I'm looking for a short story I read in an anthology -- I had thought it was one of "The Year's Best Science Fiction" anthologies edited by Gardner Dozois, but I'm not sure of it. I'm pretty sure the author was a woman, and I remember recognizing the name when I read the story, though I can't remember it.
The point of view character is a young man working in a factory. Throughout the story, he seems almost childishly naive. At night, he and other men attend a ritual in which a woman dances, then chooses a man from the audience to be a sexual partner. The men among the audience, including the POV character, talk about how much they are in love with the dancer.
This is, we find out, the norm for sexual behavior. Women are given a chance to compete for a career as a dancer; those who do not become dancers are expected to remain celibate. There are rude jokes and gossiping among the factory workers about exceptions, including a supervisor and assistant who are retiring to live together.
One woman who is a friend to the point of view character surprises him by expressing her attraction to him. Later, meeting him privately, she dances, and goes on to explain she had qualified to be a dancer but rejected the position. She discusses the peculiarity of their social arrangements, but admits that being aware of how arbitrary the rules are does not entirely free her from their influence.