Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wedding Woes for Singles

It's traditional in the frum world for older siblings to get married before their younger ones. Sometimes, though, the older siblings pass their 21st year without getting married (a horrible tragedy,) and the younger siblings decide to get married before them.

When this happens, it's usually pretty difficult for the older siblings. Having just experienced it myself, (my baby brother just got married - now you know why I've been AWOL for a good while,) I've gained a little insight into this difficulty.

My brother informed me that he was getting engaged by inching his way into my room and saying, "Would you be excited if I got engaged?"

My immediate response was, "Uh... No!" but seeing his face fall, I quickly added, "But I want you to be happy, so if you're happy, I'll be happy." And that was that.

I smiled and laughed with him and his fiance when they came back from his proposal but soon afterwards starting to feel the hurt that I've heard of so often when people talk about their younger siblings getting married.

I needed to do a little soul-searching to figure out why it was so difficult for me to see my younger brother get married. What I discovered was - and I'm not proud to say this - jealousy. Not of getting married, but of the attention that the community gives to brides and grooms. A wedding is usually the most extravagant celebration in a frum person's life. From the *takes a deep breath* engagement party\ies to the bridal showers, to the groom's Sabbath celebration, to the bride's Sabbath celebration, to the wedding, to the seven days of partying after the wedding *let's out breath* it's a party-palooza with all the focus on the bride and groom.

As for those of us who haven't been married, we have to watch as our contemporaries get married, then our younger friends, then the younger kids who we barely know because they're so much younger, and we have to watch time and time again as they are celebrated just for tying the knot. Meanwhile, we go to these celebrations and, at best, get blessings of, "G-d willing by you very soon!" and at worst get stared and whispered at.

We could get college degrees, go to graduate school, become doctors and lawyers and accomplished musicians, but no matter what we do, as long as we remain single in the frum community, we won't ever get a chance for the spotlight.

Coming up next: Advice for how to survive your younger sibling's wedding in the frum world.