The person who leaves the party without telling his friends is an asshole, right?
Well, not necessarily.
And it took me a while to realize this. Personally, the Irish exit didn't flash its brilliance until I experienced my first post-college networking event -- that distinct void where bleak reality meets stark desperation. Young men wore ill-fitting navy suits instead of jeans to look older. Old men wore scrotum-hugging skinny jeans instead of suits to look younger. Obviously, I wanted to leave as soon as I arrived. As I waded over to our glad-handing host, in an effort to say a brief farewell, I was stopped by an outstretched arm. And a wizened voice hit my ear.
"It'll take you forever to get to him," the woman said, her sharply manicured hand on my shoulder. "You have his card, right? Just take off." Before I could object, her hand moved to my back, physically compelling me out the door. I didn't fight it. "There's nothing wrong with the Irish exit," she yelled after me, as the doors closed, cutting me off from the party. "No one cares if you leave."