Dec. 30, 2019

Clinking Glasses, Making Eye Contact on the Subway, Tipping Tow Truck Drivers, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle giving and receiving toasts, behaving properly in New York City, offering guests tours of your home, tipping tow truck drivers, giving aspirational presents to friends trying to lose weight, arriving at exercise classes late, being surprised by unlisted ingredients at a restaurant, buying new luggage, being delighted by a surprise treat, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

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  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Toasting Etiquette
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: New York City etiquette, including walking, umbrellas, subways, delis, and taxis
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: Should you give guests tours of your home? Should you tip your tow truck driver? I have a friend trying to lose weight and I gave him a shirt that's in the size of his goal...was this OK?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Arriving at an exercise class late, a restaurant doesn't disclose ingredients
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Buying new luggage, an unexpected meal




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

Nick: Do you raise your glass when a toast is for you? Do you step up to a counter before you're ready to order? Do you make people take tours of your home? 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. Let’s just get right down to it.

Leah: Let's get right into it because I didn't know any of the answers to those.

Nick: So, for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about toasts.

Leah: Okay!

Nick: The toast is very old. There are references to it in the Iliad. Odysseus toasted to Achilles.

Leah: Wow.

Nick: We've been holding liquor up over our heads for a very long time. To preface, what we're going to talk about is very American. The toasting tradition is very different in various places in the world... This is not that time. This is just the United States.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Okay. So, the word ‘toast,’ itself - a little unclear where this comes from, but it might be when wine was sort of cheap and bad; that they would actually take a piece of bread, toast it, and put it in the wine.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: And those spiced toasts would make the wine taste better, I guess, and it would soak up acids? Maybe that's what was happening?

Leah: Interesting!

Nick: Toast...

Leah: Also, who doesn't like bread?

Nick: I mean, bread and wine?

Leah: Oh...

Nick: Does it get better? Shakespeare references the word ‘toast’ in some play, so it goes back a while. So, when you’re going to have a toast, basically, everyone should have a glass. You cannot toast with an empty glass. That's just rude.

Leah: Can you toast with water?

Nick: You can. Yes.

Leah: Okay, because sometimes, people get weird about that.

Nick: Yeah. So, if you don't drink, or don't want to drink that night, or whatever it is, you do not need to have alcohol. I think it's totally fine to have water in your glass. Let's not get hung up on it. If somebody has water in their glass, it is rude to comment.

Leah: Okay, good.

Nick: So, FYI... So, yeah, if you’re not drinking [crosstalk]

Leah: -bring that up, next time people comment.

Nick: Yes. "Nick said..." Yeah, so it’s totally- water, totally fine. Let's not get hung up on it. So, then everybody raises their glass; but if the toast is for you, you do not raise your glass.

Leah: Oh...

Nick: Do not touch your glass.

Leah: Don't touch it?

Nick: Don't even touch- don't be tempted. Just leave it on the table.

Leah: Oh...

Nick: Because if you are raising your glass, you’re like, "Yeah, I am that great. Yeah..." It just is rude to toast yourself.

Leah: Oh, it's not- I would have thought it was rude to leave the glass on the table.

Nick: That's why we have this entire show.

Leah: Oh, my goodness. I'm so glad that I'm learning this now.

Nick: Yeah. So, if the toast is for you, in your honor, do not toast yourself.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Yeah. Then - to clink or not clink?

Leah: Hmm-

Nick: This is remarkably complicated.

Leah: Oh, it’s gotten very difficult.

Nick: Yeah. There’s actually some really interesting history on this. How much of it is true or not? Hard to say. There are some people who say that the clinking is to ward off evil.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: Because, somehow, the clinking of the glasses sounds like bells, and bells are like churches, and the devil doesn't like the church. So, if you clink your glasses, the devil will go away.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: The devil likes a good party, so he's always around.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Right. There was not actually a lot of historical evidence for this theory, so not quite sure about that. Another theory is that it's about poisoning; that when we clink our glasses, we are going to clink it so hard that a little of my liquor is going to splash into your glass and vice versa, so we'll all be poisoned.

Leah: Oh...

Nick: Not quite sure if that's a thing.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Right? I think another theory, which I think is the one I like, is just when we put our glasses physically together, we are coming together physically as a group-

Leah: Right.

Nick: -and that symbolism is very nice. I think that's kind of what I think this is really about.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: It's just like humans are communal people, so we are physically coming together with this beverage.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: I think this may be a better theory, but there are theories... Some people are very bothered by the clinking. Miss Manners says it is antiquated and barbaric!

Leah: Oh, barbaric!

Nick: She says it’s barbaric.

Leah: Wait til she finds out there are a few other things happening.

Nick: Then, some people feel if you clink glasses, you will break the glass.

Leah: Well, some people clink pretty hard.

Nick: Some people clink pretty hard. Some people say clinking this fine, but you shouldn't do it if more than four people are involved.

Leah: Yeah, because then someone always gets left out.

Nick: Right. So, I'm not super-bothered by clinking. I do not have the reaction that Miss Manners has.

Leah: Right.

Nick: I think if you want to clink, what you want to do is use the bell method.

Leah: Mmm...

Nick: So, in front of us, we have some glasses. The rim is the thinnest part of the wine glass.

Leah: Right.

Nick: That's the most fragile, so we don't want to clink there. We want to touch the bells.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: So, let's try that now.

[Non-barbaric clinking]

Nick: Okay. Right?

Leah: We just clinked from the bells.

Nick: Yeah, I'm not sure if you could hear that. Let's just do it closer to a microphone.

Leah: Okay [crosstalk] Okay, we’re going to [inaudible] my microphone.

[Louder clinking]

Leah: That sounded so pretty!

Nick: Sounded a little weird, but yeah... So, if you want to clink, then you could do the bell method of clinking. But if you want to just sort of raise your glass and make eye contact, that's fine.

Leah: I’ve got some friends who will raise their glass, and they do a little tilt.

Nick: Yeah, a little tilt. A little like... Yeah.

Leah: A little act out on the clink.

Nick: Yeah. That's nice-

Leah: Ching-ching...

Nick: I think that’s fine, but I think you want eye contact. I think eye contact is nice.

Leah: Right. Somebody told me that if you don't make eye contact, that it doesn't count.

Nick: I mean... It’s void and null?

Leah: Sometimes, you just kind of try to do a group one of these, and then- so I find myself trying to make eye contact with every person-

Nick: Yeah, you want to do it-

Leah: -which is when I get overanxious and just shut down.

Nick: Eye contact is nice, but if you're staring deep into their soul, that's a little disturbing. So, we want to find the right balance.

Leah: Okay, because somebody told me it was bad luck if you didn't make eye contact with everybody.

Nick: I mean, I think it is nice. I think in some traditions, though, if you don't make eye contact that it is a more serious offense.

Leah: They throw you out of the house forever.

Nick: Right. You're just- you're out of the village.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: So, eye contact is nice. Clink/not clink – know that there is thoughts about clinking.

Leah: I really like the clinking with the bottom.

Nick: Yeah, the bell method. Yeah, so-

Leah: The bell method.

Nick: -let's toast to our audience.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: Here's to our listeners.

Leah: Yes! We love you. You're really fantastic! Thank you!

Nick: Thank you. And, we’re not going to clink.

Leah: Oh, we're not clinking; we’re just looking-

Nick: We’re gonna- but we’re making very intense eye contact.

Leah: Very intense, and I did my lifting the glass.

Nick: Nicely done, Leah.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: And we're back... Now it's time to go deep.

Leah: We're going very deep.

Nick: So, for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about New York City etiquette.

Leah: I actually think a lot of this works into other places, as well.

Nick: Sure, but I think New York City is sort of a heightened reality.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: All of these rules are just more acute and more enraging-

Leah: Because we're just smushed into a very small space.

Nick: Yes, and if you're in New York, hopefully you do all of these things. If you are a visitor to New York – welcome - please do these things.

Leah: I always also, when I'm walking in New York, I think of people walking here is the way I drive when I'm at home.

Nick: Yes. Let's start with walking.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Because we're all doing it.

Leah: It was a big... That was actually going to be my event this week, so I'm so glad that it’s-

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I have so much on my list that we are not going to be able to cover like 25 percent of this, but with walking... Yes, in New York City, we walk down the sidewalk like it's a highway. So, you want to pass appropriately.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: You want to make sure other cars can pass you, so we don't want to block the road-

Leah: There’s also two lanes!

Nick: There's also two lanes.

Leah: People need to be coming and going.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: You’re not walking down the middle.

Nick: We also don't stop suddenly. We don't slam on our brakes.

Leah: I actually ran right into a girl yesterday because she just stopped. We were all walking... If you're not from New York, it's lines of people walking, if you’re out during certain hours, and we’re always behind each other-

Nick: Or all hours.

Leah: -yeah, almost all hours.

Nick: 3:00 a.m., it’s happening.

Leah: Yeah. So, we're right behind each other, and we all have sort of agreed to a social norm that we're all taking part in. So, we're all walking briskly - it's not a slow walk - and she just stops and bends over.

Nick: Whoa! That’s dangerous!

Leah: To look at her shoe. She didn't step to the side.

Nick: Yeah, gotta pull over to the curb.

Leah: You just gotta pull to the curb!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I mean, I came in- right in behind her – Ba-BOOM!

Nick: Yeah... Yeah, and that's her fault.

Leah: I mean, it was completely her fault.

Nick: Yeah. So, yeah... You wanna pull over if there's anything happening. Also-

Leah: I couldn't stop laughing. It was so... I couldn't believe it!

Nick: Also, nobody goes down the highway and then makes a 90-degree turn on a dime.

Leah: Yeah, no, they do not-

Nick: That’s very dangerous- into oncoming traffic... You don't do that. So, yeah, if you're going to change directions, or you change your mind, or you’re not sure where you're going, you need to slowly merge into the slow lane; then come to a complete stop, and then you can reevaluate what's happening.

Leah: I’ll even handle an arm coming out, like a biker: "I’m gonna turn. I’m gonna turn!"

Nick: Yeah. Signal... Signal.

Leah: Signal!

Nick: Yes!

Leah: Just be aware of- because I think now, with cell phones... My guess is this is happening everywhere; people are walking on sidewalks on their phone.

Nick: Yeah, and you're not paying attention.

Leah: You're not paying attention to the other people.

Nick: Which, in New York City, is dangerous. You could fall into a lot of things.

Leah: Or you could also- cars aren't not going when it's their light.

Nick: Yeah, that's true. Yeah. It is dangerous... Or bikes. Yeah, bikes - that's a whole other problem. So, walking - just know that it's like a highway. I think that's- if we just remember that, we're gonna be good.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah. Now, in rainy season, umbrellas in New York City.

Leah: Oh, this is a- I wouldn’t even have thought of this but-

Nick: Oh!

Leah: I’m very aware of it when it's happening.

Nick: I am not that tall, so I am subject to more umbrella abuse at my height than other people. When you are walking down the street, and you have an umbrella, and someone else has an umbrella, you cannot pass without some adjustment of your umbrellas.

Leah: Yep. Yep.

Nick: There needs to be some angles. Somebody goes up; somebody goes down. We need to do something.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Oftentimes, people, when they're approaching me, lower their umbrella, but I am not that tall, so I cannot get my umbrella above your umbrella now. It's too far.

Leah: Right.

Nick: I just can't get over you, and now what have we done?

Leah: Now we're- now we’re at a standstill.
Nick: Right. So, just, somebody has to go up or down.

Leah: I always go up.

Nick: Right. Also, there is never a time for a golf umbrella in New York City.

Leah: Oh, I do love it when I see people with these. It's like they stole it from a deck chair, and you’re like, "Is that a full deck umbrella?"

Nick: Yep. It’s like South of France... We’re in Nice. It’s striped, yellow and white. Yeah...

Leah: Or, especially when it's snowing. I'm like, "This is snow."

Nick: Right. You do not need a six-foot umbrella. You just don't.

Leah: It’s so funny.

Nick: Right. So, don't do that [crosstalk] That’s just not needed. Also, umbrellas - when you are exiting the subway, and you are about to emerge up the stairs, and it’s raining-

Leah: Yes.

Nick: -you need to be mindful that when you open your umbrella, there are people behind you, and there is still water on your umbrella.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: That velocity is going to splash people around you.

Leah: You’ve got to tip it to the side.

Nick: You can tip it to the side, or you can get a little wet, and you can wait until you are out of the subway stairs.

Leah: Or you can tip it to the side.

Nick: Or you can... You just need to be mindful of the fact that there is water on your umbrella, and there are people around you, and however you're opening it, there can be some splashage. People don't like that.

Leah: Yeah, people don't like that. Also, there's people coming down, closing their umbrella, while you're going up... New York- when we talk about it this way, I realize, why do we live here, honestly?

Nick: Very good question.

Leah: What a mess.

Nick: Yeah. What are we doing?

Leah: You basically shut down half of your senses?

Nick: So, on the subway- now we’ve made it to the subway; we're not wet... Turnstile etiquette - first of all, either be ready, or don't be ready-

Leah: Yeah, if I-

Nick: -don’t be in the way.

Leah: Yes, if I don't have my card, I step to the side.

Nick: Yeah. Yeah. When we're standing in the turnstile is not when we're taking our wallet out.

Leah: Yes.
Nick: MetroCard needs to be in your hand, facing the right way, at the right height-

Leah: Ready to swipe.

Nick: Correct. So, please do that. Now, the subway arrives. Now, do you wait when people get off before you get on?

Leah: I do. I always step to the side.

Nick: You want to step to the side; I step to the side; but no one else does this.

Leah: No, but I feel like maybe if I do it, other people will be like, "Oh, this makes sense. We have to let these people out first."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Then I always make a noise when people then step around me to go in; I go, "Oh..."

Nick: Okay.

Leah: "Ohhh..."

Nick: Sort of like a, "Oh, you're a bad person..."

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: "... and I'm making an audible noise that I want you to know is not my internal monologue."

Leah: Yeah. "Ohhh..."

Nick: "Oh..."

Leah: Mm...

Nick: Mm... Oh, I see.

Leah: Mm... Okay...

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Maybe I’ll throw an "Okay" at the end-

Nick: I like a good passive-aggressive "Okay."

Leah: "Oh? Okay..."

Nick: "Oh... Oh, Okay..." And now, we’re on the car. Don't eat things that are elaborate.

Leah: No, but I don't have trouble with you eating a little sump'n sump'n. Sometimes, I'm running from job to job.

Nick: A little sump’n sump’n is fine. Pad Thai? No.

Leah: If it were elaborate spices...

Nick: If there’s like cutlery-

Leah: I have a friend who I believe listens to our podcast, and she's written to me about people who have very smelly foods on the subway, and how it-

Nick: Yeah, I think-

Leah: -and at work; she said people will bring in very smelly lunches.

Nick: Well, that's a different etiquette problem.

Leah: These are two separates.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: Sorry, we’ll have to deal with them separately.

Nick: But, yes, if it involves cutlery, I don't think we do this on the subway.

Leah: You can't bypass that by just eating something that involves cutlery with your hands, which was my first thought. "I'll just use my hands."

Nick: Right. If it's something that should be eaten with cutlery - whether or not you have cutlery, or not - probably not appropriate.

Leah: Yeah, but a little sandwich; maybe an apple.

Nick: Sure. I think these are more appropriate. I think it's Okay to not make eye contact with performers who are... You know, it’s show time...

Leah: For our listeners at home, not in New York City, when you're on the subway-

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: People get on the subway and they say, "Show time!" And then, it's dancing or singing. Sometimes, there is people that play string instruments.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: There is also a lady, and a man, separately, that do accordions.

Nick: Oh, sure. Yeah.

Leah: So, there's multiple forms of show time.

Nick: Uh-huh. Yes. The breakdancing feels the most dangerous-

Leah: Because the breakdancing, they're going up and down the cars, so you’re-

Nick: Yeah, and swinging from the poles-

Leah: Swinging from the poles-

Nick: Near people’s faces-

Leah: Some very talented dancers.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, going at 50 miles an hour, or however fast subway cars go.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: In fact, I think, in general, on the subway, you shouldn’t make eye contact with anybody. It's a little rude to make eye contact with people.

Leah: Um...

Nick: Do we disagree about this?

Leah: No, we don't disagree.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: You know, I struggle. This is my main- coming in with the show time. I always, I want to support artists, but I have had a problem before, where it’s like, sometimes, I'll just be trying to get work done, and people- when you don't pay attention, sometimes, people get angry, and you're like, "I don't think I should be forced to pay attention when we're on a public..."

Nick: People on the subway get angry at you that you’re ignoring their show time?

Leah: I had a person yell at me once because I was not-

Nick: You weren’t being a good audience-

Leah: -I was ignoring, and then, I was supposed to smile. "You could at least give me a smile if you're not gonna..." I was like, "I can't. I just can't."

Nick: Yeah. I think you were totally in the right on this one.

Leah: No, I knew I was in the right. But, you know, I don't like confrontation of any sort. But I also want people to feel supported, you know what I mean?

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: It’s like this struggle-

Nick: There’s a lot of emotions happening with you on the subway.

Leah: -no, I just go full... I have earphones in. I wear sunglasses. So, that way, I don't have to worry about who I’m supposed to be looking at and who I'm not.

Nick: Mm-hmm, yeah; you create a little bubble.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Now, when people are soliciting for Greenpeace, with a clipboard, on the sidewalk-

Leah: Oh, I pull out my phone, and I pretend I'm in a conversation with my mother.

Nick: So, in New York... I guess this happens in other cities that you're just walking down the sidewalk and usually, there's tag-teaming-

Leah: Yes.

Nick: -where there’s two of them facing in different directions. So, they'll be like, "Hey, do you have a second for Greenpeace?" Love Greenpeace; no problem; happy to save the world; save the planet; all onboard. But the idea that you're gonna accost me on the sidewalk with a clipboard...

Leah: Well, people are also- they start off with things like, "Don't you like children?" You know what I mean? And so, you’re a monster if you say no. You know what I mean?

Nick: Right.

Leah: Then, I'm the kind of person that’ll stop, and then I'm stuck there for 45 minutes. It's over.

Nick: Yeah. Yeah.

Leah: So, I just have to not... I can't ignore people; it’s my- it makes me feel too rude, so I just have to look occupied. It's the only way. I just pull out my phone, and I start talking to my mom.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I'll be mid-conversation- I'll be like, "No, Thursday’s not good!" You know what I mean? Obviously, nobody’s on the phone, but I just... I consider it an acting- it’s an acting exercise.

Nick: Acting... Yeah, so in New York City, it's totally fine to do this. Yeah. Speaking of phones, if you are ordering in a deli or a counter, though, can't be on your phone.

Leah: No.

Nick: Yeah. If you're ordering a coffee, and you’re on your phone, like what are we doing? No. Hang up the phone.

Leah: No. Yeah.

Nick: That is rude.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Then, if you are in a deli or step up to the counter - in New York City - high crime is if you step up and you're not ready.

Leah: Yeah. If there's been a line, and you get to the front, and then you don’t know what you want-

Nick: You had a lot of time to prepare, yeah. So, just be ready. If you're not ready, pull off to the curb... Get off the highway. Let other cars pass.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Finally, let's talk about taxis.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: There's two things that happen in taxis that I think we need to remember. One is this thing called upstreaming. So, when you are hailing a cab, if you want to upstream someone, you go a block down, and you try and hail the same cab. Obviously, because you were down the street, and that's where the cabs are coming from, you'll get the cab first.

Leah: Super-rude.

Nick: Super-rude. It's legal, but it's a cheap shot.

Leah: It's a cheap shot, and probably something in life will happen to you bad, later, because you did that to somebody.

Nick: Yeah. So, just be mindful of, like, if you're hailing a cab, there may be somebody who's also hailing a cab on that same corner, and it's real shady if you upstream.

Leah: Yeah. I always look down. I don't take cabs because talk about a bevy of issues...

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I take the subway. But when I do take cabs, under duress, I look down and I see, was there already a person on this block trying to get a cab?

Nick: Right. That is polite.

Leah: Just take a look-see.

Nick: Yep. That's all you gotta do. Yeah, so just know if you do this, the words that are gonna be yelled at your cab as you’re driving away - very strong language.

Leah: Very strong language.

Nick: Very strong language. The second thing we want to remember about cabs in New York City is that the cab driver is a person-

Leah: Yes.

Nick: -and they can see you and hear you.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: So, you just want to make sure, in the back of the cab, we are trying to behave in a way where you know somebody is looking at you and can hear what you're talking about.

Leah: Yeah, don't act like an animal.

Nick: Yeah, don't act like an animal.

Leah: I recently had a cab driver who was telling me how many couples start aggressively hooking up in the back of his cab.

Nick: Oh, okay...

Leah: Because I asked. I wanna know what it's like.

Nick: You wanted some statistics.

Leah: Yeah, I wanted numbers. He said that he feels weird about it because he doesn't wanna be like, "Hey, don't do that!" So, he always hits the brakes, or tries to find a bump in the road just to be like-

Nick: To like dislodge them?

Leah: -remind... Remind them that they are in public.

Nick: Okay... Okay, yeah, so just keep that in mind.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: But New York is wonderful.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: Yes. Yeah-

Leah: It’s just spatially, you have to...

Nick: Yes. Well, and at the end of the day, etiquette is about getting along with other people.

Leah: Right.

Nick: That’s just what it is. The reason why we have etiquette at all- why we have society is that we have to get along.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: We have to make this work.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Because we need other people to survive.

Leah: Yes! Emotionally and for logical reasons-

Nick: Or food... I don't know... Seamless, yeah. So, you just have to get along. Having nice etiquette is the lubricant that makes society work.

Leah: Wow!

Nick: Right? Put that on a pillow.

Leah: Put that on a pillow.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to take some questions from the wilderness.

Leah: [Howling]

Nick: So, our first question... Yeah, she's really been practicing that at home. Our first question is: "If you're hosting a gathering at your home, should you take new guests on a tour of your home, if not prompted by them? My in-laws think so, and I cringe because I feel it's a way of showing off. What do you think?"

Leah: I wanted you to answer this one because I know, obviously, what I think, but I was very interested in seeing what you thought.

Nick: Okay. I don't think we have this problem in New York.

Leah: Yeah. We're like, "Oh, I open the door. Here it is!"

Nick: You’re here. There’s the door. Yeah, I mean, it feels like... I think the only time when this feels like this would be Okay is if it's a house warming, and I just bought the house, or I just moved in. But even that, it feels a little show-offy.

Leah: I do think, though, some people want to see the house.

Nick: Yeah, but it's not about you.

Leah: As the guest?

Nick: Yeah. Yeah. People wanna know intimate details about people; that's nothing new.

Leah: Right.

Nick: I don't think you have the right to see my house. Also, I don't feel obligated to show you everything.

Leah: So, the in-laws think that she should take people-

Nick: Yeah, definitely there is no obligation. The in-laws are incorrect.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: I'm sorry, in-laws, if you listen to the show. Happy to get your sternly worded letter about this.

Leah: What if people say, ‘Hey, I'd love to see your house?"

Nick: So, that's a rude thing to ask. I think you should not ask that.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: If someone asks, I think you either agree or you demure; like, "Oh, you know, my bedroom's a disaster because I'm using the Marie Kondo method right now."

Leah: Right.

Nick: You’re just like, "Oh, it's just not a good time, but happy to have you back another time." But, yeah, you shouldn't ask to take a tour.

Leah: But I feel like if you want to show people your house-

Nick: I mean, you are showing off, and it makes your guests have to now say nice things about your house. As we're walking around, you have to comment, and be like, "Oh, my God, that armoire!" You just have to say nice things, which is exhausting.

Leah: Well, I guess you said this- if it was a house warming, then... I just feel like if I was at a friend's house that I hadn't been to before and she was like, "Let me show you the house," I wouldn't think she was showing off. I would feel like she was just showing me where she lived.

Nick: Yeah. I guess if it's done in the spirit of, "Let me help you relate more to my life..."

Leah: Yeah, that's how I would take it, and I would love to see it.

Nick: Sure. I guess if everybody agrees, and it's fine, then Okay, fine. There is no obligation here, I think is the point of the question.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: So, don't feel obligated-

Leah: Yeah, don’t feel obligated.

Nick: Okay, but I would love to take a tour of your house, Leah.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: How long would that take?

Leah: What's less than a second?

Nick: Our next question is: "I got a flat tire. Should I tip my tow truck driver?"

Leah: I have no idea.

Nick: I mean, you'll tip anybody.

Leah: I worry sometimes, when you tip, it's rude.

Nick: Oh, you think giving a tip is seen as insulting?

Leah: Yeah. When do you go in- when does it go into insulting?

Nick: I mean...

Leah: That's why I'm always worried. I’m like, "Am I being rude? This is just their job..."

Nick: I think this is a debate for another day.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: I do think that a tip is insulting when it's too low.

Leah: Right, and then- so then you're like, "Oh, if I tip this, is that..." And then, all of a sudden, you're like, "Here's everything I own."

Nick: But, I mean... We're gonna put a pin in that for another day. For the tow truck driver - I have been to the International Towing and Recovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Leah: Oh, my goodness!

Nick: I love a good, weird museum. This, actually, is fascinating because I learned many things visiting this museum. They actually also have a memorial, and a wall to the fallen because being a tow truck driver is one of the most dangerous professions there is.

Leah: Really?!

Nick: Yeah, it’s up there with roofers and firefighters-

Leah: Really?!

Nick: Yeah, it is very dangerous. Well, because think, you're on the side of the road in bad conditions as your job.

Leah: Oh, yeah...

Nick: Yeah, so it is a very dangerous job. I think it is nice to give five bucks if it's a flat tire; 10 bucks.

Leah: Is five bucks, okay?

Nick: I think five bucks, if they come and change your tire, sure. I think if they've towed you, $10 is nice. I think if there's some circumstance, like it's very late at night, or this is horrible weather, or they’ve come really quickly, or it's a particularly dangerous intersection, or something, I think $10 is certainly a good starting point, sure. You're not obligated to tip at all, but I think five bucks, 10 bucks, we're in that zone.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Yeah, and hopefully you don't have to call a tow truck driver that often.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Our next question... Oh, here it is: "I have a great friend that I've known since elementary school. And recently he informed a bunch of us that he's on a weight loss journey. He's currently an XL, so I gave him a shirt that is his current size, and also a T-shirt towards his goal, which is what he used to weigh. After gifting these things, I couldn't help but wonder, was that rude? Did I put unnecessary pressure or expectations on him to lose weight? I genuinely do believe that he's going to hit his goal, and when I gave him the shirts, he appreciated them, and thanked me for them. But should I apologize to him in some way?" Okay, Leah, what do you think?

Leah: You know, I feel like you know your friend-

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: -and if he seemed genuinely thankful when you gave that to him, then I would leave it there.

Nick: Okay. I think, because you've written us this question, you are slightly doubtful that you've done a good thing here. There is some doubt in your mind. There is some confusion.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: I think there is a little ambiguous space that may need to be filled with an apology. You disagree?

Leah: No, I don't disagree; I just didn't know... I don't disagree.

Nick: I mean, I think, in general, this was not a gift to give. You can't unring this bell, though.

Leah: Sometimes, I do think bringing things back up, if the person seemed fine with it, then maybe we just move along.

Nick: Mm-hmm. I mean, here's the Leah Bonnema answer - I wanna support you in your journey. Help me, help you and be supportive - What would be supportive? Ask your friend.

Leah: But I mean, she already gave it, so-

Nick: Yeah, no, the gift has already been given, yes.

Leah: -we’ve passed that. We’ve passed that.

Nick: Yes. The opportunity for Leah Bonnema advice is not applicable anymore.

Leah: I love that that’s my advice.

Nick: For sure.

Leah: I am so thoughtful.

Nick: Yeah, you can’t unring this bell-

Leah: And also clearly not trying to do anything...

Nick: No, I think you can't unring the bell. I think giving... I mean, anytime, there’s something to do with weight loss, this is always tricky territory.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: So, I think the nice thing to do would be to just reach out to the friend and say, "Hey, upon reflection, I realize that giving you this gift might have actually been interpreted the wrong way, and if you interpreted it the wrong way, I just want to apologize. That's not what I intended. I just want to be supportive. Tell me how I can be supportive."

Leah: Right.

Nick: Then you could do that and just leave it there.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: But if you wanted to say nothing and just let this go, if you're really good friends with this person and they just seem to be at peace with it, then I think it's fine.

Leah: Yeah. I mean, you were there when they said thank you. So, I think you-

Nick: Well, as a good gift recipient, they would have said thank you, regardless.

Leah: Yeah, but you know how when people say thank you with their whole face, and when they say thank you with the half- their eye is like, "Oh..."

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Because I think what you just said was great. You could say, "Hey, it was well-intentioned, and I'm excited for you, and since you told all of us about it, I just wanted to do something that was supportive. If that was somehow the wrong thing to do, let me know. We'll take that shirt out. We'll set it on fire, and I just love you at any size."

Nick: Okay. Done.

Leah: That way, you don't have to... Because obviously, you wrote to us because you feel bad in some way. That way, you can just say it, and then you guys can discuss it.

Nick: Sure. Or, because I feel like there's probably other people in this friend group, ask one of the other friends if he's mentioned it and talked about you behind their back about this gift. They’re like, "Oh, did you know what Chad got me?"

Leah: I don't know. I kind of feel like just go directly to the person.

Nick: Yeah and go to the source is probably best.

Leah: That way, it's not fanning the flames; because once you tell that other person, they're going to talk to that person-

Nick: That’s true-

Leah: -and then, it’s like a-

Nick: Okay. I stand corrected. I retract my previous statement.

Leah: I feel like the more you bring in other people, the more it becomes a-

Nick: A thing.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah, we wanna make it not a thing.

Leah: Because you just wanted to be supportive.

Nick: We do, and we want to be supportive for you out there, so if you have questions for us, send them in. You can send them to us at our website,, or what we really want is to hear your voice. So, please leave us a voicemail: (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729). Just call in.

Leah: Just do it.

Nick: Just do it. Or, you can text us, if you're shy. But we would love to hear your voice. So, (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729).

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: And we're back. Now, it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent, which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette thing we've experienced in the past week, or we can repent for some bad etiquette faux pas we've committed. So, Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: A) I feel like the whole New York City section, with us just being like, "Okay, guys in New York, let's get this together..."

Nick: Yeah, and I mean, I didn't get to add to my list.

Leah: Yeah, I know. I’m still gonna vent.

Nick: Please.

Leah: Group exercise classes-

Nick: Ugh...

Leah: -which we've discussed before, but that had to do with phones.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: This has to do with [laughing] What is wrong with me? Let me just say, if you are late to a class-

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: -which we all understand happens for...

Nick: Hmm...

Leah: It’s... You know-

Nick: Hmm...

Leah: I'm trying to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: It happens.

Nick: Sure, okay.

Leah: You go to the back.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I take a lot of dance classes.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: There is a group of women who- they'll come in late, and then they go into the middle, pushing people out who got there early, got their spot. I mean, it's... I don't even know-

Nick: So, they’re like, "Oh, excuse me. Excuse me. Oh, can you slide down? Oh, can you slide down...?"

Leah: They don’t even say, "Excuse me." They just like walk in-

Nick: Wow...

Leah: -and they're like, "This where I am now."

Nick: Oh!

Leah: Then, everybody else has to move.

Nick: That's bold!

Leah: It's so bold that I spend the next 20 minutes contemplating it. I just- I don't even... I've been late, and I’ll go way to the back in the corner. I wasn't there. I didn't get the spot. That's... That’s just, you know? I'm not gonna move to the middle and stand in front of people who've been there early. I just don't even understand.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, general, I don't love group fitness for this reason because something does happen to people in group fitness settings that they lose all sense of personal space, and boundaries, and appropriateness. They do walk into that room with a sense of entitlement, which is palpable, sometimes.

Leah: No, I think those people are like that wherever they are, in their whole life.

Nick: Oh... Oh! Okay, fair.

Leah: Because the rest of us are giving each other space.

Nick: True. You're not doing this. Yeah. There is a certain type of person for sure.

Leah: I just don't even understand it.

Nick: Oh, I understand it. You have- you don't not understand it.

Leah: No, but I mean I don't know what's going on in their mind.

Nick: You know what's going on in their mind.

Leah: What is it?

Nick: They're walking in that room. They own this place, and yeah, they, of course, should have the best seat.

Leah: They don't own it!

Nick: Well, but they think they do.

Leah: But they... I just...

Nick: No, I want to be supportive, and this is maddening.

Leah: It’s never me. Nobody does it to me, but they do it to other women, and then I just feel bad for those women.

Nick: You hold your ground, or you're never a victim to this?

Leah: I've never been victim to this.

Nick: Ah, so there will be this day.

Leah: I just have this wild hair, and I walk in wearing all black, and I think-

Nick: But no one wants to get too close...

Leah: -people are like, "You know what? Let's not stand near her." [Laughing]

Nick: But I also am bothered when people leave class early. Like, you know how long the class is. They typically pretty much end on time, so you should stay for the cool down, or stay for whatever mantra we're doing, or just stay till the end, because it's really disruptive to everybody else when people are trying to just zone out at the end and somebody’s grabbing their keys, and their jacket, and their water bottle, and walking out of the room.

Leah: Yeah, if you have to leave early, know that you are... A little light as a feather on your toes and very quiet with your water bottle...

Nick: Like a mouse, yeah.

Leah: [tink, tink, tink] "So sorry..."

Nick: Yeah. For me, I'm also going to vent today.

Leah: Oh, my goodness!

Nick: I know. There was too much repenting. None of that. So, I was at a restaurant recently that just opened in New York with a friend, and I ordered the tomato salad. Leah, what do you think you might get if you ordered a tomato salad?

Leah: I would guess tomatoes.

Nick: Tomatoes.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Yeah, a plate of tomatoes.

Leah: Definitely.

Nick: Yeah. So, what I got was a plate of anchovies-

Leah: No- no!

Nick: -that had a few tomatoes in it.

Leah: No...

Nick: This wasn't just a tomato salad that an anchovy on the top. No, no. This was an anchovy salad that happened to have a tomato or two in it. So, I flagged down the waiter, and I was a little embarrassed because, clearly, I missed something here.

Leah: Right.

Nick: I was like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I missed it on the menu where it said there was anchovies in this dish." The waiter said, "Oh, no, no, no. It wasn't listed. We like to keep things intentionally vague."

Leah: No.

Nick: Intentionally vague.

Leah: No.

Nick: Um... What do you say to that?

Leah: You’re like, "But that's why we order food from a menu."

Nick: And that's also how people die.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: So, yeah-

Leah: Did you slip some peanuts in there?

Nick: Yeah. Yeah! So, intentionally vague... I asked to see the menu again to maybe select something else, and he was a little taken aback by this, that I would possibly send this dish back. I don't care for anchovies, and had I known about the anchovies, would not have ordered it.

Leah: Right!

Nick: So-

Leah: If you want to be intentionally vague, then you're gonna get a lot of people sending stuff back.

Nick: Yeah, and in looking at the Yelp reviews of this restaurant, a lot of people have mentioned this tomato salad, and the restaurant still has it on the menu.

Leah: Well, also, anchovies aren't a middle of the road-

Nick: No!

Leah: -thing to be vague about.

Nick: You should disclose anchovies!

Leah: Yeah, you disclose anchovies.

Nick: Yeah. Yeah, that's not something you just slip by people.

Leah: Yeah [Laughing]

Nick: No.

Leah: Nobody slips by an anchovy.

Nick: No. So, intentionally vague - that's my vent.

Leah: That's really- that's a great hash tag. Oh, I was being #intentionally vague.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned some really amazing history on toasting.

Nick: Yeah! So, all your toasting can be great.

Leah: Yeah. I loved the history part in particular with the actual toast and references in literature. Then, also, I feel much better about toasting with water now.

Nick: Yeah, totally fine.

Leah: Because I've been guilted.

Nick: And I learned that if I want to take an exercise class with you, and I'm late, shouldn't shove people aside.

Leah: No!

Nick: Go to the back.

Leah: Go to the back!

Nick: Go to the back. Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah: 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. Please visit our website, and leave us a nice review wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram, please. It's really adorable. I spend a lot of time making little cute posts.

Leah: Nick makes some really cute posts.

Nick: They're really nice. You would like them. So, check that out. Sign up for our newsletter, do other social media things, and we'll see next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

[Instrumental Theme Song]

Nick: Okay, it's time for cordials of kindness.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Leah demands to have time to say nice things, and I'm only gonna give her 30 seconds. So, here's 30 seconds of kindness!

Leah: Oh! I bought my first very nice luggage this week.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: It was a big deal for me.

Nick: Okay. Congratulations!

Leah: Thank you. It was actually a woman working at Macy's. I don't know... I'm not plugging Macy's, but she was a woman working at Macy's, and I do love Macy's. This woman was so lovely and fun. You know when people just really step it up, when they know it's a new experience for you?

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: She made me feel really excited and that she... A lot of times, customer service is less than, in New York... It was just really wonderful, and she really made me feel great, and explained everything. It was so wonderful! She went the extra mile, and made all my experience wonderful, and I really appreciate you-

[Buzzer Sound]

Nick: Oh, our time is up. [Laughing]

Leah: She was so great.

Nick: Okay, and I have to do this? This is how this...

Leah: Yes, you have to do it!

Nick: Okay. I don't need 30 seconds. Just this week, a dear friend of mine treated me to dinner at the James Beard House, which is this historical place in the village, where- James Beard was a guy who is no longer living, but this was his house, and it was... They have chefs from all over the country come and cook a big dinner. So, this was a duck dinner. I wasn't actually expecting to be treated to this meal, so that was very nice to unexpectedly be like, "Oh, dinner's on me!"

Leah: That’s so nice!

Nick: It was very nice. So, thanks, Jerry!

Leah: So nice! Good job, Nick.

[Buzzer Sound]