Thursday, May 29, 2008

On The Other Side Now

In my dating days - way back when, so many moons ago - I always reacted with mixed feelings when a [newly] married friend made a suggestion for me. On the one hand I resented it because I felt like people were just suggesting baseless names, going down the list of their husband's previous chavrusas and roommates and playing the match up game without giving a second thought - and that annoyed me, especially when the suggestions came from girls who didn't really know me, and ESPECIALLY when they would give me speeches about not being picky.

On the other hand I really appreciated the fact that they even thought of me and cared enough to go through with their suggestion. That really meant a lot to me.

I've never really had the urge to marry off all my friends to all my husbands friends, and I've been very wary of crossing that fine line between caring about a friend and pushing a shidduch, so much so that I simply have not played the newly-wed game of 'match it'.

Recently though, the tables sorta turned. My husband has a good friend who he's been coaching through dating. After this boy's last dating saga we were talking about the kind of guy he is and the kind of girl he's looking for, when suddenly a friend's name popped into my head. I played with the idea of suggesting a name for a friend for a few seconds and then decided that I would not make the suggestion.

Why? Picture this:

Me: dialing....

Mrs. So-and-so: "hello"

Me: "Hi, Mrs. So-and-so, this is Miss Teacher, -----'s friend"

Mrs: "Hi Miss Teacher, how can I help you?"

Me: "Well I'm calling to redt a boy for ----, his name is ----"

Mrs: "What can you tell me about him"

Me: "Well he's smart, charming, kind hearted, successful..."

Mrs: "And what else can you tell me about him?"

Me: "Ummm well I don't really know him that well, he's my husband's friend, um you're welcome to speak to him if you'd like."

Mrs: "Well, does your husband know my daughter?"

Me: "Um no not really, well you see I just thought it might be a good idea so I figured I'd suggest it."

Mrs: "If you don't know this boy and your husband doesn't know my daughter what makes you think this a good idea??"

So no, I decided that since I really don't know this boy, and my husband doesn't know this girl I'm not going to make the call.

The problem with that resolve was that my husband really is good friends with this boy, and he really wants to help him, so he didn't let me off the hook so fast. He really really didn't let me off the hook, so much so that I finally made the call.

And guess what. Almost exactly what I had imagined happened. A little less hesitation, a little more politeness but pretty much the same. Until I finally stated that I'm not here to offend anyone in anyway, I'm just making a suggestion and it never hurt anyone to make a few phone calls to see if it's shayach. THEN she said, [quote] "Well he sounds like a very good boy, can you please email his references." Sigh, why'd you have to make me sooooooo crazy for 30 minutes!!! I don't know how fast I'm going to do this again...

Side point: I'm gonna have to figure a good bloggy name for my husband or I'll just have to stop mentioning him in my posts because this 'my husband' thing is getting to me. Any suggestions????

Monday, May 26, 2008

Spoken Unspoken

I remember sitting at my first Kallah class thinking to myself, "what is she going to tell me that I don't already know?"

I mean seriously, I was far from the first of my crowd to marry, among the last to be precise, I'm not naive in the slightest, there are books - I know how to read... but I was a Kallah, so soon after I got engaged I wrote the check, signed up for the class and braced myself.

I think that the biggest shock of my entire kallah class was listening to my kallah teacher, a very very frum - and looks the part - lady speak. She had a very practical, straightforward way of presenting things. She didn't beat around the bush, she didn't smile and say "you're chosson will know" and yet every single one of her classes were given within the very strict boundaries of tznius, never once crossing the line.

The second eye opener can be explained in one word: ME

Yes, I may have read books, but this wasn't about a book, this was about me. I've walked by the local mikveh dozens of times, but now I wouldn't merely be walking by I would be walking in. Strange, the whole thing, just strange. And life changing.

Now a message to my single friends:

Hopefully one day in the very near future you too will be able to partake in this mitzvah. However, until then, please hear me out, and hopefully in the zchus of your sensitivity you will be rewarded for helping others with a beautiful, yet sometimes challenging and difficult mitzvah.

I suppose one of the many adjustments to taking on a new mitzvah is timing. Up until this point in my life the word "sh'kiah" meant two things: hadlakas haneiros and mincha. Now it means a third, Taharas Hamishpacha.

Sometimes, dear friends, your married friend might not be able to make it to that shiur, or speaker or whatever else it is. It's not because she doesn't care, nor because she's cooking chicken for supper, though she might say so. It might very well be because she needs to be home at that time and she doesn't want to say because it's no one's business.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine invited me to a shabbos shiur. I didn't want to miss it, so I figured if I go on time I can stay for 45 minutes and still make it home before sh'kiah. About 15 minutes after I arrived, another girl announced "I can only stay another 10 minutes or so, I can't leave my baby for so long." Sure enough, 10 minutes later she excused herself and left. No one blinked. 20 minutes later, I excused myself and left, however, when I stood up to leave the response was "Miss Teacher, your baby is crying?" The host was obviously upset that her shiur wasn't important enough to me to stay the whole time. I quipped back something like "Yeah my baby's hungry, gotta go feed him," and hurried out.

I contemplated the idea of being more abrupt. Maybe that would calm people down a little bit. How about, "it's your shabbos kallah this week? What time? I'm so sorry I won't be able to make it, you see I hope to do a hefsek tahara this shabbos. Or I might leave the shiur a bit early/come a bit late because I have to a bedika. Or I'm so sorry I only came to a few minutes of your vort, it was my mikveh night. Maybe then people would be a bit more understanding.

The bottom line is. Don't let your imagination run wild, it's not your business what your friend is doing and why she can't attend a particular event. Do use sensitivity and understanding when your friend doesn't show up or has to leave early etc. ESPECIALLY when she's newly married and everything is still new, unfamiliar, unsettling and at times nerve wracking.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sheitels Revisited

This post is dedicated to aidelknaidel - good luck hun!

Aidel asked about my sheitel so here goes:

A good friend once put it wisely. Wearing a sheitel has its stages.

Stage 1: Not so bad
Stage 2: I got used it
Stage 3: Hey that's me in the mirror
Stage 4: Hey that's me in the mirror and I don't look so bad
Stage 5: Hey that's me in the mirror and I look good
Stage 6: Hey that's me in the mirror and I like how I look
Stage 7: My sheitel is so comfortable I hardly feel it.

I think I'm up to somewhere between stage 4 and stage 5


Sidepoint - you're probably getting loads of advice from everyone and everywhere, so you're welcome to ignore this if you really want (especially since you did not ask for advice!!!). My personal experience has been that for some reason I always took advice from my small circle of blog friends slightly more seriously - I'm not sure why - aomething to do with everyone being anonymous.

1. Sheitel Companies - boy do people have an opinion on this one!

Long sheitels get knotty. I have two shevys - they both tangle very badly, my sister in law has Noas and they tangle, my friend has a David - it tangles. One friend has a Shuly and it never tangled but the hair started falling out after about 5 months.

Don't let anyone convice you that one Sheitel company is better than another. They're all the same, they're all overpriced and the main thing is that when you put the sheitel on , you want to look good.

2. Testing it out.

Before your sheitel macher cuts the wig, ask her to wash it and let it air dry. A good sheitel should air dry nicely, if it gets frizzy thats exactly how you will look after the rain.

If you are nervous about cutting you sheitel ask your sheitel macher to cut just a bit and then take it home and wear it around the house, you'll look in the mirror enough times to decide what you want to do with it. You don't have to chop your sheitels before you wedding, you can have the front and sides cut and then decide what you want to do with it after you've really been wearing for long periods of time.

Wear it wear it wear it. Once you take your sheitel home practice putting it on, taking it off, putting it on a sheitel head, etc. If you're brave you can practice making a pony, half pony, wearing a headband, using clips, boppy pins, claws etc. The more you get used to it now the easier it will when it's for real.

3. Wash and Sets Cost $$$$$!

Ask your sheitel macher or someone you know who knows how to care for sheitels to give you a crash course in how to wash and set a sheitel. Invest in a good blow dryer (if you don't already have one) - I would say visio or elchim save yourself a lot of money.

Very Important: Make sure your sheitel macher will back your sheitel. Most sheitels come with a one year warranty - don't let anyone convince you that your sheitel is fine if you ch''v feel that it is not!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Brooklyn Epidemic

Cute as he may look in a picture I do NOT want to be sharing my living quarters with him.

`nuff said.