Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle eating cake with ice cream, behaving in movie theaters, cutting nails in public, and much more.
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle eating cake with ice cream, behaving in movie theaters, cutting nails in public, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
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Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema
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Nick: Do you eat dessert the wrong way? Do you save too many seats in movie theaters? Do you clip your fingernails in public? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!
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Nick: Hey, everybody. It's Nick Leighton.
Leah: And it's Leah Bonnema.
Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.
Leah: Whoo! Let's get in it!
Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about something that is apparently very provocative. A lot of thoughts out there. A lot of ink has been spilled on this topic.
Nick: We are having cake. We are having ice cream. Do we use a fork or a spoon?
Leah: I do remember we got a lot of write-ins about a spork previously, so I don't want to throw that out.
Nick: [laughs] Sure. And when we say write-ins, we say, "Sternly written emails."
Leah: Sternly written emails. I would say also DMs.
Nick: Yeah, but just to take it off the table—pun intended—we are not gonna have the ice cream fork as an option for this conversation.
Leah: Okay. And we're taking the spork off.
Nick: We're taking spork off. We have a fork, we have a spoon, in the traditional way.
Leah: I mean, this is a real brain freeze.
Leah: Because obviously you go spoon-ice cream, fork-cake.
Nick: Right. And interestingly, the idea of putting ice cream on cake, I think might be more modern than we think it is. Like, I was looking through all the etiquette books that I have in my archives—and this goes back, you know, several hundred years—and the idea of cake showing up or ice cream in the indexes is, like, relatively recent. Like, Emily Post in 1922, she says that quote, "The great American dessert is ice cream or pie. Pie, however, is not a company dessert. Ice cream, on the other hand, is the inevitable conclusion of a formal dinner."
Leah: How is pie not a company dessert when pie is a holiday classic, which usually involves company?
Nick: Can you imagine? You're going up to Emily's house and she serves you pie.
Nick: How gauche!
Leah: I love pie, Emily. I love it!
Nick: All right, so we have cake. We have some ice cream on this cake. What is the correct implement?
Leah: I'm gonna be honest, I will eat it with either. However I get that cake and that ice cream in my mouth, I think is a win. But if I have to pick, I think I'm gonna say—because I could see, it's like which is more odd: eating the ice cream with a fork or eating the cake with a spoon? And I'm happy to do either. I'm happy to do either.
Leah: Because at the end it's greatness. But I guess I'm going to eat with a fork.
Nick: So the answer is that you use both.
Leah: You didn't put that on the table!
Nick: [laughs] So Miss Manners says quote, "But even chocolate and vanilla desserts are not all black and white. That is why the proper dessert service consists of both a fork and a spoon in all the cases where only one or the other would be of use.
Leah: I feel like I got slightly led astray with that question. [laughs]
Nick: Okay. That's true. I might have been slightly misleading. There's another etiquette book, The Vogue Book of Etiquette, which I don't know if we've talked about on this show, but is one of the things in my collection. It's from the late '40s, and they agree with this idea that you use both a fork and a spoon, but they say quote, "There is no practical basis for this as a spoon would often suffice. And it is certainly not a rule, but for some reason when one is given two implements as one is for dessert, it is more attractive not to use the spoon only. The fork is used for the solid part of ice cream, the spoon for the part which has melted."
Leah: I was gonna say you can't get the melted with the fork. That's the sad part. You have to obviously lick your plate.
Nick: Obviously? You would obviously have to do that?
Leah: I mean, that's what you've left me with. Because if I have a fork, is that I will either put just a finger right across or maybe a quick lick while nobody's looking.
Nick: Uh huh. Sure. Well, if no one's looking, then etiquette rules may be suspended. So you might have found a loophole. Now when we're talking about using both of these implements, we're actually talking about using them at the same time, at least according to, like, very formal proper etiquette, which is you use the fork in your left hand and you use the spoon in your right. Like continental dining. So, like, instead of a knife in your right hand, you have the spoon. And you actually use both of these together. So you'll, like, use the fork tines down to, like, hold down the cake as you use the spoon to, like, get a little piece off of it. And you can then use the fork to move some cake into the spoon. So you kind of use both of these things simultaneously. Like, similar like you're eating a steak. Like, same idea, continental-style.
Leah: Right, just like a steak.
Nick: Just like a steak.
Leah: But I do think it's funny that in my mind, if it's a big piece of cake with ice cream, it's different than, like, an ice cream on top of a brownie. So really, I feel like maybe I actually think spoon because that's what I would do with the brownie and the ice cream. It's just the visual of the cake that's throwing me off.
Nick: Yes. No, the idea of the texture and the quality of the item. Like, if cake doesn't have the benefit of being softened by ice cream, then it would be more of a fork thing, right? That makes sense. Right. But also, as time goes by, I can see how cake can become more spoonable. So then that also makes sense. So there is, like, the official rule, the Miss Manners rule, but you can see actually it is more nuanced here, and it actually is a little difficult to maybe always follow that rule. And sometimes maybe we need a little more nuance, a little on-the-ground decision making, some game day decisions.
Leah: Game day decisions.
Nick: Yeah. So sometimes cake and ice cream requires that.
Leah: Get in there, call an audible. Mid-cake and ice cream. "Switching it out!"
Nick: [laughs] Call an audible!
Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to go deep.
Leah: Deep and on the big screen.
Nick: So for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about going to the movies.
Leah: I love going to the movies.
Nick: And I'm actually sort of surprised that it has taken us this long to get to this topic.
Leah: Me too. I was like, "How have we not?"
Nick: Yeah, I actually had to look back in the archives to be like, "Have we already talked about this?" Because it was like, "How is it that it's taken us this long?" So the movies, it is a fraught place. A lot of etiquette crimes go down in this little room.
Leah: And so much joy.
Nick: And joy and tears and adventure, thrills.
Leah: All the emotions!
Nick: So I guess in thinking about this, there's just the general we are in public with other people rules. So I guess, like, all of those apply. But then I guess there are some very specific, like, movie rules.
Leah: Yeah, I didn't know if we wanted to—you know, I always like to jump in, but I was like, should we be more organized with the—and then start with the getting the tickets and then going to the concessions and then getting into the theater?
Nick: Oh, let's go—let's go in chronological order. Okay.
Leah: Which, you know, is very against how I normally think. But I was like, why don't we throw this out and try it that way?
Nick: Okay. Happy to encourage this. So all right, buying the tickets. Are there etiquette crimes other than, like, not paying back your friends promptly?
Leah: Well, I just thought of it because of that letter we had the other week when that woman was like ...
Nick: Oh, right.
Leah: ... when our letter writer was like, "Let me make it up to you, but you get the tickets," and then not—what? Let's not do that to our friends.
Nick: Yeah. No, if somebody gets the tickets, then, like, pay them back before the movie starts. I think that's probably a good rule.
Leah: And if you were like, "This will be my treat," and then they were like, "Well, I'll grab them," then it's your treat and you have to pay for the tickets.
Nick: Yes, don't not do that. Yeah. Though that's so obvious, this does not need to be said.
Leah: How is it so obvious when—I mean, we think it's obvious.
Nick: I know. We just got a letter. I know.
Leah: But obviously, there's at least one person.
Nick: All right. Yeah, if we can prevent any more people from doing that. But yes, if you treat a friend to the movies, that means you are treating your friend to the movies, in which case you will now treat them to the movie.
Nick: Just to be clear. Okay, so now we are at the movie theater. So we're getting concessions, and so standard concession rules apply: let's not cut in line, let's be ready to order when we step up to the front.
Leah: That's what I put: a Nick Leighton special. Be ready to order when you get to the counter. And also people are sort of like in a hurry. They gotta—you know what I mean? This is not a place to dilly dally. You've gotta get your popcorn, you want to get your seat.
Nick: But if there is an unusual menu, then no problem. Step to the side until you're ready and let other people go in front of you. This is fine.
Leah: I'm just thinking about it and I'm so excited.
Nick: And so can we go into the theater yet? Chronologically?
Leah: I think we can.
Nick: Okay, so now we are in the theater. So the thing on my list is basically don't hog an entire row. Don't save a row for friends who aren't there. I think that's really tricky to, like, save an entire row.
Leah: Yeah, it's—people are like, "Oh, I'm saving one seat." Okay. Maybe two. But then you're like, "All of row J?" That seems egregious.
Nick: Yeah. And so the question is, like, how many seats is too many seats? Like, one seat?
Nick: Totally fine. Two seats? One on either side of you? Okay. I mean, I feel like I'm good with that. We're saving three seats. Okay, but your friends better be there before the movie starts. I don't want to see those seats empty when, like, the lights go down. Now we're saving four seats? Hmm.
Leah: Now we're skating.
Nick: Right? Now it becomes a little tricky. So I just feel like whatever it is, based on the density and crowd level of this movie theater, just be mindful of how many seats you are saving and, like, when of your friends really showing up? And you should make an effort to be on time. Like, it is annoying when people arrive late to a movie that's already started.
Leah: And sometimes people come in, they drop their jackets and then they run back out to use the restroom. And they're there, they're actually there. They just went out to get popcorn or whatever. I'm fine with that.
Nick: Yeah. I guess when I think about seat saving, I feel like it's when you're saving seats for people who are not in the building, who have not arrived yet, I feel like that is a problem for me. Like, if the entire row is saved, but everybody is buying popcorn and is going to be back before the movie starts, somehow that actually feels fine.
Leah: Yeah, that's fine.
Nick: Like, we're not actually saving seats for somebody else, I'm actually just putting my coat in my own seat.
Nick: And that's not saving seats. I guess that's the distinction.
Leah: Yes. That's the difference.
Leah: And now a lot of times you actually, depending on the size of the theater, you act—when you get your tickets, you get your seat number.
Nick: Isn't that a revelation?
Leah: But if it doesn't work like that, and say I'm the only person in the whole theater—which has happened to me before—don't come and then sit in the only chair that's directly in front of me.
Nick: [laughs] Right? Yeah.
Leah: Which has also happened to me before.
Nick: Yeah, that's weird. Yeah, don't do that.
Leah: You're like, "What—what just happened right now?? Just move over two.
Leah: We can still both be in the middle. The whole theater's empty!
Nick: Yeah, that's strange.
Leah: And then if you did get seats online that have seat numbers, you can't take other people's seats then. That's not ...
Nick: Oh, no. That's not a thing that happens. No, if you have a seat assignment ...
Leah: Oh, but it happens. I've watched full on to-dos in theaters when people are being like ...
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess it's similar to, like, when you're on an airplane and you have the window seat. And somebody's in your seat and they're like, "Oh, can I have this seat?" And it's like, "No. No, that's not—no." [laughs] I reserved it. That's my seat. So sorry.
Leah: I paid for the seat.
Nick: "Yeah, I'm so sorry. But, like, that's just not how this works."
Leah: And then I think when we're going past people to our seat, you know, A) we in the seat should make an effort to sort of move back to let them through. Maybe if we have stuff under our seat, push it, and then we, those going through, should make an effort to not completely step on everybody.
Nick: Yes. Oh, that's just standard aisle etiquette rules. Yes.
Leah: Standard aisle etiquette rules.
Nick: Yeah, standard. Now what about talking, talking in a movie theater?
Leah: See, I think there are movies that are movies that you can talk through, not talk, like, through—there's a difference where you go and you have a conversation with your friend, that's out for all movies.
Leah: But movies that are—you're very reactive to? Horror.
Leah: I love going to a horror movie because of all of the interaction happening.
Nick: Like, I do love a horror movie where you get a, "Don't go in there!"
Nick: Like, I do—I do enjoy.
Leah: I love that!
Nick: That is part of the community experience of going to certain movies. Absolutely. Yes.
Leah: So I went and saw the remake of when It came out.
Nick: Oh yeah.
Leah: And there was this group of, like, teenagers who screamed through the whole thing.
Leah: And it honestly made the experience a cut above.
Leah: I mean, really was delightful.
Nick: Yeah, I agree that, like, there is a time and place for that, and there are definitely certain genres of movies that are like that.
Leah: And like slapstick comedies.
Nick: Yeah. But I think, yeah, having any conversation with people that's just out. There is no movie genre where that's, like, fine.
Leah: And I would say that's even for the previews, because some people are serious preview people. So I went to the open—the first of when the new Star Wars started coming out. I will never forget this. You know, we all were getting—everybody was like, "We got the early tickets!" These are—these are the die hard fans, you know what I mean?
Leah: We don't know what's coming. It's the new series. We get our middle—you know what I mean? Everybody's there early. The music came on, and I literally when I just—when I was waiting in line, I thought I was gonna scream. And then these two women came and sat, like, two in front of us and were just talking. And I mean the whole theater, because it's a whole theater full of people who are, like, die hard fans, lost their minds!
Leah: And the girls looked around, like, shocked. And we were like, "This is the whole experience from preview to credits."
Nick: Yes. I mean, I would say a lot of people would say that the previews is not the thing, and you're allowed to talk through those.
Leah: No. Also let me say I don't care if you're whispering and it's a preview. I get it. We're still—but they were talking like this. "Hi. How was your day? No, you didn't! Yes, I did! I didn't go to that thing. Have you been to this school?" You know what I mean? Like, full, regular conversation.
Nick: Their attitude was the movie hasn't started yet, and so therefore, the movie etiquette has not kicked in.
Leah: I will acquiesce that talking through previews is negotiable. That being said, it should be at a whisper.
Nick: Yeah, okay. I'll give that compromise.
Leah: For me, it's not a negotiable. If I'm in a preview and someone's talking to me, I'm ending the relationship.
Nick: Yeah, I don't want to be distracted while I'm, like, watching a preview. Yeah, I agree.
Leah: I love the previews. I get there early to make sure I see all the previews.
Nick: And I guess related as long as we're on the topic, if there's like, the on-screen quiz that happens, then I guess don't shout out the answers and ruin it for other people. I guess is that also something we have to talk about?
Leah: I don't know. I don't think I'm willing to die on that hill, or I don't think I'm ready to die on that hill. It doesn't really ...
Nick: Okay. So that's not a concern for you.
Leah: I feel like I could support somebody if they shouted it out. I'd be like, "Go you!" You know what I mean? That's ...
Nick: [laughs] Okay. All right. So we don't have to worry about the on-screen trivia. Okay.
Leah: I don't need you kicking the back of my seat either.
Nick: Well, okay. I mean, what else do you want to talk about? Please don't spill coke on me. Please don't throw popcorn at me.
Leah: No. A lot of people put their feet up on the chair behind them.
Nick: Oh. Yeah, don't do that.
Leah: Don't do that.
Nick: In most movie theaters, there's a bit of, like, spring in all the seats now.
Leah: There's spring.
Leah: So, like, if you need to put your legs out, you gotta sit in the front where there's nobody down there, and then put your legs through the little arm section so nobody can see your feet up through—in front of the movie.
Nick: Oh, I don't feel like I want someone's feet on an armrest I might be using.
Leah: I hate to break it to you, but there's much worse things that have been on that armrest.
Nick: I'm—yeah. No, sometimes the fiction that that hasn't happened is the only thing that gets me through it.
Nick: So that's true. Speaking of which, if you do do something to your seat, like you spill something on it and it's not something that will be noticed by, like, the staff cleaning up after the movie, say something so that somebody else doesn't, like, sit in your stained seat or something.
Leah: I think you could just wipe it off with one of your napkins.
Nick: Well, I don't know. If you've got nacho cheese all down a seat back or something. I mean, I think there are ...
Leah: That sort of thing.
Nick: There are spills that probably go beyond a little wipe down.
Leah: I see what you're saying. Yeah.
Nick: And you would just hate for somebody else to not see that, and it doesn't get cleaned up, and now I'm sitting in your nacho cheese.
Leah: That's a very good point. And I'm flashing back to the previews question. I still—even though I'm willing to understand why some people don't think of that as the movie, I still think it's a part of the movie experience, and at that point you shouldn't be having full conversations.
Nick: Yeah, I guess it is about the movie experience, because otherwise, like, why aren't you just doing this at home? Like, what was the point of you leaving the house?
Leah: I could see going, "Oh, I can't wait to see that." "Oh, this is—I'm looking forward to this." You know what I mean? But if you're just talking about what happened during the day with your friend and I can hear you during my previews, I don't like it.
Nick: Yeah, that's fair. Now speaking of talking, after the movie, I think it is important to not talk about the movie, especially spoilers on the way out.
Nick: I think this is a big deal, because I think this is a problem.
Leah: Oh, yes. And people will talk loudly walking out, and there's all these people waiting, especially if it's like a new movie. Don't do that to people.
Nick: Yeah, you don't want to be like, "He was dead the whole time!"
Nick: Yeah. And then I would also add, and I think this is probably a bigger deal in Los Angeles than it is other places, but don't speak negatively about the movie until you're at least a block away from the theater. It's the same rule about seeing a live performance. There is a very good chance in Los Angeles if you see, like, a movie, especially when it comes out, that someone who worked on that movie or knows somebody who worked on that movie might be around and might hear your negative comments and, like, that's not fun. So it is a minor possibility, but I think it is a possibility nevertheless. So I think just using that as a blanket rule, like, we'll wait to criticize how horrible the movie was until we're, like, well out of earshot, I think that's a good thing.
Leah: I like that. And I think this and the last thing you said about not spoiling it when you walk out also applies to bathrooms. When you're in the restroom, maybe you're with your friend and you're at the sink and you're washing your hands, there's people coming in that haven't been into the film yet.
Nick: Oh, one thing we did not mention? Maybe we don't need to mention it, maybe we do. Phones, phones.
Leah: Oh, put them away.
Nick: I don't want to see the glow from your phone.
Leah: When I'm in any kind of public area, I have the brightness off. I do it at shows, I do it at movies, just in case, like, I have to pull my phone out for some reason or I have to step outside. And I think it's very helpful to just remember, "Oh, am I going in somewhere? Let me turn the brightness down."
Nick: And I get there are occasions, and there are people who do need to be on call for whatever reason, and that's fine. I get that. But you just want to do it in a way that will minimize the inconvenience to other people as much as possible. So yeah, turning down the brightness, that's a good move. Making sure it's on silent and not ringing? Also courteous. So you just want to, like, be mindful.
Nick: Other than that, have a good time at the movies!
Leah: Have so much fun and get some extra popcorn for me.
Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.
Nick: So our first question is quote, "Is it rude to send a package to someone with signature required if you are sending them a gift? I worry about package theft, especially for items that are handmade, brought back from another country or otherwise irreplaceable. I know it can be a bit of a hassle for the recipient if they're not at home when the package gets delivered because they may have to go to the courier office to pick it up. But at least it ensures that the package won't get stolen while they're out. What do you think?"
Leah: I get the feeling of wanting to make sure things don't get stolen.
Nick: Oh, absolutely. And there's some bonkers statistic in New York that, like, 100,000 packages get stolen in New York City every day. Every day!
Leah: Oh, wow!
Nick: Isn't that unbelievable?
Leah: Unbelievable. I mean, believable.
Nick: Right. So I get that. Yeah, that—that makes sense.
Leah: And, like, if you're sending me my passport that I left at your house.
Nick: Sure. Yeah, okay.
Leah: But it is definitely creating work for the recipient.
Nick: Yes, potentially.
Leah: I know that anytime somebody has sent me something where I had to have a signature, I went into a full panic. What if I'm not there? What am I gonna do? I think this is a very good question, because I see both sides of it equally.
Nick: Yes. And yeah, being held hostage by UPS is horrible. Yeah, this is, like, not a fun thing.
Leah: Well, one time I missed one when we were in Queens, and the place I had to go to get it?
Nick: Oh, I'm sure that was fun.
Leah: I had to take a cab. It wasn't off a subway. You know, it was like a whole thing.
Leah: Not only do I see it as the recipient on both sides, like, yes, I don't want something to be stolen that was, you know, handmade or precious, but then also I see it from—like, if I was sending something, I would want to make sure that this person got this thing that is so special for them, but then I also don't want to give them work. So I'm really split on this one.
Nick: I guess my first thought when I read this is that very often—and this comes up with thank-you notes more than gifts, but very often there's this idea that we want to make it a surprise. We want this thing, this thank-you note showing up in your mailbox, or this gift showing up at your door, we want this to be a total surprise, for you to have no foreknowledge that it's coming. And because we want that surprise, often we commit etiquette crimes. "Oh, I didn't have their address and I didn't want to ask them for it, so I ended up just not sending them a thank-you note." And so for this, my thought is, let's ask. "Hey, I have something for you. I would like to set it to you. It's a little precious. Should I send it signature required, or is there a different address I can send it to? Or is there a day you know you'll be home?" And we don't have to say what it is, but we could say like, "Oh, I'm about to do something. What would be convenient for you?"
Leah: This is such a great answer.
Nick: Thank you. [laughs] Yeah, I think this is the correct answer.
Leah: Because also maybe they have like an office where there's somebody always there signing, you know what I mean?
Nick: Yeah. Or it's like, "Oh, I have a relationship with the bodega next door, so you can send it there." Or, "I'm gonna be home on Friday, so if we can coordinate delivery that day, like, no problem." But yeah, the idea that something is a total surprise? No. Like, I'm delighted to receive something, even if I know something's coming. Even if I know exactly what's coming, it is still nice to actually receive the thing. So I think when in doubt, just ask.
Leah: This is the most perfect answer, and there's no other answer, and I love this answer and it's perfect.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. Put that on a pillow.
Nick: So our next question is quote, "In a silverware drawer, should the handles go towards you or away from you? I put the handles towards you, so that's the thing you touch. My significant other says it should be the other way around so that you can see what the item is first, since all the handles look the same. What say you?"
Leah: I had such a definitive answer on this that I almost feel guilty.
Leah: I almost feel guilty because, you know, I want to see everybody's point of view.
Nick: Okay. I really hope we have the same answer.
Leah: Should we say it at the same time?
Nick: Okay. So on three, what you should see first.
Nick: One, two, three. Handles!
Nick: Okay. [laughs]
Leah: Yes! [laughs]
Nick: Great. Yes, I think handles is correct because—well, for variety of reasons. One, I think the idea that, like, oh, let's not touch, like, the part that's gonna go in our mouth with our hands, I like that logic.
Leah: Yeah, me too.
Nick: Also, does your drawer only open two inches? Like, are we not able to see the full implement when we're looking at the drawer? Can we not look above the handle to see, like, oh, what is this thing? Also in every house, do we not put stuff back in the same place all the time? Like, do we not know which slot is for spoons, which is for forks, which is for knives? Like, do we not know?
Leah: Well, I think they're assuming that's for guests, the not knowing.
Nick: Oh, we assume this is for guests not knowing?
Leah: I mean, obviously the people whose house it's in knows where their spoons are.
Nick: No, I just think this is a relationship disagreement and we're being brought into referee.
Leah: Okay. Well then, it's definitely handles regardless.
Nick: Okay. Yeah, this isn't about guests. This is just two people living together that have very different feelings and think that we're gonna be the tiebreaker.
Leah: I would actually go as far as to say—and this might be aggressive, because I really do like to see everything ...
Nick: Oh. Be aggressive.
Leah: B-E-A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E! I wrote on here, "Handles go towards you, and I might even scream if I saw them the other way. Like, it would be. I would be like, "What happened in this drawer?"
Leah: Am I supposed to grab this spoon by the bowl?
Nick: Well also, if I'm now having to grab a knife by the handle, which is now further away from me, that's a very awkward twist of my body, right? Because I'm, like, reaching around to get the handle, and then I have to kind of have a scoop motion to now bring it right side up.
Leah: Yeah. We gotta twist a wrist?
Nick: Right? Yeah. That's a lot of shoulder mobility.
Leah: I'm grabbing something by whatever comes to me first. That's what I'm grabbing something by: the handle.
Nick: Yes. Most people do want to grab the thing that's closest to them. Yeah, that does make sense.
Leah: But—and also a straight shot. Your—your arm is going out straight.
Nick: Yes, it does become more linear, which does somehow make sense. Now to be fair, though, etiquette is not always about what makes sense. So I could see a world in which, oh, the "etiquette rule," quote-unquote, is something that makes no sense. However, I think for this I do feel like handles makes more sense, because the hygiene explanation I think does trump, which is like, oh, let's not put my grubby hands all over, like, all the parts.
Leah: I really want to see it both ways because I love being—I want to be supportive in couple fights.
Nick: [laughs] Mm-hmm.
Leah: I want to be supportive of both people, you know what I mean? But I just can't see it the other way.
Nick: Now I would say—and this is how we can try and, like, thread that needle—that etiquette is local. And so the etiquette rules in this household can be whatever the household decides. So if they would like to come to some consensus about how they want to have their silverware, then that is correct for that household. There is nothing that says that it must be done a certain way. So they can come to some consensus on this, and they can do it however which way they want. And that does become correct locally, which is all that etiquette is concerned with.
Leah: I have an idea.
Leah: Why don't we get a utensil—you know, the thing you put inside your drawer.
Leah: Sort of ...
Nick: Like a caddy divider-y thing.
Leah: That's wide enough so you can put anything anywhere, and then we go every other. So it's like, forks up, spoons down, knives up.
Nick: I don't think that's gonna be satisfying for everybody.
Leah: So we go back and forth.
Nick: I don't know.
Leah: And then everybody wins.
Nick: I don't think that's gonna actually do the trick for these people. But ...
Leah: That's too bad because I feel really good about that answer.
Nick: It would be great if that does scratch everybody's itch. Only they can say whether or not that will achieve our dreams and our goals. So we'll leave that in their hands.
Leah: But it's a possibility.
Nick: The world is full of possibilities, Leah.
Nick: So do you have questions for us about anything? Let us know! You can let us know through our website, WereYouRaisedbyWolves.com, or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message: (267) CALL_RBW.
Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent.
Leah: Vent or repent!
Nick: Which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had recently, or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So Leah, would you like to vent or repent?
Leah: Oh, I'm gonna repent.
Nick: [gasps] All right. What crime have you committed, Leah?
Leah: So this is a—I feel like it's a crime against myself.
Leah: And I feel like I could have been better.
Nick: Okay. So it was a learning opportunity.
Leah: So I was obviously listening to last week's episode of Were You Raised by Wolves?
Leah: And it was the question about our letter-writer was in the office and the person next to them made all those sounds for their emails.
Leah: And I felt—I felt let down by myself that I didn't—I was so hot to be like, "Well, we can figure this out," that I didn't sit with them in the annoyance of which I want to support people, because my last office job I had, there was this man who would walk down the aisles and drag his hands along the cubicles, and I would hear it from what felt like miles away. And it would legitimately wake me up at night. It made me so—it was like an earworm. Do you know? It just ...
Nick: [laughs] Okay.
Leah: I could hear it from aisles away and I was like, "Oh, he's coming."
Nick: This feels very subtle, but okay.
Leah: It was subtle, but it never ended. And I don't understand why you need to drag your hand along the top of everybody's cubicles when people are working.
Nick: Okay, yeah. No, I don't want to minimize your pain.
Leah: And it—I mean, it was just—it got me.
Leah: And I thought about it, and I would just be walking outside doing errands, and I would be like, "Oh!" You know? And so I want to make sure—I want to go back and say to our letter-writer, "Oh, I get you!" I feel like I didn't say that. I didn't support their annoyance, and it was just me trying to be hot to figure out a way to fix it. But I never said, "Oh, offices! It'll—you know, when people next to you do things that set you off, it's enough to keep you up at night."
Nick: So I guess that's a fair repent that you weren't as supportive of the letter-writer as you wanted to be.
Leah: I just felt very—when I heard it back I was like, I don't feel good about myself here.
Leah: So I feel much better now that I've—because I didn't know how to get a hold of them and be like, "Hey, when you hear this." [laughs]
Nick: Okay. I mean, I have their email. I'm happy to connect you.
Leah: Well, now I've told everybody so everybody knows.
Nick: So for me, I would like to vent. And so I just want to vent about people who clip their fingernails in public.
Nick: And I think we've talked about it before. It's come up. But I guess my question is: why is this happening? Like, really, why is this happening? Because I don't feel this need to do it. I never have an urgent need to do it. I don't feel the need to do it so frequently. Like, I feel like my nails grow at, like, a 10th of a millimeter a day, and so the need to do it on a daily basis where, like, oh my gosh, I left the house, didn't get my nails, gotta do it on the subway, Like, that's not happening for me. And so what I want to try and understand is why are people doing this? Like, what is the reason? Because I think we all know you're not supposed to do it, or I hope we all know that. And so why is it still happening? Why have we not just ended this?
Leah: For people who haven't been in New York, people legitimately just cut their nails on the subway.
Nick: And then I was trying to think, oh, because this just happened to me again. So that's why it's just top of mind. But it was like, why does it bother me? Then I was like, okay, why—why is it bothering me? Maybe it's me. Maybe I can change the way I react to this thing. Because there is something about that noise, which is, like ...
Leah: Oh, it's the noise!
Nick: Oh, that's triggering. But then I feel like what it is it's the mystery of what happens to the piece of nail that has been cut. Because it's very small. It clearly goes somewhere. It can often travel far farther than you think it does. And now I'm worried, oh, has it gotten on me? And now is it caught on my clothing and now I'm gonna bring it home? And these are not things that I want, and these are not things I want to think about. And I guess that is why it bothers me. And also basically, I think the etiquette rule—I'd have to check Emily Post on this but, like, I don't think we remove things that are attached to our bodies in public.
Nick: I think this is a general rule. We just, like, don't do that. So we don't pick scabs, We don't, like, remove hair, we don't trim our ear hair, we don't clip our nails. Like, we just don't do any of those things where we're, like, removing something that's attached to our body.
Nick: And so—but yeah, it was just like, why is this still happening? The best explanation I could come up with is just like, because it happens often enough, because, like, there's millions of people in New York City, and statistically speaking, you are just seeing thousands of people per day. So the chance that any one of them might be doing this, I guess, is like, just a game of percentages. And so because enough people are doing it, it normalizes it for other people who do see it as well. And they're like, "Oh, nail clipping is a thing I've seen. And so therefore maybe it's cool." Like, is that it?
Leah: I can hear the noise as you're saying it and, like, I'm getting goose pimples all over my skin.
Nick: Yeah. No, it's terrible. So I just want to remind people we do not clip our nails outside of the privacy of our home. And even when we're home, we want to make sure we're doing it out of earshot of people in your home. So let's not do it in front of your dinner guests. And so yeah, just like, why is this happening? How do we stop this? Is it a campaign?
Leah: How do we stop it?
Nick: What do I need to do? What is the next step I can do to just end this for everybody?
Leah: I would love a Nicholas Leighton campaign of stopping people cutting their nails in public.
Nick: Yeah. No, it's really terrible. Although if I'm gonna make the effort to have a campaign to stop something, I guess the question is is this number one on my list? I don't know. And I'd have to really think, like, what is the number one campaign priority?
Leah: I mean, that's hard.
Nick: Right? I think that's very hard. This would definitely be top 10. This would definitely be top 10.
Leah: That's a deep dive.
Nick: Yeah. Oh, what are my top ten pet peeves of all time?
Leah: What's the campaign? What are the top campaigns?
Nick: Yeah. So anyway, at least for today, nail clipping? Ugh, just don't do it. And I don't know. If you have ideas for how we can stop this in society, let me know. You know, let's see if we can make it a team effort.
Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?
Leah: I learned about this hot debate going on between forks and spoons in the cake-ice cream world.
Nick: Right? Very tense. It's very tense out there.
Nick: And I learned that we have yet another thing in common, Leah: we both will grab flatware by the handle first.
Leah: We have so many similarities.
Nick: We find them more and more.
Leah: It's like we were meant to be.
Nick: Well, thank you, Leah.
Leah: Thank you, Nick.
Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. I'd say you a handwritten note on my custom stationery if I could.
Leah: He would!
Nick: So for your homework this week, we want you to tell a friend about us, because the more people that listen to our show, the more polite people are gonna be. And the more polite people are gonna be, the closer we're gonna be to achieving world peace. And don't you want world peace?
Leah: We all want world peace.
Nick: I think we do. So please do that, and we'll see you next time.
Nick: All right, Leah. It's time for Cordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, but I only give you 30 seconds to do it. Ready, set, go!
Leah: So this is actually my one-year anniversary of going to Pilates.
Nick: Oh, okay!
Leah: And I want to do a cordials of kindness to the Pilates studio I go to because it's actually like the most supportive group of people who make you feel at home and welcome and comfortable about your different abilities and athletic levels. And I was nervous going in. Trying something new is always nerve wracking, and it has been such a great experience, and everybody is so kind and helpful.
Nick: Oh, that's very nice! And for me, I want to read a nice review we just got, which is quote, "When I realized it was Monday, I grabbed my popcorn and water and ran to my table to listen to the latest Nick and Leah podcast. Mondays are no longer blah, they are Were You Raised by Wolves? day. Great advice along with charming dialog. Love them so much!"
Leah: That is so wonderful.
Nick: Isn't that great? I love the idea of a little popcorn and our show.
Leah: So sweet!
Nick: So thank you. This really makes our day.
Leah: So much!
You can start with our first episode, our most recent episode, or jump in with one of these favorites in the middle:
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