Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this bonus episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about being forced to wear a windsuit at work, what to do if you're being professionally ghosted, whether or not it's rude to salt your food before tasting it, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)
QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS:
THINGS MENTIONED DURING THE SHOW
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO...
Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
Nick: Hey, it's Nick Leighton.
Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.
Nick: And we're in New York today. And we had so many questions that came in through our website and on our voicemail that we thought we'd do a little bonus episode. And I'm thinking of calling it, like, "Casual Canapés" or they're like hors d'oeuvres because they're like nibbles to tide you over.
Leah: Are canapés ever casual, you know what I mean? Just the word itself feels...
Nick: What, is it the accent...
Leah: It's the accent.
Nick: ...I guess it's aigu?
Leah: Yeah. It's a line and as soon as we add a line, it's no longer casual. You know what I mean?
Nick: OK, valid. You know, that's true. OK, so what is more casual than a canapé?
Leah: I like a doggy bag.
Nick: Oh, it's like, "I ordered too much for my meal at dinner and so I'm taking it home."
Leah: Or not even too much. It's that it was so wonderful and abundant that I get to keep some with me for later.
Nick: Is that how doggy bags work?
Nick: OK. So, our first question comes from Jillian in New Orleans and she just wants to know, "Is it OK to listen to music or podcasts on your phone on speaker in public?" And she says, "I've come across this numerous times and I say, 'no.' Could you back me up?" Yes.
Leah: Absolutely we back you up.
Nick: Jillian, with all due respect, why is this even a question?
Leah: I think Jillian just needs to vent because it's so upsetting when it's happening and you have no where to put it, so I appreciate that she was like, "I gotta reach out to people," and be like, "Hey, this is crazy, right?" Because it is crazy.
Nick: She just wants to be validated.
Leah: I actually... A pilot I wrote recently that was in the Atlanta Women's Film Festival...
Nick: Oh, alright...
Leah: ...nominated for best screen play. The opening scene is a woman talking on speakerphone in a therapist office and it throws this other woman into a murderous rage...
Nick: Oh, OK.
Leah: ...and she starts killing people because of this lady on speakerphone.
Nick: OK. I'm intrigued to learn more and whether or not this is art imitating life or not.
Leah: It's so rude to listen to something...
Nick: It is. But I was thinking about this... Why do people do it? Like, I often think that etiquette problems are not coming from a bad place. I'm not being obnoxious out of malice. I'm doing it because I'm oblivious. But it feels like, when you do this, you get so many stares from people who are annoyed by you, at some point, do you not realize that everyone hates this?
Leah: I like to believe that people, as you're saying, are coming out of, "Oh, I didn't know." But, there is a point where how do you not know there are other people...
Leah: ...in the same vicinity as you that don't want to have to listen to your stuff.
Leah: At what point does "Oh, I didn't know" become "Oh, I don't care"?
Leah: ...and that's when it's very rude.
Nick: Yeah, it is rude. OK, so Jillian, it is rude and we fully support you.
Leah: Fully support you.
Nick: We got a voicemail...let's play that now.
Caller: Hi there. I was just calling in with a question about being professionally ghosted. I work in the entertainment industry and obviously reach out to a lot of people. You hear a lot of "nos." But I find I have this problem where it's people that I've been working with...we've already met for coffee. They've been professors or we've had projects that we've already physically met in person for. And, you know, I'll follow up via email or check in after a couple of months and I'll just never hear anything back. And I was just wondering if this... I guess this is sort of a common etiquette problem that a lot of people seem to have these days? Is there a solution to this problem? I don't know that I can make people respond to me. Perhaps there's something that I can do? Thanks for your advice, guys. Bye.
Nick: So, is this just unique to the entertainment industry I guess is the first question?
Leah: I don't know...I'm not in any other industry.
Nick: OK. Do you experience this?
Leah: Yeah, I feel like people drop off. But also, I feel like there's two sides of this.
Leah: People drop off and that's... It is a very hard thing to accept about this industry that people just like, "Oh, I'm done responding," even though we were in the middle of something. And then there's the other thing where people just expect you to keep emailing and it's not personal they're busy and so you just let them know, "Hey, I'm doing this now. Hey I'm doing this now." And they don't need to respond. I mean, what do you think?
Nick: I certainly have plenty of people who don't respond to me and that's just the nature of business. And if you're out there and you haven't responded to my email, I would appreciate a response. Thank you. I guess the trick is what do you do about this is really what this caller wants to know.
Nick: I am a big fan of the "just send the same email again." Not a passive-aggressive "hey, checking in...see below" but just resending the entire email...
Nick: ...as like a fresh thing. Like, "Oh, you didn't see it because it went through your spam folder." Sometimes I think that works, depending on what it is. Sometimes you just have to accept that this is over...
Nick: ...and this is just what it is. Because you also don't want to be annoying.
Nick: And where is that line between following up, persistent, and now you're just being annoying.
Nick: Because I don't think you'll ever get an email back from someone saying, "Uh, please stop."
Leah: Right. If you do that, it's probably borderline illegal the way you're following them.
Nick: Right. "Hey, I heard my phone ring I didn't know if you called...Just call me back! OK, thanks!"
Leah: "Was that you?"
Nick: So, professional ghosting...what are things this person can do?
Leah: I would just keep emailing in a way that's friendly as if nothing bad happened and you're just continuing to update. "Oh, hey...here's this new thing." You know? Because people always say, "Email me at least once a month letting me know what's going on."
Nick: So, a seasonal check-in.
Leah: A seasonal check-in and not in a way that shows you're upset. Just that you assume they're paying attention and we're moving forward.
Nick: Also, I find when sending a professional email it is good to include a prompt. A reason for this person to respond. Because if it's just sort of an FYI-type email? Then yeah, you're not going to get a response.
Leah: Right, of course.
Nick: But if it's a, "Hey, are you interested in doing a coffee meeting with me on Thursday at 2pm?" and they don't respond to that, well, then OK.
Leah: Right, then it's message received.
Nick: And then I also like to set apart the ask in the email in a separate paragraph so, it's like, "Hey, something something," new paragraph, "Are you free for coffee on Thursday at 2 pm?", new paragraph, so that visually when you're looking at this email, it is very clear this short ask that is sort of highlighted.
Nick: Because if I have to dig though a paragraph to find out what are you asking me?
Leah: Yes, less information if there's a question that needs to be responded to. Also, I do feel like I've had to accept about this business is: You could be between you and one other person to get the lead in role in "Blankety Blank Blank" and then you don't get it. Nobody's going to tell you. You're just going to see the show with that other person. That's just a part of this job. You know what I mean? Where you're like, "Oh, I didn't hear back...I guess they moved forward."
Nick: Yeah, not hearing back is definitely your answer.
Leah: It's hard and I think we all find a way to deal with it. And we're like, why can't we be in a business where people are like, "Hey, appreciate your time...thanks for coming out." It's just not that way.
Nick: So, sorry you're being professionally ghosted, but we got back to you, so...
Leah: I think you're fantastic. And I would hang in there.
Nick: You're a good person.
Leah: Someone's going to respond.
Nick: So, we got an email from a teacher at an elementary school that has something called "Windsuit Wednesdays."
Nick: ...in which teachers are allowed to wear a school-selected athletic jacket and matching bottoms. And so our writer says she hates the fabric and finds it unprofessional. Plus, they cost around $60, which she doesn't want to spend, and she wants to know, "Am I being rude in not joining in on this day of casual wear?" Now you, Leah, love a windsuit.
Leah: I love a windsuit.
Nick: So, there is no better expert on "Windsuit Wednesdays" than Leah Bonnema.
Leah: I'm honestly honored that you would say that.
Nick: Yeah, Google Leah Bonnema. You will see some windsuits.
Leah: Lots of...Ah! I hope we get sponsored.
Nick: So, what do you feel about "Windsuit Wednesday"?
Leah: I had many feelings on this. I'm not going to say her name in case her friends listen in...
Nick: Because, also, how many elementary schools have "Windsuit Wednesdays"?
Leah: So I think it's pretty clear. So, I'm going to call her "Marsha." So, my take away from this is Marsha is feeling that she really doesn't want to have to do it and then having to give reasons why she doesn't want to and I feel like I am someone who does that when I want to be polite to people and I'm afraid... But deep inside, she's like, "I don't like the texture...It's expensive..." She's giving us all the reasons. Don't do it. "A," the idea that teachers have to pay for their own stuff? She's probably buying supplies for her classroom, you know what I mean? They're under paid. The idea that you would have to do another thing is ridiculous.
Nick: That is true, yeah. Yeah.
Leah: But I understand the feeling of like you should or have to, so maybe you can think of a fun way... I don't know how to make yourself feel better except give yourself permission to not wear a windsuit that doesn't ring your chimes. You know what I mean? That you have to pay for yourself?
Nick: So, I actually think the dollar amount thing is irrelevant because I think the decision to wear the windsuit or not wear the windsuit...it's really about the shame of not wearing it from other people for her. Like, that's what she's concerned about. She's using the cost as an excuse. If she wanted to wear the windsuit, the cost is not a problem. That just seems like icing for her. But, I think the solution to this is to wear the school colors in the fabric of your choice. So, on "Windsuit Wednesdays," wear gold and blue in whatever cashmere you like so that you can have school spirit, just not in windsuit form.
Leah: I love that you said "cashmere."
Nick: How do you say it?
Leah: No, that that would be your option.
Nick: Oh, I mean...you want a lamé? Do you want some chiffon?
Nick: What fabric?
Leah: I'm going to wear polyester. But, I mean you could even get a cute barrette.
Nick: OK, I feel like you need a little more school spirit that that.
Leah: But why are they being forced?
Nick: It feels optional but not optional.
Leah: Yeah, of course it is, but I think that's rude.
Leah: Especially if it's not...
Nick: I think my issue is with the school system that thinks "Windsuit Wednesdays" is actually a great idea.
Leah: I mean, I love windsuits. But you want to love them. If you don't love it, also... teachers already have to do enough. They're already doing enough, you know?
Nick: Isn't, like, buying hundreds of dollars in pencils enough school spirit?
Leah: And now you have to wear an outfit where you match other people? It seems wild.
Nick: So, for Marsha, I think you have our permission to not participate if you don't want and to give no excuse for it. I think that's also the trick. She doesn't have to explain why.
Leah: Yeah, that's so true. Don't start explaining...it's a losing battle.
Nick: Because if she says, "Oh, I don't want to spend the $60," then someone is going to just give her a windsuit....
Nick: ...and be like, "Oh, I bought you one." And now what have we done?
Leah: I absolutely agree with you. Yeah, don't start explaining. Do not explain yourself, even though that's very hard.
Nick: As a lover of windsuits, though, do you feel like maybe she should come around on this?
Leah: No, because she clearly doesn't like it.
Nick: I mean, do you learn to love windsuits?
Leah: Yeah, but it's possible it's just this windsuit is just butt ugly.
Nick: Ahh, I see.
Leah: There are some windsuits that you're like, "Absolutely not."
Nick: I don't know.
Leah: Oh, some of them pull in the wrong places.
Nick: How is that possible? Isn't it just a sack?
Leah: No, but it's... some of them just pull the hip to the crotch. Or, it's a non-breathable material and maybe she has like a... you know what I mean? Some people have sensitive skin and a non-breathable material all day? No, thank you. You know, it depends on the windsuit.
Nick: I mean, when I said you're an expert on windsuits, I really meant it.
Leah: Some of them really don't breath or they make a noise that makes you very aware.
Nick: It's no way to live.
Leah: Yeah, you've got to find the windsuit that's for you.
Nick: Here's a question from...Leah. So, what you may not know is that all day long, Leah is texting me from just things that happen in her day. She's like, "Oh, here's something that happened to me."
Leah: And we have a lot left to go over, let me tell you.
Nick: Oh, yeah...we will never run out.
Leah: Thank god.
Nick: And so, the one we're going to tackle today is: "What do you do when someone has a boogie on their face and is talking to you?" So, I guess you don't know the answer, which is why you texted me this.
Leah: No, I do know the answer. Let me say this: I know the answer with certain people.
Nick: I see.
Leah: Like, if it was a friend, I would, of course, be like, "Hey...boogie."
Leah: But what about those people who are in-between friend and work person?
Nick: So, cashier at CVS? Let it go.
Leah: I'm going to let that go, yup.
Nick: Your boss at the office?
Leah: I would let that go, too.
Nick: You would let that go?
Leah: Well, I also wouldn't have a boss at the office. I mean, c'mon.
Nick: Touché. I think boss at the office you say something. I think if you know know who they are and you are encountering them for more than a passing greeting...it's not like, "Oh, we're walking in the hallway, 'Hey, how was your weekend? Oh, great...see ya later'" If it's more than that interaction, I think you have to say something.
Leah: Well, are they on their way to a meeting, I would. But how would you say it?
Nick: What do you mean, "if they're off to a meeting"?
Leah: Then, I would have been like, "Oh, your face is important right now."
Nick: Your face is always important.
Leah: Well, if they're going into their office I assume they're going to catch it.
Nick: Why would you assume that? They've already went through their day thus far to the point when they encountered you.
Leah: What would you say to your boss?
Nick: So, I think the key is to be real cool, not a big deal, FYI. Like, "Oh, you have something on your nose." I don't think we identify the actual object.
Leah: Yes, never identify.
Nick: Just "something...there's a something on your face."
Nick: And similarly, if you have spinach in your teeth. This is the same rule, right?
Nick: Yeah. Anytime there's a foreign object on your face.
Nick: What about elsewhere on the body...does it make a difference?
Leah: Where are they... how are they seeing this on my body?
Nick: Well, like if you had some lint on your sweater. I'm not quite sure what you're thinking.
Leah: Oh, I don't know.
Nick: Yeah, if you had a little lint on your sweater.
Leah: Oh, yeah. I think no problem on that.
Nick: OK. But under no circumstances should touch someone to take it off them.
Leah: Right, I did that once.
Nick: You did that?
Leah: I've stopped myself.
Nick: What do you mean you've done...what?
Leah: Sometimes I'll be like, "Oh, that's you...you've a little lint."
Nick: Uh, boundaries?
Leah: I know.
Nick: OK, so that's wrong.
Leah: No, but I know these people. It's not like I'm doing it to a stranger...
Nick: That's...I mean...
Leah: This girl recently reached over to tuck my tag back in and I didn't know what was happening.
Nick: Uh, that's not... Hmmm...
Leah: I was thrown off, so I just hugged her.
Nick: So wait, a perfect stranger? Or someone you knew?
Leah: Not a perfect stranger, but almost.
Nick: Yeah, don't do that. If someone's tag is out, you can let them know.
Leah: I didn't even know what was happening...I just hugged her.
Nick: Well, because it's also someone coming up from behind you touching you? Like, that's not what we want.
Leah: No, it was so weird.
Nick: I mean, is this just a New York City thing where we're just worried about being attacked at all times?
Leah: I just went in for, like, a full body hug. It was the weirdest thing I've ever done.
Leah: Not the weirdest thing I've ever done by a long shot.
Nick: I was going to say, I'm think you...
Leah: Doesn't even register, but...
Nick: But you turned the tag-tucking into a more awkward situation by spinning around and now it's a hug.
Nick: Well, that's all sorts of awkwardness. Our next question: "Is it bad manners to put salt and pepper on food without tasting the food first?" Yes, yes it is. What, you have a counter-point to this?
Leah: I think it's different with salt than it is with pepper.
Nick: Oh, what?
Leah: Yeah, because people are always like, "Do you want fresh pepper?" So, what if you're a person who just loves pepper on everything? Salt is different. You're implying that people's food is bland.
Nick: So, I think there is a difference between restaurant and home. In a home situation, the offense is to your host is greater than in a restaurant. So, I think it is slightly different. But in a restaurant, how do you know how salty it is? You don't know until you taste it.
Leah: I don't ever put salt on food, so I don't even...
Nick: You like it bland.
Leah: I don't like it bland, but I don't add salt.
Nick: On an airplane, you're going for the bland meal.
Leah: I haven't had a meal on an airplane since 1965.
Nick: OK. Braniff...miss those days. So, you think pepper: Fine. Just pepper it up. Everything needs pepper.
Leah: My dad carries pepper...
Nick: Like it's hot sauce?
Leah: Yeah. He's got back-up pepper in his truck.
Nick: Does he have like a long pepper...
Leah: Yeah, he has a pepper grinder.
Nick: I have never heard of that.
Leah: He loves pepper.
Nick: Tellicherry? Pink pepper? White pepper?
Leah: Just like the regular pepper grinder.
Nick: OK. B-Y-O-P.
Leah: Yup. B-Y-O-P.
Nick: OK, so he is really into pepper.
Leah: Loves it.
Nick: So, I feel like your opinion about pepper is tainted by your family upbringing.
Nick: So, I don't know if you're really somebody to talk to about this question. I think maybe you're biased.
Leah: But that's why I wouldn't take it personally because I understand some people just love pepper.
Nick: But definitely if you salt your food before you taste it, that is rude. That is definitively rude.
Nick: And I actually think if you're at a dinner party and you salt your food, even if it needs it, I think you would want to think twice before you do it knowing that as soon as add salt to the food you are going to be catching the host's eye.
Leah: You're making a comment.
Nick: So, you may want to just tough it out and not salt your food and just never return for a dinner party in the future.
Leah: Or let them know why you're salting. Because maybe you're trying to hold more liquids in your body.
Nick: Like, "I'm just not feeling bloated enough."
Leah: "So, you know that I just have just been on a liquid diet and I'm trying to hold extra, so I have to salt things. But it's nothing to do with you."
Nick: Yeah, unless the host does it first. The host starts salting their food first, then I guess you can. Although why would they do that?
Leah: Or they could say, "Hey, I don't use salt, so if you are a salt person, feel free."
Nick: If you are invited in those terms, then that's fine. I think that would be an insane thing for a host to say. But yes, that would be fine.
Leah: Well, you're just giving people permission to be themselves.
Nick: OK. So, we have a difference in opinion. Leah says, "Pepper: Fine. Salt: No." For me, I think salt and pepper are the same category.
Leah: I mean, that's just inaccurate.
Nick: What about hot sauce?
Leah: I would put that in the pepper category.
Nick: Pepper, hot sauce...fine.
Nick: Go for it, don't taste it first. Obviously it needs Cholula.
Leah: Do it.
Leah: Because some people that's just how they like their food.
Nick: Yeah, but...
Leah: My boyfriend would put hot sauce on anything and doesn't need to taste it first. I know what I just had doesn't have hot sauce on it. Have at it.
Nick: Well, I guess...when is it a condiment and when is it a seasoning?
Nick: A seasoning is a judgement of your chef, which may be your host.
Nick: Whereas a hot sauce is more like a accoutrement.
Nick: It's a little flair.
Nick: It's a little heightening of what's already there.
Nick: Whereas salt is, like, "Oh, no...this will make it palatable."
Leah: You're like, "This sucked." That's what salt says.
Nick: Yeah, OK.
Leah: I've just got to cover this up. That's what salt is saying. I'm covering this up to make it through it...
Nick: OK, alright.
Leah: ...and I'm willing to risk an illness later on in life. That's what salt is saying.
Nick: Right, that's true.
Leah: Your food is so bland, that I'm willing to risk a heart problem.
Nick: OK. OK, so I'm coming around on that. Alright, so I think we've really helped whoever this person is come to a good conclusion. And our last question is a voicemail and let's listen to that now.
Caller: Hi Nick and Leah. I have a question about restaurant etiquette. What are the rules surrounding ordering something or asking for help or something when someone who is not your waiter comes by the table? Can you ask a passing busboy for a side of ketchup? Can you ask the maître d' when they walk by if you can get a check? I'm very curious what the right thing to do is because I always feel terrible asking anyone other than waiter for something. Looking forward to hearing your answer. Thanks.
Nick: Well, my initial thought is: Yeah, it's fine. This is an employee. Do not flag down another diner...don't accidentally waive down...
Leah: Can you imagine?
Nick: Well, this happens. Like, you're at Best Buy and someone's just wearing khakis and a polo shirt and you're like, "Oh, they work here."
Nick: Oh, no. Which, sidebar, never wear a blue polo and khakis and go to Best Buy.
Nick: But in a restaurant, I think everybody works there and is there for you in some capacity and if your waiter is not available for the thing you want in that moment, then I think it's OK.
Leah: Also, as a side note, just as a female comic...a comic who is also a female...many times, I'll be about to go on stage, and people always assume I'm the waitress and I've discussed this with a lot of my other female comic friends and it happens to all of them. Never happens to my male comic friends.
Nick: So, you were just walking... "Oh, please welcome to the stage Leah Bonnema!"
Leah: And it'll be like, "Hey, can you get me a vodka tonic?" And you're like, "Um, I'm just going to go on stage right now."
Nick: That's wild.
Leah: It's just interesting how it happens more to women. By interesting, I mean...
Nick: Not interesting.
Nick: Right. But also, they just introduced you, so they are aware...
Leah: You're just, like, standing there and people are like, "Hey, can you serve me? You are a woman."
Nick: Wow. OK, so you think what?
Leah: I think, well, I clearly have multiple anxieties around every situation. One of them is: I wouldn't want my waiter or waitress to feel like I don't think they're adequate and can do their job. You know what I mean? That I had to bring in backup. I don't want them to feel that way. Sometimes, they're clearly so busy that you're like, "I'm just going to grab someone else because I don't want to be..." And then also I think sometimes you're not in people's sections, so then it throws off everybody's rhythm. And then I think sometimes there are different groups within the restaurant and some people don't know. That's not a part of their job.
Nick: Right, but then I guess the idea when you flag down the busboy or the runner, they will then relay the message and get your waiter.
Leah: Right. So, if the goal is to get your waiter, don't flag down someone who is clearly in the middle of doing what their other job is. Read the room.
Nick: Read the room. Well, that's always the question.
Leah: Don't flag willy nilly.
Nick: Be strategic.
Leah: But if it's a water? You just want your water? I think you can flag. But don't flag someone in a whole other section.
Nick: So, someone has to be coming by.
Leah: Yeah, and not having six trays in their hands.
Nick: So, it's sort of like, you need to be an anemone waiting for plankton to come by.
Nick: Some proximity.
Nick: So, if you're yelling or doing dramatic waiving to get someone...
Leah: Or if there's any snapping involved? You're wrong.
Nick: Snapping is never OK.
Leah: I still see it.
Nick: Where are you dining? Actually where are you dining where you see snapping?
Leah: I mean, I travel a lot.
Nick: Because it feels like snapping happens in fancier restaurants?
Leah: It also happens in fancy... I'd say it happens on either end of the spectrum.
Nick: Or it feels like it happens in restaurants that think they're fancy? Or people think they're having a fancy night out?
Leah: And they're like, "This is how show that I'm fancy." I feel like it's the same person in all of the scenarios, just in different outfits. It's always a man...
Nick: Right, it's never a woman, right?
Leah: Yeah, no.
Nick: Women don't snap.
Nick: And a man is snapping...and it's always a two snap, right? Snap snap?
Leah: Yup, always a two snap.
Nick: Yeah, yeah.
Leah: You know what we could do, you do a two snap and then start adding in on. Are we dancing? Because I don't know what else we're doing with that snap.
Nick: And a little Fosse. Get a little should into it.
Leah: That would make it fun. If someone snapped and then you, as another customer, just jumped in to show them how rude they were? Be like, "Oh, you're snapping? I assumed we were starting a Zoomba class."
Nick: Or is more like a West Side Story snap.
Leah: I also like a West Side Story snap.
Nick: I'm into that, yeah.
Leah: How fun would that be if someone randomly snapped in a restaurant and then you just busted out with the first line?
Nick: "Ba da de da da." I don't think we have the rights to that. Well, thank you Leah.
Leah: Thank you.
Nick: This was a treat.
Leah: This was so fun. Thank you to all the people that wrote and called in.
Nick: This was great. So, if you have questions for us, please send them in. You can leave us a voicemail at (267) CALL-RBW. You can also send us a text there, too. Or you can send us an email through our website: wereyouraisedbywolves.com. So, thanks for joining us today. And thank you, Leah. And we'll see you next time!
[Instrumental Theme Song]