June 7, 2021

Commandeering Gym Saunas, Demanding Money From Grandchildren, Dressing Like Identical Twins, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this bonus episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about commandeering gym saunas, demanding money from grandchildren, dressing like identical twins, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this bonus episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about commandeering gym saunas, demanding money from grandchildren, dressing like identical twins, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)


  • Is it rude for someone to be doing yoga in my gym's sauna?
  • What do I say to my grandma who is demanding money for a gift?
  • Someone overheard me complaining about them...what do I do?
  • At what age is it no longer appropriate for identical twins to dress alike?
  • What's the polite thing to do if a friend insists on paying for dinner but we're worried he can't afford it?
  • Local etiquette: Iowa Nice






Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian

Episode 91


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

Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.

Nick: And we had so many great questions from you all in the wilderness ...

Leah: [howls]

Nick: That we have a bonus episode. So here we go. Our first question is, quote, "As I was relaxing in the women's hot tub at my gym, I spied a woman in the women's sauna. Not a surprise at first—the door is glass and everyone can see in. But what shocked me was that the woman in the sauna was busy doing yoga and using up the entire sauna: the benches, the floor, the walls. And as I watched her do this for the entire time I was in the hot tub, I couldn't help but wonder, is this incredibly rude?"

Leah: Also, is this the gym that I used to go to? Because we also had this woman.

Nick: [laughs] So Bikram yoga. Yeah, okay.

Leah: Yeah, they're just doing their own little hot yoga.

Nick: That's it. Yeah, it's rude, because you've commandeered the entire sauna for your own use. Like, no one wants to be there with you when you do this.

Leah: I think just do it in, like, a little corner of the sauna.

Nick: Oh, you think that's okay, then?

Leah: Well, I do think that sometimes—you know, I hate it when I come in on this side, but I'm just coming in on this side.

Nick: All right.

Leah: Just like I think if you want to wear a roller perfume on the airplane, because the fact is that those of us with sensitive noses can smell your hair conditioner, so what's the difference? Sometimes people ...

Nick: [laughs] Oh, we're gonna get letters.

Leah: [laughs] You know, sometimes people—like, I'll get, like, a really bad knot in my back.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: A lot of people—and then you want to stretch it when it's hot, you know what I mean? So if you, like, have, like, a little thing, you want to go into the sauna and do a little stretch? I think just put yourself in the corner.

Nick: Yeah, okay. I see what you're saying. I think, yeah, what's rude here is that you've commandeered the entire space.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: And you're, like, taking advantage of all the surfaces.

Leah: And then people are gonna feel uncomfortable coming in if you're, like, standing up on the wall upside down. You know, just get in the corner.

Nick: And there is sort of a sense that, like, the sauna in a gym is sort of a calming space. It's like a little more meditative. Like, I don't like when people talk. Like, if there's friends in there and they're, like, chatting up a storm while you're trying to be in there. Like, I kind of want that to be a no-talking zone, if possible.

Leah: Yeah, I hope this is a meditative yoga not, like, an athletic calorie-burning yoga.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Because then it's even more rude. Are you burning calories on my relaxing time? Because that's gross.

Nick: Yeah, this does not sound restorative based on how it's described, yeah.

Leah: I just want to give that benefit of the doubt for other people out there with sciatic nerve problems.

Nick: I guess you could slip one of our business cards into her locker.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: That's an option. Just a subtle hint. Like, "Oh, what is this? What is Were You Raised By Wolves? Let me check it out.

Leah: Or if this is the gym that I used to go to, I'll just shoot this girl a text.

Nick: And what was happening in the gym you went to? Same thing? Same problem?

Leah: Yeah, there was always, like, a—but with this person, if you walked in, they just moved. You just had to get over the—being like, I'm gonna walk in on a person who is using it as their personal studio.

Nick: Right. Okay, so there's that.

Leah: Also, I don't personally love people's bare feet, like, up on a place where I'm gonna sit. Like, keep your feet on—not where people are putting their—do you know what I mean?

Nick: I know you mean. But, like, in a public gym, pick your battles.

Leah: I know. I'm just saying for me, if you want to do your yoga, maybe keep your feet on the floor and not, like—you know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah. I guess, like, in a sauna room, do I really want you to have your feet up on the bench part? Maybe not. I mean, similarly, I want you to be sitting on a towel.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: If possible.

Leah: That's the same feeling.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: If you want your feet up, put it on a towel.

Nick: Yeah, I think that's probably true. But yeah, it sounds like that's not exactly what's happening here. So I'm sorry.

Leah: I am sorry.

Nick: And I'm deeply sorry about this next question, which is, quote ...

Leah: Whoof!

Nick: "My grandmother has just called me and demanded that I pay for a gift for my mother's retirement. She's been a teacher for the last 30 years. My siblings and I were already planning to take her on a nice vacation. When my grandmother called, she said that part of my gift, which are framed paintings that will be donated to the school in her name, would be $125. I know it doesn't seem like much, but I told her that I'd already planned on getting my mother a gift, and that my financial situation is strained by my recent wedding, therapy, bills and car payments. She replied that I wouldn't need therapy if I budgeted better, and I could just get her a check by October. I feel very bullied into this gift that I know my mother isn't going to feel attached to. The painting isn't her taste. I would note that my grandmother has more money than she knows what to do with, and she mentioned this fact during our call. She wants to have us donate the money so that she can get plaques made—with our money—stating that the gift is from us. She did not get any price estimates before she went and got the paintings framed, and is acting as though our donations towards her gift are not optional. Am I being rude if I refuse to pay for this gift? How do I tell her I don't want any part in this?"

Leah: I mean, just the line that her grandmother said she wouldn't need therapy if she budgeted better? Whew!

Nick: That jumped out at me.

Leah: Yeah, I think we really get a taste of what Nana's coming in with.

Nick: Yeah, bad Nana.

Leah: I wrote a letter that I thought maybe could be a way to ...

Nick: Oh, okay. Yeah, let's hear it.

Leah: "Dear Gam-Gams."

Nick: [laughs] Gam-Gams. Okay, good start.

Leah: I like to start out real sweet. "Dear Gam-Gams, I appreciate that you are celebrating, Mom. Thank you for wanting to include me in this, but I have already got my mother a gift. Love ..."

Nick: Okay. Short and sweet, to the point.

Leah: Repeating what you said, acting like that conversation didn't happen. You're closing it out.

Nick: Yes. I think that is polite and direct, and I think you could hold your ground and be like, "I'm not giving you money because I'm already doing a gift. And you didn't ask me first for my permission."

Leah: You didn't ask me first, and then you insulted me. And then I've specifically told you that I'm in a financially-tight place, and then she kind of made fun of you or mocked you.

Nick: Yeah. And I think grandma needs to know that, like, she can't just make unilateral decisions and spend money that isn't hers.

Leah: And a lot of times with family, I usually say, you know, just do it. You know what I mean? It's family. But I feel like in this one, to be polite you say, "I love that you're doing this for mom. I'm already doing a thing. Thank you for thinking of me, but I'm doing this thing over here. Best ..."

Nick: So one question is, there are siblings involved. I think we need safety in numbers. I think we need to get all the siblings on board. Are all the other siblings just gonna be paying for this? Or is everybody having a problem with this?

Leah: Well, her and her siblings were planning on taking her mom on vacation.

Nick: Right, but are the siblings also cool with grandma bullying them into coughing up cash for this other gift?

Leah: Well, I feel like this is information we need. More information that we need.

Nick: That would be a useful detail, yeah. But I think Grandma just thought she had an awesome idea, and I think she just assumed that everybody was gonna think this was also awesome, and didn't really stop to think, like, "Oh, maybe I should ask first." And so often with etiquette, when we assume, this is when etiquette problems happen. You know, like, "Oh, when are you due?" "I'm not pregnant." You assumed—etiquette crime.

Leah: I actually—when you said that, a physical pain went through my body.

Nick: [laughs] Oh! So don't assume. See? It causes physical pain in Leah Bonnema.

Leah: I've just seen that happen. It's the worst.

Nick: Yes! And I think assumptions is really the root of a lot of etiquette problems. And grandma assumed, and she should not have done that.

Leah: And then she doubled down.

Nick: Oh, a person like this? Of course, she's gonna double down.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Of course. And I think there is this concept, like, all grandmas are sweet and nice. And, like, no. No, they're just older rude people.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] They're just rude people who are now older. So, yeah, I think you can hold your ground, especially since this is gonna cause a financial hardship. Because, like, what are your options? Give grandma money, and now you're in, like, a tough financial spot? Like, I don't think we want to live in that world.

Leah: Yeah. You said $125 doesn't seem like a lot. It's $125! That's a whole bill.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, and if you don't got it, you don't got it.

Leah: Yeah. It's not anybody's—the therapy thing just—of course, as soon as somebody says anything negative about therapy, my claws are out.

Nick: Yeah, grandma lacks empathy.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I think that's the major issue here with grandma. So I think we can just set boundaries, and I think somebody like this needs to have boundaries set with them.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Because also, this is not the last time something like this is gonna happen. I'm sure it wasn't the first, either. But I think it ends here. So I think what you said is nice. And I think putting in writing is very nice, which is like, "Thank you so much. I appreciate it. I've already done something else."

Leah: End of story.

Nick: Done. And she can't, like, make you give the money. She can't garnish your wages, you know? [laughs] So I think that just needs to be that. And if Grandma wants to be mad at you because she assumed you were gonna give her money that she didn't ask permission for, I guess just let her be mad.

Leah: Yeah, that's—I mean, that's the thing. Let her be mad, and she's gonna come around because she's your grandma and she's gonna want you in her life.

Nick: So our next question is, quote, "I was venting with my daughter about our in-law, Lisa, who has been in the family for more than 30 years. As I was complaining about Lisa's repeated tendency towards being overly direct and difficult, somehow my daughter's phone accidentally dialed Lisa, and she heard us go on and on about her behavior—more than enough to let her know how I felt about her. Now everyone knows what happened. And to say the least, there are hurt feelings and anger. So how would you handle this hot mess? I love Lisa very much, but sometimes I'm just tired of her abrasive behavior, and was just venting. Obviously, Lisa wasn't supposed to hear any of it. But how do you apologize? What do I apologize for? It sounds so hollow to say, 'Sorry you heard all that, you weren't supposed to.' Or, 'Sorry Siri heard your name and dialed you without my knowledge.' There has been no resolution, just awkward family meet-ups with underlying tension. Help!"

Leah: What a worst nightmare.

Nick: This is a nightmare. No, this is—I mean, this is terrible.

Leah: This is why I turn my phone off in therapy. All the way off.

Nick: Oh, yeah! Yeah, that's smart.

Leah: You're talking about somebody and they call them. Ugh!

Nick: Oh, yeah. Can you imagine?

Leah: Oh, I can imagine.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess you have two options here. You can ignore it and just pretend it never happened, and just try to be polite and just we move on. Or I think we address it head on. I think these are your options.

Leah: I laid awake at night thinking about this question.

Nick: Oh, okay.

Leah: And I came to an answer that I think you have to apologize.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: And then I think you have to say—I think it's a three-part, and the third part is the part that is negotiable, but this is what I was thinking of. You would do an apology for what happened. And then I think you should say—because I think whether or not we like Lisa, it would hurt somebody's feelings to hear people talking about them.

Nick: Oh, of course!

Leah: So I think, regardless of how we feel about her, we can recognize that that wouldn't feel good. So we apologize, we say "Can't imagine. Very hurtful to hear." And then I think we actually own that we're upset with her, and that we should have maybe just dealt with it. "I should have just come to you. When you did this, it hurt my feelings." Or, "We've had this thing. I should have just talked to you about it. I apologize. I would like to clear the air."

Nick: Yes. And I think the question of, like, what do I apologize for? I think it's that. "I'm apologizing for doing something behind your back, when I should have just been direct with you." Like, that's the apology. "I didn't have the courage just to have a polite and direct conversation about my feelings. And instead, I just did it behind your back."

Leah: Yeah, because she's sitting here, "I was just venting." I think that you should own that you have been upset with her.

Nick: And it's interesting that one of the things that we are upset with Lisa about is that she is very direct. And so perhaps if this is a very direct person, she can handle having a direct conversation from you.

Leah: Yeah, and if she can't, I think you could bring up, "Well, you're always very direct with us."

Nick: Right, yes. "If you can dish it, you gotta be able to take it, Lisa."

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Yeah. So, yeah, I think the multi-part? Yeah, I think we definitely apologize that it happened. I think we apologize that it happened in a way that wasn't very polite. And then I guess, then once it's all in the open, then we should maybe actually address the underlying issue and see if we can resolve something.

Leah: Because I do think saying, "I should have just come to you about this."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Then it's not like you're trying to hide it, or you're not trying to say, "Oh, I didn't even think that." You're just like, "This is a thing that's happening that bothers me, and we should just talk about it."

Nick: Yeah. I think that would be the nicest thing. And then what do we do to make sure this doesn't happen again?

Leah: Well, we all just put our phones on airplane mode.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, although how does this happen? I mean, Siri never listens to me even when I'm calling her.

Leah: This is a once in a lifetime. Although it's happened to me. I was at a temp job.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: A man called me. I worked—I catered with him.

Nick: Mm.

Leah: He put me in for a job, an acting job, because I was like the type they were looking for. He called me to say that they were interested in me. I said, "Thank you very much." The person sitting behind me—this is a true story—was the best friend of the girlfriend of the guy who called me, and didn't understand that it was about a job and thought that this guy and I were, like, setting up a date.

Nick: [laughs] Okay.

Leah: So then this girl behind me called her friend. Her friend then somehow got my number and called me and started yelling at me. So it is a small world and crazy things happen.

Nick: I don't think this is like the same thing.

Leah: It's crazy that in all of New York City ...

Nick: Great story! Loved hearing it!

Leah: The best friend behind me. I'm just saying, like, weird things happen. You know what I mean?

Nick: I mean, we just want to tell anecdotes about weird things happening? Okay.

Leah: But I mean, that people hear things that you're like, how in all the people in the world did this person hear this?

Nick: Okay, tangential. We'll let it slide.

Leah: You know, it was sort of related. I'm just saying I would always look behind me, and I would always put my phone on airplane mode if I was gonna—if you felt like you needed to vent about somebody.

Nick: Yes. I think the bigger lesson is that we're always being monitored and watched and nowhere is safe.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So just never say anything negative ever, even if it's in the privacy of your own home.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So our next question is, quote, "At what age is it no longer appropriate for identical twins to dress alike?"

Leah: I love matching outfits. I'm coming in strong on this, I'm coming in hard.

Nick: Sure. Yeah, we know where you're gonna come down on this.

Leah: I wish more people were wearing identical outfits, at all ages. I want to see two 80-year-old twins wearing matching jam jams. That's the cutest thing I've ever seen.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, it happens, sure. There actually is a lot of ink spilled on the question of whether or not you should dress your twin babies alike. Like, whether or not that's okay, and whether or not that fosters enough sense of individuality.

Leah: I was just watching season six of Love Island, and there were two twins.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: And when they came in, they were wearing the same thing. Very hard to tell them apart. Would I call that rude? No.

Nick: I mean, I was watching season three of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, and as we all know, Darcy and Stacy are twins, and they dress alike. So it was a little actually weird that both were on vacation in Albania wearing the exact same thing. Like, it catches your eye. So I mean, it does draw attention. So I guess if we had to have an etiquette rule, if we're in a situation where you really shouldn't be drawing attention to yourself, that would be a reason maybe not to dress like your twin.

Leah: Yeah. But I feel like clothes are—that's how people express themselves. And if they like to express themselves together, I don't think it's rude to other people.

Nick: No, but I guess if you're at a funeral and it's very solemn and you're, like, in very matchy-matchy outfits, and it's sort of distracting for everybody somehow.

Leah: Were they at a funeral on 90 Days: Before the 90 Days?

Nick: No, but there are other times when twins dress alike. It's not just on reality television.

Leah: I mean, maybe they're linked in their grief.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I'm not saying it's rude. I'm just saying, like, if there's a situation in which you would be causing undue distraction. Like, if you were in some situation where that was not welcome, then maybe we wouldn't dress alike. Or what about situations in which twins might confuse other people about which one is which? And that's actually confusing, and it actually makes your guests feel uncomfortable somehow?

Leah: I guess at a certain point, I kind of feel like ...

Nick: I'm just trying to cover all the bases. It doesn't feel rude.

Leah: No, I know. But I've never been a twin. You know, of the people that I know that are twins who are identical twins, they're very connected. And, like, if I get them confused, that's on me.

Nick: Yeah, I guess that's true. Yeah, whose responsibility is it to separate the twins? So how did we land on this then? Dress alike? Have at it? Live your truth?

Leah: Well, I think I landed very hard on dress like how you want to. I think you have more reservations.

Nick: You know, I don't like to give blanket permission for anything.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: I think that's my hesitation. But yeah, I guess there's really no occasion in which it's, like, really rude to do it. I guess there's not. So all right, I'm on Team Bonnema on this one.

Leah: Oh, wow! I didn't think you'd come down on that.

Nick: No, but here we are. Stranger things happen.

Leah: Whoo!

Nick: So our next question is, quote, "My husband went out to dinner with three friends he hasn't seen for a while. One of these friends is always very generous to the point it makes us uncomfortable, because we worry that he's too generous with everyone and not great at ever saying no. He's been in serious credit card debt from his behavior in the past. He paid for dinner without asking. So my husband and the other friends used Zelle to pay him back anyways. He responded by sending the money back plus $5 to everyone's account, to my husband's dismay. I think it would have been more polite to graciously accept dinner in the first place. My husband thinks it's more polite to be concerned about his friend, and that our friend should have graciously accepted the offer to split the bill in the first place. Who is right?"

Leah: I'm coming down on the letter writer's side, I think it would have been more gracious to just accept dinner.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: I'm not gonna be responsible for another adult's finances, in the way of being like, "You shouldn't do this," That feels inappropriate.

Nick: Yeah, that's a little condescending. That I know better. My judgment about your finances is better than yours. Which may be true but, like, it's not really the time or place for this. I think if you are concerned about your friend, we could have a separate conversation away from any meal that's happening at the moment to talk about your general concern about his over-generosity. So you could have, like, that conversation separately. But linked with this meal? Yeah, you just accept it graciously.

Leah: Yeah, I agree 100 percent. If you are worried and you want to have that conversation, it needs to be separate.

Nick: And I think you're gonna dine with this person in the future, you can invite your friend and make it very clear that this is your treat, so that at the invitation stage we've made it clear who is hosting. I think that's nice.

Leah: I think that is nice.

Nick: Or, you know, you can all just take turns. And so like, "Oh, you got last one, so we'll get it this time." And then it all kind of evens out in the end.

Leah: I solidly come in with you.

Nick: Okay, that was easy. Was it really that easy? Is there anything else, or any other hidden meanings?

Leah: I don't think so. I think also the "they have trouble saying no" is not the same as "they like to spend money on people." Like, people weren't being, like, "Pay for this!" And then he caved and did it. You know what I mean? It's that this person likes to be overly generous, which is not the same. Like, if you were worried about people were making him pay for dinner ...

Nick: Yes.

Leah: ... you know? And making sure they got their money back. That's a different question. But I don't feel like that's actually—that's not that he's having trouble saying no, he likes to pay for people.

Nick: Now, the episode where I have now electronically sent you money and you send money back to me plus $5. Hmm.

Leah: Well, I think that he's saying, "I don't want you to do this."

Nick: Right. But then the plus-$5 part? I don't know how I feel about that.

Leah: Well, maybe he was rounding up with tip.

Nick: No, it sounded like, "I am actually paying you back, plus I'm just adding $5 on top of that."

Leah: Well, I think he's trying to make a point, because he feels like they were trying to make a point by not letting him pay. So now he's making his point back. Like, don't do this.

Nick: Right, so all this point-making? I don't know how I feel about it.

Leah: Yeah. Well, it's a very interesting move.

Nick: It's a very interesting move, because it's like you're concerned about my finances, so I'm gonna make your concerns worse.

Leah: Well, I think what he's saying is, "I don't want you concerned about my finances."

Nick: That is also what that's saying, yes.

Leah: I'm giving you back with interest.

Nick: Right. I mean, that's a good deal. I'll take that return. So okay, yeah, I think in the future, just let him live his life, I guess that's how we want to do that.

Leah: Yeah. And I think also what you said was if our letter writer's husband is, like, very concerned, it's a separate conversation with the friend.

Nick: Right. Okay. So our next thing is about local etiquette.

Leah: I was so excited for this.

Nick: So it is, quote, "A while back, you asked for local etiquette." We did. "And here's what I can tell you about being Iowa Nice. If someone bumps into you and you don't both apologize, that's rude. Even if you're the person getting jostled. And if you're walking on a trail or sidewalk, you have to acknowledge the existence of everyone you pass on foot—though not bicycles—with a general remark, smile or wave. And when driving on a two-lane gravel road, it is considered rude to not at least raise your index finger off the wheel as a wave to passing cars. And if you know and recognize the person, they usually get the full hand while keeping your wrist on the top of the wheel." So that's very interesting.

Leah: I love this. I wrote, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" next to all of the points. These are all things that I love to do. I feel like this is Northwestern Maine nice as well.

Nick: I think it's probably everywhere except New York City and Los Angeles.

Leah: [laughs] Yeah, I think it's everywhere except for where we are. I'm still doing it here. I'm doing it to everybody.

Nick: And people are like, "Oh, who's that unstable woman I just passed?"

Leah: [laughs] "Why did she say hello?" Although a lot of people here say hello.

Nick: Yeah, and I'd be like, "Do I know you?" I mean, whenever I go home to California, it does take me a day to recalibrate. Like, why is there so much eye contact? And like, why are people waving at me? And it takes, like, all this strength to, like, muster up a hello to strangers. It's very awkward for me. But I love also the one finger off the wheel as a wave. Be like, just a little nod. And then the whole hand is like, "Oh, I know you!"

Leah: Yeah. It's like, just acknowledging people. "I see you."

Nick: Just acknowledging people, I mean, isn't that what etiquette's about?

Leah: Yes!

Nick: On some level.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: Just acknowledging the existence that other people exist.

Leah: [laughs] Yes. Yes.

Nick: Yeah. Actually—I mean, actually at the core, at the kernel, actually that actually is what etiquette is all about—just acknowledging that other people do exist, and that it's not just you alone. Oh, profound!

Leah: Whoof!

Nick: Oh, so profound. So do you have anything nice to share with us, or maybe a question? Please send it to us. You can send it to us through our website, Wereyouraisedbywolves.com. Or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message (267) CALL-RBW. And we'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!