Monday, December 04, 2006

Bat Mitzvah Brouhaha

For those of you non-Jews out there who have never had the experience that is the bar or bat mitzvah, a primer. There are usually several de rigueur (sometimes conflicting) elements at work at the bar/bat mitzvah party, including: a cheesy band/dj combo; lots and lots and lots of food, most of which will remain uneaten; a whole lot of liquor; an abundance of glitter and glowsticks; goodie bags; the hora; diamonds and pearls and the town's finest baubles; blacklight; a dancefloor, whereupon the YMCA, the Electric Slide and the Macarena all will be massacred by our non-rhythmic tribe. So what this all translates to is this: a sea of drunk, young, sort of young, older and really old people thrusting their bodies around the dancefloor in celebration of a 13-year-old boy or girl becoming a man or woman.

It's a great excuse for a party, and I think that most of the time, at least in my family's circle of friends, the adults have more fun than the children. This past Saturday was such an occassion for the daughter of my dad's longtime best friend.

The 'rents and their friends were shaking their tailfeathers to the likes of everyone from Timberland and Outkast, to the Village People and whomever is the brilliant artiste behind "Hava Negilah." There's something about the sight of my parents, neither of whom have any rhythym whatsoever, doing the white man's booty shake that really cracks me up.

But what occurred to me most as I drank, danced and laughed too much at this party, is that nothing really changes in our cloistered little world. We Jews have been shaking our asses to the same perennial songs for the past 18 years, since my friends were anointed men and women: Unchained Melody, Shout, YMCA, Push It, Pump up the Volume, etc. We've been waving glow sticks, sneaking drinks from the bar, worrying about which boys will ask us to dance, watching our parents get drunk, throwing up in the temple bathroom, putting on our finest Manolos and then kicking them off by 11 p.m., for ages and ages. But still, there is something about seeing your loved ones hoisted up onto chairs that just gets you all verklempt.

It's silly really, but it's great fun.

I suppose a few things have changed though. After she was made to dance onstage with the band/dj/dancers, the bat mitzvah gal, a real pistol whom I have known since she was born and whom I adore, came up to me and said, "Omigod, Stephanie, I'm so embarrassed! I am so in love with the dancer, but he has a boyfriend!"

I used this horrible Kodak disposable digicam cause I forgot mine, so we all look like ghosts in these pictures. And I cannot explain why my dad's mouth is wide open in every picture.

And, the men in the sequined jackets?

My dad's frat brothers dressing up as the Four Tops and driving the crowd wild. Though they actually had some moves, so maybe some white men can dance.

Also, check out Fashionosophy, I actually managed to update it...