Hello Goodbye


In 1902, disgusted with the “characteristic American custom of promiscuous, unsought and unauthorized introductions,” Ambrose Bierce proposed a new social convention — disintroductions:

Mr. White–Mr. Black, knowing the low esteem in which you hold each other, I have the honor to disintroduce you from Mr. Green.

Mr. Black (bowing)–Sir, I have long desired the advantage of your unacquaintance.

Mr. Green (bowing)–Charmed to unmeet you, sir. Our acquaintance (the work of a most inconsiderate and unworthy person) has distressed me beyond expression. We are greatly indebted to our good friend here for his tact in repairing the mischance.

Mr. White–Thank you. I’m sure you will become very good strangers.

“This is only the ghost of a suggestion,” Bierce wrote. “Of course the plan is capable of an infinite elaboration. Its capital defect is that the persons who are now so liberal with their unwelcome introductions, will be equally lavish with their disintroductions, and will estrange the best of friends with as little ceremony as they now observe in their more fiendish work.”