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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Other notes from the past weekend

1. My love of Bed and Breakfasts was confirmed once again. If anyone ever has to go to Springfield - especially those of you who keep kosher/are shomer shabbat - I highly recommend Lathrop House and its very charming innkeeper. Breakfast is continental, so you can wake up when you want. The house was beautiful and our room was charming and comfortable. It's also filled with Diana's professional photographs, which is what she really does. And she got me soy milk when I asked for it.

2. All that notwithstanding, there are also cats. And I am allergic to cats. This is a problem, but less than you'd think. I tripled my Zyrtec dosage and we kept the cats out of the room and the windows to the room wide open. On a cool, stormy weekend, that last was glorious. I don't know if I've slept better. I guess I just like windy rooms. By Sunday morning, I don't think there was significant cat dander left in the room, and I was acclimated enough that I was comfortable eating breakfast.

3. jonbaker called the local synagogue about hospitality. Turns out that there would be an invitation only lunch for the community that week, but the secretary herself offered dinner. Which we took, and it was lovely. And we found we knew people in common. We simply brought our own food for lunch, and Diana put out paper and plastic for us so we could eat in the dining room. We also found out the synagogue was in the middle of a somewhat political storm because the community is shrinking.

4. The lunch was to celebrate the aufruf of the son of prominent members. (Bridegrooms get called to the Torah before their wedding as a way to share this with the community.) They also sponsored the Third Meal, which we got to share. And met other people. The bride and her parents stayed in the third floor of the B&B, but we didn't meet them until they were packing up to leave - to go to a wedding in Long Island. Because Labor Day Weekend=wedding season. Right, blueraccoon?

5. At the point we met that family on Saturday night, we were also leaving to go to Northampton. Mitchell was having a dinner for the out-of-town people, but as it was scheduled to begin before the end of Shabbat and it was not kosher, we weren't expecting to go. Except that when we called after Shabbat, it turned out that the service was very slow and we'd probably get there in time for dessert. And they reiterated the invitation for me to join Jocelyn and her friends from Florida on a bachlorette bar crawl.

6. We decided to go for it, and got there in time to refuse various cheesecakes but accept some coffee, and to greet the relatives and friends we knew and those we didn't. Eventually, Mitchell left in the company of the younger men (his high school friends and the men attached to Jocelyn's crowd), Jonathan left with our cousin Jeremy and his wife Rabbi Paulette and I went with Jocelyn and her friends. This turned out to be a mistake.

Okay, I'm going to try to not seem judgemental, but I might not succeed, and I apologize in advance. And I am going to say right now that these are very, very sweet, lovely women who were nothing but nice to me, even going to great lengths to make sure I had a seat. But this was not the scene for a staid middle aged woman who has never, EVER been drunk and was not going to be drinking anyway, what with driving and all.

We went to a martini bar across the street from the restaurant. It's called the Tunnel Bar because it's built into an old railway tunnel, and thus is long and narrow. It's also furnished with overstuffed arm chairs. I picked up the first round of drinks, figuring that it was my job as sister-in-law - and no, I didn't mind my thus very expensive Diet Coke. And it was less than I'd thought, so fine. Some got martinis, some got Jack and Cola (desecration of good Jack Daniels, but hey) and the pregnant friends got water. And we found a nest of chairs and they got another for me, and then it began with gag gifts.

And yeah, I know what I write, and Jocelyn enjoyed it, so...but the large phallic drink container was bad. And then there was the chocolate body paint and glitter. And then they gave instructions on how to use it.

Mitchell has been my brother-in-law for fifteen years. I've known him since he was in college. He's all but my little brother. So - major discomfort level there.

And then came truth or dare. And the dare was for Jocelyn to paint and glitter herself and get a random guy to lick it off. And she sounded uncomfortable and I was very uncomfortable, which one girl noticed. I said I was on Jocelyn's side and I was reassured that they would stop if she protested, and that they'd all been through this and it was all cool.

And after a couple of shots, she stopped protesting. And while they started with painting her hands, they also did her chest. And the guys were really enjoying it. And, yes, that bothered more than a little. In fact, a great deal.

And then they decided to go to a different bar, and I took that as a reasonable time to leave. I got directions to the motel, where Jonathan was sitting in the lobby with Jeremy and Paulette (and their baby Harry) sipping Laphroig. Which I happily took a tiny sip of - a tad peaty, but so smoooooth. And we chatted for a bit and then we went home.

Later on, we found out that Mitchell was in the next bar, where he was waiting for his second beer to wear off so he could drive back. He hadn't wanted the second beer, but the other guys (not his own friends) had forced it on him. I'm not sure how. And the girls showed up, and they kept up with the painting thing. Yeah - right in front of her husband-to-be. Great judgement. He wasn't happy at the girls.

And his friend Josh? Wanted to beat up the guys taking advantage of it.

And I really, really, REALLY do not understand this whole thing. It's not like she was some kid - she's 33, a world traveler and given her four year old, I'd say the wild oats have been reaped. I'm also not clear on why they forced another drink on Mitchell. So I know I made the right decision to leave when I did, and Jonathan is equally glad he never caught up with the other guys. I'm just not cut out for bachlorette parties. (I am also glad I decided to get the first round since it turned out I'd never get another chance.)

As I said. Staid middle-aged lady. I can live with that.


Um, you don't seem to have gotten to the "long, long drives" part.

The drive up was long, traffic being bad along the Connecticut coast (just as bad on the Hutch/Merritt Pkwy as along I-95 - Jeremy & Paulette were driving up the Merritt Pkwy at the same time). The part from Hartford to Springfield just seemed long - we didn't quite realize how much of CT there was north of Hartford.

And then there was driving the parents to & from the wedding. Surprisingly non-stressy. Driving with them, someplace new, can be really stressy, because Dad (the driver) can't hear, and Mom (the navigator) can't see. Meanwhile Debbie (the driver who can hear & see) and I (the navigator who can hear and see) are in the back seat, fuming over the uselessness of it all.

I'm not quite sure I see the point of that sort of bachelor/ette party, either, and I don't think it has anything to do with age, gender, or, intrinsic staidness -- but since those parties are part of our collective notion of the Standard American Wedding, you need a fair degree of comfort with bucking Standard American trends to avoid them. Happily, this is among the advantages we geeks bring to marriage. ;)

I think you're right. Mark and I (Mark being the first husband) staunchly refused any of those, and we got a LOT of hassles about it. Given that we were polyamorous lapsed neopagans at the time, you can imagine the sort of disbelieving responses we got from people at the time, but neither of us wanted a drunken debauch in front of total strangers the day before we vowed to try to make our lives together.

Imagine that.

I go to piano bars to sing a lot, and we get a lot of bachelorette parties there. (Don't even try to think about heterosexual privilege, het women, bars noted for their primarily gay male audiences, and wanton behavior -- it'll just make your head hurt.)

And yes, most of the time, geeks are willing to buck those trends, which is why I love them.

[mamadeb, if this is too risque for you, feel free to delete it.]

My husband and I were a bit more involved in the BDSM scene when we got married, and Danny was hosting a playparty about a week before the wedding, so that was our bachelors/bachelorette party. We were there together, we didn't actually do anything sexual -- in fact, we wound up learning to play bridge with some of our other friends that night...

Since most of my family was travelling long-distance and were only in town for the wedding weekend itself, we didn't have to come up with something to accomodate both kinds of people.

Before my brother/sister-in-law's wedding, separate groups of guys and gals went out to Ybor City (Tampa) just getting drinks. Nothing terribly risque among the gals, although the guys went out to a nearby strip club. *shrug* I suspect I'd've had more fun with the guys, although that would probably have weirded out my brother too much for his enjoyment.

Thank you for asking - this was fine.

Major difference here - the playparty was for both of you. If you'd ended up doing anything besides bridge (hee!), that would have been mutually consensual. Jocelyn had to be given drinks to acquiese and Mitchell was unhappy - therefore, no consent on either side.

And everyone's taste is different - the other women enjoyed the bachelorette thing. Which is why I chose to leave.

Shocking,isn't it? Not wanting to get drunk before a day that important?

(I've never been drunk, so I can't actually say much about it. I do drink. I just don't drink much.)

And if those women behaved like our sister-in-law's friends - my brain does hurt. Ouch.

Geeks don't often so much buck trends as remain blissfully unaware.

We weren't pushed to do any of that, either - both as geeks and Orthodox Jews, who have different pre-wedding traditions.

:) I've never had problems bucking Standard American trends, but that's partially because I'm often unaware of them.

I don't blame you a bit for feeling uncomfortable in that situation. I write pretty wild stuff myself, but there really is a difference between fantasy and reality. I don't think I'd've like it much myself.

The B&B sounds fabulous, though. I love them, too. My ex-husband had friends who owned a B&B in Maine, and we used to go up there every fall and stay for a few days. The area was just gorgeous, and there's just something so sophisticated about staying in a B&B. :-)

Something slightly less sophisticated, perhaps, about a B-and-no-B. The place I like to stay at in Jerusalem is advertised on the Jerusalem B&B site, but does not in fact serve breakfast (and since the landlady, Ruti, doesn't keep kosher, I wouldn't eat much of it if she did serve it).

The night before our wedding, dhole and his friends went to see Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and played card and board games. I don't believe there was much drinking. The serious drinking had been done the night before; dhole had something of a hangover at the aufruf.

My friends and younger female relatives and I had a henna party at my parents' house. Not a real traditional Sephardi one, just a bunch of girls hanging out and painting each other. And doing a bit of drinking, those of us who were of drinking age. I don't remember anyone getting more than a little tipsy, though.