How should someone respectfully salute a woman they met for the first time?
Thank you for coming to me with this question.
The first thing you absolutely must do is accept the fact that a woman met for the first time will take it as a grave insult if you have no visible muffin on your person. Understandably one can’t be expected to carry around a muffin at all times, so if you come upon a woman whom you haven’t met before and you are, at the time, unmuffined, you should immediately cover both of your eyes with you left hand, and place yourself flat on the ground, face down, as quickly as you can (use your right hand for support). Then you must emit a sharp whistle, followed by a long voiceless alveolar trill, transcribed thus: [r̥ːːː]. This will indicate to the unmet woman that you mean no disrespect, and were simply caught off-guard by her sudden appearance. At this point, the unmet woman should continue on her way. Be aware that it is within her rights to step not just over, but on your body as she continues on her way (for more on this, see Corbitt v. Russell). If you believe that the unmet woman has moved out of your line of sight, you should ask as loudly as you can, “Are the frocks still on the bannister, or hasn’t Uncle Harry explained?” If you receive no response, you are safe to get up off the ground and continue your day. If the unmet woman is still within earshot, though, she will began to shake and hiss violently. If you hear this, it’s advisable to remain on the ground and to keep still and quiet. Don’t try asking again until a full hour has passed.
Now, assuming you do have your muffin with you, should you come across an unmet woman, you need not be alarmed. Whether or not the unmet woman has caught sight of you, you must immediately say, “Hop! Hop!” Say it quite loudly, but no need to shout. If the unmet woman is unaware of your presence, this will draw her attention. If she is already aware of your presence, though, she will take it as a sign of respect that you still went to the trouble of saying, “Hop! Hop!” With that done, place your muffin in your left hand, and then with your right hand, tear off a small piece. Having done so, raise your right knee quite high in the air (as high as you can), and then step down nice and forcefully, while at the same time executing a clockwise quarter turn. Facing this direction, toss away the bit of muffin in your right hand proclaiming, “To the sun!” Execute the same series of steps, and then, when facing away from the unmet woman, proclaim, “To the moon!”, and toss your second bit of muffin away. Repeating the same steps and facing a new direction, you will toss your third bit of muffin away, proclaiming, “To the moon!”* Finally one executes the last quarter turn and, rather than tossing, eats the last bit of muffin, offering, after the bit has been swallowed, “To a divine morning of auspicious portent.” At this point one executes a half turn, facing completely away from the unmet woman, and sits down, cross-legged. The muffin is then placed upside-down atop one’s head. If the muffin stays, the woman is considered respectably met. If the muffin falls forwards, towards the greeter, the meeting has gone awry, and the entire affair is considered a failure. If the muffin falls towards the unmet woman, she may replace it on the greeter’s head and give it another try, or she may toss the muffin in the street, continuing on her way. If the muffin falls in any other direction, this is considered a draw, and both parties continue on their way, officially having never met.
Regarding the type of muffin, there are at least nine different major opinions on the matter. Naturally, attitudes have changed through time, but most commenters agree that a non-apple cinnamon muffin is the safest bet. It’s prudent to avoid fruit flavored muffins of any kind before Labor Day. After Labor Day, it really depends on whom you ask. Most agree that apple is always in season, but Collins (1913) disagrees sharply. According to Collins, the only suitable fruit flavored muffin after Labor Day is lemon, but both Chesterfield (1869) and modern commenters Selwig (1994) and Mayors (2002) suggest lemon muffins are suitable only in the spring. As noted in Malcolm, Rodriguez, & Morgan (2016), modern women are far less traditional than in decades past, so it’s best to adhere to recent surveys of woman meeting practices, like Dante (2004), Huang (2007), and the seminal 2011 study “Muffins in the New Millennium: How modern women are redefining the commoditization of space in nouveaux interpersonal interactions” by Mansfield, et al.
The important thing is to not think too much about it. It always seems like a big to do on paper, but the truth of the matter is we meet many woman every single year, and with Amazon’s Prime Now, purchasing fresh, interesting muffins has never been simpler—or cheaper. So relax! When a new woman comes along, so long as you’ve got a muffin with you, you’ll know what to do.
(Oh, but of course, NO BANANA NUT MUFFINS. lol Sometimes it’s so obvious you feel like you don’t even need to say it, but in the interests of being thorough, there you go. And again, I really am just being thorough; please don’t take it amiss that I’m stating something so obvious! After all, we all have to learn some time, and this post may be someone’s first exposure to the art and science of respectfully saluting women.)
*For those wondering why one says “To the moon!” twice in a row, it’s actually a bit of a historical accident. Originally, one said, “To the mode!” This persisted until the 19th century, when some confusion was introduced into the system. In territories west of the Mississippi, it was common to say, “To the main!” on the third toss [for obvious reasons, given the region], and this custom was passed on in various forms further west and to the south. These individuals misinterpreted the word, though, and simply substituted a second “moon” in its place. This is the wording that came into vogue in California, when the short silent film A Dame for to Court was shot. The film was a hit, and played in theaters all the way from Avalon to Albany. Younger folk especially began to replace the original “mode” with “moon” as a direct result of the film’s influence. This at the time was known as “Doing the Dame”—a phrase which was grossly misinterpreted in later years. Its origin aside, though, the practice persists to this day.