Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle following dress codes on invitations, copying roommates' décor, clearing plates in restaurants, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle following dress codes on invitations, copying roommates' décor, clearing plates in restaurants, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
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YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO...
Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema
Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
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Nick: Do you tell people to dress festive? Do you offer unsolicited advice? Do you copy people's decor? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!
Here are things that can make it better
When we have to live together
We can all use a little help
So people don't ask themselves
Were you raised by wolves?
Nick: Hey, everybody. It's Nick Leighton.
Leah: And I'm Leah Bonnema.
Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.
Leah: Let's get in it. I'm ready.
Nick: So for today, I want to talk about dress codes on invitations.
Nick: White tie, black tie, semi-formal, afternoon tea, business casual, fancy ranch, creative cocktail, and everyone's favorite: festive!
Leah: Whoo! Did you say "Fancy Ranch?" [laughs]
Nick: Fancy Ranch. Yes, that's a thing that shows up on invitations. Yes.
Leah: Wow! And I assume they don't mean the dressing.
Nick: Or do they? Who can say?
Leah: Who can say?
Nick: So what does it all mean? So the point of etiquette in general is to be mindful of other people, and the point of a dress code on an invitation is to be mindful of your guests. And it's to help them understand what to wear and what the event is and provide clarity and not sow confusion. Because there is nothing more embarrassing than showing up either overdressed or underdressed for something. I mean, if you're overdressed, the best you can do is, like, dial it back a little bit. But if you're wearing a suit and tie and everyone else is in jeans and khakis, like, you can take the tie off but, like, there's not much more you can do. And if you're in a ballgown, I mean, I guess you can ditch the tiara. But, like, what do you do? And if you're underdressed, it's very hard to make something underdressed more formal if you're already out of the house. So making people uncomfortable is rude. And so that's what the whole dress code is supposed to be about. Now Leah, have you ever been underdressed or overdressed for something?
Leah: I'm sure. I'm sure multiple occasions. I can't immediately think of one such example, but I think it's probably because there's so many they run together.
Nick: Who can pick one?
Nick: Now Miss Manners acknowledges that some people come up with more fanciful dress codes as an opportunity to inject a little humor or whimsy or playfulness. But she says quote, "There are places where humor does not belong: fire exit signs and confessions that you wrecked your parent's car come to mind."
Leah: [laughs] That's so specific.
Nick: And she also includes dress codes. I know. She gets very specific with this. So let's talk about dress codes. And a preface: there's actually no requirement that you put a dress code on an invitation. Like, it's not required. You could leave it off, and smarter guests will just reach out to you and ask, like, "Oh, what should we wear for your event?" The other thing to note is we're talking about the United States and a little bit of the UK, since that's where a lot of our formal dress codes come from. But this is not global. There's definitely different levels of formality around the world, and so it is not that. And then the third thing to note is that dress codes, when we talk about them, they're usually told through the lens of what the man's supposed to wear.
Nick: So we talk about the men's version, and we don't actually talk about what the women are wearing. And yes, etiquette is historically very sexist. And so that's part of it.
Leah: Just like the world.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. Yes. Yes, this is not wrong. But also dress codes for men tend to have slightly better gradations and delineations between levels of formality. And women's fashion, it's a little harder. Like, who's to say that this dress is your second nicest and not your nicest? Like, who's to say other than the person that owns that dress? So I think that's maybe historically why we do talk about this through the lens of what men wear, but that's just sort of like how it's done. I don't make the rules, I'm just letting you know. So originally, dress codes weren't needed because if you were rich and part of a certain elite segment of society, going out in the evening just meant you were gonna be wearing the same thing. You were gonna probably be wearing what is now called "White tie." And so that's like a tailcoat and literally a white bow tie and, like, a white vest thing. And that's what you wore, and everyone got it. And think Fred Astaire. We got top hat, we got cane, we got white gloves. And so that's what you did. And so there was no other formal option if you were going out in the evening.
Nick: But then in the late 1800s, something called the dinner jacket emerged. And the dinner jacket doesn't have tails on it. And the idea is that this was supposed to be a more comfortable, less formal sort of thing. And sidebar: when Edward VII, who was son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, before he was king, he was the Prince of Wales, and he wanted something that was comfortable. And so he went to his tailor and was like, "I need something comfortable." And so his tailor basically gave him a jacket that was shorter and didn't have the tails on it. And then one day, Edward, Prince of Wales, had a houseguest from New York, and the houseguest came and was like, "Oh, what do I wear to dinner at your house?" And the prince was like, "Oh, go to my tailor in London, he'll hook you up."
Nick: And so the tailor gave this guy from New York a dinner jacket, something that was shorter that didn't have tails. And so then that guy from New York went back to New York, and he lived in a town called Tuxedo, which is about an hour north of New York City.
Nick: And there was a private club there called the Tuxedo Park Club, and he wore this jacket thing to that club and everyone was like, "Oh, that looks good!" And so it actually started to catch on at the club, and so it became known as a tuxedo. But originally, you would actually only wear a tuxedo in the privacy of your own home or in the privacy of your own private club. You would not actually wear a tuxedo in public. But then apparently, some very daring group of people showed up one day at the Met Opera wearing tuxedos, and I think people were like, "Oh, that looks good." And so the dam was broken, and then everybody started saying, "Oh, we can wear tuxedos in public now. That's great." And so that happened. And so white tie then actually got pushed up the spectrum and is only for very formal events. That's your state dinner, that's opening night at the Met Opera, and then for everything else, black tie was considered formal. But originally, black tie was considered pretty casual. So that's interesting.
Leah: [laughs] I'm wearing my pretty casual black tux.
Nick: So cut to we're moving along through the 20th century, and after World War II, especially there emerges this new form of entertaining called the cocktail party. And so this is typically something that starts in the late afternoon. This is not an evening thing. And you do not wear tuxedos in the day, and women don't wear long dresses during the day. That's an after six o'clock thing. And actually, Amy Vanderbilt has a funny thing. She says that the only time she'll allow you to wear a tuxedo before six o'clock is if you're going to dinner in the suburbs and you have to leave your house before six o'clock to get there on time, and you can't change when you get there.
Nick: So if you have to leave your house, wear the tuxedo. That's the only case she wants to see you before six o'clock. So oh, Amy!
Nick: So we have the cocktail party, and you don't wear long dresses. And so that's when you basically get as fancy as you can without wearing a tuxedo or a long dress.
Nick: So that's a very nice suit and tie. That's a short dress that's a length that's not floor length. And so that's cocktail attire. And so I think as a society, we do agree on what white tie means, what black tie means, and I do hope we agree, like, what cocktail attire is supposed to be. Even though I think people kind of get a little loose with that.
Leah: Take some liberties. There's some liberties taken in the ...
Nick: Maybe a little.
Leah: Oh, possibly by me, even in cocktail attire.
Nick: And I also think we probably all agree on what "black tie optional" means, which means your host is probably gonna be wearing a tux. You can wear a tux, but if you wear a dark suit, you're good.
Leah: Yes. [laughs]
Nick: And I also think we are probably all in agreement about, like, what business attire is too, right? This is suits. This is ties. This is what lawyers and bankers wear. This is not what you may wear at your business. Like, if you work in tech and you have beanbags for chairs and kombucha on tap, like, this is not what you wear to your business, but it's what "business attire," quote unquote, is for a lot of people like. Like, I think that's business attire.
Leah: When I first moved to New York and I got a temp job, I didn't really get what it meant, and I got taken into HR and they were like, "Do you know what business attire is?" And I was like ...
Leah: "Obviously you don't think I do." [laughs]
Nick: What were you wearing?
Leah: I was wearing, like, the fanciest stuff I had. I had, like, tights on and, like, some kind of—you know, I wasn't walking—I didn't move to New York City with a suit jacket.
Nick: Okay. And so did you get fired? Or did you ...?
Leah: No. The person that I worked for who was very high up in the agency said—I went to her and I was like, "They don't like my outfits." And she said, "I don't care what you wear, you're really good at your job."
Leah: So I mean, that's one way around it. [laughs]
Nick: Yeah, just to be competent. Yeah, okay. I'll give you that.
Leah: But I mean, when you move to a city and you don't have that kind of clothing, you just don't have that kind of clothing.
Nick: Yeah. No, that's fair. Yeah.
Leah: This is for party conversation. I'm just saying now I know what business attire is. This is how I learned.
Nick: But yes. I mean, the idea of what business attire is, I mean, that's a dress code like any other. And so I think it's important to have some sort of consensus as a society about, like, what does that mean? But then there's all these dress codes where we do not have a consensus. We have not decided what it means. So, like, what's business casual?
Leah: Do you want me to guess?
Leah: I'm gonna guess it's slacks and, like, you could have like a loose blouse. Maybe you even have, like, a really nice jean. A nice jean with a heel. Or perhaps I would sneak in my beautiful sneakers.
Nick: Oh, wow! [laughs]
Leah: I'd be like, "But these are white-white. So they—with, like, a nice pant.
Leah: And perhaps a blazer.
Nick: Okay. So we've really gone from blazer to sneakers and everything in the middle. So I think as your description really confirms, no one has any idea.
Nick: I've also seen on invitations the phrase "California casual."
Leah: Oh, wow!
Nick: And so I mean, what do you do with that?
Leah: I guess that means you show up with a soy product.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. And then there's "dressy casual," which I have also seen on an invitation. I really don't know what to do with that.
Leah: What do you think "California casual" means?
Nick: California casual? I mean, as a Californian I mean, does it mean logo t-shirts? I mean, Levi's, that's a San Francisco corporation. Is it that? I don't know. I mean, or is it more LA? I mean, California's a big state.
Leah: It's a big state.
Nick: Are we talking about Eureka? Is it Bakersfield chic?
Leah: I don't think it's Bakersfield. Let me tell you that.
Nick: Okay. I Mean, I'm just the messenger here.
Leah: Isn't Dwight Yoakam from Bakersfield? Because he's actually—I love his outfits.
Nick: I mean, we'll ask. We'll ask.
Leah: I think it would be very funny if California casual meant Dwight Yoakam.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. Or Johnny Cash. I feel like Folsom, that's a prison in California.
Leah: [laughs] That's a prison in California!
Nick: So I don't know what California casual is. Similarly, I've also seen "Brooklyn formal" or "hipster formal" listed.
Leah: That's bring your tricycle.
Nick: "Creative black tie." That's also a little nebulous. I think that needs a theme somehow. Then there's the "come as you are," which I've also seen. And that seems like a bad idea.
Leah: I'm usually in pajamas. So ...
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess it depends on who you are, because maybe you shouldn't.
Leah: [laughs] I like that one. It's come exactly as you are.
Nick: And then "Festive." Festive. Which I mean, I guess if it's a holiday party, that is some direction, but not enough.
Leah: I like festive. I assume they want you to have, like, light-up tree earrings, some sort of a headpiece.
Nick: Headpiece, okay. Like a holly fascinator?
Nick: So I think we could agree, though, that all these other terms—Fancy Ranch ...
Leah: Fancy Ranches.
Nick: .. hard to say exactly what that means. I mean, I guess that's sort of like denim and diamonds?
Leah: Or those, like, very nice leather chaps.
Leah: Like a very—like a nice leather chap with a matching hat.
Nick: Not casual chaps.
Leah: Not a casual chap.
Nick: Not your weekend chaps. Not your work chaps.
Leah: Not your work chaps. Not your chaps that have been out in the fields all day. Your chaps that you just keep in the closet for nice parties.
Nick: Okay. I've yet to go to one of those, but okay.
Leah: I really hope I get invited to a classy ranch.
Nick: So fancy ranch.
Leah: Fancy ranch. Fancy ranch.
Nick: No promise this will be classy, but it'll be fancy.
Leah: What'll it be if you show up dressed as, like, a bottle of Hidden Valley?
Nick: I would definitely give you a slow clap for that.
Nick: Absolutely. So dress codes? I think unless it's one of the very standard ones that everybody sort of agrees on, I think it would probably be best to leave it off and then let your guests reach out to you. I feel like that's how I would handle it.
Leah: And I think if you're on the other end, unless it's very straightforward, I think you have a little leeway to make some choices on your own there.
Nick: Or you can ask the hosts for clarification.
Leah: Or you could just really live it up.
Nick: Or you could ask the host for clarification.
Leah: [laughs] I think we know what side Nick's coming in on that one.
Nick: And I think we know where Leah lands.
Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to go deep.
Nick: So Leah, let me give you some advice.
Nick: So for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about unsolicited advice.
Nick: [laughs] So the first question is: what is unsolicited advice, and why is it so maddening?
Leah: I feel like that's such a—even me who likes to go make everything sort of vague and nebulous with definitions, unsolicited advice is any advice you're giving what it wasn't asked for.
Nick: Yeah, I think that's it. And I think it really crosses into the line of problematic when it's either from a total stranger, or it's from somebody you know who does it all the time. I think those are the two occasions when unsolicited advice feels the most egregious. All unsolicited advice is a little problematic but, like, those occasions definitely feels like the most problematic.
Leah: I do think often sometimes it slips out. It just slips out from a well-intentioned place where you're like, "Oh, I have a thought about that, or an idea that might be helpful." I do think that feels different from the person getting it. You know what I mean? Like, you recognize that it's just sort of like slipping out, and it was a good idea. And from a person who is coming up and giving you advice that often actually has, like, a somewhat insulting connotation. So I do think there's two different ...
Nick: Yes. I mean, definitely there is a flavor of criticism.
Nick: In unsolicited advice. Like, "Oh, the way you're currently doing something is incorrect, and I'm gonna tell you how it should be done." And so it does feel judgmental.
Nick: Well, you're a new dog owner.
Nick: Are you getting any unsolicited advice from anybody?
Leah: Oh, I'm getting so many. I actually got one just the other day, and I'm trying hard not to explain myself to people. I don't need to prove myself. So this woman comes up to me. We're not off-leashing Lacey in areas where she's new to the place unless it's a dog run because she's still a puppy, and in certain places, she's never been there and I'm not gonna risk it. And that's my business. But this woman I don't even know comes up to me and she's like, "There are other dogs here. You could off-leash your dog. She's not gonna run away with other dogs." And I just stared at her face.
Leah: Not even like a rude stare, but I just stood there and looked at her.
Leah: And then eventually she goes, "Uh, but it's your dog and you probably know what you're doing."
Nick: She said that?
Leah: Yup, because I just didn't respond.
Leah: And I don't think she meant it in any way. She was just really trying to be like, "Oh, hey. You could probably—" but this was like a brand new environment for Lacey, and I wasn't going to off-leash her yet, you know? And so I just kind of looked at her, the lady who came up that I didn't know at all and offered that advice. And then she realized, "Oh, maybe I overstepped" because I didn't respond. I didn't give a mean face, and she actually fixed it. She was like, "You probably know your dog."
Nick: Yes, I can see she wanted to be helpful, but yes, I could also see how that did not sound that way.
Leah: Yeah. And then she was aware enough of herself to take a step back off it.
Nick: So okay, the unsolicited advice exists in the world. As somebody who receives it, like, what should we do? So you had this sort of blank, non-judgmental stare, which I guess worked for you.
Leah: Yeah. I was like, "I'm gonna give you time to edit what you just said."
Nick: Okay, yeah. So if you can land that, that works, I guess.
Leah: "I think I'm good. Thank you."
Nick: Yeah. Like a "I'm good, thank you." Or "Thank you. I'll take that under consideration."
Leah: I mean, I feel like "Thank you. I'll take that under consideration" is more than generous.
Nick: "Thank you. But I have a plan I'm comfortable with."
Leah: Oh, that's a nice one. I like that.
Nick: Or "Actually, I'm just looking to vent right now. I'm not actually looking for any advice."
Leah: Oh, I feel like that's for, like, a friend, as opposed to somebody coming up.
Nick: Yes. Well, unsolicited advice comes in from a lot of places.
Leah: Often when I'm looking to vent, I'll tell a friend up top and I'll be like, "I just want to vent right now."
Nick: Oh, you'll preface. You're like, "This is not your opportunity to weigh in. This is just me venting."
Leah: Well just so they know I just want to vent.
Leah: And I'll often ask people when they want to vent. "Do you want me—are you venting, or do you want to, like, throw ideas around?" I'll just ask because I want to know what is being expected of me because I don't want to give advice if it's unwanted.
Nick: Right. Are we workshopping or are we not workshopping?
Leah: Yes. And I'm happy to do either. And I do feel like I've definitely given advice when I wasn't asked, to friends. And I am working hard to be like, "Did you—" that's why I now say, "Do you want my opinion, or do you want me to just listen?" And I ask up top. So it's not like when I hear it, they think I'm being like, "Let me fix that." You know what I mean?
Nick: Yeah. No, I think we are all guilty of it to some degree. I don't think anybody doesn't do it. Because also, part of the normal conversation with friends in general is like, "Oh, how's your life going? What are the challenges?" And as a friend, you're like, "Oh, what are ways I can help?"
Leah: Yeah, exactly. You want to help.
Nick: And a lot of the times we want to help by like, "Oh, here are things I think you might want to try." And so I think that's actually very normal and natural. And so a lot of it I think, part of it is the intention with which that advice is given, but also the space with which the person receiving that advice is in, and whether or not they actually want to hear it or not. And I guess knowing whether or not they want to hear it, I guess that's really the question.
Leah: But I also think it's completely—there are some people that just walk up to almost strangers and give advice. And that, I think, is always rude.
Nick: Yes, I think every mother in our audience probably has some tale of some stranger on the street telling them how they should parent their child.
Leah: Oh, for sure. Absolutely.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, for that, I mean, what do you do with that? Yeah.
Leah: I think that's where you're just throwing out "I'm good, thanks."
Nick: Yeah. Yeah. "Thank you, but I've got this. Thank you so much for your concern."
Leah: Sometimes it's just like, do I even have to engage with this? Because I want to take the high road. I don't want to say something rude, but also it's like, why would you come up to a stranger and essentially assume that I have no idea what I'm doing?
Nick: Yes. So that's why this is problematic. Correct. Yeah. Coming full circle, it's judgmental and it's patronizing.
Leah: Patronizing. It's always where I'm the most annoyed.
Nick: Yes, I think for you, patronizing situations are your kryptonite.
Leah: It really is. I want to be like, "Thank you so much. I have been in complete darkness until you showed up."
Nick: [laughs] Show me the light!
Nick: So I think that's just something to be mindful of in our travels as we go through life, that when we're offering advice, is it solicited? Is it unsolicited? And before you offer it, answer that question.
Nick: That's it.
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, "My best friend and I have a new roommate—we'll call her Lisa. And Lisa has just purchased the exact same huge wall decoration to put above her bed, just like my best friend. The wall decoration is unique and very noticeable, and my best friend's room and Lisa's room are right next to each other, so when you're standing in the hallway looking at both rooms, you can see the matching wall decorations and it looks ridiculous. Although Lisa did mention she was thinking of buying the same wall decoration in advance, I didn't really think she would. And now that it's arrived, my best friend wants to get rid of hers now. Was this rude of Lisa to copy the same decor? Does my best friend have a right to be upset, or is she overreacting? Also, Lisa often says things like 'I need to remember your outfit so I can copy it,' or 'I'm trying to emulate your style.' This is sweet and good-intentioned, but also sometimes feels weird."
Leah: I just wrote underneath it: "There was a movie about this." [laughs]
Nick: Which one? What are you talking about?
Leah: Single White Female.
Nick: Oh! Oh, yeah, of course.
Nick: I mean, I don't think—I mean, I don't think that's what's happening here.
Leah: I'm kidding. That was the first thing that popped into my mind.
Nick: Okay. Yeah. So I mean, I guess we're not flattered by the mimicry, and I don't know how I feel about this. And I'm hoping actually you will help me come to some understanding of how I'm supposed to feel about this.
Nick: Yeah, I don't know how I feel about this.
Leah: Well, I think up top, we always—it is copying is the highest form of flattery. So we always say—you know, I get the idea. Well-intentioned, it's nice, but it does feel like, "Oh, this is my style. This is the thing that I'm doing. And it feels weird when you openly just want to do the exact same thing I'm doing."
Nick: Yes. And she actually did send us a photo of this wall decoration.
Leah: And it's very specific.
Nick: It's very specific, yes. This is not like, oh, coincidence. This is not like, oh, it's very conceivable that multiple people have the same thing.
Leah: It's not dogs playing poker cards, you know what I mean? It's not, "Oh, we both have dogs playing pool."
Nick: Yeah. It's not that metal star that every house in the Hamptons has.
Leah: It's not that. It's not "Live. Laugh. Love." It's not that.
Nick: So okay. I mean, it's pretty identical. I mean, I'm not bothered as a guest in your home seeing two rooms with similar decor. Like, it doesn't bother me, and it actually probably wouldn't even really hit my radar.
Leah: Well, I mean, when do you even see people's bedrooms? I think it's not as—you know, people usually close their—I feel like that's not ...
Nick: Oh, that's also a good point. Sure.
Leah: I think it's more knowing that there's somebody in the house who when you do something is going to mimic it.
Nick: Now, Lisa did give us a heads up that this was coming, so it does feel like there was an opportunity to maybe let her know like, "Oh, I was just hoping to have this huge wall decoration be my thing. Can I help you find something that is similar but different?"
Leah: I think that's the thing. Do we want to let it go and just feel like, you know, it's flattery, they just like your style? Or do we want to say, "Hey, you know, if you're looking to find something that's particularly you, I'm happy to help you out. You know, maybe let's put a different spin on your version of it."
Nick: Right. Yeah, I think that would probably be nice moving forward. Although, I mean, we're all copying everybody else. I mean, that's what fashion and decor is, you know? Like, there's no new ideas at the end of the day. It's all just being recombined and remixed.
Leah: Well, I think the remix is what's missing.
Nick: I guess the remix, yeah. I guess this friend doesn't feel confident in their own style yet.
Leah: I think that quote, "I need to remember your outfit so I can copy it." That's not "I would love to try something like this." It's a different ...
Nick: Okay. So what do we suggest?
Leah: If it's something you can't let go, like you want to be the only person with this thing ...
Leah: I think some people it wouldn't bother. They would just be like, "Oh, that person wants to wear the same outfits as me." But I can see why it would bother somebody. Then you have to sit down and have this conversation like, "I love that you appreciate my sense of style. Maybe we could find a way to put your own spin on it so we're both not wearing the same outfit or have the same decor because I like to have, you know, my thing, be a little different."
Nick: Yeah, I like that.
Leah: I also feel like I'm a person—I'm not good at style, like, dressing and things like that, and I have friends that I would love to ...
Nick: Oh, come now. I think that is actually not true. You have a very specific style.
Leah: That's very kind of you.
Nick: But it's a style. Absolutely. There's a Leah Bonnema look.
Leah: Oh, thank you.
Nick: Oh, absolutely. White whites, kind of a long coat. Hair up.
Leah: Yeah, I mean, that is—I understand feeling insecure about one's sense of—and wanting to change it a little bit and having friends that you're like, "Oh, you're so good at this." But I think you could be like, "I love the way that you always throw outfits together." I can immediately think of a few friends that are so great with outfits that I would love to be like, "Hey, can I go shopping with you, and can you throw me some ideas?"
Nick: Well, what I wrote down—actually, the only thing I wrote down was "Montage." So we need a shopping montage. That's what we need. We need the let's go shopping for decor or clothing. Let's do that montage. Let's have them come out of the dressing room where we shake our head no, and then they come out in a crazy outfit and we're like, "What?" And then there's a third outfit, which is like, yes, thumbs up. And then cut to we're all in the street with our shopping bags, walking and laughing. So we need the shopping montage.
Leah: I think that's perfect. I think that we should—this person just wants to be involved. We completely understand why it's irritating, so find a way to be involved in helping them find their style.
Nick: Okay, done. Our next question is quote, "What does one do when the people adjacent to you don't know the glasses are on the right, and they use your water or wine glass by mistake?"
Leah: I always, and this is—now that I say it out loud, it's horrible and I should ...
Nick: [laughs] Oh, now I can't wait!
Leah: But I feel like I always make it like a shared responsibility. Like, "Oh, I think we mixed up our wine glasses."
Nick: Oh, I see. The "we" part.
Leah: Yeah. You know, obviously it's not my fault, but I feel like it's just ...
Nick: It's a "you" problem.
Leah: It makes it politer to be like, "Oh, I think this is me."
Nick: Yes. I mean, I think the response is we don't want to embarrass anybody for using the wrong glassware. Like, I think as a baseline, that's where we want to go with this. So we don't want to do something along the lines of, like, "Did you know that it's BMW? Bread, meal, water?"
Leah: And that is essentially why I always put it on me because I don't want the person to feel silly.
Nick: Yes. I mean, I don't know if we have to use a "we" phrasing, but if that makes you feel better, then have at it. But definitely like a, "Oh, I think you used my glass." Nonjudgmental, value neutral.
Nick: "Let's swap." Then, like, that's what it is.
Leah: I think I've definitely said to people, "Oh, I think that's my water." I think it's all in the tone.
Nick: That's it.
Nick: But it does happen, especially at crowded tables.
Leah: Oh, it definitely happens.
Nick: This can definitely happen as, you know, like, you're just reaching for the nearest thing rather than, like, the thing that's yours. So it happens.
Leah: You know, sometimes they all get thrown together in the middle. I'm not wearing lipstick. I don't know—that's usually the way you find it. You're like, "Oh, I am the pink lipstick."
Nick: Yeah, so if you're not wearing lipstick or chapstick, yeah, those are good signals. Or those little wine charms? I guess that's when those come in handy.
Leah: Oh, yes.
Nick: Not for a dinner party that's sit down, but ...
Leah: [laughs] Nick's making that clear. Not if you're doing a sit down.
Nick: No, please don't.
Leah: Don't you dare put those.
Nick: Don't you dare put wine charms on my wine if it's a sit-down dinner. So do you have any questions for us? Please 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: You know, just to switch it up, I'm gonna vent.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. What has happened?
Leah: So this is a—this is a journey.
Nick: Oh, I'm ready. Buckle up!
Leah: So I was flying.
Leah: And I had the first flight out of Burbank, so TSA wasn't even open when I got there.
Nick: Oh, what hour was that?
Leah: I don't think it was that early. I think it was like five-ish. I don't know why they didn't open earlier. I was shocked.
Leah: But I get there. So all of us are in line. We're waiting before TSA. So TSA comes, they open up. We all go through, all of us run to the bathroom. Literally, it's every woman in the world now in the bathroom. The lady next to me in the next stall gets on a phone call.
Leah: I immediately think, "Mm-mm." But then I always have my caveat. Maybe it's an emergency.
Nick: Right, yeah. Benefit of the doubt. B.O.T.D.
Leah: I was sitting there going "Benefit of the doubt. I know it's early. You haven't really had enough coffee. You know, it's fine, it's fine, it's fine." And then it was an emergency.
Leah: And I said, "Here it is. Here's my caveat in real-life action." So then I just thought, "Oh, I hope everything works out, continued on my journey, got on the plane. I have a layover in Denver.
Leah: I use the ladies washroom. I'm in the bathroom. Lady next to me gets on a call.
Nick: Different woman.
Leah: Different woman.
Nick: [laughs] Okay.
Leah: On speaker.
Nick: Oh! Elevated.
Leah: So we've upped it. We've upped it. She's now on speaker. The person on the phone can hear the bathroom. She can hear the bathroom. I can hear everybody's conversation. I still think, "You know what? Earlier it was an emergency." This turns out not an emergency.
Nick: And did you have your Otohime available?
Leah: I did not have an Otohime available.
Nick: [laughs] Okay.
Leah: I don't think anybody in the other stalls had their Otohime available either.
Nick: That's on them.
Leah: Then this is where this almost changes from a vent to a "Wow. I didn't know you could do that."
Leah: She gets off her speakerphone bathroom conversation.
Leah: And puts music on speaker on her cell phone in the bathroom. [laughs]
Nick: Just soundtrack for her life.
Leah: Yes. Right next to me in the next stall. She ends this call that was not an emergency on speakerphone, and then puts on—and not like with earphones, just on her phone ...
Leah: Music! At which point I was like a hats-off. I literally did this—you can't see me at home. I'm sort of saluting. It's like a hats-off. Not quite a salute. I'm tipping my hat. because I just didn't even know this was in the realm of things that would come up.
Nick: I mean, was this her Otohime?
Leah: I mean, do you put on—maybe you're like, you know, my Otohime. I wish I had brought my Otohime. I I didn't. So I'm just gonna put on some dance music.
Nick: And just for our audience who may not have gotten to that particular episode. An Otohime is a Japanese device that basically makes flushing sounds. [laughs] And so that's what an Otohime is. It literally means "Sound princess."
Leah: Which I love.
Nick: There's a whole episode about that. Look it up. Anyway. Okay, so we are listening to dance music in Denver. How fun!
Leah: In Denver. And then Nick's all—I literally was like, it went from "Are we having a speakerphone conversation while everybody in this restroom is trying to use the restroom?"
Nick: We are!
Leah: We are. To dance party. And at that point, I really thought, "Wow, you know, hats off to you because you next leveled it. You next leveled this situation."
Nick: Well, I mean, am I sorry this happened to you?
Leah: I've sort of had a giggle at this point. I was like, "Flying. Who knows what's gonna happen?"
Nick: Who knows? Yes. That's the fun of travel. You just never know what new experiences you'll encounter.
Nick: Well, for me, I was also traveling recently. And I was home visiting family, and I had dinner with my family. And I was probably in arguably one of the nicest restaurants in town. Now in Marin County, there is a ceiling to how nice things can get. But it is very nice. There was still linen on the table. It was a relatively formal service. Okay, great. And then there were two things that happened where I was like, "Ugh. No." And there's actually three. The third actually would not have been a huge problem, except now that the other two things to complain about, I'll toss it in. The first thing was that they brought the cocktails after we had already had our first course, which I don't love that timing. I really think of cocktails as like an aperitivo. And so for me personally, I really do prefer to have them, like, before the first course. It's not a big deal. It's not a crime. It was just a personal preference, but I mention it because I'm complaining about other things that have to do with timing.
Nick: So later in the meal, the thing that I actually dislike about dining the most is that one person was still eating and they cleared the rest of the plates.
Nick: I really, really dislike this because it makes the person who's still eating feel rushed, and then makes you feel a little awkward like, oh, am I rushing you? And I always hate when it's accompanied by the phrase, "Let me get that out of your way." It's not in my way. I mean, am I gonna go back to coloring? Like, what do I need the space for? So I don't like that. And I do wonder, like, there must be focus group research that indicates most diners in the United States do want their plate cleared very quickly because it does tend to happen more often than not. I'm not sure who those people are or why they want that, but for me personally, I would much rather you leave all the plates until everybody is done and that they signal with their cutlery that we're all done. So that would be my preference.
Nick: But then the second thing that happened is, as this person is still eating and I've got all this room because I have no plates in my way, the waiter dropped the dessert menus and was like, "Here's dessert!" And it was sort of like, we still have somebody on the previous course here. Way to make us feel rushed. And it wasn't an attempt to make us feel rushed. This was a pretty slow night. They didn't need our table. Like, if they really needed our table and they were like, "You've been here too long." That's a real, subtle hint. Got it. Actually, it's not a subtle hint. It's a pretty aggressive hint, but it's a hint. But it wasn't that. It was just like, "Oh, we assume you want to take a look at the dessert menu." Which is true but, like, can we give it a minute?
Nick: So I really dislike that because it definitely—you know, it's not as elegant as a dining experience could be. And it doesn't have to be that way. And so I wish it wasn't.
Nick: Mm. So that's my vent.
Leah: I see. I see this.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, what is there to say? There's nothing to say.
Leah: There's nothing to say.
Nick: It's a thing that happened.
Leah: I always say, "Please leave my plate. I'm gonna lick it."
Nick: Yes. Normally I—whoa! Wait, you slipped something in there. [laughs]
Nick: I was with you until the "lick it" part.
Leah: I know. I was just trying to get that past you.
Leah: By agreeing up top and then coming in with the ...
Nick: Oh, sneaky Leah Bonnema. Yeah. No, I do—if I had the opportunity before the plate is, like, already off the table, I will say, like, "Oh, you can leave it for a moment. And I would actually request that you just leave my plate." But yeah, this was whisked away before I had the opportunity to lick it.
Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?
Leah: I learned an entire histoire of jackets.
Nick: Oh, yes. And now you'll know what to wear next time you're invited to something.
Leah: I will. I can't wait 'til I get invited to a classy ranch.
Nick: Fancy ranch!
Leah: Fancy ranch! Why can I not get that?
Nick: And I learned that, despite over 100 episodes, you're still gonna lick that plate.
Leah: [laughs] You can't take it away from me.
Nick: No, you just cannot break that habit. Well, thank you, Leah.
Leah: Thank you, Nick,
Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. I'd send 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 visit our website, and we want you to do all the things. We want you to sign up for our newsletter. We want you to follow us on all the social media, and we want you to consider joining us on Patreon and becoming a monthly member.
Leah: We would love it so much.
Nick: We really would. So please go to our website, 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 some of our very wonderful listeners: Andy Tyler and their lovely puppy Chewie, sent me some New Year's cheer. And I'm so very grateful.
Nick: Very nice. And we got a great cordials of kindness from you all which is quote, "My daughter hosted an evening dinner party this weekend, and one of the dinner guests had a gorgeous bouquet of flowers already arranged in a vase sent to her home in the early afternoon before the party. How so very thoughtful and lovely."
Leah: Lovely! I love it!
Nick: So we love hearing that. And as a reminder, you can send us a cordial of kindness: CordialsofKindness.com.
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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