I Love Irish Exits - The Best Distraction in the World: Romance and Guys - Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling (2011)

The Best Distraction in the World: Romance and Guys

I Love Irish Exits

IRECENTLY LEARNED that an “Irish exit” is when you leave a party without telling anyone (and presumably it is because you are too drunk to form words). A “French exit” is when you leave a party early without saying good-bye to anyone or paying your share of the bill and maybe you are also drunk. Um, I may have found these on kind of a xenophobic website. Makes me wonder about Jewish exits or Black exits. Okay, thin ice. Too far.

I think Irish exits should actually be de rigueur, except the drunk part. Slipping away is basically all I do now at large parties. My version of an Irish exit has an air of deception to it, because it includes my asking loudly, “Where’s the bathroom?” and making theatrical looking-around gestures like a lost foreign tourist. But then, instead of finding the bathroom, I sneakily grab my coat and leave. Other times I say, “Oh, I think I left my lights on in my car!” or “Oh my gosh, I think I left my car unlocked.” Cars make great pretexts for Irish exits. People never doubt weird issues you have with your car, because it’s extremely boring to listen to.

The reason I pull Irish exits is not because I think I’m too busy and cool to be bothered with pleasantries. It’s that when there is a gathering of more than thirty people I don’t want to waste your time with hellos and good-byes. I think it’s actually the more polite thing to do, because I’m not coercing partygoers into some big farewell moment with me. Then other people feel like they have to stop what they’re doing and hug me, too. It’s time-wasting dominoes.

Irish exits are supposed to be subtle, a way to leave without creating a disruption, and yes, on occasion, a way to perhaps escape notice for epic drunkenness. The only snag is you have to be comfortable lying directly to the faces of people you like. There has really been only one time when someone actually busted me on it. It occurred at my friend Louisa’s birthday, on the roof of the Downtown Standard Hotel in L.A. when I was twenty-seven. I was having a crummy time because I was supposed to go with my friend Diana but she couldn’t make it at the last minute because she was going to Burning Man.* Diana was going to be my wingwoman because I knew my ex-boyfriend was coming to the party with his new girlfriend, Chloe.

A word about Chloe: Chloe was so young (or young-looking) she’d actually played the daughter of an actress four years older than me on a TV show. But the worst thing about Chloe is that she was sweet.

Chloe approached me.

CHLOE (shyly): Can I just say you’re my hero? I took the Long Island Rail Road out to see Matt & Ben when I was in middle school.

Don’t you dare, Chloe. Don’t you dare make it impossible to hate you. Quit looking at me, all earnest, with those Bambi eyes. Also, I’m your “hero”? What am I, ten thousand years old? I quickly said something weird like “Bless you, child,” excused myself, and walked briskly away. I went over to Louisa, who was standing with my friend Pete when I began to initiate an Irish exit.

ME: Oh man, you know what? I think I left my glove compartment open when I parked here. I’d better go check on it.

PETE: Just say you’re leaving. We know you’re not coming back.

Pete read my mind. At that moment, I was actually thinking about which twenty-four-hour taco stand on the drive back home would conceivably accept credit cards.

A word about Pete: Pete is a very funny, direct, mildly pessimistic guy who’s a great friend because it’s like Larry David is your pal. He’s also one of those guys whose plainspokenness is charming when used on other people, but super irritating when used on you.

ME: I’m not leaving. Just need to check my car and maybe use the bathroom. Just drinking so much water these days. Health. Ha ha.

I mimed drinking a long gulp of water to sell the point.

PETE: Why must you always tell us why you’re going to the bathroom?

Pete had a point. No one has ever been curious about what people do when they go to the bathroom. It was a sure sign of guilt: giving too much information about my cover story was such an amateur move.

Ugh! That stupid Chloe threw me off, with her hot youngness and surprising sweetness. Why not just be a total bitch to me like I would’ve been if I had been the hot and young one? Damn it, Chloe!

Then I got an idea.

ME: So am I trying to sneak out or am I using the bathroom, Pete? Get your idea of my motivations straight before you accuse me of something.

I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed my Rainmaker-level-closing-arguments rebuttal. Nope.

PETE (not budging): You’re obviously leaving.

ME: Well, would someone who is sneaking out leave their coat here?

I slowly took off my jacket and, with a flourish, hurled it on a sofa. I looked at Pete triumphantly as I marched out of the room. I was still marching triumphantly as I walked down the hall, past the women’s bathroom, into the elevator, across the lobby of the Standard to the street, where I got into my car and drove off.

The jacket was from Forever 21. Sorry, Pete, you don’t know the freedom of the seventeen-dollar coat when caught at a party with an ex-boyfriend and his new hot girlfriend. And that, my friends, is how to execute an Irish exit. Thank you, Forever 21!

*I feel like I’m constantly being ditched for the Burning Man Festival. The Burning Man Festival is an annual festival that is an “experiment in human expression.” Only something reprehensible would be so vague. There are only a few things that I’ve never actually done that I can say I categorically hate. One is Burning Man. The others are sky-diving, ménage à trois, and when parents tell stories about their babies and incorporate impressions of their babies’ voices. I love hearing about your kid! Just use your normal voice!