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When my family celebrated my bar mitzvah and my twin sister’s bat mitzvah, we followed the fairly common practice of having a party at a catering hall, which also held events for weddings and other festivities. As part of the marketing program for the venue, clients were offered a free vocalist if they chose a house band. We observed the groups, heard the separate singer’s able skills and accepted the hall’s offer. The singer was an attractive woman. (The band was all male.) When the day of our grand fete arrived, the band members had not changed, but the bonus singer had been replaced by a perfectly capable man. When we curiously asked what had happened to the original singer who was offered as part of the package deal, the business manager rather quickly responded that the contract only provided for a bonus singer — not any specific individual. We actually didn’t care who was performing, but were merely showing concern for the absent performer. We later discovered that the female soloist had been — according to her former employer — replaced because too many brides were displeased with her presence at their weddings due to her sex appeal. At the age of 13, I found this phenomenon troubling. I still do.

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