I have some great news for all you blogaholics. I think you’ll be mighty proud of me.
I joined the Yuniversity for Yiddishpeaking Yentas. Within three years, I should have my Masters Degree in Yentaology!
The first class was held in a small bes medrish off Bedford Avenue that is only in use on shabbos. All the attending yentas-to-be seemed very determined.
Throughout the 45 minute session the coordinator introduced us to the system and discussed a little the importance of the course, as for some it’s the key to community survival. I listen and nod enthusiastically. Everyone looks at me. I wonder what I did wrong. Oh, I realize, I should look back. So I stare hard and feel like I’m learning something already.
We were then given an assignment on Page 86 of the program textbook titled STARING IS CARING. Session dismissed.
As I was making my way out, the Professor, a middle-aged figurely woman, called out to me. “dee Pony veibele”, she refers to me by my maiden name, “come here a sekund.
“I know you can really use this cuhrs, mammele. Your Private Investigation IQ is at about 60. You’re not good at ‘detecting’ what’s going on in the lives of your lahved ones. You know, you can’t have them know everything about you and be so self-centard in return, right?…” I looked at her surprised, wondering where she took all those absolutely true details from. She winked at me with a knowing smile. She was a yenta champ.
But then she told me something that really boosted my self esteem. I learnt that although observation is an important feature in a yenta, I had high hopes. “You’re a natural at the Art of Exaggeration, an essential subject in this program. I think you’ll graduate in the top ten of this class”.
Ah, well. She’s probably right.
I was gonna share some excerpts of the textbook here because I know everyone can use some brushing up on their yenting skills.
THE NEWLYWED LAW: Monitoring the goodwill of the newlywed couple.
Example: You’re out shopping, piling four tunas into your cart per the grocery list, when two half-conscious people enter. The male counterpart is wearing a shtreimle. Upon the shtreimle clue, you hurry up to the chosen/kallah (from behind) and stare ‘em up and down. You should be able to determine if they are happily married. It is also important to observe the features of the new veibele’s headgear, as when you get back home you’ll want to report on that too.
THE 5 POUND LAW: Monitoring the progress of the unborn child.
Example: You meet up with a friend at a wedding. Her face seems rounder and her skirt seems a little choked. You don’t ask her anything, but you closely observe where the primary weight went. You can then ask around in hushed tones if Friend is pregnant again. Your keen observations will probably be confirmed with a positive.
THE GENDER LAW: Diagnosing the baby-room color.
Example: Your sister in law is pregnant. She can’t stop eating, has some acne, and gained weight in specific areas. In this chapter you learn exactly how to use these symptoms to declare the fetus boy or girl. Remember however, when you have come to the gender conclusion you have to voice your diagnoses with great conviction. You can also go out and buy a color-coordinated gift already, because you definitly won’t be wrong.
THE MUSEUM LAW: Enjoying the Williamsburg Waxes
Example: You walk by a woman whos clothing or demeanor is a little off the usual. This is your opportunity to enjoy a very interesting wax being. You stare it up and down, and then look closely at the face. It should not occur to you to mask your obvious ogle with a nod, greeting or smile.
THE STATUS LAW: Reading the label
So much of what a person's social status is can be read off the little tag on the clothing. Those that dress all their boys and girls in matching money-weaved designer label sweaters are country-club exclusive. Those that shop at H&M and Children's Place but do so 24 hours are still upper-class. Those that use hand-me-downs beg that you feel sorry for them.
THE SHIDDUCH CRITIC: Reviewing the match
When two families break l’chaim, everyone is a mechetanista. You should immediately research the who, what and where. You can look through the phone book to find out more about the ‘yiches’. You are entitled to wonder if it is an interesting thing, a gelt shidduch, or a PERFECT match.
That’s what I’ve learned so far....