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  • Writer's pictureAnne Brest


This article has been written from the perspective of Single/Divorced women. I cannot speak for how the men feel because I have only interviewed women. Perhaps the men would like to write in and give us their views???

By Anne Lapedus Brest. 2005

I certainly can’t!!!!!

I get invited to Simchas (a Wedding or any happy Event) with an RSVP saying “for ONE”. Grrrrrrrrr!

I usually get a sort of apologetic phone call from my hosts all saying the same thing!!! “That it’s NOT that they didn’t want me to bring a friend, but that they “have a problem with numbers”.

YAWN!! (Sorry I yawned, but I get so tired of hearing that same old thing)! Problem with numbers.

What does that actually mean? ?????????

Mind you, my most recent invitation to a Simcha did allow me to bring a partner/date! My Mother!

The Invitation came to…. Anne and Julie!

I did ask if it was a “frum” (Religious) wedding, because then you don’t need a male partner in order to dance!

But it wasn’t. Please don’t do this to me. Please don’t tell me about your “problem with numbers” because what would you like me to do when the Band starts to play? I love to dance but my eighty-seven year old Mother is not really partial to being shlepped onto the dance floor and Jiving the night away. Please don’t make me sit at the table alone, because when the Band starts up, all the marrieds at my table are on the dance floor. And I am wishing I was too. I actually get depressed sitting there wanting to be on the dance floor, wanting to be like everybody else, because when you are divorced, you are NOT like everybody else (despite the bravado most divorced people display, because most don’t admit it and keep saying how “happy” they are to be free and single – DON’T BELIEVE THEM!!!) Every time the RSVP comes for“one”, I am reminded again and again that I am single. It hits home. I am on my OWN. I can’t bring a friend because, to quote one of my married friends favourite little sayings which sums it all up – NO RING, NO BRING.

Very nice, but for whom?

Well meaning people will tell me “but Annie, you know all of US, you’re not alone”. HA HA HA HA but of COURSE I am not alone, and YES, I know everybody, but that’s not it, they just don’t “get it”.

(and the single girls will all agree – well MOST of the ones I have spoken to are loving this article, they are all egging me on to write it, they all feel the same way I do, but they don’t have the guts to say so publicly in case their friends are all reading this!!! ).

When you are single, you are often vulnerable. Going to a Simcha (an Event) with a date is very much nicer than going alone. It makes the world of difference. The “date” comes to collect you (I get tired of shlepping out with the “marrieds”, sitting at the back of the car while they (often) argue in the front, and I don’t like driving myself to and from, either). A date tells me how nice I look, admires my perfume, and makes me feel like “someone” and then I walk into the Simcha tall and proud . He looks after me at the table, and escorts me onto the dance floor when the Band starts up. I feel GREAT.

If the invitation is for “one” then I don’t feel GREAT sitting at the table alone. When I walk into a Simcha alone, don’t walk tall and proud, I am shlepping behind my married friends. To all the “hosts” out there, we single/divorced girls fully realise you have a “problem with numbers” but please do try to work around it. “

As the South African saying goes “man maak ‘n plan”. PLEASE.

You invite us because we are special, and you are special to us too and you want us to enjoy your Simcha. We want to enjoy it. Please don’t make us go “under sufferance”. I have had this displeasure many, many times.

I recently decided “no more”. I phoned the host and explained and he was so surprised to hear how I felt, and said that “of course” I must bring a date. They had not stopped to think!!

That is the problem, people do not think. So, how then, COULD he have known? How could anyone have known? How could he have known that many single people are “tzumischt” (feeling down/confused) during a Chupah (wedding ceremony), maybe thinking back to their own Chupah. Many people shed a tear at a Chupah, but (many ) divorced people shed just a few more. How could he have known that by being with a partner, it such a positive difference???. But it does.

These are feelings that many, many single people have shared with me, and many many non-single people simply don’t understand. There is often no logic to these feelings, but if so many divorced people think and feel the same way then this is a real issue that I felt I would like to make you all aware of. Many of you are not aware. This is something I only recently realised.

A friend recently, (and insensitively) said to me once “but why should you bring a friend, you have US there, and besides, your man friend means absolutely “nothing” to us. If every single person each had to bring a friend, then the wedding numbers would escalate out of all control”.

True. I can’t deny that.

But I was so stunned by the insensivity of the comment (true as it obviously was) that I didn’t think of saying the obvious – In “Gantzen” (in total) how many women at the average Simcha are on their own?

Ten? Twelve? And out of these twelve there could well be four or five who don’t really mind coming alone. Not “every” single woman feels the way most actually do.

Why not ask us how we feel?

Why not give us the option?

At a recent discussion I had with divorced/single women twenty- three out of twenty-seven said they would happily PAY the costs of bringing a partner, and that they would “most definitely” rather have a partner in tow, than to hack it alone. That’s quite an average!!!!!! I don’t have answers to the question sometimes argued with me “why should YOUR partner be there when it means that I have to leave out my great-aunt’s friend” Well, why indeed? I don’t know how to get around that one, but I DO know that having a partner in tow means that I ENJOY the Simcha so much more, … and it certainly means that I CAN dance at all Simchas.

To all those out there who have invited me “with” partner, THANK YOU, but to those of you who didn’t …. You are getting the “thumbs down” I’m afraid!!!!!!

This article to merely to make people “more aware” and “more sensitive” to the feelings of single people Published 2005 © ANNE LAPEDUS BREST


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