Ask any New Yorker with a television, and they will tell you exactly which Brooklyn wedding venue uses the slogan, “We make your dreams come true.”
I was stuffing the last chotzky from my desk drawer into a company tote bag when my cell phone began to ring. It was my last day at the office, and I was taking personal calls.
A woman with a smoker’s cough and a thick European accent gruffly said that she was from the Brooklyn venue and wanted to know if I could come in the following day to meet with the owner- Mr. M. The only thing that I had scheduled for the next day was to sign up for unemployment, so I figured a job interview should take precedent.
I had miscalculated the hour-long train ride into Brooklyn and began to run from the subway to the venue. It was two minutes until my scheduled 9:00 AM meeting and I had six blocks to go.
Out of breath, I arrived at the venue and was greeted by a man with a vacuum. Not saying a word, he led me into a large office space. The stain glass windows and mahogany walls sucked the youth from me instantly as I walked through the door. Four older women sat at their respectable desks, drinking coffee and gossiping in a loud whisper. It was just like Sex and the City. But except for Chanel, the women wore polyester stretch pants, “The World’s Best Grandmother” sweatshirts and spoke Ukrainian.
The woman closest to the door looked up and motioned for me to come to her. She handed me an application and told me to have a seat and wait. A half an hour later, Mr. M walked through the door. I had recognized him from his commercials. The four women stood up from their desks and said in unison, “Good morning, Mr. M.” Not saying a word, he went into his office and slammed the door.
Ten minutes later, Mr. M reappeared and motioned for me to come inside and sit down. I took a seat on the one chair that was not covered in papers and introduced myself. Speaking in a thick Ukrainian accent, he began to talk about the business and repeatedly referenced his lapel pin. I nodded along with a smile, concentrating on every word, but understood next to nothing.
When it was my time to speak, I told Mr. M that I was newly engaged. Thinking that a soon-to-be bride working with other soon-to-be brides would entice him, I had been clearly wrong. “Oh, no!” he said in broken English. “I will ruin your life. Now, you go call your father and ask him for money!” Confused, I assured Mr. M that I was capable of having both a job and a fiance, but he did not want to hear any more. Instead, he wanted to take me on a tour of the venue.
Before I could decline, he grabbed my hand and began to guide me through the three-story space. The rooms were carefully decorated in bright colors, with gold-plated molding and ornate cherubs clinging to every last inch of the ceiling.
So, this is what Tony & Tina’s wedding looks like, I thought.
Towards the end of the tour, Mr. M escorted me into an unfinished space. When we arrived, men on scaffolds were listening to light rock and painting the ceiling. Quickly they each greeted the owner and continued to paint. Arms crossed, Mr. M took a step back and looked up. He looked at me and then looked up again. “Young lady, do you see what I see?” Inside I was screaming, please just let me go home! But instead I said, “I see a beautiful ceiling.” “No!” he shouted. “That peach colored paint does not match the other peach colored paint!” I examined the two sections of ceiling and then looked over at Jerry Stiller’s twin. The painters and I tried our best to explain that one section had dried, and the other was still wet. But Mr. M was convinced otherwise.
In a huff, I was escorted to the front door. There Mr. M handed me the venue’s promotional brochure and told me to go home and rest.
Needless to say, my dreams didn’t come true that day. After all, I don’t keep them within gold-plated mahogany walls, but rather a much more carefully designed place- my heart.