This morning we’re getting ready for a wedding. This will be our third wedding in three weeks and we have another two in the next three weeks. It’s amazing how easily a wedding can make you grumpy. I can’t get too upset though, because there’s a lot to enjoy. There’s the couple, which we’re usually really excited about and eager to support (like today’s, for instance). There’s the ceremony, in which there is always that beautiful moment watching the bride and groom’s faces as she walks down the aisle. Then there’s the friends you never usually get to see, the couple of hours between ceremony and reception in which you go for lunch or shopping all dressed up, there’s the anticipation before the reception’s program starts that maybe this one will have all fantastic and short speeches and no uncles telling awkward or overly sexual stories. There’s the free meal, the woman with the ridiculous cleavage, the wine at the table (hopefully), and best of all for me- the dance.
By the time it gets to the dance I’m like the 6 year old boy that has sat obediently (or not so obediently) and now has a chance to “get the wiggles out” and release all that energy. The best thing I ever did upon leaving my teenage years was lose my inhibitions towards dancing. When you get over the fear of making a fool of yourself you become liberated to enjoy yourself and others immensely. I’m fully convinced that if it were not for dances at the end of receptions, my wife would have a much more difficult and curmudgeonly person to deal with throughout the whole day. I am one of the blessed few who has a wife that understands this and is willing to suffer the mild embarrassment of a dancing husband in exchange for a supportive and somewhat conversational one for the rest of the day. We even dance together and she often makes me believe that I’m good at it, which is just another of her innumerable graces.
Dances are key. This is how weddings have been able to exist in their current form for so long. It’s because of the built in crowd control provided by a wedding dance. The young people get to interact, release energy and feel rebellious dancing to the song that “If only our parent’s knew what this was about”, and the old people get to catch up and feed off of the energy of young people enjoying themselves in close proximity. Of course there are old people who dance, and I pray to God that my wife and I will be one of those couples who fearlessly take the floor amidst screaming and thrashing youth and carve out for ourselves a piece of unabashed enjoyment. Now if there’s no dance, well, that’s tough to swallow. The worst reception was one in which several long and boring speeches were concluded by the groom’s own speech which he closed by saying, “Now everybody go home”. I almost made a Molotov Cocktail out of the centerpiece. I understood at that moment how riots start. People need an outlet. I think that rather than peace envoys to the middle east, maybe we should think about pumping some James Brown through stereo speakers and let the angry mobs dance it out. Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliot could be U.N. peace ambassadors. The Village People could make a reunion tour out of diffusing potentially violent demonstrations (and memberships at the local Y would skyrocket). And think, what police force would fire on hundreds of people line dancing to Cadillac Ranch or the Macarena?
Okay, so maybe they’re not the harbinger of world peace, but dances are sweet, and the reality is that the only reason I’m going to be getting out of my sweatpants in half an hour is because I know that about 11 hours from now, after a marathon of speeches, processions, and waiting, I will be able to hit the floor get my proverbial freak on. I just hope they remember to play Brown Eyed Girl.