Today, I went to a wedding and danced with/for/around the mother of the groom (and, for a short while, the mother of the bride.) This isn't the first time I've done that, either. In fact, that was the case in the last two religious weddings I've attended - I even sought out the mother of the bride's circle at the last one, because, honestly, I didn't want to crowd around the young women and girls in their late teens and twenties. And that was just as true this time - the bride had endless energy, and so did her friends, and just watching them was more than I wanted to do. (Also, the circle was too close to the mechitza and there were the stepstools for the photographers in the way, and I stumbled a couple of times.
It was okay, though. I was a guest of the mother of the groom, who looked very lovely in a long, dark cream satin suit and matching straw hat, along with the other ladies of our weekly class. Jonathan didn't want to go even though I assured him it would be mixed seating and he knew some of the other husbands. Then it turned out he knew the bride's father - a former teacher of his - so he changed his mind.
It was so pleasant sitting with my husband at a wedding. We all thought that. And the father of the bride remembered him.
The wedding itself was an interesting merger of two sets of customs, because the groom is Sephardic and the bride is Ashkenaz. So the groom went to greet the bride after she was escorted by her parents, and he said a blessing over a new tallis, and there was a lot of singing, but the bride got a ring, not a coin, and her father was the rabbi.
And after the rabbi said a short and heartfelt sermon, he was embraced by his son-in-law. You don't see that very often. Meanwhile, the young couple (and they keep getting younger) laughed and made eyes at each other under the chuppah, which is no one's custom but entirely wonderful.
We sat on the men's side of the mechitza (that is, the side where the men danced) and there was a time after the main course when only the younger crowd was dancing - the older one was digesting. So, I watched the boys dance. And there was such joy in their faces.
I think it's a Western idea that men don't want to marry - they're afraid of commitment, of being tied down, and their friends are supposed to support them in this thing their doing. I could be wrong.
For Orthodox Jews, it's assumed that men want to marry exactly as much as women, or perhaps more since for men it's a requirement, which it isn't for women. So, when a friend gets married, his friends are as happy for him (and as eager for their own wedding) as the bride's friends are for her. And you can see it in their faces.
(I think that I am wrong, btw. Not that the myth isn't there, but the reality is that everyone is happy for both halves of the couple.)