Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mazal tov

Sunday night was one I will always remember. It was the last time I will attend a wedding.

My Jewish co-worker, Cosmo, got married. The Sunday evening affair wasn't because he's from the Hebrew nation, it was because it was a night when they could hold the ceremony in the locale of their choosing without having to wait more than two years.

Mrs. Cosmo, for the record, ain't Jewish. She's a southern gal. Her exact denomination I cannot say, but the fact she doesn't eat kosher meals meant that the affair was only partly Jewish. So I'm not sure if I can claim to have been a spectator at a full-fledged Jewish ceremony, but this one was good enough for me.

The ceremony was held outdoors in Minneapolis. On a beautiful October afternoon an outdoor wedding would have been ideal. On Sunday, however, it was cloudy. I think it sprinkled for a minute or two prior to the ceremony, but the skies never opened up. We were under a giant tent anyway, overlooking the mighty Mississippi River. It wouldn't have been ideal, but had it rained, we would have survived.

The short ceremony had the token readings and sermons, with a few Jewish references and explanations thrown in for good measure. The finale was the stomping on the wine glass, or whatever the glass is that they break. We were all instructed to yell "mazal tov" upon Cosmo's ceremonial stomping on the glass. Sadly his performance was underwhelming, as I didn't hear any shattering of glass, and therefore I missed my cue. More Gentile I could not be at that moment.

The reception was at the site of the wedding, and it was largely non-denominational. Most of the music, dancing, eating and drinking was no different than any other reception I've attended.

But prior to dinner there was the ceremonial introduction of the newlyweds. They didn't introduce the wedding party, which curiously featured five bridesmaids and six groomsmen, but they introduced the happy couple. I didn't think anything of that, until the happy couple headed to the dance floor, and the live band started playing all the Jewish hits. People quickly descended upon the dance floor, dancing in circles around Cosmo and Robyn.

Before long they were being raised up above the crowd in chairs, just like I've seen in the movies. I was a bit surprised to see all of this take place before dinner.

If you wanted to play "Spot the Gentile," the pre-dinner dance was the time to do it. As many at the reception found their way to the dance floor, the Gentiles like me stood back and watched the drama unfold.

And the damn thing wouldn't end! Every time I thought they'd be wrapping up the dance, the music would kick in, again. Even Cosmo said the festivities went a little long. I swear the whole song and dance exceeded 20 minutes.

Following dinner the reception was rather Gentile in nature, although there was no dollar dance, bunny hop or garter toss. I don't know why, and I didn't ask questions. I'll do that when Cosmo returns to work.

There was an open bar all evening, so I pretty much paid for the cost of my wedding gift with drinks during the reception. A couple of co-workers attended, so that gave me reason to stick around past dinner. I kept hoping something unique was going to happen, given it was my last wedding reception, but no such luck. The Jews let me down.

I enjoyed the experience, especially watching the Princess of Power strut her stuff. I met her a few years ago, and she's hot. I was stunned she didn't have a boyfriend with her at the wedding. Despite that, I'm a realist, and not nearly creepy enough to hit on her.

So why is it the last wedding/reception I will attend? Because I'm bored with them, plain and simple.

People are lame. I went to another co-worker's wedding on May 31, and it's remarkable how many people bail out after dinner on a Saturday night. They don't have anywhere else to go, they don't have a four-hour drive home after the wedding. But they act like sticking around and socializing with friends and/or relatives is a pain in the ass. Maybe it is, but this is a recurring phenomena at weddings.

I can't say I entirely blame people. Most weddings have a DJ, and that means being subjected to a painful musical formula that includes that damn chicken dance and other assorted crap. I think I've been suicidal more than once as a result of the tedious musical format so many wedding receptions seem to follow. (Nobody really wants to dance to "Staying Alive.")

Beyond that, I find that the weddings I attend these days are less of a cause for celebration than those of past years. Most of my best friends have gotten married, with the exception of Chip and Monica, and I don't expect a close friend or family member to get married any time soon.

So what happens when my 25-year-old cousin gets married in a few years? I send him a gift and save him a few bucks on an overpriced dinner. What happens when Monica gets married? I feel bad that I'm not there, but a rule is a rule. Friends, family, co-workers, it doesn't matter. I'm not going to put up with the farce that is a wedding any more.

I'll send a gift, but it's time to start doing things for me and stop doing things for everyone else. Nobody will miss me at their wedding, and I won't miss the charade that is a wedding/reception.

My last wedding was a quasi-Jewish affair. It was nice to see one in action, to see something a little different than what I am use to. It was a memorable, and relatively enjoyable, experience. Given it was the last wedding I will ever attend, it was nice to go out on a high note.

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