There is this tension that exists in life that is almost impossible to escape. It is the tension between who we want to be and who we actually are.
I want to be the kind of person who calls everyone — regardless of whether I’ve just met them or not — “baby”. Sadly I don’t think I can get away with it, but how I would love to! A woman like Patti LaBelle can call everyone baby and it is totally natural. She can use it as a term of endearment or as a term of admonishment and it just fits, every time. I would love to address oour Twitter followers (84 as of today) as babies. “Good evening my babies, what is going on in your Twittersphere?” Or when I go into Starbucks and get my signature “short bold in a tall cup” I’d love to be able to purr, “thank you baby” and sashay out. But I’ve convinced myself I can’t say it because I’m wearing a backpack. People with backpacks can’t say baby. “Dude” maybe, but definitely not “baby”. In my mind, you can only get away with calling everyone “baby” if you’re carrying a pocket dog, teetering on stilettos and wearing Lee Press On nails. Or if you’re Patti LaBelle.
baby, Rats, my question for you is this, what is a catchphrase you’d love to be able to use but haven’t been able to yet?
There are very few catchphrases that aren’t grating and that’s because there are very few people who are cool enough to pull them off. I’ve thought about this a lot. I’ve done RESEARCH on this (and by that I mean I’ve Googled: “What are cool greetings?”). You know what came up time and again? “What’s crack-a-lackin’?”.
Never. Never ever ever.
I think it’s very difficult to just start something like this. It’s in you or it isn’t. I’m trying to think of how people typically address me and what, if any, I like. There is a guy whose English isn’t very good that always says, “My friend!” when he sees me. What I like about that is we know where we stand. You can say, “Hello” to anyone but you’re not going to say, “My friend!” to someone you don’t know. Unless you were trying to win them over somehow… or trick them in to THINKING you are their friend?! No. He wouldn’t. Well… would he? Whatever. Even if he is I honestly don’t care because it’s such a warm animated greeting. Note the exclamation mark!
Long story short I think what I appreciate in a greeting is enthusiasm and the relationship clearly defined from the jump. So not one catchphrase per se just the same level of intensity and disclosure in each greeting. So here’s how I might greet different people:
Stranger – “I don’t know you yet!”
Telemarketer – “No habla ingles!”
Pet – “You are cute and I am the boss of you!”
Barista – “How can you not remember me I’m here literally every day!”
Twitter followers – “I know you’re robots!”
God – “No habla ingles!”
Patti LaBelle – “Baby!”
Moley – “My friend!”