I haven’t been to a wedding in many years. The last one in the mid-90s, followed five years later by a funeral after one of the couple committed suicide. I’ve never attended a big splashy $50,000 extravaganza expertly choreographed by a lot of consultants and vendors with a strong incentive to provide goods and services a modern couple cannot live without on the most important day of their lives. In my age group, most are austere second and third marriages, focusing on the legal benefits of such a union. It’s been said that second marriages are the triumph of hope over experience.
This happened to be a young Jewish couple, neither of whom I knew but I was very good friends with their father. They each had careers and their decisions regarding matrimony seemed well thought out.
I don’t know if a Jewish ceremony is much if any different than any other. This wedding was very informal and low key. The couple emerged into the limelight with no fanfare, she in what looked like a white evening dress, he in an open collar dark sport jacket. There was then what must best described as a master of ceremonies. A Jewish guy about their ages who seemed to be a friend more than an official, but he must have some kind of credentials as he actually pronounced them. There was some Jewish symbolism in it but not very much. There were a lot of people there, at least 300, and none of them knew me so I just people-watched.
The master of ceremonies’ job was to infect the crowd with the enthusiasm of the couple, a job he did well. Very light-hearted jokes and anecdotes, relaxed and informal with lots of good cheer all around. The memorable symbolism was them each lighting a single candle from two other shorter ones, then snuffing out the lights from the individual candles. Ouch. Very nice touch. The couple was very much into each other and were clearly very nice people expressing their full lives and future with their friends and family.
As an aside, I happened to be standing by a couple about my age and I couldn’t help but overhear their brief conversation. The woman, as they all are, was very enthusiastic about the ceremony, clapping, cooing and ohh-ah-ing. The male portion of the combo was very clearly not as impressed and was near rolling his eyes. Finally she poked him and told him to start getting with the program, to which he muttered “They all look this way now. We’ll see how this looks in ten years”. She poked him again and told him to keep his opinions to himself.
This scenario brings up an interesting issue, that of the “life snapshot”. I have always thought that marriage is a snapshot of the hopes, dreams and aspirations of a couple at the instant of their bonding, fueled by genetic imprinting (inevitability of marriage) and hopping hormones. But that snapshot moves on in time to divergent snapshots and the ability of the bonded couple to evolve with it is wholly unpredictable. Smiling, gregarious, infectious couples sharing glee at day one have about a 50-50 shot at turning into Jon & Kate plus Hate, suing each other, creating accusations of anything that will affect child custody, moving out of State to avoid legal issues and killing each other.
I suspect that “falling in love” (a term created and only fully understood by females) is merely a genetically imprinted imperative designed to get people who would ordinarily kill each other on site together for the purposes of procreation. Finding the “right” person is sort of like a focus screen template in a reflex camera. Photo readiness is evident when all the lights flash in unison. People consciously or subliminally screen everyone that comes into view. Most of the time only a portion of the lights flash. On the occasion that all the lights flash in unison, that’s “the one”. At least “the one de jour”. For males it is heavily invested in female body habitus. For females, I suspect many subliminal characteristics of their fathers.
Regretfully, that process is meant only to identify prospects with the most chance of yielding healthy babies, not necessarily be the most compatible for long term living arrangements. Once the hormones wear off and the lights go out, there is no provision in the template for longevity, which is left to dumb luck. This probably explains the (for want of a better term) amorous antics of contemporary politicians, reflective of the rest of the population, only more visible in the media.
At any rate, I am hoping for the best for this couple, clearly into each other. Time of their lives. The dark, murky unknown nowhere to be seen today, but lurking. May they luck out.