Monday, May 22, 2006

Thoughts from an American wedding reception

I was at a wedding this weekend, which was a lovely ceremony indeed. The reception was held at an elegant, historic campus building downtown. The food was delicious, and the bartenders made good gin and tonics (I ordered one from each so I could see who made the best one).

The DJ was a bald (head shaved, I'm sure) 30-something-year-old man in a tux whose favourite expression was, "put your hands together for..." and whose main purpose in life seemed to be to level the playing field amongst those who can't hear and those who can via very loud music.

After the cutting of the cake (they did it the nice way -- these are classy folks) began the traditional collective exhale from the wedding party and the traditional first dances (for which we, the guests were once again enouraged to put our hands together when the participants were introduced), followed by the all-in cutting loose of everybody on the dance floor.

Now, it's true, not everyone in that hot, crowded, loud banquet room was white. The bride, herself, is half-Japanese. But most were middle class Americans; the kind that you could find at almost any wedding reception in the midwest. And like those other truly American wedding receptions, the get-down section of this party started with the old standbys which inexplicably infest almost all American wedding receptions: "Celebration," "YMCA," "We Are Family," etc. I left before finding out if the Chicken Dance was played.

But in a non-airconditioned moment of startling clarity perhaps in part influenced by two gin and tonics (pretty much a toss-up between the two bartenders), as I watched the sweating, paunched, mostly pale mass jump, sway, and make half-assed attempts to form their arms in the letters of Y, M, C, and A, I wondered to myself, "Why is it we're so worried about keeping the Mexicans out?"

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