candles on a cake, restaging of candle lightings for the professional photographer, and then brunch at half past twelve. If you invite me to brunch at eleven in the morning, I'm going to skip breakfast. And apparently, I'm going to regret it.

The Husband does get major bonus points for introductions this weekend. Often, when we attend an event where he knows people and I do not, he forgets to introduce me. At one recent event with his coworkers, one of his new coworkers walked up to me and said, "Hi! Do you work here, too?"

But this weekend, not only did the Husband remember to introduce me, he consistently said, "And I'd like you to meet my husband, Mark." So that was nice. And now that I've been fed, I'll try to remember the introductions instead of the hunger pangs.

But the image of the woman with the giant rat tail on the back of her head is forever seared into my eyes. What was that about?


  1. Ooh! Nice introductions count for so many points. My husband always forgets to introduce me.

    The idea of a DJ at a brunch is too much for me to comprehend before noon. And I'm not on an empty stomach. Good thing the kids only turn 13 once. :)

  2. We went to a bar mitzvah a few years ago. It was the middle of the afternoon, it was dj-ed, there were two 20-something girls acting as dance leaders, and plenty of inflatable guitars. My favorite part, however, was watching the groups of 12 year old girls scurry around squealing, and the groups of 12 year old boys following them.