Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wedding invitation

Got a wedding invitation today in the mail for a charedi first cousin of mine. I had no idea she was engaged, but I guess these things go really quickly when you're 19 and getting married through the shidduch system. The wedding is in less than a month.

The invitation was addressed to "Ms. Abandoning Eden" and not + guest or + B. But I'm not sure if these cousins and this aunt/uncle are aware that I am married- my grandmother (my aunt's mother) knows and my mom (my aunt's sister) knows, but that doesn't necessarily means they would tell this aunt, especially since she is the only charedi member of our family and therefore very judgmental about stuff.

So what to do? Do I:
A) make up some excuse and don't go (would really like to go through, was pretty close with this cousin growing up, and I also think it would insult her if I didn't go. Also I never get invited to family events cause my parents don't pass on any invitations anymore, so I kinda want to like see all the other members of my family that haven't been douches to me cause they have no idea I'm married... and also the ones who do know and haven't been douches, some of whom will be there)
B) go by myself and don't mention B (Which I did at another cousins' wedding last year)
c) email my aunt, tell her about B, and ask if b can come (but I have no contact information for these people either- but I have her daughter's email address and can probably get some info through there)
d) mystery option D

Other things to consider: someone needs to take care of Barkley, and going with B would mean getting a dogsitter. B isn't particularly thrilled about going- the traveling (about 2.5 hours each way) wearing a suit, and possibly having to wear a kippa, plus also the whole meeting my mom's entire family in one crazy night while witnessing an arranged marriage (Especially given that I haven't spoken to my mom in a year). Showing up with him at a wedding may be a bad idea when there's the possibility he could meet my parents in a much more favorable setting - my graduation in a few months. This would also devastate my mother probably, since her ENTIRE family would find out I'm married to a goy at her sister's daughter's proper jewish wedding (and she has always had a little rivalry going with her sister).

Then again, if I go without him, the entire family would probably find out too, since I have no intention of taking off my wedding ring, and if anyone asks me how I am, I would answer "married!" But he wouldn't be like right there. And also if I brought b it would be more obvious to other people that we are not talking to my parents, which would be embarrassing to her (which is how I got a stilted hug out of her at the last wedding last march- some other family happened to be there when we ran into each other). Then again, she should be embarrassed for her behavior. But that's taking the low road, and I am all about my more subtle version of taking the low road, which involves secretly feeling superior while taking the high road.

Yeah I'm thinking more and more that A or B would be the better road to take, although also cowardly and every time I do shit like this I end up feeling bad about not standing up more to my family.

I have a great(?) passive aggressive reply for the RSVP card if I go with option b: "I would be happy to come to the wedding, and am looking forward to seeing you there! Unfortunately my husband B will not be able to attend."


  1. Have you seriously considered the possibility of not going at all? This may turn into something stressful. Google "Orthodox Paradox by Noah Feldman, New York Times". It's about a 3 page article at what happened at a Jewish HS reunion party, and they guy brought his Korean, non-Jewish wife.

  2. Definitely don't go without B. He's your husband. You're a package deal.

    Have you thought of calling your aunt and telling her you'd like to come but would have to bring your non-Jewish husband & see what she says? Or maybe an email.

    You do make a good point about your mom possibly meeting B at the better setting of your graduation - I would give that a lot of serious consideration.

  3. whoops - just noticed I repeated your C option - eye skip.

  4. philo- i have considered not going, yes, that's why it's option A. :)

  5. Separate but related, and I could use some advice. I invited my older single cousin to my daughter's bas mitzvah & he replied that he couldn't make it. Between the invitation and the party, I attended his niece's chasana and spent time chatting with him. He discreetly slipped the words "my husband" into our conversation, so I guess he was coming out to me. Obviously, his husband wasn't invited to this chareidi-style wedding. I doubt his brother & sister-in-law would have welcomed his gay partner, but I don't really know if he has come out to anyone else in the family. Why did he come out to me in my sheitel and all? Who knows? But he must have realized that I would not be the judgmental type. At that point I didn't know what to do, but mostly I felt bad that I hadn't known about his husband or I would have invited both of them to my simcha.

    Now, months later, my friend tells me I should send him a friendly email to be in touch, but I think that would seem more odd, like "we never talk, but I'm being friendly to you because I'm not judging your homosexuality".

  6. I would ask if you can take B but if she agrees-just remember that you might end up sitting at a seperate table then him.

    You should make sure the B is cool with that before you ask if he can come.

    The last thing you want is for her to agree and then for you to end up not bringing him..

  7. Oops, I wrote "then" instead of "than"

  8. Arranged marriage... I won't mind going if I get to go to the divorce proceedings in 2 years.

  9. I've never been in the situation, so I can't really advise you.
    I try to attend family celebrations, but only when they aren't "too" religious. However, I don't have a Significant Other to worry about.

  10. Why would you want to drag B - so he can be misrable? If you want to go - then go - leave B out of it.

  11. I would take to the aunt and explain I have a husband that's not Jewish and would like to bring him to the wedding.

    If she says he isn't invited, then I'd just not go.

    I'd send a gift to my cousin along with a note explaining that I would have loved to have been there, but since my husband wasn't invited I didn't feel right attending.

    Keep the note on the friendly side, wish them well & let them know - in a nice way - where you stand.

  12. I absolutely agree with RbbC's sentiments. If my wife isn't welcome, I'm not welcome.

    But weddings and funerals have different rules. You don't do anything that would screw them up. You just don't.

    My advice is, first watch Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Think of B as Sidney Poitier. Assure B that he's every bit as sexy as Poitier. Honest :-)

    Then get in touch with the bride. Say how happy you are for her and that you'd love to come. Then explain that you're married to a non-Jew. Ask her if it would be awkward for her and that you're perfectly willing to come on your own. She's stressed enough and doesn't need any surprises. Go with whatever makes her comfortable.

  13. you want to go..you said so..a woman does not go to such affairs without her husband..PERIOD..how would that make you look anyway? like you are embarrassed ..everyone should shake their heads saying "they told you so"? I think not. You write a note and say you will be attending with your husband..or simply don't go..but don't go alone.

  14. "a woman does not go to such affairs without her husband..PERIOD"

    What now? I'm just going to have to disagree with that on purely feminist grounds....like are you farking kidding me?

  15. and apart from being totally offensive, that just isn't true- growing up I remember my mother attending several weddings that my dad did not accompany her to, because he had to be at work.

  16. You want to go, B doesn't want to go, your mother doesn't want B to go, the bride wants you to go, and the bride really wants minimum drama at her wedding-even if she says it's OK for B to go.

    The only reason to take B/not go is because you think if you go alone you will feel immature, unable to make decisions independent of what your mother wants.

    News flash: you are acting immature, unable to make decisions independent of what your mother wants (you feel the need to defy her). If you bring B/don't go you will feel the way you fear you will feel if you go alone: plus you will make others unhappy!

    Go alone.

  17. AE, back to that feminist issue, you're not a package deal with your husband, and you can go places without him. Especially when going together means that he will be on the other side of the mechitzah, surrounded by strangers who may or may not be hostile but will probably not explain to him what is going on or how to behave at a particular moment. If he had a friendly person who would take him on the buddy system, it might be different, but he's right not to go and it is not worth it to torture him or make your cousin's wedding about you. (Sorry for the strong words, I'm pretty down on Orthodoxy at the moment.)

    I think that the biggest issue here is not whether or not you should bring B, but what to do when people see your wedding ring. I guess most people won't ask if your husband is Jewish, but what he does for a living.

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  19. I remember at my Bar Mitzvah my two relatives were fighting one another and I had to wittness it and of course coulen't intervene. This is one of the great memories of my Bar Mitzvah. If you are going to make a scene, it is rediculous and irresponsible. If you want to have a good time, then go and do the best to have a good time. If sticking it to your mother = having a good time, then I don't know what to tell you.

    Personally, I am also doin things that are not acceptible to the stream of Jewishness I belong to and I don't tell anyone. I understand where they are coming from and respect them for who they are, even though I disagree with them. I am going my way and I am not looking to stick it to anyone. I am happy with who I am.

  20. ok I don't know where people are getting the idea that i just want to defy/piss off my mother, especially since one of the reasons I said it might be a bad idea to bring him is BECAUSE it might upset my mother. Jebus!

  21. After careful deliberation, I've come to the conclusion that the absolute BEST thing about this entire blog is the photo of the dog on the opening page and your profile AE. Poochy is the only one that makes me laugh. It's all downhill after that. Get ready AE.

    Hava nagila, hava nagila
    Hava nagila venis'mecha

    Coming to a banquet hall near you soon.

  22. that's my dog Barkley! You should check out the picture of him in Ginx's profile. :)

  23. Let's keep this simple...

    1. Do you really -want- to go?

    2. If "yes", do you want B with you and does B want to come? This has nothing to do with the religious issue: I've gone to weddings alone where the bride was a better friend to me than to my wife and she wasn't that interested.

    If the answer to both is yes, then you go as as a team.

  24. Regardless of the other issues, I would only consider asking for an invite for B if B actually wants to go. Invitations aren't free - every guest adds a cost to the wedding...

  25. This is a tricky one.

    If you and/or B don't want him to come, the easiest thing to do would probably be to just go without him. Wear your ring, of course, and be honest if anyone asks. You should not act ashamed (or be ashamed!) of your husband.

    Remember this at all times: you're not the one with a problem, they are. You have done nothing to be ashamed of and you shouldn't take it upon yourself to protect your haredi relatives from their own prejudices and hang-ups. If they are appalled by the news, so be it. That's their problem, not yours. You don't have any obligation to pretend to be someone else so that their precious little worldview isn't shattered.

    And on the other hand, by telling them the truth, you at least give them the opportunity to be understanding and supportive, even if most of them might not take that opportunity.

    If you and/or B want him to come, I'd get in touch with your aunt and just say, "I'm not sure if you heard, but I got married last year. Can I assume that he is invited as well?" It's up to you whether you want to bring up the fact that he isn't Jewish.

    If she says no, he's not invited, I would not attend, and I would let the bride know why. If she says yes, great, bring him. But find a way to get him and your mother together beforehand if at all possible.


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