I’m not a social butterfly, however I do enjoy the occasional dress-up function, and with summer finally here the season begins. A wedding reception or milestone birthday bash can be fun. Except when the ‘forcers’ take over. Let me explain.
When I attend a celebratory event I like to enjoy the company of friends and family. As the evening progresses it is almost inevitable that people who don’t know each other will mix, and new interactions will develop; at the bar, in line at the buffet table, or waiting outside the bathroom. Forcers are not happy with this natural mingling, they fear these basic human interactions won’t occur so they set out to engineer them.
One tool they love to use is the seating plan. God forbid guests should sit with whomever they choose. Oh no, right from the outset – in fact some people work for weeks on these elaborate plans – the forcer creates a complex grid, placing people at tables in an effort to force social interaction. Don’t we invite folks to a party so they can enjoy themselves? If so why are you forcing me to sit with a table full of strangers? (And, by the same token, forcing them to sit with me.) I admit that part of me is tempted to take advantage of these opportunities to introduce myself as a world-class yak rancher. But that’s only fun until you find yourself at a table with an actual world-class yak rancher.
I once attended a wedding reception where not only were seats assigned, but before you and your table-mates could proceed to the buffet line, you had to stand up and sing a song with the word love in it!! This well before an ample amount of alcohol could be consumed.
Aside from not throwing food or fighting, there should be no rules at receptions. As I have written before, I do not have, nor do I want, a tattoo. But if I ever change my mind it will be to get a tat right smack across my forehead that clearly states ‘I don’t dance’. No amount of asinine cajoling by disc jockeys or boozed up aunts is going to make me change my mind. Yet for some this simple statement is taken as a challenge. You can almost see the little wheels turning in their heads as they plot how best to get me up there to shake a leg. Why can’t I just sit here, tap my foot, watch those who choose to dance, all while sipping a cold beer?
In much the same way as the interaction forcers have their seating plan weapon, the dance forcers have the conga line. This idiotic snaking of people off the dance-floor, hands on the shoulders or hips of the person in front of you – I’d fear for the safety of my wallet – and worming among the tables in an attempt to add non-dancers to the end of the line is my cue to step out to the washroom. One day I’m going to pull a Bugs Bunny and lead the conga line off a cliff or into a lake, stepping aside at the last minute.
So I thought I’d write a little note to potential hosts.
Dear Potential Host,
Thank you for thinking of me and inviting me to your event. You clearly want me to enjoy myself, or you would not have sent the invitation. Before I accept I would like to verify a few things that will foster my enjoyment:
1) Barring the head table, will I be able to sit wherever and with whomever I wish?
2) I don’t dance.
3) Is there an open bar?
4) I don’t dance.
5) Is there a gift theme?
6) I don’t dance.
Once I receive your response to my queries, I will be more than pleased to RSVP properly.
I may have just caused my name to be removed from several guest lists, but at least we all know where we stand – or preferably sit!!
Or perhaps I should just learn to dance … naw, that’s crazy!