Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, we'll tackle proper greetings for brides, sending food back at restaurants, charging guests at weddings, remembering names at parties, leaving voicemails, standing too close on the subway, and more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)
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Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema
Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
Nick: Do you know the one thing you should never say to a bride? Do you try and guess someone's name when you can't remember? Do you send food back in a restaurant for the wrong reasons? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out.
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Nick: Hey everybody...welcome to the show. I'm Nick Leighton coming to you from New York. And by my side today is Leah Bonnema.
Leah: Hi. I'm so excited to be here.
Nick: Welcome, Leah.
Leah: Thank you.
Nick: And let's just get right down to it...
Leah: Let's get in it. I'm excited about these questions because I already know that I've gone way off on these.
Nick: So, for our amuse-bouch today...
Nick: ...one of your best girl friends gets married. What words of good wishes do you say to this person?
Leah: What are the words of good wishes?
Leah: I say, "Congratulations"?
Nick: Oh, that is incorrect.
Leah: I say, "Congratulations to you both." That's what I say.
Nick: So, technically speaking, you do not say "congratulations" to a bride.
Nick: Yes. You say "best wishes" only. Because there's this weird implication that the bride wasn't good enough to get married or didn't have her choice in suitors.
Leah: Oh, like "congrats...you finally locked one down."
Leah: Oh, wow.
Nick: And so you would say "best wishes" to the bride but then you would say "congratulations" to the groom because it's like, "Ah, she accepted your proposal."
Leah: Oh, very interesting. I see this.
Nick: So, obviously nobody follows this or even knows this, but knowledge is powder.
Leah: I usually on cards will write some words that I wish them both.
Nick: Uh huh.
Leah: But I mean that's not in passing, you know what I mean? That's a thing you have to write down, so when I walk up to them, I think I've probably, definitely said, "Congratulations."
Nick: Yeah, most people would. And that's wrong. Yeah. You can say, "Congratulations and best wishes."
Leah: I feel like I was going really down the road...the one thing you're not supposed to say. I was like, "Am I not supposed to guess her age? Am I not supposed to guess how many people she was with before she got married?"
Nick: Yes, all of those are also things...
Leah: Those are also things, but nobody else is doing that.
Nick: So, coming up after the break, there's much more Raised by Wolves to come...stay tuned.
Nick: So now it's a time for "A Question of Etiquette" and I'm back with Leila Manominah. Leila, are you ever at a party and you just can't remember someone's name?
Leah: That happens to me at every party I'm at.
Leah: I never can remember people's names.
Nick: So, is this a problem?
Nick: Yes, it is definitely a problem.
Leah: Because the more I get anxious about it, the more I forget the name.
Nick: So, there's all these weird tricks and strategies and parlor games that people have come up with to try to figure it out at parties. Some of them are better than others. I was reading Lisa Vanderpump, a Real Housewife...somehow an etiquette authority. She was talking about how in Britain, people use both their first and last names when they're introducing themselves and so her trick if she can't remember your name is she'll say, "Oh, what is your name?" And they'll be like, "Kelly." And then she'll say, "Oh, no, your surname." And they'll be like, "Smith." And she's like, "Ah, ha." So, somehow she tricks you into giving your full name.
Leah: I often ask people what their last name is knowing that they're going to give me their first name.
Nick: Really? I don't think I would answer a question that way.
Leah: Most people do. I'll be like, "Hey..." Because I'm looking them up on social media. "...what was your last name?" And people always say their first name.
Nick: That's weird.
Leah: I know, but people can't not say their first...It's weird...
Nick: Ask me what my name is.
Leah: Well, now you know it's coming.
Nick: I think I...
Leah: I also feel like you would never fall for that. But 98% of everybody else has.
Nick: That's probably true. So, yeah...a lot of people have weird tricks. Other tricks I read about, which are insane, is to ask people, "What is the meaning behind your name?" Like what does your name mean?
Leah: And their name's like, "Bob."
Leah: And they're like, "Bob..."
Nick: Yeah, so that's weird.
Leah: "...like for apples."
Nick: And then some people said you should ask them about their driver's license photo and compare driver's licenses.
Leah: Where I'd be like, "You want to see my age?"
Nick: Oh, OK.
Leah: I'd be like, "Are you crazy? Are you a stalker?"
Nick: But also that's insane.
Leah: That's an insane thing. I always try to introduce the one person I remember.
Nick: Pull in somebody into the...
Leah: I'll be like, "Have you met Richard?" And then I pretend to cough. I'll move my head like something else happened over here and then Richard, who obviously knows what's happening, will be like, "Sorry, I missed your name?"
Nick: I think all these games are bad. I think we should not be playing this game.
Leah: I tried for a while to just be like, "I'm horrible with names. Can you tell me your name again?" And every single time, the person took it personally.
Nick: So, this is a good point because everybody has their part to play here and I think when you can't remember someone's name, just say it. Like, "Oh, I'm so sorry I can't remember your name. Would you please tell me again?" Just no fuss, no muss. But as the recipient of this question, you also have to just answer the question, no fuss, no muss.
Leah: I never take it personally when people forget my name. At all.
Nick: Yeah, and you can't be one of these people like, "Oh, don't remember my name, huh?" No, none of that. You can't play that game.
Leah: No, it's because it's also like you're making a person feel so uncomfortable. What if they have a memory problem or what if they meet a thousand people a day? Like, don't make it a big deal.
Nick: Or what if they just don't care about you at all?
Leah: What if you are completely not memorable?
Nick: Which, PS, many of you aren't. So, the etiquette does require both parties to play their part. You just be like, "Oh, so sorry I can't remember your name." And the other person be like, "My name is Bob." And just end the exchange there.
Nick: But you have to now remember Bob's name.
Leah: Oh, yeah. Then it's...
Nick: Now it's done.
Nick: And I think if you also have a name that is hard to pronounce or a little unusual, you cannot be offended if people get it wrong.
Leah: Yeah, no. People also get very basic names wrong. People are getting names wrong all over the world.
Nick: Like "Bob"?
Leah: Not like "Bob." But like, people get Leah wrong all the time. And I'll be like, "Really?"
Nick: What do they say?
Leah: People be like... Well, also, because "Leah" is out there.
Leah: You know what I mean.
Nick: Princess, yeah.
Leah: The Princess.
Nick: Oh, and you should never guess. Never try and guess.
Leah: That seems wild. "No, no, no...don't tell me."
Nick: "Is it... Jebediah?" No, never guess. But I think you just own that you don't remember and just pull it off like a Band-Aid and be done with it.
Leah: I would agree, except I've done this and I've seen how people reacted and it wasn't worth it.
Nick: It wasn't worth it?
Leah: No, every single one of them go their panties in a twist.
Nick: Well, that's on them. Coming up after the break, there's more RBW. Stay tuned.
Nick: So now is the part of the show where we take questions from the wilderness.
Nick: So, the first question is: "Is it OK to have a cash bar at my wedding?"
Leah: Do you want me to answer?
Nick: I'll take your answer.
Leah: But do you want to go first because I don't always want to answer first out of politeness.
Nick: Oh, very kind. I think the answer here is no. You cannot have a cash bar at your wedding. No.
Nick: Yes really. It's so awkward. If I'm a guest in your home, are you going to charge me for a drink?
Leah: But it's not in a home, it's in a bar.
Nick: What difference does it make? It's a wedding and I am your guest.
Nick: OK, defend your position.
Leah: Well, what if people... Here's the thing: It could be a wedding where, I guess, you could just be like, "We just don't have all of those things then...it's just a wine bar and seltzer."
Nick: That's fine. I think you don't have to serve hard liquor.
Nick: But what you do serve you cannot charge your guests for.
Nick: A wedding invitation is not an invoice, so...
Leah: Yes, I agree with this.
Nick: ...if you cannot afford a full-blown, top-shelf bar, no problem. But whatever you do offer, you cannot charge your guests for.
Nick: OK. Do you want to revise your statement, Leah?
Leah: Um... Well, I feel like we got to the end of it, so I don't need to revise as I feel like, "Don't charge people for things, but feel free that if you can't afford it to have a limited bar."
Nick: OK, alright. We're on the same page then.
Leah: But I do think... How do you feel about tipping? I feel like you still drop tips.
Nick: I think it's up to the host to tip the staff at the end of the night.
Nick: Yeah, yeah.
Leah: So, would you put a little sign saying I've already handled the tips?
Nick: No, that's weird, too.
Leah: OK. I don't know. I'm asking.
Nick: Yeah, don't put a sign out. No.
Leah: Because I assume I have to tip as a guest at weddings.
Nick: My inclination is that I would not tip at the bar at the wedding and that I would trust that my hosts are going to take care of the staff.
Leah: I don't always trust people to take care of staff and that's what I worry about.
Nick: Well, these are your friends, yeah.
Leah: These are not my friends. These are people have begrudgingly invited me to weddings.
Nick: You are a plus one, OK.
Leah: No, I'm kidding. My friends are wonderful people that I'm sure tip. I'm just saying...
Nick: It's a hazard.
Leah: ...I just want to make sure waitstaff has been taken care of.
Nick: For sure. Yeah, I guess if you know that the hosts of the wedding are bad people, then you should tip your staff.
Leah: No, you're right...everybody's tipping.
Nick: Because also, like if it's a seated dinner wedding where plates are coming...
Leah: ...going around putting in pockets...
Nick: Yeah, like are you tipping waiters? Where does it end?
Leah: No, you're right. This is a good point.
Nick: Question number two: "Someone just sent me a gift since I let them be a houseguest for the weekend. Should I send a thank you note?" So this is a thank you for a thank you.
Leah: No, I would just send a text.
Nick: Yeah, I think you want to acknowledge that you've received the thing.
Nick: But it does not have to be a full-blown handwritten note.
Nick: Yeah, you don't send a thank you for a thank you.
Leah: But you could send a thank you text.
Nick: Yeah, an acknowledgement. And that would be nice to be like, "Oh my gosh...you sent me plates in the shape of flowers. Oh, how nice."
Leah: Well, I think you can say, "Thank you so much I got the plates."
Nick: Yeah, and that's enough.
Leah: You don't have to be like, "I got plates." And that's it.
Nick: Plates. Received.
Leah: Yeah, I feel like there could be something nice about it.
Nick: OK, yeah. Not just a signature confirmation.
Leah: I just wanted you to know this was here.
Nick: This exists in my home now.
Leah: I usually when I get something from someone as a thank you, I do a thing with the thing. Like if it's a shirt or a plate...and then I take a picture of me using it. And I'll be like, "I love it." Because I want people to know that I'm enjoying it.
Nick: That's nice. I'm trying to think is there a category of good in which that is awkward?
Leah: I mean, if it is, then that person wants that picture.
Nick: That's true. Our next question is: "If someone sends their food back, do you have to wait for them in order to start eating your meal?"
Leah: I feel like you definitely have opinions on this.
Nick: Oh, I definitely have opinions about this. Let's first just talk about when it's OK to send food back.
Leah: I sent my food back for the first time ever one month ago...
Nick: And were you mortified?
Leah: I couldn't do it. And my friend was like, "You can do it. You can just say that there's no way you could have known what this was when your ordered it."
Nick: What was this?
Leah: It was... I'm trying to remember exactly. But it was a chicken dish. But it was a chicken dish that was, anytime it's been ordered in anywhere in the whole world in any restaurant, is a certain kind of of chicken dish. And then when I got it, I was like, "Oh, is this a..." And they were like, "Oh, no...we do ours with tomatoes." And it's like, "Nobody else does that." That's the name of the dish. And I don't like...
Nick: What is this dish? Why are you being coy about it?
Leah: I'm not being coy. I can't remember exactly what it was.
Nick: Take a moment to think about the name of this dish. This feels very germane to the conversation.
Leah: OK. It was a Greek... and it should have come with a tzatziki? And, at most, maybe something you would put on a Greek salad? But to fly out of the pocket and marinate it in a tomato-onion, which is like a... we're moving into an Italian, you know what I mean? That's not the dish.
Nick: OK, so totally left-field.
Leah: Yeah, and it wasn't on the menu that they were making artistic choices. And it really wasn't something that I... So, I was just not going to eat it, because I was like, "I'll eat around it." My friend was like, "You can just send it back and be like, 'I didn't know...'" And I was like, "I can't." And she was like, "You can."
Nick: Did you do it?
Leah: I did, but I had a panic attack. I felt so rude.
Nick: I think the restaurant is at fault here.
Leah: I mean, they definitely were. But I didn't want to ruffle any feathers, you know what I mean? But, so that was my first time and I felt like a wild woman. I was like, "I have now sent food back. I'm a whole new person."
Leah: But I definitely did not expect my friend to wait.
Nick: As you were waiting for this reimagined dish to reappear.
Leah: I was like, "Can you do the dish the way it was actually been made for centuries?"
Nick: So, I think in terms of sending food back, I think you can do it if it's totally wrong, or totally not what it should have been, or...
Leah: There's something in it.
Nick: There's an allergen you were clear about. I think you're not allowed to send something because if you just don't like it.
Leah: You change your mind halfway through for what you wanted?
Leah: Or if there's a bug or something.
Nick: If there's an infestation, yeah. A foreign object. But I think sending the food back is an example of how everyone has their part to play in this little play where the person that sends the food back has to tell everyone else to start eating. They have to say this. "Oh, no, no, no...go ahead and start. It's fine."
Nick: That's crucial. Because if they don't, then everyone else should wait. Then, someone maybe if enough time passes should be like, "Oh, do you mind if we start?"
Leah: Yeah, because the temperature of their food is important.
Nick: But it's rude to not invite everyone else to start eating, I think.
Nick: But Miss Manners has some weird rule where she says that bread and salad are exempt from this, but not dinner-size salads. But like an appetizer salad is somehow exempt from this rule.
Leah: Right, were you can just jump in.
Nick: Where you can just jump in.
Leah: Yeah, I think that's true.
Nick: You think just an appetizer-sized salad?
Leah: Yeah, because that's the part of the meal where we're taking the top of the hunger so you can act like a regular human again.
Leah: So, as soon as you get it, you feel free to get in there.
Leah: I would agree with that.
Nick: So, Miss Manners is on to something with that.
Leah: But I do think that maybe some people don't realize they have to tell people to start eating.
Nick: You do, and that's what this entire show is about.
Leah: Now you should know.
Nick: Now you know.
Leah: Tell people.
Nick: Tell people, yes. Invite people to begin, yes. And this is crucial because this comes up in business etiquette a lot where the boss sends the food back, because I guess bosses are always sending food back, and then the underlings are sitting there with their little entrées, fearful to start eating because they know it's rude, but the boss doesn't invite them to start eating. And I think in that situation, I think you're not really allowed to start eating.
Leah: Yeah, you have to wait.
Nick: But I think silently, you should judge your boss...
Nick: ...for being raised by wolves.
Leah: Or maybe they want you to have to wait because they're not a nice person.
Nick: Oh, it's a power game.
Leah: Yeah, it's like a power game.
Nick: Oh, that's clever. I should use that. I should just start sending food back to express my dominance over my other dining companions. So, you've been a waitress in your past lives, and so when someone has done this...
Leah: Sometimes people are just insane with what they want. You know what I mean? And it's customer is always right...that's how that works. Even if you're just walking into the kitchen, turning around, and walking right back out with the same plate. Because sometimes people just want to feel heard.
Nick: I want to be seen.
Leah: Yeah, they want you to... "OK."
Leah: So, I was at a club-dinner place and I was taking care of an important guest.
Leah: Yeah. And, because believe it or not, some people find me very polite. So, he was doing business at the bar and so I was essentially taking care of his girlfriend and her friend. And she said... I'll never forget...
Nick: It's seared... This is seared deep in your memory.
Leah: It is seared. She's having salmon. "We're going to split it." Her and her friend.
Leah: What does that mean to you?
Nick: Um, I'm ordering one salmon entrée and we are going to share this one entrée and maybe I'll bring a side plate?
Leah: I go and I get a salmon. And then I get a side plate and then I bring it over and then I even offer, "Would you like me to split..." But I don't want to touch it before she sees it, you know what I mean? She said, "We said we're splitting it." I was like, "Yeah, I have the plate I'll cut it for you." "No, no, no...that means we want two." And I was like, "Oh..." I kept going on like that maybe in some realm of the world that those words meant what she was saying. And I was like, "Oh, I misunderstood...I thought you wanted to split..." She's like, "Split the salmon. Like we both want one." And I was like...
Nick: Sorry, I need to just catch up on some linguistic questions.
Nick: So, when she said "split it," she meant "two orders."
Nick: That's not what that means.
Leah: That means doubling it.
Nick: Uh, yeah, the word, "split" inherently means...
Leah: It means "half."
Nick: I feel like there're entire Biblical chapters about splitting things and how that's not two of things.
Leah: Yeah, it's a word that doesn't mean that word. And so I was trying make her not be the dumbest person I've ever met. So, I was like, "Oh, I'll split it...and then you'll have two. I brought second plate." "No, I mean we were ordering two. Like that's why I said we were splitting it." And she just kept repeating it. I mean, English was her first language...she dug in. She called her boyfriend over, who called over the manager. And then he at that point decided to agree with her knowing full well what "split" means. And then people yelled at me because the customer is always right. And in what world would I have guessed that split meant two orders.
Nick: I gotta take your side on this one.
Nick: Rarely do I do. But I think you were in the right here. So, if you have questions for us, and of course you do, like, "What do words mean? What is the word 'split'?" Send them to us and you can send them through our website - wereyouraisedbywolves.com - or you can leave us a voicemail or leave us text message at (267) CALL-RBW. And after the break, there's much more. Stay tuned.
Nick: And we're back. And now is the time of the show we play a game we call "Vent or Repent."
Leah: I love this game.
Nick: And this is our opportunity to either vent about some bad etiquette thing we've experienced in the last week or we can repent for some bad etiquette faux pas we've committed. So, would you like to vent or repent, Leah?
Leah: I want to vent.
Leah: But I'm also choosing between two really, really rude things that happened. So maybe you want to go first like we're ordering and then you do yours and then...
Nick: OK. So, for me, I would like to vent. And it's about leaving voicemail messages for people. So, it happens a lot and it just hit me the wrong way where you're returning someone's call and you leave a voicemail like, "Hey, here's the answer to your question that's in detail so when you listen to this voicemail, this will answer everything you need to know and this will be a complete thought and there will be no further occasion for us to have any further discussion on this." Leave this message. OK. Time goes by. An hour. Great. They call me back, "Oh, hey...I saw you called." Me: "Did you listen to the voicemail?" "No, I just saw you called." Uh, what have we done here.
Leah: Yeah, I'm shaking my head because you guys at home can't see this. Unbelievable.
Nick: So, it's like, "You are now wasting my time. Because I left you a voicemail, and I took the time to do that, and I answered everything you needed to know. And so there was no occasion to waste more of my time. So, that's my vent. Just I find that maddening. So, don't do that.
Leah: Did you text back, "Hey. All the answers to your question...in the voicemail."
Nick: No, they called me. So, now I pick up the phone because I assume, "Oh, maybe I didn't answer all the questions. Maybe there is more to talk about." It's like, "No, I just didn't listen to your voicemail. Answer the question again...live on the phone."
Leah: Oh, my goodness.
Nick: Yeah, horrible. Horrible.
Leah: Also, why did you pick up the phone? That's...
Nick: Oh, now it's my fault?
Nick: Alright, so have you had enough time to think about...
Leah: I have. I want to support you and be like, "that is very maddening." You already put the work in. What it is that you put the work in.
Leah: It always feels that way. It's like, "I put the work in and then you didn't even follow up on the thing and now I have to do it again?"
Leah: That's what it feels like.
Nick: And that is the height of rudeness, I think.
Nick: You are inconsiderate of my time...
Leah: That's what it is. Not being considerate of your time.
Nick: And I think for me, when you're not considerate of my time, that's like the thing that bothers me the most. I can handle a lot of transgressions. If you want to play music on the subway in my face, I can handle this. When you waste my time, though?
Leah: It's true.
Nick: Yeah. Alright, so what's your vent?
Leah: I'm going to go with: Train.
Leah: Yesterday, and this happens all the time...
Nick: And we're talking about the subway in the City of New York.
Leah: Subway in the City of New York.
Nick: Alright. Give me a train line. Paint the picture.
Leah: I'm on the N. I'm sitting down. There are multiple seats open. There's space. It's not crowded. There is a man. I'm sitting down. He's is standing directly over me hand on the holdy-thing. Crotch in my face.
Leah: I don't think that I should have to have your crotch in my face and now I have to move? I was like, "What is...there's all of this..."
Nick: So what is the explanation for this?
Leah: It's like, "Move."
Nick: Were you just looking so great and he wanted to sort of...
Leah: You know this. It wouldn't matter if I had a trash bag on. It was... You know, he was wearing pleated khakis.
Nick: Oh. That's the real crime in this story. Forget all the rest. That's the vent.
Leah: That makes it way worse. A) I have to look at pleated khakis and I'm not even judgy about clothes, but pleated khakis? What are we doing? There's space. You are in my face with a very particular part of your body. And now I have to either move or I'm just going to sit here.
Nick: So, what did you do?
Leah: I moved.
Nick: OK. And did he notice you were moving?
Leah: I don't know what he notices. I mean, he clearly doesn't notice people's faces. Unless he was like, "I'm going to hope this ends out well for me and she's just like, 'While you're here...'" I... It just drives me... You're like, "Move!"
Nick: I am sorry this happened to you. And after the break, there's lots more things to probably be sorry for...stay tuned!
Nick: So, Leah...what have we learned today?
Leah: Do you want to go first?
Nick: I have learned that you don't know what "split" means. We all know what it means. Two of things.
Leah: Two of things.
Nick: Yes. "Oh, you have twins! Oh, split children!"
Leah: Can you imagine saying that to someone?
Nick: So, I learned that about you. Yeah.
Leah: I'm going to be very careful saying congratulations to people.
Nick: Never. Yeah, no one should ever be congratulated for anything ever. Just best wishes.
Leah: I'm actually going to find all of the women I congratulated on getting married and be like, "I wanted to take that back."
Nick: Yeah, you should just write a note to everybody apologizing.
Leah: "Hey, I'm really sorry about congratulating you."
Nick: "Sorry, my bad."
Leah: I just never would have thought of it because I usually am actually very happy for people.
Nick: That's your first mistake.
Leah: I'm just out here in the wild being genuinely happy for people.
Nick: Thank you, Leah.
Leah: Thank you.
Nick: It was a treat having you.
Leah: It was a treat being had.
Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a hand-written thank you note on my custom-engraved stationery. Please subscribe to the show and leave us a review. We'd also be delighted if you'd follow us on Instagram, buy some official merch in our store, and visit our website - wereyouraisedbywolves.com. And now, hopefully nobody will ask, "Were you raised by wolves?" See ya next time!
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