I got married at city hall. I wore a white leather mini dress and white leather boots. I was going for an ‘Amy Winehouse retro’ look but ended up more ‘boozy Nancy Sinatra’.
Afterwards, we had a barbecue in our backyard. My lawn caught fire which I expertly handled by drinking copious amounts of tequila. I’m told I ran around the backyard in various states of undress, but I have no memory of that. It was pre-camera phones. Thank God.
I love to throw big parties, although admittedly, it’s been a while. I provide excessive amounts of food and alcohol, make an 8-hour mixed tape that whips the crowd into an orgiastic frenzy of dance, and pray that no one pees in my living room.
What I can’t do – or rather, what I loathe doing – is plan events like weddings. I got married at city hall precisely because I’d rather set my teeth on fire than worry about center pieces and invitations.
This is where “you do you” comes in. I’m sure there are scads of people who wouldn’t devote an entire Saturday to hunting down a Partridge Family lunchbox, like I did.
According to everyone in the free world, I should already have started planning my kid’s bar mitzvah. It’s in November. Most mothers where I live would have already booked a summer face lift.
There will be a Saturday morning service at the temple, at which time my kid has to read his haftarah– a portion of the Torah.
It’s endless pages of hieroglyphics, and everytime he practices it, I marvel at his ability to learn a language that’s written right to left, in a completely different alphabet. Considering most people I know mangle this one.
There’s a small brunch-y reception right after the service,the kiddush, and then a big party that night. I have to decide what we’re serving at both those events and it has to be kosher, and what foods are kosher?! and did I forget to mention that my Ex used to call me “the Shiksah” because I don’t know jack shit about my own religion?
I should have already picked a venue. Places are booked a year in advance. But they won’t re-open CBGB’s to host a bar mitzvah, and beyond that, I don’t care.
A month ago, I was asked what my kid’s “theme” will be.
Theme? I was having a fun little fantasy wherein I begin every conversation at the party with “So, these adult diapers I’m wearing” and then this…theme thing happened.
I went into protective mode. I became a hedgehog whose life is threatened. I shot up my prickly spine and hissed and hoped it would all go away.
The decor and centerpieces are supposed to reflect said “theme” and I’m wondering if the theme can be “themeless.” Just like this blog.
My kid is looking forward to a party – after all, he’s been studying for 5 years – but he’s not invested in how elaborate it is. He did, however, also ask about the “theme.” HISSSSSS.
I have to pick out invitations and pre-invitation invitations, ‘Save the Date! notices. This locks people in so they can’t get a better offer at the last-minute and ditch us.
I have to decide who we’re inviting, and who we’re leaving out because we’re not inviting everyone we’ve ever known and I’m capping this bitch at 50 people.
We’ll need a DJ. But not JUST a DJ.
You need pyrotechnics and flashmob choreography. People hire entertainment companies, complete with girls dressed like rap video hoes, to get everyone shaking it on the dance floor. And to get air humped by pubescent boys.
Traditionally, the bar mitzvah boy has personalized yarmulkes (beanies) created in his favorite color, with his name and date printed inside. Little Dude cannot make up his mind what color to have, and recently suggested rainbow-colored. Which would be convenient, if we were going straight from the bar mitzvah to the Gay Pride parade.
I need to wear grownup clothes to this. Not just one outfit – I’ll need TWO. One suitable for a morning service at the temple, and one for the party that night. I have to buy these because I DON’T OWN CLOTHES LIKE THAT.
I’ll probably break tradition and wear a rock tee-shirt and jeans to the party that night because (this is becoming my mantra for the event) WHO CARES? My kid is fine with that, but has already put me on notice that I have to wear something “mom-ish” to the morning service.
I’ve decided to purchase an expensive, tasteful dress at a local department store. I’ll wear it with the tags still on it, Febreze the shit out of the armpits and return it the day after.
My mother passed away last fall, and while going through her belongings, I found ancient family photos. One yellowed packet contained photos of my eldest brother’s bar mitzvah. It was right before my father died, leaving my mother a widow with six kids.
It’s the only bar mitzvah my family had, although I have no memory of it beyond these photos.
I am 3 years old in the pictures. I don’t remember my father, or the mother of those pictures. She is laughing and whirling. She is beautiful; her body svelte and her flaming red hair matching her red lips. She is holding a cigarette in slender fingers just like mine, elegantly photographed at some catering hall in the Bronx, I suppose.
I do remember my brother, although he too, is gone now. There’s one picture of him holding me, laughing. Behind us are our parents, who are smiling for the camera, but mostly for the day and the joy it held.
Everyone but me in that picture is gone.
All that remains is a faded analog reminder of a different era; a time when we were all still alive and together and happy.
My son deserves his day.
Tomorrow, I start planning.
Are you good at planning these events? Do you want to plan this one?
Talk to me. I’m listening.