The wedding reception is going fine. The bride and groom are introduced, the toast is made, dinner is served.
And then it gets unattractive.
A loudly dressed DJ begins being loud. People get up and start dancing.
Actually, dancing doesn't really describe what is taking place.
Dancing suggests the presence of rhythm. Dancing implies a correlation between movement and music. Dancing assumes a working relationship between feet and beat. There is none of that.
Instead, there is: Spasm. Seizure. Electrocution. Jell-O on the go.
In the collective, the steaming mass of gyrating humanity summons forth several images: Poetry in commotion. Gate storming. Christmas shopping.
Generally, the hoofers fall into two groups: Those with raging hormones. Those with a hormone, which only rages when the moon is just right.
The raging hormones dance with energy, abandon, pace. The rageless hormones mostly get by on facial expression. Both camps seem to suffer from the same problem--anarchy.
The raging hormones attempt to link every muscle and every movable joint to every note.
The rageless hormones tend to go with a "best of" approach, which calls for the free association of favorite moves from various dance eras, while shooting for an image that says dignified and cool--but not irregular.
The reception takes two other turns on the dance floor:
The tipsy woman, whose casing-tight dress has been threatening to inflict her ample figure on the gathering, is hauled off.
The hokeypokey is played.
It is impossible to exaggerate the effect the act of simply putting your left foot in and pulling your left foot out has on the proceeding.
Chaos is ordered, raw is soothed, manic is mellowed, hormones are joined together in pursuit of shaking it all about.
Suddenly, the pressure to perform is replaced by the unadulterated delight of watching an overweight uncle standing in the middle of a circle turning himself around.
Yeah, the hokeypokey is stupid and unhip and is to dance what the elevator tune is to music.
But it is also one other thing--fun.
And that's what it's all about.
Jim Shea is a columnist at the Hartford Courant. To reach him write to Jim Shea, Hartford Courant, 285 Broad St., Hartford, CT 06115.