In Reply to: Stay too long at the fair posted by RRC on January 21, 2009 at 00:54:
: : : : : What's the origin of: 'stay too long at the fair'?
: : : : I couldn't find it in my references. I think the origin comes from staying too long at the once-a-year carnival, county fair, etc., to the point a person is dazzled and unsatisfied with ordinary life. But a search online gave another meaning, "don't stay too long at the fair," quit when you're ahead.
: : : ---------------------------
: : : ........ and possibly before you upset the folks back home - including a worried / suspicious girlfriend. There's an old song (too chintzy to be called a folksong, more a children's song):
: : : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny's_So_Long_At_The_Fair. Dated 1770s in the UK, 1790s in US.
: : I thought there was a song -- searched lyrics + stay too long at the fair. Didn't find anything.
: "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?" sung by Barbra Streisand circa 1963 written by Billy Barnes.
I googled "too long at the fair"+"lyrics" found two songs. There is a Bonnie Raitt song and a Barbra Streisand song with similar titles but different lyrics. Both question whether they have stayed too long at the fair.
There is also a line in Tom Waits' Downtown Train that goes "They stay at the carnival, but they'll never win you back".
So, if you stay too long at the fair or carnival you're just sad and pathetic and you didn't get a kiss or the brass ring.