I saw the bride and groom work through a highly choreographed first dance, with looks of deep concentration. They were joined by the two sets of parents, then a bridesmaid dragged her reluctant boyfriend onto the floor, followed by another couple, and another until, before long, most of the guests seemed to be up and dancing, with varying degrees of confidence and rhythm.
On the edge of the dance floor, a woman got to her feet and gestured at her husband. He gazed intently at his phone, pretending not to see her, so she gave up and burst onto the dance floor by herself. Generously proportioned, strapped into a tight dress, she proceeded to unleash the frustrations of the week into her dancing - occasionally throwing a look of near-loathing towards her husband, as if he embodied everything in the world that was irritating and unsexy.
Eventually the man seemed to reach a decision - a few minutes of dance floor torture was probably better than the argument that would be waiting for him at home if he continued to hold out. He rose mournfully to his feet, put the phone in a special holster clipped to his belt, and made his way over to his wife. In a manner of speaking he danced, if making slight shifts of weight from one foot to the other counted as such, and all the while he just looked off into the distance, seeming to place his thoughts on some far off golf course or coffee shop, away from the noise and his gyrating wife.
Looking at this couple and the whole spectacle of the dance floor, the whooping bridesmaids, the young men with bow ties hanging undone around their necks, the overall awkwardness of white people expressing themselves through physical movement....I felt I could have just as easily been in London as Los Angeles. Turning back to my meal, I felt this is one aspect of American life that is comfortingly familiar.