First, mingle. When complimented on your appearance, say, “I’ve worn this dress to three weddings and it still smells pretty good.” Throw in another impressive, random fact about your appearance, such as the fact that you cut your hair yourself without even really using a mirror. Pretend to listen when two Stepfordesque women strike up a conversation about how much they adore golf. When they begin to openly wink at each other as they tease you about your dress, burp loudly and then shout, “Fore!”
When you learn that the man seated next to you is from Vermont, ask if Vermont is the state that’s skinny at the bottom or the top. After he answers, make mention that you never can remember which one is which, only that the way that you recognize Vermont and New Hampshire on a map is by picking out, “The states that sixty-nine each other.” Pretend not to notice that his seat is empty when you return from the bar.
Confirm that people are right to praise your daughter’s intelligence by letting them know that she’s only two and a half, and yet she already knows that salad is just a polite way of eating dressing. Say, “I was in my twenties before I figured that one out.”
After the band warms up, make requests by calling out in between songs, “Something in the key of G!” Or, “Something with C, G and D in it.” When a guy actually gets out his cowbell, lose your voice shouting “MORE COWBELL” over the amps that the band turned up to 11 specifically so that they could finally drown out your pleas for “Anything by El DeBarge.”
Tackle the bride when she threatens to enlist her bridesmaids in the Macarena or Electric Slide; while you’ve got her pinned, ask her for her honest opinion about your dress. Eat cake until you’re nearly paralyzed, dance like everybody’s watching, and above all, spout that mythic rule of etiquette at least twice an hour: I’ve got a year to buy a gift!