Thursday, July 10, 2014

Best Bat Mitzvah Banter

The first time my now teenage daughter went to a bar mitzvah, she was barely five. It was one of the greatest events of her little life. 

She wore a diminutive Dior dress (a showroom sample my enterprising mother found in New York), she had an "updo." She sat at a table with other kids — and away from her parents. The bar mitzvah celebration included a DJ, dancers, stuffed animals, sunglasses, crazy hats and more. As we drove back to our hotel late that night, she fantasized aloud about her own bat mitzvah.

Um ... minor problem.

"We're not Jewish," we explained.

As elated as she had been with all the festivities, that's how deflated she was at the news. It seemed quite unfair if you asked her. Not that she really wanted to learn Hebrew or read the Torah, but the party part? Yes, quite unfair.

Since then, we've been to several bar and bat mitzvahs together. Sometimes we've even participated in the celebration — we lit candles for our nanny's two girls, and my daughter wrote and read a friendship speech two years ago.

Even though my daughter once longed for a bat mitzvah of her very own, she's definitely in awe (and a bit intimidated) by all the work that leads up to our young friends' readings in temple. Yet, in all the years, I've never seen a bar mitzvah boy or bat mitvah girl flub their lines. Even kids who are shy or quiet in their everyday life rise to this important occasion. (We did have one small girl who broke down in tears while she made a little speech about how much she appreciated her parents and sister. But, she kept going. And, honestly, it was all the more meaningful.)

The 13-year olds aren't the only ones expected to speak either. Whether in the temple or at the spectacular after-party, moms and dads (and sometimes siblings) share their thoughts about how hard their child has worked and how proud they are of him or her. These are emotional tributes at an emotional time. Because we generally know the family, we usually feel honored to be part of it all.

But they rarely make us laugh. Out loud. A lot.

Last week, at a spectacular bat mitzvah party (after a truly impressive performance in temple), we were treated to a bit of cross-generational humor that I'd like to share with you.

Our young friend's father made his way to the dance floor (no easy feat, given the presence of smoke machines and laser lights, and waitresses passing sushi on platters of dry ice) and educated us all.

After the usual remarks of awe and appreciation about his daughter's accomplishment that weekend, he proceeded to fill us all in on some of the key words and phrases she and her friends use to communicate. Ever the successful businessman, he even had a PowerPoint deck. 

TBH                                            To be honest
Ravé                                           Rave or party
Optimus banterous                     Talk of the town
Q Scandalous                             Lots of fun
Tha Bae's                                   Your friends
BTW                                           By the way
NGL                                            Not going to lie
Dungers                                      Outfit
Totes swag                                 Really great
LUSMS                                       Love you so much

This being jolly old England, it was particularly fun to note any variances between the UK and US. (At times, I felt like I was learning text talk by way of Harry Potter. It was smashing.)

He ended the speech by putting all of it together in a special message for his daughter, which he read aloud to the delight of partygoers old and (especially) young:



The party was, most definitely optimus banterous. All the more so, TBH, thanks to our young friend's proud papa.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my new book Lovin' the Alien at 

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