H e wanted one. And I wanted him not to want one.

It’s gold and round and expensive — and useless. So my brothers said. My two older brothers, whose opinions I revered, told their kallahs — begged their kallahs — not to buy them an overpriced, unnecessary, pointless, wear-it-to-only-to-your-wedding-and-sheva-brachos gold chassan watch.

Neither of my brothers’ kallahs paid attention, and both my brothers received a watch. But their younger sister did pay attention. I soaked in every syllable of their logical, fiscally responsible arguments, delivered at the soapbox of our kitchen table.

“Why would a young man want a thousand-dollar item that is hardly ever worn?” they’d say. “Why would someone who wants to dedicate his days and nights to learning Torah want to waste money on an extravagant piece of jewelry? Too expensive to leave around the house, so it’s placed in the safe. Too bothersome to retrieve for Yom Tov and simchahs, so it lingers in the safe. Too ridiculous a tradition to uphold — so let’s just pretend it’s in the safe and use the money for something worthwhile, like seforim.”

Ah, how proud I was of my older brothers, who had everything straight. And how I hoped my chassan would be of their ilk. And how pleased he would be when his kallah would delightedly accede to his common-sense request.

No word came.

Pangs of reality punctured my celebrating soul. Aha, so my chassan was pining for a thousand-dollar useless watch. And although he came from a simple, Torah-focused family, my chassan must be struggling with a weakness for luxurious gold trinkets. Well, then, in the name of peace, a thousand-dollar watch was just going to have to come his way.

This attitude of keeping the peace and making my chassan happy at all costs came from someone working six days a week, holding down two jobs, furiously saving up money to marry herself off without burdening her financially challenged parents. The watch dealer my father knew (and hoped would give us a good price) had his business in the diamond district. With my crammed schedule, I couldn’t carve out time to get there. But my mother could. She would hop over by train before going to her job in Soho.

Armed with the information provided by my all-knowing older sister — that the only watch worth buying was a Schaffhausen, because of its lifetime guarantee — my mother set out with a wad of bills in her pocketbook. Style? Shape of face? Size of band? Inconsequential details. It didn’t even occur to me to discuss them, so beyond my frame of reference was this Grand Purchase.

That evening, my mother walked into the house with not just a watch in her bag, but a story, too. She had discovered that Mr. Teichman, our friend the watch dealer, davened in my future in-laws’ shul. Oh, what wonderful people the Koenigs were, and how special, and what a perfect shidduch. But when he heard of my mother’s errand, he had one more thing to say: A gold watch?! But the Koenigs are poshute people, bnei Torah. Why in the world would their son need a gold watch?

I listened and cringed. Tell that to the chassan. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 556)