Saturday, May 09, 2015

Party Pains

It was a lovely affair. A beautiful setting on the water. A picture perfect day. A location under an hour from our house. Some people seem to go a lot of weddings, but for whatever reason, we're not on that circuit. In fact, it had been a while; I was actually having a hard time recalling the last big affair we had attended. No matter: we were looking forward to an evening of food and friends on a festive scale.

Without realizing it, however, time had changed the way we partied. It used be all about eating and drinking and dancing in copious amounts. To be sure, we go to celebrate an event, and show our love and support by our presence. But at the same time who can honestly say they have been at an affair like one of these, and didn't have an extra couple of shrimp or another glass of wine, all the while saying to yourself, "I'm not paying!"  

And this affair was right in that wheelhouse. The hosts were exceedingly generous to their guests for their daughter's wedding. At the post-ceremony reception, it wasn't just a single table of snacks, but multiple food stations, each with a different focus. There was an Italian station, another heaped with seafood. One had Mexican fare, while another sported a miniature kosher deli, complete with franks, sauerkraut and spicy mustard. And plenty of bars pouring top shelf booze and delicious wines. All in all, like dying and going to that big restaurant in the sky.

But those intervening years from our last big affair to this had changed my strategic approach to this kind of gluttony. At home we watch what we eat, focusing more on chicken and fish and salads. As we've gotten older, it's become the norm rather than the exception. And as I walked around the reception, that new mind set was most definitely front and center. Of course I had a hot dog. But just a bite or two. For sure I went to the display of gourmet cheeses. But I selected just a few chunks. And drinking was more about nursing a glass than seeing how many I could quaff.

That's not to say we weren't having a good time; it was grand, just with a certain amount of self-control injected. That is, until the band started up. We love to dance, and this was an actual band playing stuff we knew, as opposed to a DJ spinning stuff "for the kids." From the very start, we were out there for the rock standards, for the Motown medley, for the swing set aimed at the grandparents in attendance. We jumped and spun, stepping off the floor only when the bride and groom took their ceremonial turns or to recharge. Recharging with a glass of cold water, I might add.

We stayed late, getting home well after midnight. We wound down and went to bed long after our customary hours, falling fast asleep with the assurance that we had another day to recover before the work week resumed. And in fact, Sunday morning we slept a little later than usual, each of slowly coming to consciousness and wandering off to different parts of the house. But unlike similar situations in the past, I had neither an overstuffed belly nor a throbbing head. My moderation the night before had the unexpected consequence of giving me a morning after not filled with the downside of a night of excess. No hangover, no heartburn.  

Just one problem: my legs. If I had treated my digestional track like it was in its fifties, I had treated my muscles like they were still twenty-somethings. My feet hurt, my calves ached, and don't even ask about my knees. The stairs looked like Everest, and I found myself holding onto door frames, chair backs, in short anything and everything that helped me stand without wobbling.

So should you invite me to your next event, I will try and be the perfect guest. I will visit with the others, and sample all you have to offer. I will pose for pictures and nibble the canap├ęs. And when the music starts up, I will be one of the first on the dance floor. But maybe that triple side step I learned back when Disco was king? I think I'm retiring that move.


Marc Wollin of Bedford likes to dance. His column appears regularly in The Record-Review, The Scarsdale Inquirer and online at, as well as via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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