It’s important to make a good first impression. Even more so when travelling, meeting new people and, potentially, sharing their living space.

Unfortunately, I rarely do.

Like this morning at my friend Katya’s house in San Francisco. It turned out that, in the night, her cat had peed on the sofa – an occurrence that Katya was recounting to her new housemate, Christina. This coincided with my first meeting with said housemate.

And though it would have been more sensible, certainly more commonplace, to simply extend my hand and say my name, I instead went with a joke. And a crude one at that. You could say that I took a risk.

“So, Christina,” Katya said. “The cat peed on the sofa last night.”

“Oh no!” Christina exclaimed. “Bad kitty!”

“Well hey,” I said, pointing. “I just pissed in the corner.”

“What?” Christina said. Clearly preoccupied with the piss-drenched couch she’d not heard my joke.

“I, er…I pissed in the corner.”

The moment had passed. And I was just some weird guy, standing in her lounge, pointing at the spot in which I’d just claimed to have pissed.

“Hi,” I said, extending my hand. “I’m San.”