June 1, 2020

Attending Zoom Parties, Wearing Cummerbunds, Giving Babies "Weird" Names, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle wearing cummerbunds, attending Zoom parties, giving babies "weird" names, addressing letters to couples, handling complicated coffee orders, commenting on innocuous social media posts, taking out the garbage, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)


  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Cummerbunds
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: Is it rude to name your baby a weird name? When using first names in a letter, does the man or woman's name come first? How to handle complicated coffee orders?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Commenting on innocuous social media posts, taking out the garbage
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Care packages, #bringbackthehowl




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Interlude]

Nick: Do you wear your cummerbund the wrong way? Do you show up late to a Zoom party? Do you not take the garbage all the way out? Were you raised by wolves?! Let's find out!

[Theme Song]

Here are things that can make it better
When we have to live together
We can all use a little help
So people don't ask themselves
Were you raised by wolves?

Nick: Hey, everybody, it's Nick Leighton.

Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema!

Nick: We're in New York, today, and let's just get right down to it.

Leah: Let's get in it!

Nick: So, Leah, what is this? Please - for our audience - describe ... What are you looking at?

Leah: I'm looking at a maroon cummerbund, and necktie.

Nick: Okay. First of all, the correct pronunciation is cummerbund-

Leah: Oh, really!?

Nick: C-U-M-M-E-R-B-U-N-D. Yes, it's not CUMBER-BUND, or CUMBER-BUN. It's CUMMERBUND.

Leah: Oh, wow!

Nick: Say it with me.

Leah: Cummerbun-duh ...

Nick: [Giggling] Okay. So, a little history. Basically, we go back to Persia. The Persian Empire expanded all the way from Egypt to India. The word, in Persian, "cummerbund," basically means belt. The idea was just if you're wearing a long, flowing, tunic-y fabric thing, having some fabric around your waist to sort of keep it all together made sense. It was safer. You didn't have all this fabric loose, and you're gonna trip all over it. So, there's a very practical reason to do that. Also, when you had all this fabric sort of gathered together, and pleated, it was actually a utility belt; you could put things in it. You could hide money, or a dagger, or Lladró figurines, or whatever you had. You could just use it for storage, so it was very handy. It wasn't some sort of aristocracy thing. It was sort of like everybody did it. Now, if you were wealthy, you might have a nicer version of this, maybe a nicer fabric, or a clasp, or something, but people of all classes had this thing. It did make its way over to India, which is right next door, so the Indians were doing this, too.

Now, cut to - there's a little history in the middle - the British arrive in India. The British were used to wearing waistcoats when they were dressed formally. Waistcoats is just what we would call a vest. But India is very hot, so the idea that you are in this hot climate wearing a jacket and a vest? Too much. So, the British looked around and were like, "Oh, well, what can we do about this?" Because there's this idea in formal wear that you always want to cover up the aspects of the clothing that show function. That's why, on a tuxedo, there are satin-covered buttons, or you would use cufflinks instead of regular buttons; or on the seam of your pants, you don't see the seam. It's covered with a satin stripe.

There's this idea that in formal wear, you want to cover up the working parts of the garment, so British people wanted to cover up the working parts of pants, the top of the pants, where the zipper goes and all that. Instead of a waistcoat, they thought, "Ah, the cummerbund! This could work for us." So, they adopted this style. Then, of course, they brought it back to Europe with them. Some people in Europe thought it was a bit of a fad, maybe a bit vulgar, but it did catch on. Then, it did eventually make its way to the United States. I'm skipping over a lot of history here, but this is the general idea of where the cummerbund comes from. So, here's the question. Which way does it go? Do the pleats go up, like it's a gutter catching rain, or do the pleats go down, like it's a roof of a house? Leah is contemplating ...

Leah: I used to have to wear them for catering jobs.

Nick: Uh-huh, so which way should it go? You got two choices!

Leah: I know, but I wanna-

Nick: Take a shot!

Leah: I'm gonna have to guess down.

Nick: Down. Okay, yeah, this is incorrect. [Laughing] The pleats should go up, like it's a gutter catching rain. The way you can think about it is the original purpose of the cummerbund, which was sort of like maybe to hold things - utility belt; today, you could put your opera tickets in there ... Now, there is an exception where you do wear them down, and that's if you are a U.S. Army officer wearing your formal dress. In the Army manual, the pleats do go down-

Leah: Oh!

Nick: -but for all the other branches of the military, they go up. I was looking into why the Army does this; could not get to the bottom of that. So, if there are any military people out there who know why the Army pleats go down, I would really be interested in knowing how that happened, because that does feel very unusual.

Leah: I hate it when I guess wrong, and it's only a 50/50 [Laughing]

Nick: Now, Emily Post has also weighed in on the cummerbund, and she obviously agrees that the pleats should go up; but she says that doing the pleats up is a, "handy way to catch crumbs."

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: I think the idea that this garment is specifically designed to catch crumbs ...? I mean, it does have the nickname "crumb catcher," but the idea that we are actually wearing it to specifically catch crumbs, this is, I believe, incorrect, and I will like to disagree with Emily Post on this one. Because if the idea we wear clothing to catch crumbs, we would all have the plastic cones that they put on dogs after surgery.

Leah: Right? [Laughing]

Nick: That's what we would do.

Leah: I would need a full-body cumberbund. That's what I would need [Laughing]

Nick: Then, Amy Vanderbilt, she has some ideas for you in terms of what fabric it should be made out of. She says that it should be, "A dressy fabric, like silk, satin grosgrain, or velvet, or something made in needlepoint by a female fan."

Leah: Hmm.

Nick: So, if you have any female fans who are also good with needlepoint, having them make you a cummerbund out of needlepoint, that is also acceptable, according to Amy Vanderbilt and her Guide to Gracious Living.

Leah: That seems problematic. [Laughing]

Nick: That feels like we may need to update that, but here we are. So, that's the cummerbund.

Leah: Lovely!

Nick: How do we say it?

Leah: Cumberbund ... [Laughing]

Nick: Cummerbund.

Leah: Cummerbund.

Nick: Cummerbund. Very nicely done. [Laughing]

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to go deep.

Leah: Very deep!

Nick: We got a great question from you guys in the wilderness that I thought would be a very nice deep dive- it's a launching point. So, here it is: "I attended high school overseas, and my longtime friends are scattered all over the world. We successfully found a time to Zoom this weekend, but after about 40 minutes, we really had exhausted our conversation. We had about 12 people on the call. Then, the organizers set up another, right after, so we could continue to talk. Now, the group has decided to do this every weekend and keeps adding more people. I loved seeing these folks for a bit, but I don't think I can do it every weekend, and, frankly, some of the old high school behaviors are emerging. How can I elegantly remove myself from the regular chat without offending anybody? We were all very close, but a lot of time has passed since high school. Help!" So, a lot of issues here. I think, first, let's just talk about Zoom parties, in general.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Let's talk about when you're the guest, and when you're the host. I guess, for the guest, first rule, right up top, applies to all parties - virtual, not virtual. You've got to show up at the appropriate time. For a Zoom party, the appropriate time is the time it starts.

Leah: Right.

Nick: There's no fashionably late for Zoom party. You gotta show up. Yeah.

Leah: I mean, you know me. I love an exception.

Nick: Okay, what's your exception to this?

Leah: My exception is, say you really want to do it, but you have multiple people in a house; sometimes, another person has to be on a thing, or I gotta do something with my kids. "I'd love to jump on. I'm gonna be 20 minutes late, or 10 minutes late. Is that okay with you if I come at ...?"

Nick: Okay. If you have prior permission from the host-

Leah: Yes.

Nick: I will allow this.

Leah: Great.

Nick: But if the Zoom party was supposed to start at 7:00, and you just decide that we're just not going to join until 7:20 ... No. No.

Leah: But I think if you have to join at 7:20, you just ask in advance.

Nick: Yes. If possible. If you're late because something comes up ... Things come up, but then, when you do join late, obviously, we will apologize profusely, and we will try and make amends if possible.

Leah: Absolutely!

Nick: So, I guess then, as a guest, I think your responsibility is to try and look engaged.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Because nothing is worse than a Zoom guest that looks bored, or is out of the frame, or whatever-

Leah: Or not looking up because you're typing on your phone the entire time.

Nick: Oh, yeah. You shouldn't ... Well, what's interesting is that the rules for Zoom parties and the rules for real life? Kind of the same.

Leah: Yeah, very similar.

Nick: If you're at a party, and you're talking to people, you shouldn't have your phone out. You shouldn't be texting someone else, while you're at a cocktail party, mingling.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: That's not a thing you should be doing.

Leah: It just makes you look so disinterested.

Nick: Yeah. Even if you are engaged, you should just pretend even further that you're enthusiastic about it because if you are looking at the camera, but you look bored because that's just maybe what you look like when you're listening, you should make an effort to try and look a little more enthusiastic about what's happening, because it is weird when you see a wall of people, and you see people that are sort of like checked out, and you're like, "Oh, do they not wanna be here?"

Leah: Right, and then, in that-

Nick: It is distracting.

Leah: Yeah. As far as distraction goes, make sure you don't have your television on-

Nick: Oh! Is that a thing that happens?

Leah: Yes. That happened actually last week. There was a television on. I would assume that, at this point, a person realizes that if you have your television on, the audio's loud, everybody is getting drawn into your square.

Nick: Yeah, yeah. Well, and also, if you can see the television in the background, now, I'm watching the TV behind you.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: So, that's not good [crosstalk] Although, I say, "People have televisions on?! like this is some inconceivable thing ... But, yeah, I guess I can imagine-

Leah: I try to clear out my little square, you know what I mean?

Nick: Well, I think having a background that is not distracting, I think, is nice. How do you feel about all these people that have the custom backgrounds?

Leah: Well, slightly jealous because I can't do it on this Mac.

Nick: Oh, is this a software thing?

Leah: Yeah, it's a software thing on certain Macs-

Nick: Oh ...

Leah: I tried to make like a wall hanging with party ribbons on it-

Nick: Oh!

Leah: -for my Zoom call on Mother's Day.

Nick: Oh, jaunty!

Leah: Yeah, very jaunty! [Laughing] I love that word.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Also, for ... I did a comedy fundraiser. They all had the matching background, and I couldn't have it, so I tried to make one.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: But, in the beginning, when we all went inside and tried to get online, I think the backgrounds were a fun and, "Oh, look at that person's ... It's a solar system!"

Nick: It's spaghetti and meatballs!

Leah: Yeah, so ... But now, we're like, "Okay, we get it."

Nick: Yeah, we got it now. Thank you. Yeah ... I like a nice neutral background. Also, you should be mindful, like, is there dirty dishes, or is there unmentionables that you don't remember not putting away?

Leah: Right.

Nick: You just wanna be mindful, you know, you are kind of in public [crosstalk]

Leah: Do you have an book that says, "I hate all these people ..."? You know what I mean? Is there ..."

Nick: Yeah, your burn book is out and in frame, let's rethink that. Yeah. Then, I think you also want to look your best, if possible. I think it's nice to not necessarily be in pajamas. Sort of dress up, I guess, would be nice. It shows respect to your host, and it shows respect to your other guests to make a little bit of an effort [crosstalk]

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: -try that.

Leah: I mean, I feel like in these times, making an effort just includes-

Nick: Showing up.

Leah: [Laughing] Yeah, showing ... I have a close friend Zoom group, where we check in ... All of us can't do it all the time, but, it's weekly. Some people come. If you just get your clothes on and get to the computer, everybody is proud of you-

Nick: Bravo! Clap-clap.

Leah: -but it's also a very small group of people. You know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah. So, about that - our letter writer had 12 people or more on this call. This feels like too much!

Leah: That's a lot of people.

Nick: That's a lot of people. I think, for me, I like four. I think four is nice. Six is probably my max. I mean, beyond that, it's unwieldy.

Leah: Unwieldy! Beyond that, it needs to be a game that's organized.

Nick: Yeah. Oh, so great, let's talk about what you should do if you're the host.

Leah: Hm.

Nick: Nice segue! I think, if you are the host of a Zoom party, you definitely need to have some structure because a Zoom party, you do not have the mingling ... We are missing the mingling, which would normally take place at a party in your home. I can't steal you away for a moment. "Oh, let's get new drinks in the kitchen." I can't join a different circle to chat with them. I can't excuse myself for a moment. I can't do any of that. I am tethered to basically this one thing. So, as the host, it's your job to make sure everybody feels included, and it's your job to call on people; like, "Oh, Leah, I heard you did this thing. Tell us about it." You have to actually go down the list, and call on everybody, and give everybody their turn. Because I've noticed people don't necessarily want to jump in.

Leah: Right.

Nick: They feel like it's a little forward.

Leah: People don't want to interrupt other people.

Nick: Right. So, as a host, you have to do that. You have to keep it moving. Then, there needs to be a reason for this. I feel like something beyond just, "We're catching up," especially if there's more than four people. A game ... PowerPoint presentations. I've heard some people are doing, "Here's my favorite Wikipedia page. Let me tell you about it."

Leah: Oh, really?

Nick: Yeah. This would come in handy for my love of the transatlantic cables, but ... [Laughing] That would be a good thing, if you were the host. Then, if you're the host, you've got to set a firm end time.

Leah: Yeah, I love that.

Nick: Right? Because I think the worst thing that is happening is these things don't really have a natural ending because there's not like a, "Oh, we've had a dinner party, and now dessert's been served, and now we're in the living room having coffee, and now it's a natural time for us to all leave ..." We don't have those normal social milestones, so it's harder for people to know, like, when is it socially acceptable to leave the Zoom party I don't want to be at anymore?

Leah: Right. Well, and also, not in a bad way, it wears a person out. You're trying to focus on all these people talking-

Nick: Oh, it's exhausting!

Leah: -you're trying to be very present. So, I think everybody knows that it can sort of exhaust you, emotionally.

Nick: Yeah. So, I think, definitely, as a host, having a hard out is very nice. If that's not provided, I think, as a guest, I think you're just allowed to say, like, "Hey, sorry to interrupt. So sorry. I gotta slip out. So nice seeing everybody. Have a great evening!" [crosstalk]

Leah: Yeah, and I think that's a great thing to say to our letter writer, which is-

Nick: Yes!

Leah: -you don't have to go every week. You could just say, "I had a great time. Thanks so much. Can't make it this week ..." or, if you only want to do it for 10-15 minutes, I always like to say that up top, so I'm relaxed about knowing people I have to leave ... When I accept the invitation, I'll say, "Hey, I can only stay for 20 minutes, but I'd love to see everybody," or you could just say, as you said earlier, on the call, "I have to bounce out. It's been great to see everybody. Thanks so much!"

Nick: Yeah. I think we don't give excuses, which are, "I don't care for this anymore ... I am bored." [Giggling]

Leah: "I'm overwhelmed!"

Nick: "I'm tired of this." Yeah ... I don't think you have to explain. You just, "So sorry. Gotta bounce. Gotta slip out. Bye!" Then we're good.

Leah: Yeah. I think no problem at all.

Nick: Then, afterwards, I think it's nice to send a thank you note. I think that rule still applies, right?

Leah: Absolutely.

Nick: I'll never say no to a handwritten note sent through the mail, but it feels like, for a Zoom party - the casualness of that - I think you could probably send an email, or a text. I think that's probably fine.

Leah: Yeah. I think however you were invited, you respond to that.

Nick: That's nice. I like that. Yeah, whatever method with which you received the invitation, you could send a thank you note.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah, that's nice. That feels like that matches the same level of formality. Finally, not an etiquette thing, but just some helpful hints from Tom Ford about how to look good on a Zoom call.

Leah: Tell us!

Nick: These are good tips, so take notes. One is you want to have the camera above your eyeline. So you want to have it slightly above your head and you want to be looking up at it. This is the most flattering. Said another way - no one looks great shot from below.

Leah: Yeah. I have a lot of pictures to prove that.

Nick: Yeah. So, as you may recall from an earlier episode, Leah was concerned about an audience member who took a picture of her from the audience below her-

Leah: Ugh!

Nick: -and Leah was emotionally destroyed by this photo, so ... [Giggling]

Leah: I actually showed Nick. You thought that that was above and beyond. That was an extra-horrible photo.

Nick: I will say, that photo is unbelievable.

Leah: Unbelievable!

Nick: It's the face-aging app without the app.

Leah: Yeah, it's ...

Nick: I don't know how we created a crepe-y skin ... Anyway, not to go further down that road, but when you're shot from above, it does look nicer. Do that. The second thing is lighting. Lighting is so crucial. So, Tom suggests that you take a lamp of some sort, put it behind your laptop, behind the camera, and you put it slightly to one side - whatever your good side is. If you have a good side ... Do you have a good side?

Leah: I don't even know how to figure that out. I feel like these are things that [crosstalk] people are supposed to know-

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I feel like I'm so perfectly symmetrical that-

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: -both are fine. But if you have a strong preference, then you should put the lamp on your good side, so it illuminates that and creates a slight shadow on the other side. Okay, good tip. Then, the third thing is you want a bit of a bounce, a little bit of a fill below you. You don't want to be like dark under the chin. So, Tom says - and I'm calling him Tom, like him, but ... [crosstalk] Go with that. Mr. Ford says you should have a piece of paper below you, or white tablecloth, so there's a little bit of a reflective light coming up from below you. Then, the fourth tip is just makeup [Laughing] So, there's that.

Leah: A little powder goes a long way.

Nick: Yeah, so there you go. That's Zoom. So, hopefully, everybody is going to have more fun, more on time, less-stressful Zoom calls.

Leah: I hope so!

Nick: Fingers crossed.

Leah: Fingers crossed.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to take some questions from you guys in the wilderness!

Leah: [Howling - The Extended Mix]

Nick: Oh, gosh, that was extended play.

Leah: I wanted to keep going, but I cut it at the end. [Laughing]

Nick: Your restraint was noted. So, our first question is: "Is it rude to name your baby a weird name?"

Leah: I love the question that - is it rude?

Nick: Is it rude?! Yeah, I mean, what it sounds like is this is a concerned grandparent who just had a grandchild with a name that they don't like. That's what this sort of feels like.

Leah: I really like that read of the situation.

Nick: [Giggling] Because I can't imagine it's a parent because they would have some control over their naming, and if it's a baby, they're not writing a letter to us yet.

Leah: Right.

Nick: But it's somebody who is very invested in the name of the child, so that's where I came up with grandparent.

Leah: I really like your read of that situation.

Nick: So, I guess the first question, for me, is what's weird? Apple?

Leah: Yeah, I don't even know how we would figure that out. That's why I think-

Nick: Blue Ivy?

Leah: I think the answer is no because what does that mean - a weird name? According to whom?

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think there are names that are probably not super-appropriate, like obscenities, famous dictators ...

Leah: Yeah, I haven't seen either of those.

Nick: You didn't go to elementary school with a Pol Pot?

Leah: [Laughing] No, I didn't.

Nick: Okay, um ... I mean, I did look into this a little further. There are restrictions in various jurisdictions about what you can name your child. In the United States, we're pretty easy going about it. Like, obscenities, I think, are generally not allowed on a birth certificate, but pretty much everything else, you're good. In other places ... In France, I was reading somebody wanted to name their kid Nutella, and the government said no.

Leah: No, that's trademarked. [Laughing]

Nick: So, now, the kid is named Ella, which is cute. You're not allowed to name your kid IKEA, in Sweden.

Leah: Oh, wow! Sweden's really got the lockdown on that. They're like, "No, IKEA is ... That's us."

Nick: Yeah, like, "We own that one. No, you can't have that." Then, New Zealand apparently has a lot of restrictions. They apparently have said no to a lot of different baby names.

Leah: Really!?

Nick: Yeah, I don't know if this is just one thread I was going down, online, or if New Zealand actually does restrict more baby names than anyone else? Didn't really do that much research on it. I guess somebody wanted to name their kid J - letter "J" - because both the grandparents had "J" names, and the government said no.

Leah: Interesting! I just think in ... I have to look at myself, and I guess it's very American that we would be like, "No, anybody can name their name whatever they want," you know what I mean? That's in my heart. So, I think it's just because-

Nick: Yeah. But also, at least in United States, we have people from so many different places in the world that it's not unusual to be around people with names from different traditions, or not traditions, or just unusual names. In my elementary school class, we had a Chanaka, we had a Spirit ... I think we actually had two Spirits. We had a Kele; we had a Norbu. So, it's sort of like yeah, this is not unusual to come across more than just Jennifer, and Michael.

Leah: Yeah. That's why I think it's ... The idea of what would be decided is weird is already ...

Nick: Yeah, it's a little loaded. I think you can name your kid whatever you want, as long as you made a thoughtful decision about it.

Leah: Which I'm sure the parents did.

Nick: Yeah. So, if you've given it significant contemplation, and you like it, then, okay, fine. So, our next question is: "I'm writing fundraising letters at the moment. When addressing the letter to a male-female couple - as in Dear Chad, and Lisa - does the man, or woman's name come first? Then, in same-sex couples, what's the proper way to address it?" Leah?

Leah: Can I just tell you what I wrote because I don't have the answer?

Nick: Sure. [Giggling] Okay.

Leah: I wrote, because obviously, I was gonna throw this one over to you-

Nick: Okay.

Leah: -but I wrote: I always put the person who I like least in the couple's name first, so they never know. [Laughing] I'm absolutely kidding. I wouldn't- I wouldn't do that.

Nick: Uh-huh ... Now, every friend that you have that's ever received a note from you is now going to look to see in what order their name appears.

Leah: It's funny because I was thinking about this, and there are certain people in my life - relatives I always send cards to, and then friends in my life, where I know both people - and I just ... In my mind, their names make sense in a certain order, but none of them have any rhyme or reason.

Nick: Yeah. Some couples like to refer to themselves in a certain order, so you think of them in that way.

Leah: Or they signed their cards in- when I get their cards, they're always signed that way, so then I just flip it up to the top, when I write back.

Nick: Yeah. I think the answer to this question is when you're using first names, it doesn't matter [crosstalk]

Leah: I love that. I love that answer.

Nick: No, and it's really true. Even Emily Post, she'll agree with me on this - when it's first names. Now, Miss Manners would say that the woman's name would come first when you're using first names. So, you could do that, but you have my permission ... Either name is fine. Have at it.

Leah: I think that's nice.

Nick: Now, if you're using Mr., or Mrs.-

Leah: I think either name is nice is what I'm saying.

Nick: Yeah. Now, if you're using Mr., or Mrs., and you're using titles, then there are some different rules that do apply. That's not what this question is. This is just first names. When it's first names, just go with the- whatever you want.

Leah: Great!

Nick: Our next question is: "Usually, with a group of friends, or coworkers, we take turns making a coffee run for the group. Whoever is making the run will ask everyone for their coffee order and bring it back. Sometimes, the person going on the run will pay for everyone's order. Sometimes, we pay for our own, depending on the situation. If given a choice, I prefer my coffee a specific way - iced coffee with a shot of espresso, one pump of sugar-free vanilla syrup, and a splash of almond milk. I don't think that my order is super-complicated, but most people in the group order something more simple, like black coffee, or something along those lines. My question is - should I change my coffee order to something more simple, like a black coffee? I don't dislike coffee that is prepared differently, but it's not how I prefer it. It's not a problem when I volunteer to make the run, but since we take turns, that's not always an option." So-

Leah: So!

Nick: So ... How do you take your coffee, Leah? I always make it for you black, but I don't actually know if that's how you like it.

Leah: I actually do this. When other people ask me for coffee, I make it as simple as ... That just makes me comfortable, but then when I get my own coffee, I always get-

Nick: Well, sure. Get whatever you want.

Leah: But I definitely immediately make it simpler.

Nick: So, my first thought is that you've got to put whatever you want in writing; you've got to make it very easy on them. So, a Post-it note; text them your order ... Whatever it is that you want needs to be in writing, and it needs to be in the exact way that the store that they're going to does it. Starbucks has a very specific way that orders are presented to them.

Leah: Right.

Nick: It's always hot, or cold, and then, it's the size, and then, it's the beverage, and then, modifications. I think that's how that goes. So, like iced venti, nonfat, double-shot latte. [Giggling] Whatever it is, but it needs to be in whatever order that is, and it needs to be written in a way that there is no further questions from the barista. It needs just to be said exactly what the order is, so that you could just say the words, and then, they get the order, and we're good. The way our letter-writer wrote this, I actually had two follow-up questions about it-

Leah: I have questions about the money part.

Nick: Oh, put a pin in that. We'll come back to that.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: When he wrote this order, my first question was, just to clarify, he wants an iced coffee with the addition of a shot of espresso in the iced coffee. I think that's what he wants, but it left it a little ambiguous, in my mind. Does he want iced coffee made with a shot of espresso? Is it really iced espresso?

Leah: Oh.

Nick: I don't think that's what he meant, but it just left a moment of doubt in my mind, which I wanted to clarify-

Leah: That's so deep into the coffee world, I would never know.

Nick: Then, the second question was, well, is this a double shot, or a single shot? What are we going to do? It needs to be-

Leah: We came to this question so differently. [Laughing]

Nick: So, I want that level of clarification. Then, what you need to tell the person making the coffee run is - if there is some reason why the exact order cannot be done - we don't have vanilla syrup; we're out of almond milk; whatever it is - then a backup option, which is black coffee, is fine.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Medium. Thank you. So, just a binary choice. Don't give them a decision tree, which is: "Well, if they don't have vanilla syrup, then I want almond syrup; if they don't have almond milk, then I want oat milk; if they don't have oat milk, then I'll do nonfat milk ..." No decision trees. It's just either they have this one complicated thing, or this simple thing. Now, how did you come at this question?

Leah: Oh, well, I mean, I agree with ... I think we got to the same place.

Nick: Okay. How did you arrive there? What was your journey?

Leah: I am more than happy to get whatever anybody wants if I'm the person making the coffee run.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So, if they have a complicated drink ... Exactly, I want it written down, so I can just read it to the person-

Nick: Right.

Leah: -so I have no responsibility remembering it in any kind of order. Then, if they don't have that, I need a backup that's easy.

Nick: Yes. Okay, so we're totally on the same page.

Leah: Totally the same.

Nick: Now, what do you want to talk about the money part?

Leah: Oh, I just- I felt there was a part of the question where there's that - sometimes, we pay; sometimes, we don't pay. Well, if your drink is much more complicated, and more expensive than other people's-

Nick: Yes. Yeah, and also, this money thing was sort of thrown in the middle of this question; sort of slipped in.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Which makes me feel like there's more to be said about this money thing. It's not just about complicated orders, and is that okay? But is it okay to make other people pay for your more expensive coffee-

Leah: Yeah, if everybody else is having a-

Nick: -if everyone else is doing cheaper coffee?

Leah: Yeah, black coffee. Then, I think that you should offer to pay if you're having this ...

Nick: Yes, absolutely. Yes, you should absolutely pay for the more-expensive-extra-pump-of-sugar-free-vanilla-syrup-splash-of-almond-milk coffee that you're getting, when everyone else is getting a small black coffee.

Leah: But I understand when you have a certain thing in your mind; you're like, "That's really what I want ..." I think, then, you write it down, and then also give up the extra cash for it.

Nick: Yeah, exactly. So, what we want from you are your questions.

Leah: Absolutely!

Nick: Please write them down, and send them to us, and then we will fulfill your orders.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: So, you can send them to us through our website ... Oh, you like that?

Leah: I love it!

Nick: Wereyouraisedbywolves.com, or you can give us a call, (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729), and we would be delighted to answer them.

Leah: Delighted!

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent.

Leah: [Singing] Vent or Repennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnt!!!!

Nick: Which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette thing that's happened to us, or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So, Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: Oh, I am gonna VENT!

Nick: Okay [Laughing] What etiquette crime has been committed against you?

Leah: Okay ...

Nick: Oh, okay ... I'm gonna buckle up.

Leah: Yeah. Buckle up. I [Giggling] Not to be ungracious, which, you know, that's immediately followed by something very ungracious-

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: Just for ... We're in the middle of a thing going on in the world.

Nick: Yeah, it's a moment.

Leah: It's a moment!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I live in Queens - one might argue, the epicenter of the epicenter - and my entire career is based on performing in front of large groups of people.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So, it's a transitional period in my life.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: What really grinds my gears is that I try to post little happy things that are just to kind of keep my mood elevated; like happy things on my Instagram ... Multiple people, who know me well enough to know where I live ... With like something benign; like I posted a picture of a dog in an outfit.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: Somebody responded to me: "I hate those kind of dogs."

Nick: [Gasping] You're just trying to have a nice thing-

Leah: I'm just trying to have a nice thing, and it's happened now with multiple people on multiple very innocuous things. I'll post a TV show. This was a light thing; then, people write, "I hate that show!" It's just, that's the whole message. No, like, "How are you?" or, "Here's a show I like ..." Just to let me know that this thing that I posted on my story, just they needed to let me know how much they hate it!

Nick: Wow ...

Leah: I just- I don't understand why you took the effort to hate a dog in pajamas!

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: Obviously, I'm not out there on a beach in a sailboat. You know what I mean? I'm in a-

Nick: This is the content I got, people!

Leah: This is all I have right now!

Nick: This is the social media content I have on offer, so please enjoy it.

Leah: Just trying to be light and funny.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I don't know why you need to be so angry at something ... "I hate that TV show." Okay. Maybe, don't write that.

Nick: Yeah, that's rude. Yeah, that is definitely rude. I think what people-

Leah: I don't even know what to say back. I wanna be like, "What's wrong with you?!"

Nick: I think the problem is people who leave notes on social media like that are doing it in a way that they would never do in real life. Like, if you were at a cocktail party, and on your phone, you're like, "Look at this fun dog with pajamas!" That person, if you were standing next to them, would never be like, "Well, I hate that dog." No! They would have manners, and they would be like, "That's adorable," even if they didn't think it. Somehow, the social media thing gives people the feeling of license to be rude. So, I think your response should not to return rudeness with rudeness, but to ignore it.

Leah: Oh, I've ignored it, but I want to be like, "I'm just trying to be happy over here ..."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: "You're like 30 seconds from pushing me over the edge." That's what I want to say.

Nick: [Giggling] Yeah, but I think what you should do is note who those people are.

Leah: Oh, it's noted!

Nick: Note whether or not you want to continue knowing them.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: Yeah, for sure. So, for me, I would also like to vent.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: So, this I find just confusing. I think I'm mostly confused. Here's what's happening. I live in a building in New York City. It's a fairly large building, and there's about 10 different apartments on the floor. There's a new person that moved in down the hall. For whatever reason, she has decided that her bags of garbage-

Leah: Oh, no ...

Nick: She leaves them outside of her front door in the hallway.

Leah: Un-uhmmm.

Nick: Now, in my building - large building; 20 stories - we have a garbage chute.

Leah: [Gasping] Amazing!

Nick: And I got my tape measure out, and I measured [crosstalk]

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: -from her front door, to the door, to the stairway, where there's the garbage chute - 64 feet. There's exactly 64 feet that she would need to walk with a bag of garbage from her door of her apartment, to the garbage chute. So, I do not understand why she has not taken the garbage all the way out? She's making an effort to bag it up and have it exit the apartment. So, just go the distance; go all the way; complete the task!

Leah: Oh, no.

Nick: Why are we stopping in the middle?!

Leah: What's going on?

Nick: What's happening? So, it's an etiquette issue because it's like I don't know her really at all. I've probably seen her twice since she moved in five months ago. I don't know her name. It doesn't rise to the level of reporting her to management. I'm not gonna do that. I'm not gonna leave a passive-aggressive Post-it note on her door, like, "Please take your garbage out." But, it's just ... What is happening here? Why are you doing this?

Leah: What is that?

Nick: What is that about? Yeah. It's not like it's super-smelly garbage, or super-leaky garbage, or like "emergency" garbage. It's just normal garbage. It's there for maybe eight hours. Eventually, she does, I guess- or maybe the building comes around and takes it ... Eventually, it does disappear, but all day, there's a bag of garbage in front of her door.

Leah: So annoying!

Nick: So, that's my vent. I don't like it! [Giggling]

Leah: I love that you measured it. Honestly, that-

Nick: 64 feet.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: Well, I just wanted to see- maybe it's too far for the average person.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: I thought, maybe if it's 100 feet, that's too far. Okay. Give you a pass.

Leah: Three digits! If it's three digits, Nick was gonna give you a pass.

Nick: Yeah, but if it's under the length of an Olympic pool, I feel like you can walk it, yes.

Leah: Also, you have a garbage chute!

Nick: Yeah! I mean, it's luxury over here. Yeah. So, I mean, I can't have my microwave, and air conditioner on at the same time for blowing a fuse, but we do have garbage chutes!

Leah: Nobody can. That's across the city.

Nick: [Giggling]

Leah: We have to unplug everything when the air conditioner comes on.

Nick: Yes.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned- I was gonna say, "Cumb-ber-buh-undd ..."

Nick: Uh-huh?

Leah: But I also learned the history of it.

Nick: Of the what?

Leah: Of the [whispering] cummerbund ...

Nick: Let's say it again. Make sure we really nailed it.

Leah: Well, I'm going to have to write it down, and look at it, because that's how I remember-

Nick: Cummerbund.

Leah: Cumberbund.

Nick: No, no. Cummerbund.

Leah: Cumberbund.

Nick: No, no ... [Laughing] Cummerbund.

Leah: Cummerbund.

Nick: Oh, gosh! I apologize for making that very patronizing, but you just weren't getting it.

Leah: [Laughing] I know. I think we all know that you're patronizing. [Laughing]

Nick: I learned ...

Leah: But I wasn't finished what I learned.

Nick: Okay [Laughing]

Leah: I loved that you did the whole history of it.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Then, I learned that people were covering up utilitarian qualities of their suits.

Nick: Yeah, cover up the working parts.

Leah: That's so interesting!

Nick: And I learned that I'm patronizing. So, that's news.

Leah: [Laughing] I was kidding! Stop it!

Nick: No, it's not news, either.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: I also learned that if you're posting a puppy in pajamas, you're just trying to have a good time. You're just trying to have a good time. No comment needed. Just enjoy it. Just enjoy the dog in pajamas.

Leah: Or don't look at it!

Nick: Or don't look at it! Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah: Well, thank you, Nick.

Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery, and I would.

Leah: And he would! And he does!

Nick: So, for your homework, this week, I have some tasks for you. I want you to tell a couple friends about us. I want you to sign up for our newsletter, and I want you to visit our websiteThat's all. Very low effort. I want you to do these things [crosstalk] time.

Leah: That doesn't even sound like bad homework. That sounds like fun stuff!

Nick: These are all fun things, yes! So, please do those things, and we'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

[Musical Theme Song]

Nick: All right, Leah. It's time for Cordials of Kindness-

Leah: [Squealing] Woooo!

Nick: -part of our show where Leah makes us say nice things, and I only give her 30 seconds to do so. Ready, set, go!

Leah: I've been so excited for this. The month where we went inside, I had some people out of the city who reached out to me; surprised me! They sent me care packages. I had a friend order a meal. It showed up at the house. I had another friend sent a wonderful gift basket from a terrific food place. It just made us feel so taken care of and not alone. It really carried my spirits through the beginning of this-

Nick: Oh, this was nice.

Leah: -and it meant the world to me! The world to me!

Nick: Aww.

[Buzzer Sound]

Nick: I would like to acknowledge all the people who wanted to #bringbackthehowl. Let me just play a voicemail that we got because it encapsulates the entire moment. So, here it is.

Voicemail: Hi, Nick, and Leah. This is Michael. I just wanted to call and ask you to please bring back the howl. My favorite thing is to howl along with Leah, when she does it, and I would really love having another wolf in my pack! [Howling]

Nick: So, as you may recall, a couple of weeks ago, I made some offhanded joke, like, "oh, gosh, the howl's gone. We should have a hashtag: #bringbackthehowl. The amount of people that reached out that demand the howl was overwhelming. I was not prepared for it. We got voicemails, like that one from Michael, and so-

Leah: Which, I'm glowing! I'm glowing, right now!

Nick: [Giggling] So, it was really touching that people like the show enough, and like quirky things about it, like Leah howling all the time-

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: -that you guys were inspired to take the time to write in about it. I really was touched by that, so thank you, to Michael, and everybody else!

Leah: Thank you. I feel like I got a double one because I'm still- that's also overwhelmingly kind. I feel so nice about that!

Nick: Yeah. So, people love the howl, Leah. Let's have one more.

Leah: [Enthusiastic Howling]

Nick: Thank you.

Leah: Thank you!

[Buzzer Sound]