March 30, 2020

Eating Cheetos, Knitting in Public, Calling Dibs, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this bonus episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about eating Cheetos, calling dibs, handling supermarket line cutters and slow baggers, behaving at a funeral, shutting down resentful relatives, going barefoot in a no-shoe household, emailing professors, knitting in public, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)

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  • Is there a polite way to eat Cheetos?
  • When do "dibs" expire after you call them?
  • How do you handle line cutters and slow baggers at the supermarket?
  • What are the etiquette rules for talking to mourners at a funeral or viewing?
  • How to deal with relatives who are resentful of your inheritance?
  • If you're not wearing socks, do you still remove your shoes in a no-shoe home?
  • How formal should you be when emailing a professor?
  • Is it rude to knit in public?




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

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

Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema!

Nick: We had so many great questions from the wilderness-

Leah: [Howling]

Nick: -that we have a bonus episode. Our first question is - excellent question - "Is there a polite way to eat Cheetos?"

Leah: That's a great, fun question.

Nick: So, I have actually never had a Cheeto.

Leah: Never?!

Nick: Never. Yeah. It didn't come up in my macrobiotic-vegan household.

Leah: Do you know why the question is?

Nick: Yes. No, I have lived in the world.

Leah: Okay, I just didn't know-

Nick: I have been outside. I have seen television-

Leah: If you haven't held one in your hand, I don't know if you'd know-

Nick: Yeah, and I've had other things that have a Cheeto-like quality. I've eaten Doritos.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Which is sort of going towards that world.

Leah: Yes. On the path.

Nick: But I have never actually had a Cheeto. I have learned a lot about Cheetos from Wikipedia, based on this question.

Leah: It would be amazing to watch you have your first Cheeto.

Nick: I feel like that's a whole BuzzFeed thing that they do-

Leah: Oh, is it?

Nick: -people eating new things for the first time. But I have learned that Cheetos have an official name for the dust on them.

Leah: Oh, really?

Nick: Yes. It's called Cheetle.

Leah: Really?!

Nick: Like, "Oh, you've got some Cheetle on your shirt."

Leah: Really? Like a Don Cheadle.

Nick: Spelled similarly, yes.

Leah: I wonder how Don feels about that.

Nick: I'm sure there are some trademark issues that their lawyers are working out, yeah.

Leah: I see him at home, like, "Ugh! They're using it again!"

Nick: One thing I thought was fascinating, from my internet research, was that there are strawberry Cheetos in Japan.

Leah: Really?!

Nick: Which, I don't know if that's terrifying or wonderful.

Leah: Interesting!

Nick: But strawberry Cheeto ... Yeah.

Leah: When I first moved here, one of the many, many jobs I had ... I was signed up with a catering company.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: One of the jobs- they sent us to a place where people made new versions of food, and then they taste-tested them, and they decided what was going to move forward and what wasn't.

Nick: Oh, I see; like the new flavor of Pringle.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: We all tasted in the back, and I feel like there was a very spicy Cheeto there.

Nick: Yeah, well, I guess Flaming Hot Cheeto-

Leah: Now, there's a Flaming Hot, but this was way before it came out.

Nick: Oh, you have some finger on the pulse.

Leah: Yeah, finger on the pulse.

Nick: So, the question is what is the polite way to eat Cheetos? So, you have had Cheetos.

Leah: Oh, yeah.

Nick: So, do you have thoughts on this?

Leah: I do have thoughts. I was just ... It said, "Is there a polite way ...?" I wrote, "Just don't throw them at people." I just- I feel like, going in, people are going to know this is going to get on your fingers.

Nick: I mean, on some level, Cheetos are inherently designed to do that.

Leah: Yeah, that's-

Nick: That's part of the thing, because you can have cheesy puffs that don't do this.

Leah: Yeah, you're not going to not be able ... You're gonna have orange stuff on you.

Nick: Right; say, Cheetle, if you will ...

Leah: You're gonna be Cheetled.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: You've gotta have napkins ready.

Nick: Okay, napkins. Now, does a napkin remove the Cheetle efficiently?

Leah: You may have to involve, like, water?

Nick: So, are we involving finger bowls?

Leah: A liquid ... You're going to involve a finger bowl?

Nick: I'm going to do finger bowls for this.

Leah: Or you could hand-sanitize, which I feel like loosens it, and then you wipe it down.

Nick: Hm. Okay ...

Leah: Obviously, that's something I have done.

Nick: You have used, like, a Purell-

Leah: A Purell to get it, and then, you just- then you napkin.

Nick: Okay, interesting. I was thinking that the best way, at my formal dinner party, where I'm serving Cheetos as my amuse-bouche, I guess-

Leah: Oh, it'd be a great amuse-bouche!

Nick: -is that I would serve it with chopsticks.

Leah: Oh, wow! You know, that would be fun.

Nick: Right? I mean, don't you think chopsticks solves a lot of problems?

Leah: It does, and I would absolutely ... It would be so fun.

Nick: Yeah, so I think you want to decant the Cheetos into a nice decorative bowl.

Leah: You're decanting Cheetos.

Nick: Yes!

Leah: Of course.

Nick: Then, I think ... Everybody should have their own individual portion of the Cheeto.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I don't think we have a communal bowl of Cheetos.

Leah: I think you could just serve it to each little bowl.

Nick: Right, and then, everybody has chopsticks, and I think we want chopstick rests. I think that's nice.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Then, I think we eat the Cheetos with chopsticks.

Leah: This is lovely.

Nick: Yeah, so-

Leah: This is for a sit-down formal Cheeto.

Nick: Correct. Yes.

Leah: As opposed to walking around a party-

Nick: This is not a passed hors d'oeuvre Cheeto.

Leah: Right.

Nick: But I think, if this was a passed Cheeto, I think I would also serve the chopsticks.

Leah: Okay. What about at a buffet?

Nick: Cheetos a buffet?!

Leah: Yeah. You walk by, and you grab some.

Nick: Well, I think there would need to be tongs.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Right?

Leah: Mm-hmm.

Nick: There's tongs. Now, I'm back at my table, and I- it would always come back to chopsticks.

Leah: I think a part of Cheetos - if it's not Nick's version, which I love - which really makes them more fun is that-

Nick: Yeah, well, it really takes it from desk to dinner. Yeah.

Leah: [Laughing] It does.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: The other side of the Cheeto experience is if you're in a couch spiral, and you're at home alone, and you're eating something that just highlights this, "I'm not leaving ..."

Nick: Despair. Uh-huh.

Leah: Yes, and that's when you eat Cheetos.

Nick: Oh, I see.

Leah: It's on your face. It's on your hands.

Nick: Right.

Leah: You're like, "I'm covered in Cheetos!"

Nick: It's physical manifestation of your internal state.

Leah: Yeah, you're watching- you're on the fifth season of Love Island. You know what I mean?

Nick: Okay. It's dark.

Leah: Yeah, you've hit the Cheetos.

Nick: It's dark.

Leah: You've wiped it on a shirt. I mean, that's a part of the Cheetos experience.

Nick: Okay. Well, I'm really missing out! Christmas is coming, guys. Send Cheetos my way! All right, our next question is: "Last year, myself and four friends decided that we would make a bit of an effort to go out to cultural events. So far, this has included going to two plays. The first was enjoyed by all, but the second was terrible. In fact, it was so terrible that it really bonded us as a group. After the second play, one member of our group (we're gonna call him Chad) called dibs on choosing the next activity. Recently, I discovered that a musical I'm very keen on seeing is coming to our city, so I invited these friends, plus anybody else I thought would be interested in going. Almost immediately, someone from the smaller group responded with, 'Chad called dibs.' It seems to have shut down the conversation, and no one else has responded to my invitation. So, Chad called dibs six months ago and has made no attempt to organize anything, and my invitation included people who aren't in this group. Is there a time limit when dibs can reasonably be considered expired, and should the dibs be considered valid, when the invitation was extended outside the core group?" Leah!

Leah: I have thoughts.

Nick: I have lots of ... First, let's explain, because we do have a lot of international listeners-

Leah: Oh, that's a good idea.

Nick: What 'dibs' is because I think this is a fairly American term. So, 'dibs' is basically when you claim something.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Like, "I claim the front seat of the car."

Leah: That's usually the most popular use of dibs.

Nick: Yes. Although, in America, we would use the alternative expression [in unison] 'Shotgun!' Which, you know where this comes from?

Leah: No.

Nick: I think when there were stagecoaches- horse-drawn stagecoaches, and you were transporting gold, you would have the person sitting in the passenger seat-

Leah: Oh! With a shotgun!

Nick: -with a shotgun, while the other guy got the horses going.

Leah: Oh, wow!

Nick: I think 'getting the horses going' is the technical equestrian term for that [Laughing]

Leah: "I'm gonna get the horses going. You get the shotgun."

Nick: "You get the shotgun!"

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: So, dibs is basically just you're claiming something; like, "I call dibs on the last cookie." "I call dibs on the passenger seat in the car."

Leah: I call dibs on the couch.

Nick: Right. So, that's dibs. My first reaction, when I read this was, like, grow up, people! [Laughing] I mean, how horrible that somebody wants to make an effort to plan a fun night out for everybody. I mean ... That's my first reaction.

Leah: Yeah, and we don't mean grow up, the letter-writer; we mean your friends [crosstalk]

Nick: Your friend! No, letter-writer's lovely.

Leah: Lovely!

Nick: Making an effort; inviting people ...

Leah: You've found something that you were excited about-

Nick: Want other to be people excited about ... Yeah, so our letter-writer, totally in the clear here. Yeah. Well, A) Chad is the worst.

Leah: Also, Chad may just be ... Chad didn't weigh in on this. Chad's taken too long.

Nick: Hm.

Leah: But I think that Chad- it doesn't seem like Chad took this personally.

Nick: No, it's the other friends that seem to feel that we have to respect the dibs system.

Leah: I also think that that person probably just didn't want to go to that place, so they said something-

Nick: Oh, you think that's what it is?

Leah: If you honestly, six months out, are like, "Hey, we have to go in order because someone called dibs," I can't put that into a framework in my brain where that's a real thing that person thinks.

Nick: Yeah, no, that's true.

Leah: I think our letter-writer could write back: "Oooh, I didn't mean to go out of order, Chad. This was just something I was excited about that I wanna go to. I've been ... I love this play." I mean, I don't even know how you can make this-

Nick: Yeah, it's a little mind-boggling. Yeah, I think the idea of dibs, I think, does expire at some point, though. I don't think there is a fixed point in time when it does, but it does feel like six months has now passed.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: Because, is the idea here that we only do two cultural events a year? Is that what this new little group has decided, that six months is our duration?

Leah: Right.

Nick: Also, I think we need to establish the order in which we go. I think we need to establish some ground rules for how this group works. For a little while, I was part of a supper club, where there were six of us, and every month or so, one of us was in charge of picking a restaurant of some cuisine. There was an order in which we were going to do it, which we established, and we mapped it out for six months, and we picked the date six months in advance-

Leah: Oh, wow!

Nick: It was sort of ... Well, I mean, you know me enough to know-

Leah: No, of course.

Nick: Of course. You think we don't have our 2025 plan all sorted out? Of course! But that's how we did it. It was like, "Okay, I know that you're doing February, you're doing March," and it was set. Whereas this feels very nebulous, which is why maybe nothing is happening.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: But also, Chad has lost the privilege.

Leah: I don't even think a person has to bring up, "Hey, it's been six months since we called dibs."

Nick: Right.

Leah: I mean ... I think it could just be like, "Oh, this is a thing I wanted to do."

Nick: This is a bonus thing.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Right. But also-

Leah: And then, set up ... I think what you're saying is a great idea. What's the schedule on this?

Nick: Yeah, "I'd like to plan my life out. I would love to make sure I'm available for these dates. Let's get a shared Google Doc going."

Leah: Right!

Nick: Yeah. So, yeah, I would say ignore the people who don't want to go. If they don't wanna go, they don't wanna go. Then, just find other people to go with.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Just ignore these bad people.

Leah: Yeah, you don't have to wait to go to something because Chad called dibs!

Nick: Definitely not. Also, in general, I think if you wait on other people to do stuff, you'll never do anything.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: I have a lot of friends that are like, "Oh, I really wanna go to Greece, but I don't have anybody to go with ..." Just go. Just go alone.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Just decide you want to go. If somebody can join, great. If not ... Otherwise, you're never gonna leave the house.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: So ...

Leah: And it's nice that ... He or she is inviting extra people.

Nick: Yeah. We'll go. What's the play? Let us know. We're around.

Leah: Absolutely!

Nick: Yeah. Our next question comes from Kiev, Ukraine, which is great. I love that we have listeners in Ukraine.

Leah: So excited!

Nick: So ... Oh, and just by the way, as long as we're talking about Ukraine, it's Ukraine. It is not the Ukraine. Just to be clear, the name of the country is not the Ukraine.

Leah: You know what's so funny?

Nick: I mean ... No.

Leah: Last night, I was watching "The Spy Who Dumped Me."

Nick: O ... kay. Good movie! Solid.

Leah: The open- not the opening scene, but in the intro - we would still be in the first quarter [crosstalk].

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: That's a thing where she goes, "Is it Ukraine, or the Ukraine?"

Nick: Okay!

Leah: So funny that you brought it up!

Nick: So, now we know.

Leah: Now we know.

Nick: It's just Ukraine. So, "Greetings from Kiev. I wanted to ask for your advice on supermarket etiquette. Hopefully, it's not too different here in Kiev as it is in New York City. Specifically, what do you think should be appropriate reaction when ... Scenario one - a person standing in front of you in line suddenly invites their friend, or even group of their friends, with all their groceries, of course, to join them. So, now you have to wait several times longer than you did when you joined the line. Then, the second scenario is the person checking out at the counter in front of you doesn't start putting their purchase items into their shopping bag or back into their cart until the last moment, so that your stuff gets mixed up with theirs. Then you have to either delay your packing, as well, thus inconveniencing the next customer in line, or you have to start packing at the appropriate time and risk invading the slow packer's personal space with your elbows ..." She continues that these are happening to her, and she's very annoyed by this, so she wants our ideas.

Leah: I also want to say really quick that, here, she said, "So, I mostly just suck it up and suffer in silence ..."

Nick: Which is nice.

Leah: Because that's me, too [Laughing]

Nick: Let's start with the second thing first, because the second thing, which is somebody's not packing up fast enough. This is not a very American thing. We don't typically bag our own groceries.

Leah: No-

Nick: That's a very European-

Leah: -unless we're at the self-

Nick: Unless you're at a self-checkout thing, in which case, this is sort of moot, right?

Leah: Yeah, because nobody's going to jump in on you.

Nick: But I have been to Kiev, and I have bought groceries in Kiev, and I do know exactly what she's talking about, so I feel like I have some personal experience.

Leah: Fantastic!

Nick: My thought for this was you wanna toss down a barrier. So, probably, you've brought your own shopping bag, like your own cloth thing. So, as you're about to have your items go across the gate, toss your bag down at the end between the other person and then your new stuff to create a little barrier.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Little wall. I think that might be a nice thing. I don't think you can rush that person.

Leah: I don't think you can rush, but I think you can get in their space.

Nick: You think?!

Leah: It's not elbow to the chin, but [crosstalk] you have to go- once everything's across the threshold, you have to go across the threshold, as well.

Nick: But there's probably 24 inches at the end of this checkout stand.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Now, there's a person standing there bagging their whatever, and now you have to get in there, too.

Leah: I think you can move. I mean, you can't stand on the other side because they're gonna keep bringing in groceries.

Nick: Yeah. Okay ... Well, so what do you want to have happen here? You just want to get in their space.

Leah: I think you should just slightly move so they can be like, "Oh, there's another person here."

Nick: Oh, that person knows that you're there. You were there before.

Leah: Maybe move a little close just to be like-

Nick: You wanna make a little uncomfortable.

Leah: But, you're just waiting in line; you're just moving into the appropriate part of the line.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: No, you don't think so?

Nick: I mean-

Leah: I love the idea of throwing the bag down. I think that's perfect.

Nick: I think the problem is if you get too much into this other person's space that you're very aggressively kind of signaling, like, "You are real slow."

Leah: I'm just saying if [crosstalk]

Nick: Which, I think our letter-writer wants to avoid creating this impression.

Leah: I'm saying if there's somebody behind you-

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: -you have to move.

Nick: Yes [crosstalk]

Leah: -because they're now at the register part.

Nick: Yeah, so now there's a backup.

Leah: So, what, are you gonna go stand on the other side of the store?

Nick: Okay ...

Leah: I don't think you should feel bad about moving into the next- you're technically moving into the next slot.

Nick: Okay, so you ... Unfortunately, we still have someone in that slot.

Leah: So, you just sort of stand in between- you move to 1.5.

Nick: Okay, and I guess you want to keep an eye on your items to make sure that the other person doesn't snag them-

Leah: By mistake.

Nick: Right.

Leah: So, you're just sort of there.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I don't think you have to be there aggressively, but I think you can stay in the space with your stuff.

Nick: Okay. This feels fair.

Leah: I'm not saying, like, hip check people, or be like, "Let's move it along!"

Nick: No. Okay, how about some very aggressive sighing?

Leah: I wouldn't even do very aggressive ... You're just standing there. You don't even- You're like, "Okay ..."

Nick: Yeah, "When you're done, I'm ready to bag."

Leah: I feel like a similar feeling might be when you're coming through, checking your stuff at the airport, and it goes to the conveyor belt.

Nick: Oh, like TSA?

Leah: Yeah. Then, your stuff is coming in, and people are grabbing their stuff, but some people kind of want to put it all there, and you're like- there's all these things coming. You have to stand by your stuff.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I'm not gonna leave my computer over there because this guy wants to put his shoes on at the thing. I'm going to stand there.

Nick: Okay. Yeah, I get this flavor.

Leah: I'm not being rude to that person.

Nick: But the level of rage at the TSA scenario - significantly higher.

Leah: Oh, I'm very casual.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I get to the airport seven hours early.

Nick: Okay. [Laughing] In fact, we're actually- we're at the airport right now.

Leah: Yeah [Laughing] We're on our way in a cab.

Nick: Okay. So, the first issue that she raised is about people cutting in line.

Leah: That's unbelievable.

Nick: It's unbelievable, yeah. Yeah, this is rude. I guess the only exception would be if it was a, "Oh, I'm holding this space for someone who I was shopping with." We did a divide-and-conquer kind of thing, like you get the milk; I'm gonna get the apples.

Leah: Yeah, then it's fine.

Nick: And we're gonna meet at the checkout.

Leah: But that doesn't feel like that ... This feels like somebody's like, "Oh, I see, my friend, Haley!"

Nick: Yes.

Leah: "Haley ... Hey, Haley, you wanna jump in here with me?" Who's doing that? This is not a club!

Nick: For that, I think you can say something, and I think you say it in a very neutral tone; like, "Oh, I'm sorry. I think I was next." You try and say this in a nonjudgmental- not like, "Are you crazy? You clearly see me here. Why are you cutting in line?" sort of tone; just like, "Oh, I'm sorry. I think I was next."

Leah: I would love to say that. You know I never would.

Nick: You just let it go.

Leah: I would just stew about it, but I think you're absolutely correct.

Nick: I think if you can say it in a nice way, I think this will make everybody feel better because you've said it, which I think will make you feel better; if they want to continue to be rude, well, then they're actually actively being rude now, and now we can take the satisfaction that they're a bad person.

Leah: I think that's a great plan.

Nick: Okay, great. Our next question is: "What are the etiquette rules for talking to mourners at a funeral or viewing? I recently attended a funeral, and when I came to offer condolences to the family, one of the older siblings had stepped back from the line and pulled me aside to talk. As time went on, more siblings and close friends joined us until there was a small group chatting and laughing behind the other mourners, which included the parents. This seemed disrespectful to those who were grieving, but the siblings were clearly just trying to cope. The death was unexpected, and about 400 people came to the viewing, so the family was overwhelmed. What are your thoughts? Is there a more appropriate way to handle this situation?"

Leah: Well, it's the family who's laughing.

Nick: Well, there's laughter happening.

Leah: Well, it said the siblings pulled them aside.

Nick: Right, "and joined us, and there was a small group chatting and laughing." So, the siblings were part of the laughter, and the chatting.

Leah: So, I kind of feel like if you're in the family ...?

Nick: Yes. I mean, I think if you are one of the people who is mourning, you kind of have a pretty wide pass for a lot of things.

Leah: Yeah, I feel like you can't say to somebody who's in the family of the person who's been lost to be like, "We have to not laugh."

Nick: Right. I mean, I guess if the laughter goes so far beyond just humorous remembrances and is now actually distracting other people, then that's probably a problem.

Leah: But I mean, I don't know what this person would do about it because it's ... I guess they would just leave the group?

Nick: The concern is that there was a receiving line. Then, I guess one of the siblings pulled our letter-writer aside for a side chat, which is fine. I think that's okay. Then that group just got bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and it was competing with the line.

Leah: I guess you could say, "Should we step to the side so people have more ...?" You could say, "Should we step further to the side?"

Nick: Oh, take it further away?

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: I guess you could say, "Oh, should we rejoin the group?" Maybe you could encourage your little side group to merge back in with the main amoeba.

Leah: But people laugh as a way of-

Nick: Oh, sure.

Leah: I think that's normal, and a lot of people understand that people laugh when they're grieving.

Nick: Yeah, I don't really have a problem with that, as long as it's not disrespectful.

Leah: Yeah, I think it's one of the ways people let out all these pent-up feelings and deal with the situation. I think it's been established that people know that that's how a lot of people handle grieving.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Especially if the people who are the mourners, or if the siblings are laughing, it would be weird to be like, "You shouldn't ..."

Nick: Yeah, "You oughta keep that down."

Leah: Yeah. It's how they're processing and remembering ...

Nick: Yeah. Unless the siblings are sort of laughing, and then the parents are not laughing, and the parents would find that disrespectful.

Leah: But, I mean, it's ... I don't know if it's somebody outside of the family's thing to be like, "Hey ..." you know what I mean?

Nick: Yes. For our letter-writer, I don't think there's anything that they can do differently.

Leah: Yeah, they can't really do anything differently.

Nick: Other than, I guess, just be mindful of the dynamics, and if it felt like something was getting a little disrespectful, then to try and make it not that way, but it feels like everything was fine.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Okay, great. Our next question, also a family question: "My husband is not only adorable and kind, but also happens to come from a wealthy family. His mother was disinherited because she got divorced. This meant that my husband and his brother got their mother's share of the inheritance when their grandfather died because it skipped the mother, whereas his cousins did not inherit anything yet. At a recent family party, we were discussing summer plans in reply to a question, and there was quite a bit of, 'Must be nice to be able to afford that,' from one of the cousins. They are still children of multi-millionaires, so believe me, they're not living paycheck-to-paycheck, and we work, and have a mortgage, like anybody else. I laughed awkwardly and said something about how not having children frees up a lot of spending money. But what can I say to cut this down in the future without causing further resentment?"

Leah: Do you think the resentment is on her side, or she thinks that they have resentment? Because I think that if they have resentment, that's not your-

Nick: Oh! Who is resentful?

Leah: Who is resentful?

Nick: I read this as the cousins were resentful of their wealth.

Leah: Right. I did, too, and then-

Nick: But we could be resentful of being treated this way.

Leah: Yeah, I think that maybe sometimes ... My therapist has pointed out that I think other people are angry, when I'm actually angry.

Nick: Sidebar - I just saw something on Twitter, where somebody was saying, "Oh, I finally figured out the secret to happiness. Somebody telling me that they're not mad at me every 15 seconds."
Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: Like, I just need to be constantly reminded, "I'm not mad at you." Uh, so, okay ...

Leah: Because she didn't do anything- They're resentful?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: How is that ...?

Nick: Yeah. You can't not have the money unless you wanted to give them the money.

Leah: But it's also not really their ... I don't think you should explain anything about not freeing up money, not having children ...

Nick: Yeah. The children thing is not a great explainer.

Leah: I mean, I see what you're doing. You feel like you have to say something to make it ... But you don't have to. Let it drop. They say it. Just let it sit there.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Because they're being- they're the ones that are being inappropriate.

Nick: Yeah, and you can't make the situation different.

Leah: Yeah, you didn't write the will. You have nothing ...

Nick: Yeah. I guess one solution is to avoid talking about anything that has a dollar amount attached to it, at all costs.

Leah: Yeah. Just move the- as soon as it comes up, move it into something else.

Nick: "Oh, what are your summer plans?" "Oh, we just wanna try and stay local."

Leah: "I'm learning how to basket-weave."

Nick: "We've got so many projects around the house."

Leah: Yeah, "I haven't decided yet."

Nick: Yeah. I don't need to hear about your trip to the Adriatic. So, I guess that would be how I would handle that is just try and avoid talking about the costs of things. I have a lot experience with this because I have a relative who does not understand what things cost in New York City, so the idea that coffee costs more than a dollar is insane! How is it even possible that someone would charge more than a dollar for coffee? How do we get that number?

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, I can't talk about how anything else in my life costs, or what my flight home costs, or that long-distance charges aren't a thing anymore. Just like, all of this is ... Anything that might have a dollar amount attached, I go out of my way to not bring up that type of conversation.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Because now it's a conversation about how expensive life is ...

Leah: Right.

Nick: Okay. So, I think that's a similar strategy here.

Leah: Yeah, because I would love to hear about your trip to the Adriatic.

Nick: [Giggling] But you wouldn't be resentful for my vacation.

Leah: I would never be resentful! So, I think it's, yeah, just steer the conversation.

Nick: Yeah, I think that's all you can do.

Leah: This is not your responsibility to ... I feel like, often, other people behave bad - I've said this before - and then we feel like we did something.

Nick: Yes. Yeah, like their bad etiquette is somehow our fault.

Leah: Yeah, and it's not.

Nick: Nope. So, I think just trying to minimize it, and-

Leah: I would say don't explain yourself.

Nick: Never explain. Yeah.

Leah: Just move the conversation.

Nick: There you go. So, our next question - great question: "If I go to somebody's house and, upon entering, I realize that they are a household where everyone takes their shoes off and leaves their shoes on a rack by the door, and they're all in sock feet, but I am wearing shoes without socks, like ballet flats with no socks, is it worse to keep my shoes on or be barefoot? If it is a cold Massachusetts winter, and their house is chilly, do I have more leeway to leave my shoes on? Should I have anticipated the possibility of a no-shoes household and brought socks in my purse to put on when I removed my shoes? Please advise." Okay!

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Yeah. Do you have a shoe household, or no-shoe household?

Leah: Um ...

Nick: This is not a trick question.

Leah: No, what's so funny is that I immediately- I realized, do I think of my home now, or do I think of my parents' home?

Nick: Oh! I feel like your home here in New York is probably shoes are fine.

Leah: We take our shoes off.

Nick: Oh, You do? Okay.

Leah: Yeah, because you've been on the subway, and-

Nick: I've been outside, yeah. I know how it goes, yeah.

Leah: Yeah, and often, there's just stuff, you know what I mean? You're like, "Eww, I don't want that."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But if people come over, and it wasn't a rainy day, or a muddy day, we'd leave it up to them.

Nick: Okay, and what's going on up in Maine?

Leah: In Maine, you're always tracking stuff.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: You know what I mean?

Nick: It's all mud.

Leah: It's either snow or mud, or ... My parents switch shoes. They have house shoes.

Nick: I see.

Leah: So, I actually, because I grew up that way, I always carry socks in my bag, not just for houses, but what if I was out during the day, and my feet got wet?

Nick: Okay ...

Leah: Just because I have to go to shows, you know what I mean?

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I cannot perform with wet feet. It makes me ...

Nick: Yeah, I understand.

Leah: But if I was to go ... If I was going to somebody's house, and I didn't have socks on, I would just carry socks in my bag.

Nick: Okay, so you would always just be the prepared person.

Leah: Yeah, and I recognize that maybe ...

Nick: That's a very-

Leah: I mean, I also have a lint roller. I have snacks. You know what I mean? I just-

Nick: Okay. You're a soccer mom. You've got apple slices, goldfish crackers.

Leah: I'm ready for whatever is going to happen.

Nick: EpiPen. Sure.

Leah: But I think you can just ask. "Hey, I didn't ... Oops, I don't have socks on. I didn't realize you guys were ... Would you rather I had bare feet, or would you rather I had kept my shoes on?"

Nick: Oh, I would rather you have bare feet, as a homeowner.

Leah: But I'm just saying, I would just ask the homeowner. I don't ...

Nick: Well, that makes it a little awkward because if you ask me whether or not you can keep your shoes on, the implication is that you'd really rather keep your shoes on. So, now, as the host, I hear that, and it's like, "Okay, she really just wants to have her shoes on. Do I agree to let her do it or not?" Where my preference is for you to not have your shoes on in my house because that's kind of how my house works.

Leah: Oh, okay.

Nick: So, I would think barefoot is fine because barefoot is not tracking more dirt into my house.

Leah: No, unless you have wild feet!

Nick: Well, then ...

Leah: I don't know what the feet situation is.

Nick: We are going to give her the benefit of doubt that she does not have problematic feet.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Okay. I guess if you can plan ahead, like Leah Bonnema, and carry socks with you at all times, that's a great option; or if you know you're wearing a shoe type that doesn't normally have socks-

Leah: Right.

Nick: That day, toss some socks in your bag, I guess. But if you don't, then I guess- I think we go barefoot.

Leah: All right.

Nick: However, we all have our part to play in this. As the host of a no-shoe household, I think you should offer slippers to your guests. I think you need to have some guest options. So, at your front door, let's have something.

Leah: Yeah, especially with ... She said, " ... a cold Massachusetts." You could have those little warm footsies ... "Oh, just throw on these little warm footsies."

Nick: Yeah, I love a good woolen something from L.L.Bean.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: Yeah! So, I think that a host who has a no-shoe household should offer this to their guests as an amenity.

Leah: That's very nice.

Nick: Right? Okay. Our next question is about email formality: "I emailed a professor about setting up a meeting. She sent me back a time that works for both of us, so I'm replying to her with a quick email, letting her know that the time will work and that I'm looking forward to the meeting. Should I add my name to the bottom of this reply?" Yeah.

Leah: Yeah, why not?

Nick: Yeah, I think so.

Leah: Just say, "Thanks, Leah ..."

Nick: I would go one step further, and I would actually make this a real email: "Dear Professor Plum, Looking forward to meeting you on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.. Sincerely, Nick."

Leah: Nice.

Nick: I would do paragraphs, and punctuation, and the whole shebang, yeah. Because otherwise, it feels like a text-message reply.

Leah: She's probably just responding the way that the professor wrote.

Nick: The professor could have been very casual and just wrote back, like, "Tuesday, 2:00 p.m.?"

Leah: Yeah, that's why I got that vibe.

Nick: But I think because there is a hierarchy, and there's a difference in status, I think it's nice to pay respect up.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: So, while it's nice if the professor also showed courtesy with nice formatting to the student, I think the student does need to level up their game a little bit and be more formal, even if the professor wasn't.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: That's my thought. Our last question - great question! A question that had never occurred to me.

Leah: Or me!

Nick: "Is it rude to knit in public?"

Leah: I love this question. I see a lot of people knitting on the subway.

Nick: So, I put this out on Instagram because I am not a knitter, and I don't really know about knitting etiquette.

Leah: I love that you put it up there.

Nick: It turns out we have a lot of people on Instagram who follow us who are knitters.

Leah: Great!

Nick: Like, so many!

Leah: Great.

Nick: So wonderful! A lot of mixed feelings about this!

Leah: Really?!

Nick: Huge spectrum. So, what's your initial thought about knitting in public?

Leah: My initial thought was that I would never consider it rude.

Nick: Hmm.

Leah: Sometimes, I think it's interesting just because-

Nick: [Laughing] It's a choice.

Leah: Especially on a New York City subway, where the knitting needles are so violent! You know what I mean? Sometimes, you're like, "Wow!"

Nick: It requires elbows [crosstalk]

Leah: A lot of elbows.

Nick: -there's a volume/space issue, sure.

Leah: But I always feel like people who I know- people I know who've taken up knitting have done it ... Some people are just knitters, and they ... Those people I know, they also do it at home, mostly; but the people I know who've taken up knitting and do it in public are doing it because they have- they're trying to quit something-

Nick: Oh!

Leah: -and they're using their hands, or they have anxiety about being on the train, and they're trying to have something to focus on. It's sort of meditative.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: So, when I see people knitting, I immediately think, "Oh, I hope they found something that makes them feel nice."

Nick: Okay.

Leah: That's how I see it.

Nick: Interesting. Okay. A lot of people feel like context is key and that, when you are knitting, it looks like you are paying attention to the knitting, meaning you're not paying attention to whatever else is happening. So, knitting, I guess, is rude at a lecture, a book reading, an office meeting ...

Leah: Oh, I never even thought of those options.

Nick: Anytime you're knitting in those settings, where you should be paying attention - even though I think with knitting, it's very meditative, and you can be listening and being very engaged and listening to our show, or a lecture, or whatever else it is, and knit, and not drop a stitch - it looks to the outside world that you are not paying attention. I think, for that reason, that's considered rude.

Leah: I wasn't even thinking about if you were knitting at a meeting, I just-

Nick: People knit at meetings.

Leah: Oh, wow! Okay.

Nick: I've actually been to lectures where people are knitting, yeah.

Leah: Oh, wow! [crosstalk]

Nick: -class ... You shouldn't be knitting in class.

Leah: Yeah, I don't think you should be knitting in places where people need you to focus on them because it'll make them feel bad.

Nick: But somebody on Instagram did say, "I do not think it's rude. I'm getting a PhD, and it's how I stay busy at very boring talks." [Laughing] She realizes that it's boring, so she's knitting. Somebody else wrote, "It's rude to knit at a funeral." True.

Leah: I mean ... I didn't know people were knitting at funerals.

Nick: True. Most people say that it's rude to knit, if you're not being mindful of all your gear; like your bag of yarn, and all the accessories. If you're not self-contained, then that can be rude.

Leah: I didn't realize the full extent of this question.

Nick: Yeah. Then, someone pointed out - and this is fascinating - Joan Crawford was a infamous knitter. It is said that she once devised a way of using her knitting against costars she disliked. "When she was supposed to run lines with enemy Norma Shearer, off camera, Crawford reportedly broke out a pair of gigantic knitting needles and clicked them together loudly working on an afghan.

Leah: [Gasping] Oh, my goodness!

Nick: So, here we have Joan Crawford loudly knitting. Yeah, I love this idea.

Leah: Oh, wow!

Nick: Good for her-

Leah: Is it good for her?

Nick: Good for her. I don't know, I-

Leah: Aren't we supposed to be open to our partner in lines?

Nick: Um, I think Joan Crawford gets a pass for her passive-aggressive knitting.

Leah: Yeah, or a trophy.

Nick: So, knitting in public, I think, be mindful. Be mindful, if you do it, yeah.

Leah: What I love is that we learned about a whole culture of knitting.

Nick: Yes!

Leah: With the question. Then, you did a survey?

Nick: Yes.

Leah: So, I think how exciting that we get questions where we learn-

Nick: About communities that we didn't know much about.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: It's true.

Leah: I'm pretty excited about it.

Nick: It's true. So, if you are part of an unusual ... I guess knitting is not unusual.

Leah: It's not unusual [crosstalk] I think it's very popular.

Nick: Pretty mainstream. Well, if you have more knitting questions for us, like if you notice someone dropped a stitch, do you tell them? Is that a knitting question? I don't know.

Leah: I don't know, but Nick will do another survey.

Nick: I will- I'll research it. I'll come up with some answer.

Leah: You did an Instagram survey, so we have real numbers coming in.

Nick: Yeah, we have data! Yes. If you want real data for your etiquette questions, send them to us. You can send them to us through our website,, or you can leave us voicemail; you can send us a text message - (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729), and if you really like us, we want you to be a member and join us at Patreon. Go to our website; you can learn more about that.

Leah: It's new!

Nick: It's new, and we're excited about it, so check us out, support our show, and we'll see you next time!

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!