So I’m sure that my remaining 1 1/2 readers know that I’ve been off the face of the earth for like 3 years and now I’m back 4 more aka I went to a shul last night and I remembered why I probably will never go again.
So when I moved to Boston like 6 months ago obviously it wasn’t on my mind or anything but enough nights getting drunk and listening to matisyahu really got to me and I finally decided to try out the Tremont St shul in Cambridge because they had a cool 20s/30s group and usually shuls are for olds so that drew me in and stuff.
SOO last night I took the goddamn hour long train ride over there with my siddur and whatnot and the guy on the steps was like “Shabbat Shalom” and I was like one minute early so of course the whole place was basically empty. So I just stood there awkwardly pretending to read the brochures and suddenly I was hit with vivid memories of all my times in nyc just standing around waiting for someone to talk to me. Of course usually no one ever does. But since then I’ve become way more assertive about being actually social, and surprisingly people are usually pretty open to talking to you. Not so in shul for whatever reason. So at this point I’m used to atheist 20-somethings who are bikers or musicians or whatever, and being able to talk to them like a normal person, but I was reminded how intimidated I am in the shul environment.
So anyway finally it was time to start and everything and…well, there was singing. It started out slow and I was like “ok well sometimes it’s slow” but then ten minutes later, even though my Hebrew is way rusty now, I realized they were still on page one of kab shab. They were singing like literally every word then “ay ay ay” at the end of every single verse. So like ten minutes later they got to page two. I was getting kind of uncomfortable because I’m used to the yeshivish get-in-get-out approach so I wasn’t ready for it. This was modern orthodox, by the way. So of course I started getting antsy after like 30 mins and not even getting to kaddish yet. So I was kind of looking around and stuff and I realized all the girls were wearing skirts. There were a ton of girls actually, I’m guessing since it’s Boston and it’s like 90% college students, and secondly it’s in the MIT area so I guess it’s all MIT people or something?
Here’s what I hate about orthodoxy. This kind of sums up everything I hate about it. A lot of the girls were either wearing short sleeves or sleeveless, and some were wearing really, really short skirts. But I was wearing pants and a button up shirt (honestly at this point I don’t have any ‘nice clothes’ anymore, let alone a skirt). And I was getting the total side eye from these fuckers. I was the only one wearing pants. And like, they weren’t exactly tznius but it wasn’t about that, it was about the fact that wearing a skirt means you’re in the in group, like under the guise of tznius. That just makes me really mad for some reason. Like I get that people need to look like they’re part of their group, but to be under the guise of tznius is really gross. And like, a couple of the girls, in usual orthodox fashion, were talking and walking around and not paying attention and stuff, which is like whatever, but I wasn’t singing the songs or doing the movements and stuff (because I’m a jerk), and I know people were like “who is that freak” But again, like all these other girls were like kind of singing and not paying attention and looking around and talking but since they were half assedly mouthing the words, they looked like they belonged so it was ok.
I was just hit with a wave of the same self-consciousness and sense of insecurity as I was in new york. Outsider again. But you know, there was an “open house” afterwards which basically just means free food so I wasn’t about to leave afterwards. I mean I’m never going to see these people again probably so I might as well take advantage of the challah and alcohol. So everyone went downstairs to the kiddush thing or whatever, and there were like six long tables (it was pretty well attended), and I just sat in a corner because at this point I was getting kind of disoriented by the fluorescent lights and coming down from mild adderalls so I didn’t really care if anyone talked to me. Well, no one did. They thought I was so weird. So a couple people ended up sitting at my table; two guys, two girls, and a married couple. So there was wine on the table and the guy and the married husband started talking about the wine and how it’s from australia and somehow they turned that into a whole convo for like ten mins about the australian aspect of the wine. So the two guys went to do something and the married couple was like “So are you new here” and I was like “yeah I just came for the challah” and they looked at me like “I can’t believe you said that” and I kind of laughed because it was so fuckin stupid…
So I went to do net yad and as I was walking back this guy with some kind of developmental disorder kept trying to get my attention, and like any man trying to get my attention I was just like “thanks” and avoided eye contact. I came back and we talked or whatever and the guy decided to come back, get my attention again, and said “Welcome!” and LIKE ANY MAN TALKING TO ME FOR THE SECOND TIME IN ONE NIGHT, I said “uh thanks” and avoided eye contact. But the stupid girl at my table looked at me like “You fucker” and that’s when I started to get really annoyed because I don’t want to talk to ANY fucking man who tries to talk to me twice in one night. Because when you DO that, they will FOLLOW YOU AROUND and try to talk to you all night. I HAVE EXPERIENCE IN THIS. But that stupid girl was like “You bitch, being mean to a guy with a developmental disorder.”
So we had some lame convo or whatever and the whole thing just kind of sucked and I ended up having two cups of the wine and leaving.
Ugh. Well that’s why I didn’t do THAT for three years…
Oh, and Boston does the seltzer water thing too.