Last Dance

When I was 20, I had an internship at a literary agent. The job consisted of reading a paragraph of a proposal letter, writing no thanks, and sending it back in a SASE.

One day, the agent’s 10 year-old daughter came in because  school was off and a day where mommy works was cheaper than a babysitter where mommy doesn’t work. I ended up doing a bit of unpaid (but resume building) child caring, and she asked me if I had a boyfriend. At almost any other time in my life, the answer would have been no, but as it happened, I had just started dating my college boyfriend. When I told her I did, and I was not above relishing in the jealousy of a 10 year-old.

I always thought weddings were some version of that sentiment. Flowers, a live band and thick cream paper were an expensive announcement to friends, coworkers and cousins that someone loved you. Of course, until last week, I only went to the weddings of cousins, and it’s hard to get all joyous in front of your Aunts.

On Sunday, I went to my first peer wedding. Based on Facebook, going to the weddings of friends seems a bit like prom, with all the fanciness and disregard for the local authority figures. I didn’t really know anyone outside of my date. But there was an open bar and the reception hall was kept at 60 degrees. Dancing like crazy was my only option.

Maybe it was the couple, my newness to weddings or how, as Gloria Estefan would have wanted, the rhythm got me, but for the first time, I saw weddings as more than a One Perfect Day multi-billion dollar industry. To bride, groom and their parents, the wedding was a day—and not a perfect one (there was rain)—to celebrate love and the unions of their families. The stuffed animal the groom used to propose to his wife was out on the dance floor, and no one thought that was anything but sweet.

I don’t think everyone can be as unself-conscious about their relationship, or even aspires to be. But for those who can, Mazel Tov.