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HEY THERE

A hazy memory and confused fan asks:

Yesterday I was sitting at Happy Hour with my boss and a co-worker, and I saw someone in the restaurant who looked vaguely familiar.  He was sitting by himself.  Every time I glanced in his direction, he was looking at me, so it seemed like I might be right.  I just couldn’t place him, and I’m not sure if I know him or not, really.  What would be the polite way to find something like this out?  We’re all married, if that makes a difference.

LISTEN:

If by “Something like this” you mean “Sorting out dim possible memories of someone you may or may not know” – I’m afraid there’s no hard and fast rule.  If this was at a cocktail party instead of a restaurant, you could saunter over and say “Say, haven’t we met?” before throwing back the last of your martini.  That way he’ll know he’s in for a good time if he says yes.

But you’re at a restaurant, and you’re married to your boss and co-worker.  Wait, what?  Oh…you’re married to work!  I get it.  No?

Well, why would being married make a difference?  I suppose if your husband was the jealous type, or if you had any ambition beyond establishing the memory of a possible acquaintance.

In the good old days, which weren’t very good in my opinion, you wouldn’t want to make anything but accidental eye contact with a gentleman in public.  But you wouldn’t be in a bar, either, or at a bar after work, because you wouldn’t be working.  Hmmm – maybe just being in a bar without having to work?  No – that wasn’t done either.  But it’s the next logical progression.

At any rate, say you saw him in a shop, buying trinkets and toys for your local orphanage, when – shock! – you spy a gentleman casting his gaze your way.  Had you met him at the Cotillion?  Was it at Belvedere, the sweet little antebellum main house owned by the Richardson clan – this is the business Richardsons, not the poultry Richardsons.  What to do!?

What you do is pretend like it’s not happening.  If you don’t have a clear memory of it, then you don’t need to pursue it.  And if you had only met at the Cotillion, that hardly counts as an introduction – though if you had been introduced in either Richardsons’ house, then that would count.  But you weren’t, so it don’t.

He was looking at you, though…so – you know – he could be thinking “Gee, do I know her?” or “Gosh, she’s pretty,” or “Golly, why does she keep looking over here!?  Do I have something in my teeth?”

He could also be blind and just be staring straight ahead.  He could be lost in thought, and just blankly looking in front of him.  That doesn’t exclude you knowing each other or your being pretty, he just may not be able to appreciate it if he’s distracted.  Or blind.  Besides, true beauty is on the inside.

If you know your memory is bad and don’t want to risk offending someone you may know, then just smile pleasantly and nod, acknowledging his existence, and carry on with your conversation.

If you know each other, he won’t think you’re rude for not remembering him.  If you don’t, he’ll take pleasure in a warm human interaction that validates his presence without taking up much time.

And if he’s blind, everyone is off the hook.

 

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