Brushing My Teeth Over “Bye-Bye”

9 Jul

I was recently contemplating the fact that I end conversations by saying “bye-bye.”  It has started to annoy me; not when other people say it, but when I say it, most especially when I’m ending a phone conversation with a stranger.

The general consensus is that “bye-bye” is a childish repetition of “bye,” which in itself is the diminutive of “goodbye,” the origin of which is “God be with ye” from the 16th century.

Of course, the intonation used when saying “bye-bye” can be friendly or sarcastic, which makes a huge difference.  I think I use the friendly “bye-bye” when talking to strangers because it’s almost like we’re friends by the end of the conversation.  That is to say, I talk.  A lot.  To everyone.  Without a filter.  Just the way I’m made.  Sometimes it comes out “buh-bye” when I’m drunk (just kidding, I only mumble when I’m brushing my teeth) and I end every conversation with friends and family with an affectionate “love you, bye-bye,” to which they reply “love you, too, bye-bye.”

So I’ve been brushing and thinking about some alternative parting phrases.

  • ciao and arrivederci (Italian)
  • au revoir and bon voyage (French)
  • auf wiedersehen and tschüss (German)
  • adiós, hasta la vista, hasta luego, and hasta mañana (Spanish)
  • shalom (Hebrew)
  • sayōnara (Japanese)
  • aloha (Hawaiian)

Being an American English-speaking pagan, however, I’m not crazy to “go foreign,” so how about:

  • Blessed Be
  • Namaste
  • So Long
  • Farewell
  • Take Care
  • Ta-ta
  • Toodles

None of these feel right, either.  Why is saying goodbye in American English so dang difficult!  Googled results agree that “bye-bye” is most common parting phrase, usually added after saying “thank you.”  I guess I’m in the majority (how did that happen?!) and will keep on saying…



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