Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m not Irish, for the most part. There is a touch of Scots-Irish in my family, but only one or two people on my mother’s side. Outside that and a lone German, everyone in my family is mostly Native American. My spouse, who might be the whitest man I’ve ever met, is British and French. So I’ve never experienced Irish hospitality personally, but just about every country has something similar, except for America. Kind of strange, right?

This hospitality is overwhelming to those of us who don’t live in a similar culture. Irish Central describes it like this:

Have you had your tea? Would you like your tea? Would you like a biscuit with your tea? Would you like milk with it? Almond milk? Do we have almond milk? Sure we can get almond milk. Sit you where you are and I’ll be right back with your almond milk. It’s no trouble. Lookit, would you eat something while you wait? Would you like it heated? Would you have another? You’ll have another. Just have another. You look starved, I’d say you’re starved, are you starved?

The closest I’ve come to this is actually when I visited the Middle East. It was super hard to get away after all of that welcoming. So the Irish came up with the perfect solution: the Irish Goodbye.

The Irish Goodbye is simple: leaving a crowded party or gathering without saying goodbye to the host. It takes some skill – you don’t want to be obvious about it. You just have to wait for the right moment, and slip out quickly.

It’s not because you’re rude – saying goodbye can last an inordinate amount of time. My husband can say goodbye for about 15 minutes, and it drives me crazy. I don’t want to put anyone through it – myself, the host, the people around the host. The announcement of your iminent departure to someone like my spouse means that they need to catch up – anything you haven’t said until then needs to be said before the person leaves, which can take forever.

So the next time you need to do an Irish Goodbye, have one of these cocktails and wait for the perfect moment. Then make a dash, and thank the host the following day via text/email/phone. You’ll be happy you did.

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