April 21, 2005

Taste Matters

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I remember 7th grade as the year that Greenday “sucked” only a year after they “ruled.” I also remember it as the year of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Yes, I am from Scarsdale and that is what we did every weekend for the entire year — attending hundreds of boys’ and girls’ ascents into Jewish adulthood. Something did puzzle me about vesting a 13-year-old boy with the privileges of manhood — how could we call someone a man who had never voted, kicked some serious ass, sipped a 40 and smoked a blunt? But honestly, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are sicker than sick. On a scale of one to sick, they’d be like an eight. First, all you really have to do is learn some Hebrew, smile and tolerate your annoying relatives for a weekend. In return, you get tons of chicks, thousands of tax-free moola, a nice suit (unless your parents have bad taste); basically a cross between a wedding and a Jay-Z video all in your honor and did I mention chicks? Yes, friends, it can all be yours if you heed some of my advice. Denomination is not an issue with me. But you can’t just decide to have one on any given day you please. It takes planning, skills, smarts, some cash and you better get yourself a good rabbi. Most important is the food you serve to your guests. I’m not talking about the bagels and whitefish crap that you give after your Haftorah — I mean at your party.

The food you serve at your party must be an extension of the whole thing. Food should not overpower the rest of the spectacle, it should complement it. The food must always be of a higher quality than that of preceding Bar Miztvahs, but it must also be conducive to the atmosphere you are trying to create. You must know when and how to serve each course, and which foods represent the real you instead of some loser who hires a live band instead of a DJ and dance team.

Okay, just a quick run-through of how you have a Bar Mitzvah, regardless of your faith. First, you absolutely must be a boy or girl. Second, if you are a boy, you must be in the middle stages of puberty or pretend to be there because honestly, a Bar Mitzvah just doesn’t feel right unless your voice cracks, you grow out of your suit mid-service and your face is like a Clearasil ad’s “before” picture. Girls, you all probably look the same as you did when you were 13, with maybe some highlights or something, so you’re fine. Next, you need to give what we call a Haftorah portion, which is a part of the Old Testament that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah recites to the congregation.

After the service, you schmooze (mingle) with relatives who possibly annoy you and your friends, all of whom may not be in attendance because at least four other kids from your school usually have their Bar/Mat Mitzvahs on the same day as you. The food there is most likely provided on a paltry budget, by your synagogue. Just have a little egg salad on a bagel or celery stick and get the hell out of there.

Now that all the boring stuff is behind you, it’s time to party like a rock star’s 13-year-old illegitimate child. You need a venue. From my experience, country clubs seem to be the way to go. Of course, if you don’t already belong to one, you can always choose a hotel ballroom or if the weather’s nice and you are wealthy enough to have enough property, you could have it under a tent in the backyard. Choice two is when you have your party at a “fun” place for teenagers. An example of such a place would provide all of the entertainment for the party, like a gameroom, laser tag, oiled-up strippers, etc.

Then, you need a DJ with a sweet name, like Mark Wilson Productions, Rory Pinkerton Entertainment Ltd. or DJ Ken. The DJ/MC/MD must have a dance team of about three attractive women, and two or three either gay or hardcore black guys, who know how to move. They should wear black pants with sequins down the sides and tight spandex tops. The dance moves they perform should have a universal appeal — from the three-year-old cousin with dyslexia and a speech impediment to the 55-year-old MILF who loves Valium and her pool cleaner. The moves are: the back and forth clap, the disco shuffle. the disco spin, the roll and clap, the clap and roll, the “slide and slide” dance and lest we forget, the Electric Slide. All of these moves should be exclusively executed to the following songs: “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Nikki French, “This is Your Night” by Amber, “The Sign” by Ace of Base, “Rhythm is a Dancer” by Snap, “Whoomp! There it is” by Tag Team, “Hands Up,” by some idiot and finally “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark. You will be able to memorize every word from each one of these songs by the end of the night.

Next, we need some stuff for the kids to do while all of the adults get shit faced. A hypnotist is a swell idea — it looked real to me. But let’s see him turn someone into a tiger, then you’ll look awesome. One of the coolest things is making your own music video. That’s where you and a friend dance, while some guy on acid films you to the song of your choice.

Now, let’s talk food. It’s really not that hard to figure out what’s good and what sucks. First, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah isn’t a Wendy’s, so don’t try appealing to young people with chicken fingers, hot dogs and small hot dogs. It’s insulting and cheap. This is your journey into man/woman hood — treat it like that. Let me give you some examples:

An “Undersea Adventure” party: The d