man

The sizing up of candidates starts in church - an almost heretical mating exercise that has me scanning the suited masses across the aisle while two of my oldest, dearest friends pledge their undying love to each other. I've been to weddings before, of course, but there's an anticipation in the air today, a mix of romantic optimism, cocktail attire, and my own epic singleness that I can only assume means I'm about to meet someone.

This inevitable coupling takes shape on the dance floor five hours later, where a $50,000 reception has morphed into a high-school mixer with free shots. I'm being spun, twirled, dipped, and otherwise handled by a former Ivy League lacrosse player - shirtsleeves rolled up, tie undone - and though I can't remember how we started talking or how many chardonnays I've had (four? five?), damn, he's a good dancer.

Upstairs in my hotel room, I let him kiss me covertly, by the sink, while every guest under 35 files in for a BYOB after-party of Jack Daniels, red wine, and canned Miller Lite now on ice in my tub. He's a troublemaker by reputation, which the kiss - slow and practiced and involving teeth - confirms. I like it so much it scares me, so I pull away and lose myself in the crowd. My bottom lip is still tingling when I stumble into another lip-lock, this time with a tuxedoed groomsman. Details on why remain fuzzy.

Still in my empire-waist floral number, I end the night kissing a finance guy on a chair by the elevators. We live in the same city and exchange numbers. He says he likes that I'm a nice girl.

He never calls, of course. Turns out the trio of players is quite chummy, which I discover when the groom forwards a less-than-flattering e-mail chain. So much for meeting someone.

Happily, I've since gleaned a simple code of wedding etiquette from my brief flirtation with mouth-hopping: 1. Don't dance stripper-style in a cocktail dress. 2. Don't live out popular-girl high-school fantasies when grandparents and young children are present. 3. Don't gorge yourself on the buffet, no matter how tasty the options appear. And this last one goes for the food, too.

What Do You Think?