This past week, I was invited to a female friend’s formal 60th birthday party. Her husband alerted me that in attendance would be a couple of her attractive, available shirttail relatives who lived in San Antonio, but rarely attended his numerous parties. Thanks for the heads-up, I told him.
My friend proved to be accurate. The shirttail relatives attended and were exceedingly attractive. Late in the evening, just as life’s social lubricant started working (it had arrived late), my friend’s daughter and son-in-law introduced me to the relatives, and we had a brief conversation. A few minutes later, they stopped by as they were leaving, and I told them, “Don’t be a stranger.”
I felt good about the progress I had made with the relatives, but my friend’s daughter and son-in-law quickly disabused me of that notion. She said, “lame,” and he said, “we need to work on your lines.”
Huh? I had used that line a few months ago when I bumped into a yoga classmate who hadn’t been to class in a while, and it worked – i.e., she started attending more regularly, and we started talking more. Back in North Dakota, I was taught that this aphorism is perfectly appropriate when saying good-bye to someone who you have not seen for a while. Its double-edged meaning is (1) you wish there were more visits, and (2) the other person was at fault for the shortage of visits.
I wonder if maybe there is a generational thing in play here. Although there aren’t many internet references to the term, I did find a definition in the hip dictionary of our time – the Urban Dictionary says, “usually used as a farewell, inviting one to visit again or communicate more often.”
I rest my case, but the proof will be in the pudding.