Introductions

To me nothing is more superfluous than introductions at a cocktail party. I do well to remember the name of my drink.

I think hostesses should merely print name signs for the guests and hang them around their necks when they enter. For couples who are very close, print one sign: MR. & MRS. ALLEN JOHNSON. Couples who get enough of each other at home could have separate signs.

It would save confusion, too. For example, a bachelor would be much more likely to go up and talk to a girl whose sign read Miss OKLAHOMA CITY than one whose sign read MRS. ED BUSH.

I am always suspicious of people who remember my name after having been introduced to me only once. I always feel certain they have put me on some mailing list or other.

My wife finds it curious that when I am introduced to nine people at once, the only name I remember is that of someone’s beautiful blonde cousin from Allentown. I always tell her not to fret about it — useless information is what remains in my mind the longest.

There is one couple I have been introduced to eight times and who never seem to remember my name or face. They always murmur “So nice to know you.” So do I. I can hold out as long as they can. But I did feel rather strange the last time this happened. It was their party and I had been invited.

There seems to be some conjecture about which is correct: “Joe, Ed like you to meet Bill Callahan,” or “Bill, I’d like you to meet Joe Lafayette.” Some people go by age, length of friendship, or relative importance. Frankly, I have never found that this makes the slightest difference, especially when you learn that their names are actually Mike Robinson and Alfred Doane.

Since you are usually holding a drink when you are introduced, there is some question of whether you should transfer the drink to your left hand and shake hands with your damp right hand, or simply shake hands with your dry left hand. I lean to the dry left hand group, because once you have transferred your drink to the left hand you are left with two damp hands. Hostesses should furnish an Introduction Towel, with which a guest can dry his right hand when he is about to be introduced.

The whole thing is even more awkward when you are holding an hors d’oeuvre in one hand and a drink in the other. One can only bow in a Continental manner. The only trouble with this is that it always causes me to slosh a little of my drink into my shoe.

One enthusiastic handshaker grabbed my hand once while I had a herring canapé in it. I let him have it.