Of all the useless events you will be invited to in Israel, perhaps the most useless, the uselessest if you will, is the simchat habat, or, as its known more commonly, the “brita”. For the uninitiated, the brita is the female equivalent of a brit, a circumcision (not to be confused with female genital mutilation which is practiced in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa) in which Jewish parents celebrate the birth of a daughter.
Unlike the brit (or, to a lesser degree, the wedding) in which the male reproductive organ is snipped, nothing actually happens at a brita. Absolutely fucking nothing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about gender equality. I think baby girls deserve all the love, attention and reception hall buffet food that baby boys get. I just wish that the parents of the newborn, regardless of the gender, would stop inviting me to their event, which, to put in terms of the game “monopoly” is the equivalent of drawing the “Go straight to jail. Do not pass go. Pay 250-500 shekel fine” (depending on how much you value their friendship).
So, that being said, here’s what to expect when your greedy motherfucking “friends”, “colleagues” and “close family” invite you to their brita:
1. It’s going to happen on Monday or a Tuesday night. So don’t plan on drinking your way to the 250-500 shekels you just kissed goodbye because you have to go to work the next day. Why on a Monday or Tuesday night? Because that’s when the reception halls are the cheapest. Thursday nights are for weddings. Friday afternoons for brits. The rest of the week is for bat mitzvahs and britas. Sorry ladies.
2. Don’t, I repeat, don’t believe for one second when your “friends” tell you that the reception hall has a dedicated game room for kids on the second floor. It’s not that kind of game room. Your kid will come down crying, saying that either A: he lost all his allowance money playing billiards or B: one of the kids threw a billiard ball at his head. Either way, pool tables, fake bookshelves and ashtrays is not a child-friendly game room for kids.
3. Less than scrupulous distant family relations/co-workers that you fucking abhor/rando strangers will seize the opportunity of having all these close relations in the same place to hand out invitations to their upcoming bat mitzvah/brita/wedding. I call this the double whammy. Two fines for the price of… a plane ticket to a nice destination in Europe for you and the wife.
4. Practice making that “awwww” face when you are presented with the maiden of honor. We all know that 99.9% of newborns look exactly alike. The other 0.01% is really “awwww” inspiring.
5. Practice saying “that’s a lovely name” even though it’s a boy’s name. Like “Yuval”. Or “Omer”. Or “Shachar” which, apparently are very popular girl’s names, all of which were boy’s names when I was growing up.
6. Try to sit as far away from the crying newborn as possible. It will totally ruin your buzz as you drink your weight in vodka red bull (because it’s either that or Carlsberg beer)
7. Try to sit as far away as possible from relatives who will implore you to have a baby, another baby (if you, God Forbid, only have one), another baby (if you have two but they are both boys and this time, this time it will be a girl), another baby (if you have three girls and everyone refers to you as “abu el-banat, the father of girls and you need a boy to continue your “line”.) or, alternately, to stop having so many fucking kids already because you’ve bankrupted your entire family with all these “simchas”.
8. Don’t get magnetized. Because half way through your fifth vodka red bull, eyes glassy and drool rolling down your cheek the god damn magnet photographer will take a picture of you and you’ll be forced to look at your sloppy, hot-mess of a drunk ass on your door for decades to come. And so will everybody that comes to visit you (if applicable).
9. On your way out of the reception hall (which is usually in some seedy location near the new central bus station to save money) do not be tempted by the fishnet stocking clad hookers working outside. We all know that the hookers working mid-week are all pretty down and out anyway and you do not want to set a bad example for your five year old son (who is still recovering from the billiard ball laceration to his forehead). Besides, your wife is right next to you.
10. Make sure you stay friendly enough with the parents of the newborn baby girl whose brita you’ve just attended so that you can “get them back” by inviting them to a brita/brit/wedding of yours to try and recoup some of the losses incurred at their event. Because that’s how this sick cycle of violence works in this country. We’re all working and slaving to support greedy fucking reception hall owners.
All of these gems are based on the author’s (that’s me folks) real life experiences living a cynical, misanthropic and borderline agoraphobic existence in Israel.
It is meant as satire.
None of this should imply that I condone female genital mutilation. That is an awful, barbaric ritual which should be eradicated from this planet. It’s no laughing matter.
Neither is mid-week prostitution. It’s awful and should be eradicated as well.
Finally, as much as I hate attending britas (being a miserly errr cheap bastard) I think it is important that we, as a culture, celebrate the birth of a girl with the same pomp and circumstance that we afford to the birth of a boy. It may seem obvious to some, but it’s not, especially in this country where women are often erased from photographs in religious newspapers, not paid equally to their male counterparts and routinely discriminated against in all aspects of life here.
So the next time you have a daughter please, please, please make sure you have a lavish and ridiculously overpriced affair at some garish reception hall.
And for fuck’s sake, don’t invite me.