Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Shana Rishona Tidbits

Unbelievably, the Hebrew date of mine and Jughead's Hat's anniversary has already past. Our English date is coming up next week. Can you believe we've been married for a year already? I can't!

I still remember my conceptions of married people while I was single, and, having been married for a year now, I have learned some things I did not realize or think about before I was married.

1. Regarding Nidda. I knew what Nidda was, of course, and I knew it involved things like no touching and no passing. However, there are several elements of Nidda I did not know about before I explicitly learned them prior to getting married, such as not being able to eat off the same plate, not sitting on the same bench or couch cushion, etc. That last one sometimes makes things awkward when you're at someone else's house and they make room for both of you to sit on the couch and it's on one big cushion, and you're like, errrrr, thanks but I don't feel like sitting....

Interestingly, the two harchakos of Nidda I was most familiar with (touching and passing) were the two I made the most discoveries about after marriage.

A. No touching. It is amazing how one can intellectually be aware that, at times, married couples cannot touch, and yet also assume married couples can always touch each other. I find this paradox to be the case often when people are, for instance, organizing group pictures (even really small group pictures). There are other random times, as well, when a married couple will be part of a group of people who cannot touch each other, and the marrieds are assumed to be the bridge between the members of that group. It is then extremely awkward when the married couple does NOT act as the bridge, basically announcing that they cannot touch each other, and are therefore in nidda. Though I knew, while I was single, that there were times when married people could not touch each other, I did not internalize this fact until after I was married and went through it myself. Now, I find myself much more sensitive to the idea regarding other couples and their possible not-being-able-to-touch-ness.

B. No passing to each other. I did not realize the power of this particular harchaka until I experienced it. Before I was married, I never thought twice about passing things to people. It was something I did automatically, as second nature, not requiring any thought, and certainly not having any particular meaning. Now that I am sometimes not allowed to pass things to JH, the act of passing something has taken on a whole new meaning. It suddenly seems like an act of intimacy to hand something to a male someone else--even during times when I am not in nidda. If the person is a Rabbi or a yeshiva guy, I often feel as though I am violating something by passing to that person; that person is too frum for passing! Isn't it incredible how not allowing something gives that thing so much more power?

Other times not being allowed to pass to each other becomes slightly awkward: when you're at a shabbos meal with a table full of big plates of food and they're all being passed around and there is nowhere really for you to put the plate down so as not to pass it directly to your spouse, at havdala when the b'samim is being passed around (and that's another issue too, because the guy is not allowed to smell b'samim out of the girl's hand), whenever you leave a place, to make sure you're each holding the things you want to be holding, because it is more difficult to switch who is holding what once you're out in public.

2. Regarding sheitels. So many people comment how sheitels are so fancy, they make your hair look perfect all the time, they never get frizzy, etc. etc. etc. I would like to give everyone a reality check. Sheitels get frizzy. They are only fancy if you constantly get them done (or do them yourself), much like anyone's natural hair. And they are much more expensive to wash than your natural hair. They pull on your hair when you wear them, kind of like the way braces pull on your teeth, though I've gotten used to that feeling, and your natural hair is always in the way somehow, usually in too big of a bump underneath. I am still trying to figure out how people wear hats with their falls, since my hair underneath always prevents the hat from going all the way on.

A small piece of advice for anyone who wears a fall or will be wearing one in the future--always carry an extra headband with you when you go out. You never know what could happen. For instance, on Shavuos, I was wearing a mitpachat on top of my fall in that pirate look you sometimes see. It was my first time wearing that look out in public. I was wearing a wig grip headband underneath and everything. Well, walking home after our meal at night, I suddenly felt something funny. I reached up and the mitpachat had slipped off my head, onto my shoulders. The wig grip had fallen off, too. Why? I have no idea. Luckily, I had a spare headband in my pocket, so instead of trying to put the mitpachat back on in the middle of the sidewalk, I just put on a headband and was all good.

These are just some of the many things I have learned since being married. Most importantly, though, I have learned that despite all the logistics and hurdles that come with marriage, I love being married to JH and cannot wait for our second year of marriage to begin!