We’ve all heard the term “Bridezilla,” but what does it really mean? According to Wikipedia, Bridezilla may refer to: a bride whose behavior is seen as demanding or unreasonable. The word uses the “-zilla” suffix derived from the Japanese movie monster Godzilla. I hope I wasn’t a Bridezilla or Kallahzilla. When the time came to discuss plans for my wedding with my parents, at times we had different ideas in mind. But we always came to an agreement, a compromise. Never did I throw a fit or say something to the effect of, “It’s my wedding and what I say goes.” I can’t say that I witnessed the same type of behavior in past weeks.
As a full-time working wife and mother, I run errands when opportunities present themselves. One day, I quickly did some grocery shopping on my lunch break. I was in a heimish store where I witnessed a kallah acting like a Kallahzilla, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the wedding. I was absolutely appalled by her behavior. I can only imagine how the mother of the kallah felt. It was the mother who had to bear the brunt of the “tantrum” in the middle of a store rather than to cause more of a scene.
From what I was able to overhear (they were speaking loudly enough that what I was doing was not considered eavesdropping!), I think the kallah was going to prepare a meal for her chasan. She was discussing the types of food her chasan likes to eat. The mother provided advice, as mothers do, and from her many years of experience. The kallah lashed out at her mother, “You don’t understand: Moshe doesn’t like that! He’s not like Tatty! It has to be this type of rice!” I am not joking; the kallah was yelling in the store about rice. The mother suggested a brand of rice that was on sale. My mouth almost fell open when I heard the daughter’s response: “I can spend whatever I want; you’re paying. After the wedding, I’ll buy cheap stuff.” The kallah then proceeded to toss the box of rice (that Moshe liked) into the wagon and then, in a huff, walked away from her mother.
It made me recall that a few months ago I went to a silver store. I had my candlesticks dipped so they always shine brightly without me putting in the elbow grease every week. As I waited for my candlesticks to be brought to me, I couldn’t help but look around the store at the beautiful objects. At another counter, a young lady stood with someone whom I imagined was her mother. The saleswoman brought different candlesticks for her to choose from. The kallah didn’t exhibit the jubilation that I exhibited upon receiving my candlesticks when I was a kallah. She seemed downright angry. I was able to overhear her telling her mother in a harsh whispered tone that she wanted a candelabra. The mother kept an even tone when speaking with her daughter, telling her that candlesticks were more appropriate when she is a new bride, rather than a candelabra. The saleswoman agreed with the mother and added that candelabras are usually purchased after the couple starts a family. The kallah said that she knew what she wanted and she wanted a candelabra. I will never forget what was said next. She looked at her mother and said, “You and Tatty can afford it. Don’t be cheap with me. You have all the sheitels and jewelry you want. I don’t want candlesticks. Why do I have to get what I don’t want?” Wow. I turned away so that I would not be facing this spectacle of a seemingly mature young woman throwing a temper tantrum in a store. All I was able to think was that if I opened up my mouth like that and said anything similar to that to my mother...well, I don’t have to finish the sentence, if you know what I mean. But then again, I never would have said anything like that to my mother. The mother and the saleswoman were trying to explain that a kallah starts with candlesticks, not elaborate candelabra (the kallah was pointing at one with seven branches!).
A couple of years ago, my husband and I were shopping for a piece of furniture. We walked the showroom of a store full of beautiful and luxurious items to decorate one’s home with. We passed a father and daughter having a “private” conversation. I heard the daughter complain that something was not “too much money” and she wanted it. For those asking how I was able to tell that they were father and daughter and not husband and wife: The girl wore no sheitel, but did wear a very large diamond ring (yes, I notice these things), and the man looked old enough to be her father, so I used my seichel to figure out the situation. And truthfully, I can’t imagine a wife acting like this girl was in a store. My husband and I did not stick around to listen to the end of the conversation.
True, three examples can’t be made into generalizations for society, but I am sure others have witnessed a scene here or there where a kallah doesn’t seem to want to listen to reason or to use the seichel that she has. Truthfully, I was appalled by the actions and words of both kallahs, and I can only hope that there wasn’t a time when I acted like these “kallah meidels” when I was engaged. I remember wanting something very specific for my wedding, but when my parents explained to me why it wouldn’t make sense to have it, and why it would just be a waste of money, I understood and changed my mind. Why should my parents throw money out? Yes, what I wanted had been in my fantasies for many years, but when the reality of it came to be, and I really heard what my parents said, I realized that what I wanted was just that: a fantasy. My wedding would still be wonderful without the one detail I wanted. In the end, my parents were right and to this day I do not regret not including that detail into the wedding. But I didn’t throw a hissy fit. Yes, I was disappointed, but I got over it quickly. Why is it that some normal-minded girls with seichel turn into kallahzillas as soon as the ring or bracelet is presented to them? Do they think it’s respectful to treat parents this way and to be chutzpadik to them (in public)? Do they think they have “the right” to do this because they are the kallah? Of course everyone wants everything to be perfect or as near to perfect as possible, but we still must speak and act correctly. How would the chasan feel or what would he say if he heard how his kallah was speaking to her mother – if his kallah was one of the two I observed. I once wrote of a chasan who broke his engagement when his kallah complained about the size of the diamond ring. He said that she was petty and shallow to be upset about the ring and not see what it symbolizes and the life that can be built. He said it showed her true colors and he wanted nothing to do with her.
Yes, dating someone you care for and who cares for you can be exciting, and when you move into the engagement phase, a whole new level of excitement begins. But do not let the “bling” or excitement make you forget who you are and how to act. The engagement lasts months. The wedding lasts hours. Your life with your spouse will hopefully last ad mei’ah v’esrim shanah – and that is the most important phase of all.
Hatzlachah to you all!