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"During the middle of a toast to the bride, you don't have to interrupt yourself to tell them you accidentally skipped the part about drinking wineat her house before a tenth grade dance."

What is a tenth grade dance? What does it have to with wedding ceremony? I would be very grateful if tell me what is the meaning of the sentence? Many thanks in advance.

  • 2
    Welcome to EL&U. This is arguably a question about culture, not language. Do you understand what tenth grade is, and what a dance is, and that the phrase is referring to behavior of someone in tenth grade attending a dance? – choster Aug 23 '19 at 16:42
  • High school kids have dances, get-togethers organized by the high school that are centered around dancing and where students socialize. In America, high school has four grades: 9th grade (ages 14-15), 10th grade (ages 15-16), 11th grade (ages 16-17), and 12th grade (ages 17-18). Unless the speaker is referring to a dance that only involved 10th graders, students age 15 to 16, which such a dance would be unusual, the speaker is actually applying a misnomer and is in truth referring to a high school dance that the bride attended when she was in the 10th grade. – Benjamin Harman Aug 23 '19 at 16:53
  • Thank you. I got some points about the tenth grade dance. Yet I don't understand why the speaker is going to mention that he accidentally skipped the part about drinking wine at her house before a tenth grade school? Why Before? Why in bride's house? Why should the man talk talk about his accedentally skipping the part about drinking wine? – Waren Aug 23 '19 at 17:06
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The occasion for this hypothetical speech is not a wedding ceremony, but a wedding reception—the celebration after the ceremony. In the US this typically involves elaborate toasts to the bride and groom by participants in the ceremony. The "best man" and "bridesmaid" are close friends of the bride and groom, and their toasts often include comic reminiscences designed to entertain those present by mildly embarrassing the couple.

Readers of this passage would understand that an allusion to drinking wine at the bride's house before a tenth-grade dance implies just such a reminiscence: it would have occurred some years before the wedding, it would have involved some degree of (presumably amusing) insobriety, and it would have been improper—in most parts of the US it is illegal to serve alcohol to people under 18.

  • Many thanks for your great and helpful explanation. Just one thing remains: what does "skipped the part about drinking wine" mean? Which of these: 1. didn't talk about drinking wine in the wedding ceremony 2. didn't participate in drinking wine at bride's house? Or something else? – Waren Aug 23 '19 at 18:04
  • @user358597 It's pretty clear in context that the author means "Don't apologize for omitting a piece of the story" -- that piece being "the part about &c". – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 23 '19 at 19:41
  • Ok, I got it. Thank you very much. – Waren Aug 23 '19 at 19:57

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