The form of greeting used in the Anglo Saxon world has been the cause of great embarrassment for foreigners for generations. To help avoid future diplomatic incidents here, free of charge, is my foreigner's guide to English greetings.
1. How's it hanging? When you are accosted with this common greeting answering “Well thank you” is not the right response. Nor is it necessary to show your host how it is hanging, as this is considered to be in very bad taste, especially in a room full of people at a cocktail party. This tip can be ignored, of course by dark skinned foreigners or Afro-Americans who might well get away with displaying their worth and are likely to receive several discreet invitations for further international intercourse.
2. What's Up? This is really an alternative version of how's it hanging. The common answer being “Nothing much” which is used in order to avoid your host finding out that you slept with his wife the previous night, several times, and thus at present time it is unlikely that anything is facing upwards.
3. How ya doin'? Please do not question this greeting with the perhaps obvious "doing what". The person in question has absolutely no interest in what you are doing, what you were doing before he entered your life and what you might be doing later in the evening. No, the fact that the person currently greeting you is a stunning hulk does not allow you to interpret this as him coming on to you. Get a life lady!
4. Howzit going? It is considered entirely uncool to answer: "Actually everything is going great, I am going away to France on the 13th, my old man's finally gone and not coming back, now that I'm taking these pills I've stopped going every half hour." Correct etiquette calls for: "Good!" and How are you hanging."
5. Good morning. Hiding behind this greeting is a century heritage of bad English weather and the attempts of the British government to reduce the suicide rate. Studies examining the belief that the daily utterance of Good morning could brighten an overcast day in the height of the British summer have unanimously concluded it to be complete bollocks, but the House of Lords refuses to tamper with history.
6. Mornin'! This, the greatest of all English greetings, exemplifies the superiority of the English culture over the rest of the world. Firstly, the inventor of the greeting did away with the necessity for the word good thus reducing the use of the verbal organs by 30%. Secondly when accosted with a mornin'! You must immediately respond with a similarmornin'. When properly adopted, a conscientious worker can spend two hours of his morning in similar discourse without performing any task that could be considered as work thus lightening the pressure of his workload.
7. Good Day! This greeting is generally used by those suffering from an extreme hangover who are unable to decide whether it is morning or evening.
8. Top of the morning to yah (yee). If greeted in this manner by a middle aged Irishman or Leprechaun, holding a half empty glass of beer, who started his drinking the previous night, it is best to nod respectably and move to the other side of the office, and hide behind the coffee machine.
9. Howdee! Your reaction, when greeted in this manner by a middle aged American with an Irish accent leading a limping horse behind him, should be similar to the previously noted greeting.
10. Yo! Nuf said!!!!