I know it’s a bit late, but if Osama wasn’t killed the other day a lot of people would still be talking about it. I myself had no idea about this whole Royal Wedding affair until the Rabbi spoke about it in shul this past shabbos.
It’s a lovely morning today. The sky is bright and blue, the trees are kinda green, the sun is shining and all of America are bleary-eyed after waking up at the wee hours (wait, was it just me?) to witness the royal wedding of His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, and former commoner-turned-duchess-soon-to-be-QILF, Catherine “Kate” Middleton. So while the world watched and tweeted and dabbed their eyes and watched some more, it became apparent to those watching carefully that this was no historical event on the world stage, grand-scale celebration in the UK, or obvious chance for royal-wannabe Americans to get on board and stickybeak into the posh world of aristocracy and royalty for a moment. No, it was not. Instead, it turns out it was an International Conspiracy of the highest order, orchestrated by Orthodox Jewish High school and seminary principals worldwide, in cooperation with the Global Shadchonim Alliance and the International Conference for Shmiras Eynayim – to teach us how it’s done. Yup, I am blowing that whistle and reminding you all that the royal wedding was nothing short of an International Tznius Conspiracy, designed to remind us all that Kol Kevudah Bas Melech Penima (“The Glory of the King’s Daughter is from Within”, a verse in Psalms often quoted by aforementioned high school teachers to illustrate the importance of dressing and behaving modestly) is a living and breathing concept – and who better to showcase it on than the beautiful, not-goyishe-looking-at-all Kate Middleton?
Let’s see, shall we…
They Wear Hats: I think the first time I picked this up was in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and it was subsequently followed up in every piece of British chick lit I ever consumed as a lass. Apparently, hats are worn to weddings. This applies to British women, but hell, what do I know, maybe it applies elsewhere? Maybe this is a genuine gentile custom and I, in my shortsighted Jewishness, know nothing of it? Either way, the royal guests are all bedecked in the perfect shul-going Bar Mitzvah-and-Ufruf ensembles. Wide brimmed hats, little bits of netting, demure hairstyles, and oh! The suits. So many ladies in suits a Boro Parker would be proud. Because did you know your clothing isn’t shabbosdike unless it is a suit? (Female, for the record). This I learned from a friend of mine who hailed from, all of places, an ultra-Orthodox enclave in Canada (Montreal or Toronto, obviously I don’t know the difference).
The Queen is in Yellow – (at least it’s not red): The red-is-a-no-no tznius concept is one which has oft been debated among the Orthodox who range from Ultra to less Ultra. (No one else cares, to be honest). After all, what is less modest about a bright purple dress than a red one? Well, the fact that the Sugababes sang about it, for starters. Anywho, I never subscribed to the no-red theory, but I have many lovely lady friends who are adamant that red makes one more attractive to men, and hence should be avoided at all costs. In accordance with the International Tznius Conspiracy as witnessed today, the royal wedding clearly displayed that yellow is indeed permitted. And what a lovely sunshiney yellow it was, Your Royal Majesty!
The Boys are in Uniform: Along with teaching girls about Kol Kevudah and whatnot, the boys are all over the Yidden in their Yiddishe Uniform. We’re talking Yarmulkes and Tzitzis and rainbows and gumdrops and sunsets and ponies. Oh yeah, and wearing woolen undergarments in the heat and a constant head covering that makes you stick out like a sore thumb… WAIT! What am I complaining about for my poor male brethren? I’m the one who has to sit in a skirt, perfecting the art of exiting vehicles with class at all times, cover myself up in the heat and – what was that? Oh, right, cover my HAIR every moment following my nuptials, actually. Kinda like these nuptials, in fact. Ladies in hats and suits and – what was that? Oh right – next:
The Dress: THE DRESS! THE DRESS!! Allow me to wax lyrical for a moment, if I may, on the same concept that has flooded the blogosphere for the last many hours or so, and indeed rightfully. Kate’s dress. Um. Okay, allow me to compose myself, because those INTERNATIONAL TZNIUS CONSPIRATORS SURE KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING, and created just the right amount of gorgeousness and beauty that now EVERY SINGLE WOMAN AND GIRL AROUND THE GLOBE is now lusting after a wedding dress that is BASICALLY FIFTY PERCENT TZNIUS which is around forty three percent more tznius than most other wedding dresses in the known universe outside select gemachs in Brooklyn and Chinese sweatshops that service religious communities elsewhere.
Put it this way: The girl had sleeves. And just like every other Modern Orthodox girl out there who peruses copies of Modern Bride and Vogue Bride and all those other magzines I’m not allowed to read because it would coin me as desperate and I am so not of that type, of course not, why would I want to get married and wear a white dress and have everyone look at me anyway, but I know these magazines have pretty dresses in them and ANYWAY, these girls buy dresses and then do the classic shul-appropriate ADDITION OF LACE SLEEVES. AND THAT’S WHAT THE PRINCESS DID, THAT’S WHAT KATE MIDDLETON DID, SHE WAS TZNIUS, YOU GUYS.
Okay. Whew. Those international tznius conspirators knew exactly what they were doing. Taking the essential prototype of every tznius dress – basic bodice so it looks just like the other dresses out there, adding lace sleeves (generally with opaque lining, but let’s ignore that for now shall we, the point is THE ESSENTIAL STYLE WAS ONE THAT CAN EASILY BE ADAPTED FOR TZNIUS and oh what do we have next? Yup, let’s watch the next generation or seventeen of girls grow up with wedding dresses JUST LIKE KATIE’S. Making them shul-appropriate, easily tzniusified with a nice Russian seamstress, and EVERY ORTHODOX GIRL’S DREAM. From the little kids with pillowcases on their heads to the nebbach-she’s-thirty-and-still-teaching singles languishing in the basements of Brooklyn.
She wore a veil too, you guys. And we all know that a veil is essential because the chuppah is considered one part of marriage and for all you know she’s supposed to cover her hair then even though the papers haven’t been signed yet and the wedding night was not yet consummated (though of course no one in England cared this time that their bride was not a virgin, lucky the besulah part of the kesubah was irrelevant when you have an archibishop conducting your ceremony, they’re sneaky ones those International Tznius Conspirators…) so we all know the bride should have something, even a small clip or headband or veil or – oh, what was that – why yes, a tiara would do me just fine. Oh, pretty of all pretties. And frum of all frummies.
It was only appropriate that this conspiracy be backed up by all the important oracles of the universe of garmentry. Let’s begin with the Project Runway producer (apologies to all fashionistas who are appalled at my inability to recall his name), who was summoned by the ladies providing commentary on ABC, where I found the clearest stream thanks to Hulu (yeah, they even made sure it was kosher for all to watch, instead of being on the chas-vsholom-never-in-my-house Tes Vuv, it was livestreamed on the oh-so-kosher-because-I-get-Daf-Yomi on computers, laptops and tablet devices. Genius, really). Tina Brown, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters – they all got in on the act, discussing the loveliness, the demureness, the beautiful clean and classy MODESTY
The Nails: While the rest of the world noted with glee that the future QILF had fingers that needed a bit of prodding to become mekadesh with the royal ring, I was too busy focusing on her short and clean nails. Um, does that not scream MIKVAH NIGHT LAST NIGHT? We know it does.
Yarmulkas: While cooking up the International Tznius Conspiracy this morning, the associated organizations thought they’d have a little laugh and throw something else in the mix for all the boys watching. The assertion that the hard-core frum of the gentlemen are only appropriately frum/chassidishe/shtark/adherent-to-the-law-of-Moses-in-whichever-way-the-establishment-sees-fit when they are garbed in black skullcaps has often been challenged by those of the religious persuasion who attempt to emphasize any skerrick of individuality remaining by garbing their heads in orange silk, knitted watermelons, woven rainbows and corporate logos or puff-painted-velvet proclaiming controversial sayings – anything to look different. Turns out the archibishop and his merry men had it all sorted too, with the yarmulkas on stage in pink, orange and every type of pretty pretty silk that would make a yeshivah bochur kvell. The word has been spoken, yidden. Rip out that Twitter kippah, don your Yechi yarmulkah, and let the good times roll.
No Kiss at the Altar: Everyone waited for the kiss. It was supposed to happen, just like in every other frothy-white-wedding with an archibishop presiding over two of the most important people in the country at an altar. What? Oh, right. See, the majority of the public universe who don’t grow up in frum homes where a wedding a night is standard in the weeks after Purim before Pesach, after Shavous before the three weeks, and immediately following Tisha B’av, are kinda unfamiliar with wedding proceedings. They don’t start humming along to the brochos before the Rabbis have even gotten up to get the kibbud – because believe it or not, weddings are a little scarce in most people’s world, at least until they enter that bizarre window that starts at 18 in Orthodox worlds but closer to 28 in the general world, where friend after friend gets married weekend after weekend (if you’re frum, Tuesday after Tuesday) and the tick-tocks get louder and faster. So the standard wedding is the one portrayed by Hollywood, the shmutzicke purveyor of all that is evil and shtus and kelippah in this world – where a nice big smooch follows the wedding.
But let us not forget the producers of this show are not from that stretch of southern California where all the Jews landed to take on the goldene medina – no, they are from the Association of Orthodox Jewish High school and Seminary Principals worldwide, in cooperation with the Global Shadchonim Alliance and the International Conference for Shmiras Eynayim – and they made sure the kiss did not take place in public. Instead, the chosson and kallah ran off into a ‘private room’ – yeah, we know they can’t say Yichud Room on television – and took just that little bit too long. The part where the mother of the bride is standing outside the door worried, the bridesmaids are exchanging smirks, and some daring friend of the groom gives up and knocks on the door as everyone tries desperately to wipe out of their minds the images of their dear newlywed couple engaging in the legendary rumored “yichud-room-shtup”.
The Kiss: As the world waited with bated breath for the royal kiss, money was on chupas nidah from one point of view when it finally happened: They finally smooched – though most would call it a royal peck. Hereby disappointing the entire population of the Western world – including many who smell a little funny and buy commemorative mugs in red and blue with future kings on it – and cementing the approval of commentators who agreed that tznius is the word of the day. Following the party line of the Association of Seminary Principals, who are adamant that action on the outside means there’s not a helluva lot of action happening in the bedroom – Wills and Kate reminded us that tonight’s mitzvah night may be getting very steamy indeed.
So thanks, international conspirators. You had the cultural commentators on board, commenting that the neckline was a bissel pas nisht for a future Queen and that the sleeves made it oh so modest and lovely. You showed us what a real frumme, tznius couple looks like. And honestly, I’ve got to say: I WANNA BE LIKE KATE ON MY WEDDING DAY!