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Ten Plus One Rules for Living    

 The artist creating her special magic in front of the mirror is doing her job. You need a friend who will tell you the truth: It’s just too much

  1. Honesty Is Not Always The Best Policy

Please take someone kind and trustworthy with you when you shop for a special occasion. And make it the same person.

Think of someone who will look you in the eye after you’ve tried on a yellow and pink flouncy floral gown that you think is so chic, and tell you in the nicest way possible that, “it’s not your best look,” instead of lying straight to your face (an evil act if I ever saw one) with a practiced nod. Don’t forget that it takes a rare pro to know how to respond to, “Does this dress make me look fat?”

Professional makeup has now become de rigueur. The artist creating her special magic in front of the mirror is doing her job. You need a friend who will tell you the truth: It’s just too much.

  1. Once More with Feeling

Wearing a gown that you wore to a previous simchah is not a felony and there are no wedding police who will come and arrest you for it, though I do think the photographer may roll his eyes. Trying to fit into it again, after you’ve gained more weight than you wish to admit — and blaming the dry cleaner — might be another story.

  1. The Baby, The Bubby, And The Bride

Note to young mothers: It’s the bride’s moment.

A chuppah is not the time to bring the baby to see Bubby; it’s past her bedtime, she’s cranky and hungry — and so is the baby. With you all dressed up, made up, and coiffed, your Bubby doesn’t recognize you and neither does your little one. The decibel level is too high and so are your heels. Believe me, the baby will not remember it, but everyone else, who can’t hear a thing above your baby’s wailing and you attempting to shush her, will. Do us all a favor and leave her at home. And I don’t mean Bubby…

  1. Musical Chairs

Just about the only thing that “single” and “seating” have in common is the letter “s.” So I’m almost certain that placing all the unmarried young ladies from the ages of 15 to 35 at one table is a transgression whose atonement might require fasting.

  1. Don’t Blame the Baby

Every bundle of joy is a blessing. Let’s keep it that way. I’d like to nominate the naming battles as a crime. We can all count and do the math of “my side, your side, his side, her side,” but let’s stop the uncalled-for intervention. Young parents can be offered suggestions — not requests. And offering to pay for the mohel, bris, party-planner, or kiddush should not be part of that discussion.

  1. The Beat Goes On… and on and on and on.

When did it become obligatory to destroy one’s eardrums on the altar of “wedding joy.” Is there a reason that we should not be able to hear our dance partner compliment us on our shoes? Or was she telling me that I just stepped on her toes?

Shared happiness does not mean that the fillings in my teeth start throbbing to the beat of the drums, and it certainly doesn’t excuse the noise level that has become commonplace at the chuppah. If we are supposed to remain silent during shofar blowing, why is there not a similar prohibition when we’re in the company of all the past and future generations? Memo to attendees: This, too, is a religious ceremony.

  1. One Moment, Please…

I know cell phones have now become fashion accessories — along with the tony-labeled shoulder straps that hold them. I’m still stymied, however, as to why they belong on one’s lap during a chuppah or on the table during dinner or in plain view, period. What am I missing?

Ahem… if you’re on a date and either of you whip out a phone — it’s time to go home.

  1. Silence Is Golden

Thou shalt not lean on a horn. I believe that one is written in red in one of the holy books in either the sacred carpool section or perhaps as a postscript to the double-parking prohibition — I just can’t quite recall which one. If you can’t find it, look again.

  1. Crime and Punishment

One is not allowed to waste food, but sometimes eating it can be just as sinful. Is there some dispensation if it’s my favorite or do we get extra Weight Watcher brownie points for abstaining? Should we be redefining reward and retribution as truth and consequences? I always thought of cheesecake — the one I hid in my freezer away from prying forks— as being G-d’s way of rewarding me for having made it through Pesach.

  1. First Impressions, Second Glances

Showing up harried at the local supermarket on a Thursday night in a tired snood, sloppy black slinky skirt, and tattered sneakers may not have been intentional — but not wearing lipstick is, so don’t be surprised if someone calls the authorities.

Being overdressed, wearing a suffocating fragrance, or black tights in July makes you just as guilty. Either way, you’ll probably get away with a warning.

  1. Silent Thanks

Remember the admonition to be careful what you pray for, you just might get it, and its relationship to your age. Showing off and proving that you can still teeter around on platform shoes with five-inch clunky heels or its sister, the matching-height stiletto, is a definite candidate for detention. I’m just not sure for how long.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 802)

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