Thursday, 21 July 2011

Auntie Seraphic & Ivana Dance!

Ah, we are in the thick of wedding season, aren't we? Ooh la la la.

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

I know that you've written about dances before, at least to some degree, but I can't find where. Since we are in the thick of wedding season, it is a topic which would be well worth bringing up again.

So, you're at a dance or wedding reception, dancing it up and having a grand old time when suddenly the song ends and on comes a "couple" dance. Maybe it's a slow dance, maybe it's a swing dance, maybe it's a two-step. Whatever it is, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by dancing couples who paired up so quickly it almost feels like a conspiracy. You notice, however, that not everyone has a partner yet. There are NCBs scattered about, not dancing. Some are even on the dance floor! The song isn't over yet; maybe they will see you and ask you to dance! You are presented with a few options. You could:

a) Stand on the fringe of the dance floor, looking hopeful and available so that no one needs to guess whether or not you would like to be asked.

b) Sit down near the dance floor and smile wistfully while watching the dancing couples.

c) If it is a faster song, stay on the dance floor, dancing to the music anyway with a handful of girlfriends, though not so enthusiastically that one could assume you prefer it over being asked to dance with a partner.

d) Leave the dance floor to chat with a friend. You may run the risk of not being asked, but it could still happen and at least you'll get to catch up with a friend.

e) Forfeit your chance to be asked and disappear to the washroom because you can't bear watching all the dancing couples.

f) Find a man and ask him to dance yourself.

What, in your seraphic opinion, is best? Should we ever ask a man to dance? I never do because I want to be chosen and I want the man to take the initiative. Also, I'm fairly certain that men are less likely to ask if they expect that the woman will ask. If none of us ask the men to dance, they'll have to ask us! Unfortunately, many women ask the men anyway and us non-askers are left smiling wistfully on the fringe. What to do??

Another question: Is it wise to dance (during the non-couple dances) near the men you would like to be asked by so that you are right there and ready when the "couple" song comes on? Or is this simply come off as really clingy? Does it make us too available, thus leaving the man to seek a challenge elsewhere?

Please enlighten us!

Ivana Dance!

Dear Ivana,

The primary task of a Single woman at a wedding is to keep a happy smile plastered on her face and survive. When the happy smile starts to slip and the urge to say something sarcastic or ironic to someone is overwhelming, then it is time to go home.

You described the Couple Moment very well. As the Single woman's primary task at a wedding preserve her happy smile for the sake of the Bride, whose day it is, not try to meet Mr Right, I recommend you do whatever it is that you want to do except run away to the bathroom. Running away to the bathroom is a major fail and a sign that the smile has slipped and you must go home.

I recommend chatting with friends while scoping out the talent, and then, if you feel like it, asking someone you've been introduced to dance. If you haven't been introduced to any of the men, ask a female friend to dance.

One advice-giver I respect would recommend lingering around the dance floor with a happy smile plastered to your face. I don't think this is necessarily the best option for weddings, though.

I am very against women over 21 (unless Alisha and other habitual Swing Dancers) asking men to dance, but I am even more against Single women being absolutely miserable at a wedding. Sure, it is inevitable, but every guest owes it to the bride to enjoy him or herself as much as possible.

At the most boring, miserable wedding I was ever at, sandwiched between two bored and miserable fellow Single gals, it was very very hard to look happy and we all did our share of hiding in the bathroom. At the very end of this long night, some cute guys who had been seated, on the other side of the vast warehouse of a ballroom, at the "Cousins of the Bride" table spotted us and loudly exclaimed in tones of excitement and chagrin, "Hey, there were SINGLE girls here!"

If we had positioned ourselves near the Cousins of the Bride, I suspect we would have had a much better time.

Good luck!

Grace and peace,

P.S. to all: Hit the Label "Wedding" for everything I think and advise about Weddings. When I was still Single, my attitude was mostly "Almost all Single women feel lousy either in the later stages of the wedding reception or afterwards, so don't sweat it."

However, having had a wedding since, I also understand how important it is not to let the Bride ever, ever, EVER know that you felt this way during her wedding for she will never forget it. No matter how Bridezilla a Bride, she is the most vulnerable woman in the room, and she must be protected.

Therefore, do what you have to do to either BE or LOOK happy, even if that is leave by cab at 10 to your blankie, DVD and box of chocolates. Don't tell the Bride you're leaving. Just disappear after you have told her it was a wonderful wedding, she looks gorgeous and you are so happy for her. Maybe leave your good-byes with her mother.("Mrs Brown, I had a wonderful time, but I've got an early start tomorrow and I don't want to distract Sandra, so would you pass along my best wishes? I'm Angela by the way. Congratulations on such a lovely wedding. Thanks so much for the invitation. Good night!)

Another hint: Push the boat out. Look your best for any wedding you go to. Don't leave your prep for the last moment. Focus on being a great guest, not on meeting Mr Right. Have a treat waiting for you when you get home. Don't take the bus home alone. Get a lift or spring for the luxury of your very own cab.

Third hint: Most brides love to toss the bouquet. For the bride's sake, go smilingly along with the dumb ritual.

Fourth hint: You don't have to go to all the weddings you're invited to. You really don't. If you don't accept, but you still send a gift, the bride might very well be impressed. (Just judge how much you really mean to the Bride first. If you haven't seen her since she was 7, just send the gift.)


Young Canadian RC Male said...

Hello Seraphic. What would be your equivalent advice to Single Seraphic Men? Hmmm.... I think I see a follow up title to Seraphic Singles in your future ;).

rhinemouse said...

Funny, this happened to me just last month! There was even a NCB standing right next to me & my female friend like a bump on a log, and I spent about three seconds wondering if I wanted to spend the whole dance pitying myself because neither he nor anyone else was asking me. Then I asked my female friend to dance. We had a lovely time.

Notburga said...

Why should being absolutely miserable at weddings be inevitable for singles? I have managed not to be at a number of them, and quite some of my single female friends are quite excited about going to weddings. Being miserable while people dance (wedding or not) is more in my line, because I'd love to, and can't :-(
Leaving a newly married couple to their Sunday activities after Sunday Mass and going home on my own is much, much harder for me.

MaryJane said...

I actually avoided the bouquet once that was flying right at me... it fell on the floor. The bride turned around and said, aghast, "Did you just AVOID the bouquet?!"

Having read your post, I now feel bad about it! But will know enough not insist upon a toss at my own wedding someday if there aren't enough single gals to take care of it. (Although, my experience is that as long as there is one who is SUPER EAGER the rest of us can stand at the back of bunch without being noticed.)

Also to Young Canadian RC Male: I'm not sure what Seraphic would say, but I say, freaking ask the single girls to dance! Many of them! Many times! If there are single guys at a wedding who crowd the bar and ignore the single ladies, it seems as though junior high dances have re-emerged with only the addition of alcohol. Boys on one side... girls on the other.... *shudder*.

Maggie said...

I also disagree with the premise that it's inevitable for single women to be miserable at weddings. I've never actually had a terrible time at a wedding, and have never gone to a wedding with a date.

I think the key is to 1) have friends, both male and female, around with whom to dance. I've been fortunate to spend most weddings dancing in groups with male and female friends, or dancing with male friends.

Multum Incola said...

I want to say something like "Could the single ladies please give some sort of indication that they would at least like to dance with someone", but since I started reading more of this blog I only half want to say that - the other half of me now understands that it's not up to the girls to do that, it's up to men to man up and do what men are supposed to do!

Little Mary said...

I second the idea of finding girl friends to dance with; also, your friend's kids are great to dance with -- the parents can relax and the kids burn off steam. Typically, bachelors who like to dance are in short supply, and sometimes you put a guy in an awkward spot if he hates to dance and you ask him to.

Multum - if a girl is still at a wedding when dancing has been happening for awhile, particularly if she has been dancing to some group-oriented songs, that's your sign. Hooray for guys who are up for dancing at weddings!

At a "regular" dance, I would reccommend wearing dance shoes, dressing according to the style of music, standing by yourself at the edge of the dance floor maybe tapping your foot as a song ends, and as the next one begins, smile and make eye contact at a gent that looks like he wants to dance. Men usually take that as an invitation to ask you to dance. If a guy doesn't respond to the smile, try another. I don't know if that's too forward for Auntie and the Rules, but it was advice given to me by a dancing friend and it works (and can be applied to the rest of life, if you want something, look like you want it, albeit not desperately).

Seraphic said...

I am all for smiling.

I congratulated all Single girls who do not get Singles' Wedding Angst during or immediately after a wedding. That is excellent. Many girls write in to say that they get it, and they feel badly, thinking there is something wrong with them for not being !00% super-happy. But quite a few people feel let down after a wedding or as the evening gets really late.

Seraphic said...

As for the Single guys, I agree. Stop hanging around the bar so much, and ask girls to dance. Getting the groom or a pal to actually INTRODUCE you to the girls will break the ice, get the ball rolling, and not make it so awkward for you or for them when you ask.

fifi said...

For those weddings or anniversary or graduation parties in which there is no "talent" to be available to, and slow dances are even MORE gloom inducing, let me advocate the perfect slow-dance partner: a newborn baby!

I snagged one of my friends' kids once and did this and it was ssoooo fun! Definitely doesn't say "Hi, dance with me, I'm available" though, so save it for the nights when the only men there are the ones you want to discourage (unless you are a serious single and don't care!)

aussie girl in australia said...

Yes, I found dancing with the "junior groomsmen" at my best friend's wedding extremely fun. Especially as I was the Maid of Honour and couldn't really leave early or just sit on the side. Unfortunately the Best Man was a shocking dancer! I did get to dance with the groom though - my new "Best Friend - in-law"

Michael said...

I have to admit, I was quitely and mildly angry at some of the marrying couples in the last three weddings, since they have seated me either next to my siblings or on a table with the friends of the groom (all male or couples). With the last wedding, alle female friends of the bride sat on the other table and there was really no communication between people of these tables.

I wonder why the people don't think more about mixing up the people a little bit?

Seraphic said...

I certainly wonder about that, too. For the life of me I cannot understand why people divide people into such strangely formal groupings as "Cousins of Bride" and "Random Male Friends of Groom." And it is extremely thoughtless to stick two or three Single people of the same sex at a table full of married couples.

At one Canadian wedding I was at, the Bride kindly arranged Singles tables. There was an English-speaking Singles table, and a French-speaking Singles table. As luck would have it, the cutest bachelor there was French-speaking, but I got to dance with him after dinner.

Mrs Doyle said...

Urgh, how I hate that tossing of the bouquet to all the single girls - it's so demeaning! Seraphic is right - it's the dumbest ritual on the planet.

I don't go to many weddings - I suppose my friends and I just haven't hit that time in our lives yet, but one of the most recent ones I attended, an announcement went out to all the single available girls to gather around to catch the bouquet.
I resolutely stayed seated, continued my conversation until I was dragged up there - then put a very tall girl in front of me while all the other girls pretended to have a full-on cat fight in order to be the one to catch the bouquet. It was funny in the end, but I will never do that at my wedding - or the garter thing. That's just gross.

Notburga said...

O sorry, sorry! That wasn't meant as an attack. :-(

BurgoFitzgerald said...

Ever been at a wedding where you were the only single person above the age of 12 and below the age of 65? And because of this you were put at a table of widows all 65 and over?

I just haven't been lucky enough to be at a wedding since the age of 20 in which it was going to be possible to have a genuine good time.

However, I always manage to keep the "enjoying myself" face on at all times.

JC said...

Having experienced wedding angst myself once or twice, I've wondered whether there's anything I can do to prevent my own wedding from causing angst for my single friends.

Thinking back, though, it's hard to come up with anything the couples whose weddings I attended could have done to prevent it. It's quite impossible to avoid making people think about marriage at a wedding; and while I could go around assuring my friends that they aren't going to lose me, I don't think that would be entirely honest because in a certain sense they are. Being married means you're obliged to rate your spouse and children above your friends.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to remind oneself of the promise of heaven, where there will be no marriage because we'll be united in love with everyone equally. The need to give certain people more of our love and attention right now is really only a temporary problem as long as we have hope for salvation.

...Aside from that, though, I can at least promise my friends that nothing will be tossed if I can help it. ;-)

theobromophile said...

I've found that I really enjoyed weddings when one of the girl gang gets married, because then it's a big group of us friends celebrating. Some weddings with my male friends have also been like this. However, when it's the wedding of someone I know and I'm not part of the pack, but know people from work, activities, etc., it's really a lousy time. That you don't really know anyone there really underscores the downside of being Single: you have to go to such events alone, 100% of the time, because, well, you don't have a husband and then you're stuck there... alone. Weddings are bad places to feel lonely, let me tell you.

Lena said...

I am so glad you addressed this topic. Luckily, I haven't had to attend a wedding in several years.

Bridget said...

I'm definitely the type who leaves when the smile wears off.