Manners and decorum dictate that upon entering a social gathering one must make formal greeting with every acquaintance. This social norm is in ample evidence everywhere from the rarified air of the Forsyth Country Club to the somehow still-smoky ambience at New York Pizza.
The converse of this piece of etiquette is that upon leaving a social gathering, one should check out with the hosts of the evening and any significant guests with whom one interacted.
I used to do that, too. That was before I got wise.
Now I’m convinced that the only way to leave a party is the same way to leave a crime scene or an apartment that’s a few months behind on the rent: quietly and quickly.
Think for a minute about that last lap around the room: You fumble through the rooms looking for the people you know, ham-fistedly interrupt running conversations, initiate forced instances of physical contact and expose yourself to the mad desires of control freaks who, at that moment, decide that leaving the party is the one thing you absolutely should not do. They won’t hear of it.
And for what? So you can make one last pathetic gesture towards the most attractive person in the room? Give someone one more opportunity to forget your name? Or are you just trying to tell yourself you’ll be missed when you walk out the door?
Trust me, if the party’s any good, you won’t be.
No, the only way to make an exit is to straight-up ghost. Disappear. Vaporize. Pull a Batman, an Irish goodbye, a French exit. One second you’re sitting there with a crudité in your hand and the next there’s nothing but the dregs of your drink sliding down the glass and a dissipating cloud of smoke.