Sunday, February 01, 2009

Shabbos in Crown Heights

I haven't spent Shabbat in Crown Heights since, oh, college, but I have a couple of Lubavitch friends, including one -- aka "the kallah" or TK -- whose wedding I attended not so long ago and her best friend, Elah, who also got married recently. Elah and her husband came to dinner by the kallah and her family; for lunch, TK invited another young family, surnamed Fox; Saturday night TK and I went to Mrs. Fox for her birthday farbrengen.

I wasn't expecting Mr. Fox to be such a fox. I'm usually not attracted to bearded men. TK's husband, the Chosson, is a gentle giant bear of a man, very sensitive and loving and wise, but he doesn't get me going. Which is definitely a good thing. I guess I wasn't expecting to find any man attractive in Crown Heights, so the fantastic Mr. Fox caught me off guard. I could look at him and see what he would look like without the facial camoflage.

Lubavitchers, by and large, are very welcoming and very sincere. I enjoyed spending time with TK and her family; she has small daughters, so I brought them some costume jewelry they adored. It's funny -- after being shy at first, they ultimately clamored for me to help them get dressed and wipe them after they made. Even though both of them are old and coordinated enough to no longer need help in that area. I think that's the truest sign of a young child's affection and trust -- it's certainly true of Tikva.

I also appreciated that about 20 women came to celebrate Mrs. Fox's birthday, leaving their husbands and children home for a little while. Lubavitch chassidus is extremely and sincerely respectful of women, even though I think it imposes a lot of work and stress upon them. (The men don't get off easy either, IMHO.) Lubavitch women (and men) value themselves as people, not just as wives and mothers, and they try to take care of themselves.

Elah looked amazing in her sheitel. Most Lubavitch women wear sheitlach; at the farbrengen I felt distinctly wigless. This morning I went with TK to the sheitelmacher's to pick up her newly styled wig and have a few things done to the one she was wearing. The shop was small and very no-frills. Wigs perched on styrofoam heads took up most of the wall space in the reception area, and in the back, next to the room with the mirror and salon chair, was a large storage room filled with wigs of almost every shade and length. They ran mainly toward brunette shades, although there were some ash blonde and chestnut.

I expected the sheitelmacher to be a 50something-ish lady with a sensible, short, matronly wig. Instead, she looked about 25, rocked a denim skirt and red nail polish, and wore a long sheitel.

"Want to try something on?" asked TK. I shook my head. I did and I didn't. First off, the sheitelmacher was busy with several customers, and I didn't want to waste her time. I also thought it might give me an ayin hara.

I don't know if I'll wear a wig if I get married. Kind of depends where I'm working. I might need to look like I'm not covering my hair -- that would certainly be true at my current agency -- because I wouldn't want the clients to know too much about me. So I might have to wear a wig to work. If I cover my hair. If I get married.

If I do wear a wig, though, it might be kind of cool. Because I'll finally have perfectly straight, unfrizzy hair, or perfect curls. I could go blonde or auburn. Actually, probably not blonde. I guess I'll worry about it if I have to.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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