Last week I actually went to a Bridal Shower—as a friend of the 22-year-old bride. She is technically my son’s friend, growing up in my house over the years during those long Shabbos afternoons, me the alt mom, getting the good stuff we never tell our real moms.
The party was very elegant, from the smoked salmon to the lemon-curd pie (which takes 3 painstaking hours to curd) to the jewelry on the mostly middle-aged ladies.
I sat on the floor while the bride opened her gifts—her super-frum aunt dutifully tearing the pretty wrappings into strips to make the “shower hat.” Each gift was murmured over approvingly by the ladies who were otherwise silent except when they kevetched about how difficult it was to capture the moment on their phone cameras: a crock pot, a pasta set, fancy knives, glass tumblers, another pasta set, a challah plate with a sterling silver inlay.
I got her a black, somewhat see-through, boudoir ensemble with matching thong panties from Betsey Johnson.
It was the only lingerie she got.
Back when it was my turn, I got TONS of that stuff. Granted this gathering had more Monsey and less Queens but geez. The men had been banned from the house for hours and this was billed as a girlsy afternoon.
Purim, yesterday, brought me back a couple thousand years. Esther, our beautiful heroine, was also preparing for her big night. And there was not one practical thing about it. It was 6 months in the oil of myrrh, and another 6 in perfumes and cosmetics. Beautiful linens and soft garments. Ok, so the Megillah says she didn’t indulge as much as the other harem girls, but there was no mention of crock pots, electric or clay.
It was all about sex. What happened?
I can’t even tell you how often people complain to me about their love lives. Both husbands and wives have confided over the many years about how the other was unskilled, unresponsive, or uninterested. How they lie there, unsatisfied, night after night. How embarrassed they were to even talk about it, how they didn’t even know how to talk about it, how, you know, everything else is great, but um, That.
I don’t care how much your husband likes your chulent; nothing is great if That’s not great.
I am no therapist but I have given, shall we say, tutorials, and I know all about being too busy and too worried and too stressed to make pleasing and pleasure a priority.
I also admit that I should be soaking myself in some figurative myrrh more often—in my case at the gym.
But That really matters to me. And besides, Purim is my absolutely favorite holiday.
So I want to tell the bride to be like Esther—make him so crazy from you that after one night he is forgetting about all the other girls, giving you a golden crown and up to half his kingdom.
Keep his royal scepter (ha!) pointing up.
Start from the bedroom, not the kitchen.
The bride’s mother winked at me afterwards. I knew I could count on you for that, she said.
Of course, I said. And I was not winking.