Getting together face to face instead of on Facebook requires a different skill set. While no longer the primary or even secondary interaction for many, actually going out to meet people was once the way society worked. It’s just that people without the social savvy to do so are increasingly the norm and genuine conversation’s become an alien art form.

“May I borrow your phone charger?” is not an opener and has sadly replaced “Got a light?” which, in days of old, would actually spark an intimate exchange. Put your phone away. Do not perform your highly wired act, especially at dinner, unless you want to seem ill at ease and inept. You do not need to check your messages, Twitter, Facebook or let your entourage know where you are. You have no entourage.

The polite way to mingle and enter a new conversation is to make eye contact, smile and enter the clique when there’s a lull and vice versa. If you see someone who wants to join in, pull him in. To exit, all you have to say is, “Please excuse me. It was so good to meet you.” Repeat the process until you’ve met and spoken with everyone.

If you’re a man, don’t congregate in male covens. In the oil industry this is often unavoidable, as they’ve managed to keep women down on the farm. Even so, gentlemen, you may not circle the wagons at a cocktail party, and if a lady approaches, you must make way for her. Do not start casting about, looking around for something better to do. She knows this gesture by heart.

Women invented it when approached by guys like you.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at pgannon@cmaildrop.com or at pgannon@theadvocate.com.

UAM Has Pre-Opening

The cognoscenti came out for this one. The Paul & Lulu Hilliard Art Museum entertained its invitation-only guests with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, officially opening its fall exhibitions. Hosting the event was an entire collection of couples — Jim and Jenny Cole, Joel and Janet Gooch, Randy and Daynese Haynie, Larry and Jeannie Kreamer, Warren and Jeanette Rush, and Jim and Lise Anne Slatten. “We’d gotten involved in the Hilliard Society,” explained host Jim Slatten. “It’s a good way to branch out.” E.J. Savoie delivered a few formal remarks of his own while museum supporters enjoyed a VIP view of “Finding Freedom in Russian Art,” bleaker-than-a-Moscow-winter Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust, and Philip Gould’s cheerier festival photographs across the courtyard.

City Club hosts tennis gala

Sponsors and players of the Cajun Tennis Classic were wined and dined courtesy of City Club and generous boosters. A Taste of Louisiana featured just that — a buffet for days right down to the bread pudding — while Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. played in River Ranch Square. Taking in the local Friday night revelry were coach Jerry Simmons, tournament players Lucas Gerch, Arjun Kadhe, Nate Feldman, Nicolai Ferrigno and Nate Roper, Robert Daigle, presenting sponsor Sharon Moss, the United States Tennis Association, Raoul Blanco and UL Lafayette marketing director Aaron Martin, Lou Hudson and state defender Chip Coulter from Baton Rouge.