May 15, 2023

Giving Anniversary Gifts, Enjoying Theme Parks, Sharing Hotel Rooms, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle giving anniversary gifts, enjoying theme parks, sharing hotel rooms, and much more.

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Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle giving anniversary gifts, enjoying theme parks, sharing hotel rooms, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

Have a question for us? Call or text (267) CALL-RBW or visit



  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Traditional wedding anniversary gifts
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: Was I disinvited to my colleague's wedding because I'm going through a divorce? How do I get my mom to be more quiet when we're sharing a hotel room?
  • VENT OR REPENT:Airport pick-ups, Interrupting meals
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Airport employees, A nice review







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



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Episode 184


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Nick: Do you give gold on the wrong wedding anniversary? Do you keep people up with your music? Do you interrupt people's meals? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!

[Theme Song]

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 it's Leah Bonnema.

Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah: Oh, I always get a little heart flutter.

Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche I want to talk about traditional wedding anniversary presents. Like paper, cotton, wood, Like, do you know about this?

Leah: I know it's a thing. I've heard of it.

Nick: Yes, it is definitely a thing, and I have become aware through emails I've received that there are some people that are very serious about this and want to know is it an etiquette crime to give a gift for an anniversary that's not the right gift?

Leah: And by the right gift meaning ...

Nick: So there are lists. There are lists, and you can Google this and there are in etiquette books and they are floating around where every year, every anniversary year is associated with some material. So you do commonly see, like, oh, the first anniversary is paper. So on that anniversary, we give a gift that is related to paper. On the second anniversary, it's cotton. So we give some gift related to cotton. And so on. And so it's out there. This is a thing that's out there.

Leah: But my question is specifically, say it was paper.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: And you decided to give somebody a car, which is not for sure on the other list. Is it that you just can't hit the things that are the other years, or it specifically has to be from that year?

Nick: Right. Are you allowed to give diamonds on the first year? I mean, I think that's probably fine. But yes, the idea is that the traditional gift that one gives at each of these anniversary milestones is associated with a thing, and so you should give that thing for that year. Now the question is: is it an etiquette thing or is it not an etiquette thing?

Leah: I mean, I feel like you're going to tell me.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So it's a thing, but it's not a thing. So let's talk about it. So the real question is: where does this come from? Like, how do we even come up with this idea that, like, oh, on certain anniversaries we have to give a certain, like, metal to—like, oh, tin, it's the tin year. And so as best I can determine, this goes back to medieval Germany. And so there was a tradition in medieval Germany that if you were married for 25 years, you would give the gift of silver. And this was traditionally a wreath made out of silver that the husband would give to the wife. And one thing I read, one scholar was saying that, like, oh, this is because it's really the wife's accomplishment for making the marriage last that long because men didn't really participate in keeping the marriage going. So that's why, like, "Oh, wife. Congratulations. You've kept it together for 25 years." And so—so there was that tradition called the silver wedding. And then if you made it to 50 years of marriage, then it would be a gold wreath. And when you consider what the life expectancy was in Germany, making it to 50 years of marriage, that—that is definitely impressive. So I'm not quite sure how many gold wreaths were going around, but the idea of 25 years of silver, 50 years is gold. Okay, fine. Medieval Germany, that sounds great.

Nick: And so now we have to cut to Victorian England. And so a lot of things were happening in Victorian England. We had a rising middle class, we had Queen Victoria herself. You know, she puts the "Victoria" in Victorian. And we also had the idea of, like, oh, cataloging and lists are fun. Like, Victorians loved making lists of things, cataloging things, creating little divisions of things. Like, when do you think about all the insane flatware that came out of Victorian England, like, all these specialized tongs and tweezers and scissors and forks and spoons, like, Victorian England, they loved different categories. And so we had all these forces coming together, and so the idea of a list of gifts, this makes sense. This makes sense.

Nick: And you also had Queen Victoria marrying Prince Albert, who was German. And so I think he brought this concept of, oh, anniversaries are associated with gifts, German tradition, I think he brought this with him. And I think he might be influential in terms of introducing this concept to England at that time. And this was also the time of love marriages becoming more of a thing. Like, in the past, marriage was not always about love, like, it was about, like, societal position or economics or other reasons. And so the idea that, like, love is an emotion, which is like, oh, why would we trust such a big decision on this emotion of love? Like, this was not necessarily, like, universally loved at this time.

Nick: And I think there was also the idea of, like, oh, if you stay together in a marriage based on love, we also want to, like, celebrate that because, like, oh, what an accomplishment because love is so fragile. And so, like, "Oh, congratulations. You made it to five years. Like, "Oh, let's buy some presents." So I think there's all these factors coming together. So then merchants kind of got on board with this idea, and merchants had the idea of, like, oh, we're buying presents? Well then, let me give you some suggestions.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And so lists started to be developed in the 1800s of, like, what types of presents one should buy for, like, the major milestones. And so those were typically one, five, 10, 15, 20, 25. Like, the bigger ones. And on those lists, everybody does actually stick to the silver for 25 gold for 50. Diamond shows up for 60 on a lot of these lists, and this might be because when Queen Victoria was on the throne for 60 years, she did celebrate her diamond jubilee. And so the idea of 60 and diamonds kind of comes together. And I think she is influential there, too.

Nick: And then we have etiquette books in the 1900s that also have these lists. I saw one that had the third anniversary as candy. So it was like, oh, that's fun! And then, of course, we have Emily Post. And so Emily Post, very influential. And so she did put a list in her 1922 book which gave the major milestones, so one, five, 10, 15, 20. And she really kind of codified what was probably in the ether, at least in New York at the time, but she codified it. So, like, for her, one year was paper, five was wood, 10 is tin, crystal, china, silver, gold, diamond. And for her, diamond was 75 years, which is like, oh, okay. Like, if you make it for 75 years of marriage, like, that's—that's great. Wow, that's impressive!

Nick: And so her list definitely becomes the template for all the lists that came forth. And then you get the American National Retail Jewelers Association, and they see this list that's going around and they're like, "Wait a minute. We are leaving a lot of cash on the table here."

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: "And also, wood? Tin? These are cheap things. This is not what we sell. We need to fill out this list with more things, and we also need to add more stones. So we need to get some rubies in there. We need some pearls. We need to actually, like, make every year a thing." And so they created a list and it, like, became a thing. And it's just this commercial thing that they, like, invented. And there was this amazing snippet in 1937 in the New York Timesthat I came across, which was that association had a big meeting where they were gonna decide to replace wood from year five with appliances.

Leah: [gasps] What?

Nick: And—and so, like, they're just gonna decide, oh, it's no longer wood, everybody. It's appliances. And so they were gonna have a meeting where they're gonna decide this, and then the New York Times has just like this passing reference, which is like, oh, that meeting has been postponed because we need to reach out to some of the stakeholders in the furniture industry to hear from them. And you know what happened is that, like, people from Big Table showed up at those offices with, like, wood bats and were like, "What are you—what are you doing, guys? What are you doing? You're gonna replace—you're gonna replace—you think you can replace us?" And so I'm sure there's a lot behind the scenes, and so I think wood is still year five for a lot of the lists.

Leah: This was also a great movie moment, just like the artichokes. Now I want a night that it went down between the appliance and the wood people.

Nick: [laughs] Right. About, like, who gets to make the official list? But I mean, how incredible that some trade association is just deciding among themselves, like, "Oh, we have the authority to make a list that everyone must follow." And it's like, how bold? I mean, isn't that bold? So bold! And so over the years, you just have all these different lists floating around. And none of these lists necessarily agree. Like, Eleanor Roosevelt, she says pottery for year nine.

Leah: That seems good to me. Pottery on year nine.

Nick: Oh, that's true. Yes. Well, you come from a long line of potters, but do you want to wait nine years before we give the gift of ceramics?

Leah: Maybe pottery on year one through nine.

Nick: Right. Or I saw some list, had "laughter" for year 39.

Leah: That's a great one.

Nick: It was like oh, okay.

Leah: I feel like you're picking all the ones that I would be into.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: Honestly, I was so psyched for wood, and I just visualized, like, oh, you go get, like, a beautiful piece of driftwood for your love and you shellac it.

Nick: I mean, you could do that. I mean, you could take them out on a yacht weekend. You could ...

Leah: I mean, I'm thinking—obviously, there's a difference in where we're thinking. I'm like, "We'll get a piece of wood from the beach," and you're, like, "Buy the beach." [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah, buy them a forest.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Llewellyn Miller in her book in 1967, she says that for the year one, it can be paper or plastic, which is actually kind of interesting to think of plastic as this sort of desirable gift item. But that's actually the same year that The Graduate came out, which had that famous line, which is like, "One word: plastics." And so the idea of, like, oh, plastics being like this hot thing in the '60s. So that made it into the list. And I don't know how, but just, like, Llewellyn Miller decided like, "Oh, plastic. We'll do that for year one.

Leah: Have the quintessentials changed? Like the one, five, 10?

Nick: Those definitely seem to be pretty firm. I mean, you actually now have two lists that you see. One is called the "traditional" list and then one is the "modern list."

Leah: Mmm.

Nick: And so you'll see, like, clocks instead of paper, or you'll see, like, groceries instead of, like, china. You know, like, you'll just see substitutions for some of these things that make no sense and there's no rhyme or reason.

Leah: Paper's such a nice one.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, all of them are nice, but it's sort of like it's based on, like, nothing.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: On some level.

Leah: But I just mean, why would we swap out paper? It's so lovely.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, a poster, a map, a concert ticket.

Leah: Were You Raised By Wolves? stationary.

Nick: Oh, actually, that's not a bad idea. I mean, Leah, we could actually come up with our own list, and if we just become influential enough, like, we could make this the list in the future that all future generations will look to. So, like, I don't know, year one is obelisk, and then nocturne. Fog.

Leah: [laughs] Fog.

Nick: [laughs] Or tangent? I don't know. We could just come up with random things. Why not?

Leah: Year one, rescue dog.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: Year two. Second rescue dog.

Nick: Right. [laughs] So lastly, do you think Miss Manners has any thoughts on this topic?

Leah: I say yes.

Nick: Oh, she has some thoughts. So here's what she has to say. Quote, "A couple married for 25 years to each other may celebrate a silver anniversary and give or be given silver presents. At 50 years, they may celebrate a golden anniversary. A lady who has occupied the same throne for 60 years may celebrate a diamond jubilee and sell souvenirs such as china plates with her profile painted on them. Miss Manners regards any such designations for lesser milestones as being silly. If you wish to accept the dicta of various self-serving industries and believe that the 18-month anniversary means new back tires for the car while rotating the others, go right ahead."

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So there you have it. Go right ahead. If you want to do it, it's fine. But you don't have to.

Leah: I mean, that seems fair to me.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: You got the big ones, and the other ones? Up to you.

Nick: Yeah. So is it etiquette? Is it an etiquette law? It is not. But it's a nice tradition, and if you want to follow it, that's great. And if you don't, no problem.

Leah: No problem. China with your face on it.

Nick: [laughs] I mean, may I live to a diamond jubilee?

Leah: I think you will. And I will get you china with your face on it.

Nick: Oh, you don't think I'm gonna have that totally commissioned? Absolutely.

Leah: [laughs] You're like, "I already have it, Leah. So don't worry about it."

Nick: Yeah, it's already been designed. Yeah. It's just like, at what age do I want it? Do I want, like, my current profile or do, like—do I want the profile, you know, 60 years from now? I don't know.

Leah: My guess is it's gonna be a pretty similar profile.

Nick: Oh, thank you! [laughs]

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to go deep.

Leah: Deep and fun!

Nick: So for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about theme parks.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: And so I feel like this is a big topic. I feel like this is just part one of many, because I don't think we can possibly cover everything that is required on this topic.

Leah: I mean, I think that to do it fairly, we should go to every theme park.

Nick: Oh, together?

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Oh. [laughs] I mean, noted.

Leah: Take notes. We'll take notes.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: I will say, I don't know if it'd be fun for me, but I do think it would be fun for whoever's watching to have us both go to the theme parks across the world. I think there would be some entertainment value there for someone. I don't know if it's me, but I think somebody would enjoy that.

Leah: I just got a straight visual of me being giddy and skipping, and you just sort of stiff upper lipping it through the whole place, just being like, "Oh. Ugh!"

Nick: Yeah. No, that's—that's not wrong. That's not wrong.

Leah: "Teacups again?"

Nick: So what is the last theme park you went to?

Leah: I went to Disney on my birthday.

Nick: And Disneyland?

Leah: Disneyland. The one in Los Angeles. Not Los Angeles, the one in California. I keep getting them mixed up.

Nick: Anaheim.

Leah: Disney World is Florida. Disneyland is Anaheim.

Nick: Right. And okay, and you had a good time?

Leah: Oh, I had the time of my life, Nick.

Nick: The last time I was at Disneyland, I think I was five. And so I recall it fondly. I thought it was a good time.

Leah: I'm pretty sure that I behaved exactly like you did at my age now. We're walking up—you know, you walk up the long pathway towards it, and then you start hearing all the Disney music.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: And I didn't think this would happen. And it was out of my control. I just started misting up. And then you see everybody—you know, all the characters at the door waving. I just started waving. Like, out of my control. I was like, "Hey! Goofy! Over here!"

Nick: I mean, there is some magic that does happen there.

Leah: Magic!

Nick: They're not wrong.

Leah: Magic!

Nick: They're not wrong.

Leah: It's phenomenal.

Nick: For me, the last theme park I think I went to actually was Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.

Leah: No, of course it was. [laughs]

Nick: Which is actually—a lot of inspiration in Disneyland is from Tivoli. It's like one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. And a lot of the design and sort of style, like, Walt Disney went there in the 50s, I think, and I think he took notes, for sure. But I've not been to Disney World. I have not been to Tokyo DisneySea. I have not been to some of these other properties.

Leah: Well, now Copenhagen is on my list.

Nick: Okay. So that I would go to with you.

Leah: Let's do that!

Nick: Okay, fine. So let's talk about the etiquette, though. What are the major etiquette notes for going to a theme park?

Leah: I put this—and I think one could argue that it's not etiquette, but I'm putting it first.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And that's have fun. I think it's quite possibly rude to be walking around a theme park with a frowny face.

Nick: Yeah, I actually do think that is etiquette. I think we will put that in the etiquette category. Yes.

Leah: Thank you. Thank you.

Nick: [laughs] Because—yes, because etiquette is about being mindful of other people, and that includes being mindful of their experience. And when we're at a theme park, we want to have a good time. We want to escape our reality. We want to go to another place physically and emotionally. And if you just see, like, somebody with a frowny face kind of ruining it for you, then, like, that's not fun. Like, I don't want to see that.

Leah: It's not fun. I also don't want to hear you yelling on your cell phone at somebody.

Nick: Yes. Yes. So I think the big note I had was you want to be mindful that you are still in public, and that we're all trying to have a shared experience here. Like, we're all trying to have, like, a fun time. It's sort of like group fitness. It's sort of like we're all in this class and we all actually paid to be here so, like, don't ruin it for other people.

Leah: I went to Storyland recently as an adult, which is in New Hampshire. And it's, you know, all the storybook characters and the little rides.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And it's—you know, it's for kids. And I didn't go with kids. I went with my mom. So technically I was the kid. And there's children, like, having the time of their lives, and you buy into it. "You're like, "Yeah, that is that!" And, "Oh, that is them! And the gates are opening by magic!" Like, we're all buying into this.

Nick: Yeah. You don't want to be like, "Oh, no, kid. It's hydraulics. Let me show you how it works."

Leah: [laughs] Yeah, we're not ruining this experience for—you know?

Nick: Right. Yeah, I think that's a good point. And then I think for the top line etiquette, yeah, I think go with the right intention, which really applies to a lot of things, like going to a comedy show. Like, go there to enjoy yourself. Go to the theater wanting to enjoy the experience.

Leah: This could be on our golden rule list. Go with the right intention. So perfectly spoken, Nick.

Nick: Okay, we're gonna add this to the top 10 brainstorm list.

Leah: It's so good!

Nick: The other thing that's on that list that is definitely on this list is: don't cut in line.

Leah: Oh, that's my second one!

Nick: [laughs] I mean, I feel like just don't do it.

Leah: Don't do it.

Nick: Don't cut in line.

Leah: We're all waiting in line.

Nick: What's wrong with you? Yeah.

Leah: And if you hate lines and you don't want to wait in line, it's not the place for you.

Nick: No, this is definitely the wrong place for you. Or you just be the designated person that waits on the bench while everybody else does the ride. And that's fine. That could be your—that could be your ride. I love the bench ride.

Leah: That's true. If you're a bench rider and you just want to sit there with a snack, cool.

Nick: The other thing on my list is about photography, especially, like, in dark rides. I have been on rides where it's supposed to be dark, like, it's Space Mountain or it's, like, in a theater or it's, like, some ride where, like, oh, the ambient light matters here. And, like, let's not film that entire thing on our phone. And let's certainly not use flash photography.

Leah: Yeah, people are really taking phones everywhere now. And you're like, "Mm-mm." It's ruining the experience for other people.

Nick: Yeah. And so, like, don't—don't do that. Similarly, like, don't block people. So, like, at a parade, like, if you want to get your kid up on your shoulders, like, that's fine, but just make sure, like, you're at the back of the crowd then. Like, don't block more kids behind you. Or if you've got big ears on, you know, like, are you blocking anything with your ears? I don't know.

Leah: I wrote, "Be patient," which sort of came off the don't cut. When you're talking about, like, you know, people getting in front of people at the parade, the sort of like everybody's here, everybody's trying to have a good time. People there with their families, we all gotta be patient with each other.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I also wrote, you know, sometimes, like, you gotta sit down. You got a whole group of people, maybe you get a snack and there's like, no—so you're gonna sit somewhere and there's no open benches. Sometimes I feel like people just sit, like, right in the middle of the walkway, maybe try to move up.

Nick: Is that a thing that's happening? [laughs]

Leah: I've seen people just sit down and be like, "I'm gonna have a picnic right here." Maybe just sort of like move off. Like, don't stand in the middle of a walkway for, like, a—well, let's all stand here and have a group chat. Like, sort of just, you know, move to the side.

Nick: Yes. Well, I think standard, like, oh, I'm leaving the house and I'm with other people rules apply. So yeah, I mean, I think, like, let's not block entrances and doorways and paths, and let's just be mindful that, like, other people exist and, like, might need to get by you. And this is also a New York City rule, which is like, oh, if you need to, like, stop for a second, like, pull over on the sidewalk.

Leah: I mean, we say this, but it's just constantly happening.

Nick: Well, we have our work cut out for us, Leah.

Leah: Ugh.

Nick: We have not achieved perfection and harmony in the universe yet. We have more listeners to reach, clearly. But yes, if you need to stop, don't stop suddenly. No sudden—you know, if you wouldn't do it on the highway, don't do it on a sidewalk. I think that's like the rule. So, like, we don't just, like, slam on our brakes in the fast lane, we merge to the curb and then we pull over before we stop.

Leah: And we don't congregate in the middle. We smoove to the side.

Nick: Yes. Yes, we merge, we zipper, we signal our intentions. Yes, all of these things.

Leah: I also went to this place when I was a little girl called Santa's Village in New Hampshire. I can't ...

Nick: Oh, well doesn't that check off all the boxes for you?

Leah: All the boxes. There was a log flume.

Nick: Did they have fudge, too?

Leah: I'm sure they had fudge. There's no way they don't have fudge.

Nick: [laughs] Right. These are a few of my favorite things.

Leah: [laughs] Do you know I actually rewrote the song A Few of My Favorite Things?

Nick: And it's just all fudge-based.

Leah: No, it's got a lot of Lord of the Rings references as well.

Nick: [laughs] So another thing on my list, which I think we've touched on, is this is a family sort of place. And so we do want to watch our language. And this is certainly, like, the major bad words that we all are familiar with, but also just, like, adult conversation in general. You know, like, "Oh, what did you do last night?" Like, we don't necessarily need to be talking about this in line if there's, like, young kids around, you know? So, like, I think let's just keep the themes and the topics sort of, like, appropriate.

Leah: I feel like these—we've really touched on the major no nos.

Nick: Yes, I think these are the highlights. I think in a future installment, we might want to address dealing with people that you arrived with at a theme park, because I think there's definitely different dynamics at play etiquette-wise when we're traveling with people. Like, who wants to go on a ride? If we're an even number or an odd number, who has to ride with a stranger? Dealing with, like, mealtime, dealing with the expenses. Do you give up your seat on the monorail? Like, I feel like there's other things we can address in future installments, but for today, this is a good start.

Leah: Yes. And I think the best way for us to deal with that future installment is to go to Copenhagen.

Nick: [laughs] Oh, sure. Okay.

Leah: And then we'll also have to get some people we don't know into the group so we can figure out all these do's and don'ts together.

Nick: Oh, we have to invite strangers?

Leah: Well, we're an even number, Nick.

Nick: Okay, so we're gonna have to go on, and we're gonna have to, like, find random people to join us on this little adventure.

Leah: I'm sure we have listeners in Copenhagen.

Nick: Oh, yeah. No, I'm sure we do. So all right, well, when we're in town, you have to come to Tivoli Gardens with us so we can do "research." I'm doing air quotes.

Leah: I was gonna say, if you can't see Nick—which you can't—he's doing air quotes over "research."

Nick: Okay. Can't wait.

Leah: I can't wait.

Nick: Oh, I know you can't.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.

Leah: [howls]

Nick: So our first question is quote, "A friend and coworker's wedding is coming up. I submitted a confirmation on the couple's Save the Date website months ago. The wedding is now less than two weeks away and I never received an actual invitation. The coworker is only inviting two of our work team out of eight. I talked to the other invited teammate, and he says the bride-to-be hand-delivered his invitation weeks ago. Well, that's awkward! So now do I go ask my colleague whether I'm actually invited to her wedding? And also worth noting, I'm going through a divorce. Is that bad luck for a wedding, making my friend change her mind about having some solo sad sack at her special event?"

Leah: I want to say something about—I'm sorry you feel like a solo sad sack.

Nick: Yeah, let's start with that detail, because that's not—no, no, don't feel this way.

Leah: You are a delight and a wonderful person, and everybody's excited to have you around.

Nick: And also, what an insane thing to be like, "Oh, you're going through a divorce? I'm just not gonna invite you anymore. Or actually, I'm gonna specifically disinvite you." Like, oh, that's an insane thing.

Leah: I don't—that's not—I don't think that's happening. If that happened, then this person who invited you is off the rails.

Nick: So I have seen online people who have said that a save-the-date card doesn't necessarily mean you're invited to the wedding, it just means that you're on the proposed guest list. And what a bonkers thing. What a bonkers thing to say. Do not trust the internet, people. Do not read the internet. Actually, we should just shut it down because of stuff like this. What an insane idea that, like, oh, the save-the-date card? It doesn't mean you're actually invited. What?

Leah: That would be ...

Nick: Can you imagine?

Leah: No, I can't imagine.

Nick: "Here's the save the date, Leah. Save the date for me! Oh, you're not invited. Never mind."

Leah: Never mind. Never mind.

Nick: You were just on the proposed list, and you didn't make the cut.

Leah: You were on the whiteboard, and then we erased you.

Nick: [laughs] So yes, I think the rule is—I feel pretty comfortable saying this, the rule is if you are sent a save-the-date, you are invited to the event, whatever the event is. You are not ever asked to save something if you were not then going to be needing to use the thing you saved. So the date has been saved, so we will use the date. So yes, you were invited. So I think you can absolutely ask this colleague, which is like, "Hey, I never got the details to the wedding. So let me know the details."

Leah: Yeah, I wrote, "I would just ask."

Nick: And there is this instinct, which I think our letter-writer is sort of hinting at, which is like, oh, I don't want to make it awkward for them. Like, I don't want to ask if I'm invited to the wedding in case actually I'm not anymore and they changed their mind, and don't want to put them on the spot. But, like, oh, etiquette doesn't require you to make everybody always feel comfortable. Because if somebody committed an etiquette crime like this, you were invited to their wedding and then they uninvited you and didn't tell you, that's an etiquette crime, and you could absolutely make them feel uncomfortable about that. I would like them to say that to my face. "Oh actually, I decided not to invite you after asking you to save the date." I would like you to say that to my face. And so we could ask if that's what happened. Sure.

Leah: [laughs] That's a Nick Leighton t-shirt. "I would like you to say that to my face."

Nick: Absolutely. Yeah, say it to my face. Yeah, if you're gonna be so bold as to do that thing, then at least say it to my face. So I think this is just like a miscommunication. Like, you are invited, they assumed you had the details. I'm planning a wedding. I'm busy. You know, why you didn't get it hand-delivered like your other colleague? I don't know. Maybe you were out of the office that day. You know, or you were on your lunch break. You know, you weren't in your cubicle. I don't know. But, like, I think we can assume that you're invited, and then let's leave it on them to tell you specifically that oh, actually, you're not.

Leah: Yeah, I was gonna say more than likely it's just been a miscommunication, and maybe they—exactly that. They were walking around with the two—because they're not gonna want to give out the invites in a big way since most of the team isn't invited.

Nick: True. That's a good point.

Leah: So they were probably just walking around. Maybe you were in the washroom, and then they put it back in their desk and then it slipped their mind. I think there's probably a very reasonable explanation, and that you should just ask.

Nick: And if you were disinvited to this wedding, I need to hear about this immediately in real time. So please let me know, because I definitely want to hear about that. But I don't think that's what happened here, because that is just—that would be so extreme that I just hope that is not the case.

Leah: I would be completely shaken if that was the case.

Nick: Oh, yeah. Oh, that's relationship-ending material for sure. Like, oh, that's gonna be real chilly in the office from here on out.

Leah: Chilly!

Nick: Yeah, "chilly" is even a very light word for that. But I think you're invited. So I don't—I wouldn't worry about this. So have a great time.

Leah: Have a great time!

Nick: So our next question is quote, "My mother introduced me to your podcast and both of us have been listening for a while now. She thinks etiquette is very important, but you wouldn't know that sharing a hotel room with her. On a recent trip, she insisted on playing music or a guided meditation to help her sleep, despite it waking me up several times. And then she played her favorite radio show at 6:00 a.m., which starts with a very loud rock song punctuated by Homer Simpson moans. Not my ideal way of waking up. When I went to ask her to at least wait a half hour until my alarm went off, she shouted at me to lay down before continuing to play it more quietly—which didn't really help. Please let me know your opinions on the etiquette of sharing a hotel room. How would you reconcile everyone's sleep and routines?"

Leah: I love it. I feel like in the beginning, we suddenly got involved in people's arguments. And this one, our letter-writer is like, "Hey, my mom is the one that brought me to your podcast," and now ...

Nick: We are now responsible for fixing this. [laughs]

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: This question made me think of this time when I was in Ulaanbaatar, or outside of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, with a friend, and we were at a luxury yurt resort. And the term "luxury" and "resort" are very loose here, but they were yurts. They were definitely yurts, which is sort of like a round sort of traditional-shaped building. And so we're in the middle of nowhere, and we were there only for two nights, I think, but it was the end of the season and we were the only guests. So there were like 40 yurts sort of scattered around this, like, expanse, but we were the only guests in this entire place. And it was sort of like desolate and creepy, and we were both losing it. And my friend had a sound app on his phone that he somehow plugged into the yurt sound system. I guess that's the "luxury" part of "luxury yurt," that there was a sound system. But the sound that he chose was a grandfather clock.

Leah: No! No!

Nick: [laughs] So you just have the sound of a loud grandfather clock pendulum: knock, knock, knock.

Leah: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Nick: [laughs] Throughout the night, reverberating in this desolate Mongolian yurt, and it's sort of like, oh, that's not helping. So it was definitely one of the most memorable trips I've ever had, for sure. [laughs]

Leah: It's so wild to me that that would be a noise that would actually help somebody sleep.

Nick: I don't know why we selected the grandfather clock sound. I mean, as opposed to whales, rain. I don't know, all the classics.

Leah: Waves.

Nick: Anything else. But yeah, no grandfather clock. Yeah, very soothing. So I get this. I get being in a hotel room or a yurt with somebody where they have some sound habits which don't align with yours.

Leah: I travel with comics, and more than once I've shared rooms with them. And we just have a rule that it's whoever gets up first has to use earphones.

Nick: Okay. So there was some conversation about, like, oh, everybody's routines before we got there.

Leah: Yes. And basically, there was a conversation on how a person likes to fall asleep. Do you want noise? No noise? And then people need to sleep. Some people need to sleep in more. Da da da. Whoever gets up first, use earphones. And then we always discuss, because some people leave their notifications on.

Nick: Oh.

Leah: And I can even hear vibrating. Like, a vibrating sound on a phone wakes me up.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So I always have to be like, "Do you mind turning it all the way off?"

Nick: So I think with all situations, I think the polite-yet-direct approach is always the way to go, and to see if we can kind of come to some consensus or compromise here. Like, "Oh, would you mind maybe using headphones if you want to listen to your radio show?" Or, "Would you mind, you know, picking a different sound meditation?" You know, you could ask. It sounds like you did ask, and so that was sort of like not very successful. And so the other thought I had was like, maybe just tough it out. How many nights are we doing here? And, like, just tough it out, right? So I think that might just be the way to go. I was like, is this really the hill you want to die on? Nah.

Leah: I do think that traveling and sharing hotel rooms, particularly with family because families have dynamics.

Nick: Oh, sure.

Leah: That if we can come to a compromise. "Hey, I get that you want to get up at six. I like to get up at 6:30. Can we just do that extra half hour as a favor to me?"

Nick: Yeah. I think you just ask politely and see how far you get. I think you've done that, but sometimes doing it more than once is required.

Leah: Also, you could be like, "Hey, if we could do a half an hour more, then you can listen to your music not in headphones."

Nick: Right. Yeah, have at it full blast.

Leah: So maybe there's some kind of a negotiation.

Nick: Yes. And other than that, just know it's only a couple nights. And so, you know, just tough it out.

Leah: Just tough it out.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: You could always sleep in the car.

Nick: Or not go.

Leah: [laughs] Nick's really thrown out all the options.

Nick: Or just know that this is the deal in the future. Like, if you want to just share a hotel room in the future then, like, this is the deal. And so if you just can't handle this deal, then get your own room, or we gotta figure something else out.

Leah: And I wish you the best of luck because sharing a hotel room is—it's a—it's a murky—it's a murky path.

Nick: It can definitely be murky.

Leah: And I think especially with someone you're related to because you're bringing in all those emotional dynamics on top of the fact that people sleep differently.

Nick: Yeah. Oh, yeah. There's a lot of layers here. Yeah, definitely goes outside of our purview. But thank you for trying to rope us in.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] So do you have questions for us that you want to rope us into? Let us know! You can let us know through our website,, 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: [whispers] Vent or repent!

Nick: Which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had recently. Or we can repent for some etiquette faux-pas we've committed. So Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: Oh, you know, it's such a hard choice ...

Nick: Was it?

Leah: ... but I'm gonna. No, I want to vent. It was actually a hard choice to pick which vent I wanted to do.

Nick: Okay. Well, what have you selected for us today?

Leah: I have selected pulling up to pick somebody up at an airport. So let me say up top that I can imagine that being the person who stands at the curb at airports telling people to pull in and leave and can't stop there is exhausting.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, what a thankless job.

Leah: What a—and I'm sure that you also deal with some of the most not aware of other people in the whole world people.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: So I keep that in my head when I'm constantly being yelled at by people to move. And I'm really trying to do my best. You know, there's moving vehicles, there's moving people. There's a lot you're paying attention to. I'm a—I'm a rule follower. Do you know what I mean? I'm ...

Nick: Oh, yeah. We know.

Leah: So it's LAX.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: If you're going to a terminal after four, when you drive in you can actually hang a left.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And then you cut through so you come right in at five. On the departures, there's a light.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So you can actually pull across. On the arrivals, which I now know, and I will never do this again, I will go all the way around, there's no light.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So you just have to kind of like, jump out into oncoming traffic.

Nick: Oh, there's merging.

Leah: You're merging, but you immediately have to get all the way across because that's where terminal five is.

Nick: It's like an actual intersection that has no light.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Oh, that's kind of insane.

Leah: It's a mess. So if you're going to terminal five, don't take the cut off where they tell you to. Go all the way around.

Nick: Pro tip.

Leah: So I'm going to terminal five. I'm picking up a man and a dog.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: I have to immediately get across, and there's buses and there's cars and I'm, you know, being careful. And then these two buses just stop. So I'm like, okay, I'll go. So then I'm merging over, and then this lady stops directly in front of me at the curb instead of pulling up. It's totally open, but she doesn't pull up. She just stops, and then she pops the door and then someone's coming down the sidewalk to get into the car. So she didn't park in the best position.

Nick: Right.

Leah: I'm now sort of angled across traffic these stopped buses, but I can't move because she stopped directly in front of me. I don't have enough space to turn back.

Nick: All right, so now you're stuck.

Leah: I'm stuck. So these two people that are the—you know, they're telling people to go and not go, stand there and just yell at me. Just yell. Just yell in my face for the amount of time that it takes this other woman to get her person.

Nick: They should be yelling at that person.

Leah: Yeah, No, they're yelling at me. Just yelling. "Why would you stop there?" And it's like you can see—so finally I rolled down my window and I go, "Hey, I can't get past that person in front of me." And the guy then sticks his head into my window and makes this face like I'm an idiot.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: Like, I didn't even know how to handle this situation. I was like, "How do you not see?"

Nick: Well, because it sounds like this is like an alternate reality.

Leah: It felt like I was in an alternate reality. First of all, I don't know if we need to yell at people. Like, I get that—but the two of you standing there just screaming at me when this person just directly stopped in front of me. I don't have control over this person. I did not put a light at the terminal five thing. I'm trying to do my best, and I was answering them, "Hey, I can't move until they pull up," you know, being polite. And they just kept screaming. So then I was like, "Hey, I can't get by this lady." And then he walks over and gives it like a mean face into my window. I just—I don't need that.

Nick: I mean, did he eventually go to that other car and be like, "Oh, can you please move this along?"

Leah: No. And then she moved and then I pulled up.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: But it was like they just needed to unload on me. But it was like people are trying their best, and I can't magically move cars with my brain.

Nick: I mean, if only you could.

Leah: If only I could. What are we doing yelling at people like that? Like, too much!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: It was the sticking the face in my window that put me over the edge.

Nick: I don't love that. Sure. Speaking of things I don't love, I would like to vent. And so I was having dinner recently in my neighborhood. And I was dining solo, which I enjoy doing. As we've discussed, everybody should do it. It's great. And so at this restaurant, usually I eat at the bar, but for some reason the bar was full but, like, the restaurant wasn't that busy, so I was actually, like, at a table. And so I'm enjoying the meatloaf, which is a great dish at this restaurant.

Nick: And I'm seated next to four people who are in the restaurant. And so one of them leans over and was like, "Is that the meatloaf?" And I'm like, "Yeah, it's the meatloaf." And then one of the other people at the table then, like, a minute later was like, "Is it good?" And it's like, "Yeah. Yeah, it's great." And then, like, another 30 seconds go by and, like, the third person at the table leans over and is like, "Is that garlic mashed potatoes?"

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And I was like, "Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, garlic mashed potatoes." And so it was sort of like, all right. And then the fourth person at the table then joked to the rest of the people at their table, which was like, "Is that wine? Is that water? Are we in New York?" And, like, was joking about all the other sort of questions that everybody could, like, ask me and bother me with. But because these people are 18 inches away from my face, I could hear this whole conversation. So they're, like, making a joke about, like, them bothering me, but now I'm part of their conversation because it's about me. And it's like, clearly I can hear all of this happening, and it's sort of like, why am I a part of this now? Like, you've already interrupted my meal, which is, like, fine but, like, I don't love that. But, like, fine. But, like, now you guys are, like, kind of razzing each other about the fact that you had inconvenienced me, and it's sort of like the fact that you're doing that is now actually further inconveniencing me because now I'm, like, listening to all this. So it's just like, this is not great. I don't like what's happening here. I would like it to stop. And so I don't know what the lesson is but, like, don't do this in restaurants.

Leah: [laughs] Don't talk about people right next to them after ...

Nick: Maybe that's what it is? Yeah, don't talk about people. Yeah. But I mean, as it was happening, I was just like, oh, it's fine. I mean, it's a content opportunity for the show. So, like, I just clocked it. And so I was like, I'll just put that in my back pocket. And so, you know, I make lemonade out of it, but it was just annoying in the moment.

Leah: I wish we could have a picture.

Nick: What we have to do is do a reenactment.

Leah: I know, but I—in the future, if you could just pull out your camera.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And take a picture.

Nick: Of them?

Leah: And that would be funny. Yeah. And you could be like, "Hey, I'm just—I think it's funny that you're talking, and I can hear you and you know I can hear you. So I'm gonna take a picture. It's for a podcast."

Nick: Yeah. "Don't worry about it. It's just content for a global audience. Like, don't worry about it. It's not a big deal." [laughs] "And also, can you just sign these releases?"

Leah: [laughs] No, you just put the little smiley face over their face.

Nick: Oh, that's no fun. No, I want to have content releases. Yes. In perpetuity throughout the universe.

Leah: How funny would that be if anytime somebody is acting, you know, that you're gonna use them for a vent, you're like, "Hey, do you mind just signing these releases?" It would be so funny.

Nick: It would be great actually if I always had a PA with me with a clipboard and be like, "Oh, can you actually just talk to Madison real quick? She's got something for you to sign so that we can use this interaction we just had for a global podcast. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it."

Leah: [laughs] Oh, I would love it!

Nick: Oh, this is a great idea! Oh Leah, I'm gonna get releases from everybody. That's what's happening. Get ready, New York City. I have a clipboard and I've got release forms and I'm coming for you.

Leah: I am so here for this.

Nick: No, this is one of our best ideas.

Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: Oh, my goodness. I learned the whole evolution of how we celebrate what gifts at what year, and the travel from a German tradition over into England, and then through Emily Post, and then the Metal Associations of America.

Nick: And I learned that you love driftwood so much that it is a meaningful gift.

Leah: Oh, it's beautiful. I mean, nature is incredible.

Nick: 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, I have two requests: one is I want your most bonkers etiquette stories. I want to hear your most outrageous etiquette moments in your lives. The times you just look back and be like, "What just happened?" So I want to hear about that. And then I also want you to send in your questions and try to stump us. I want your most complicated etiquette paradoxes, and I want to see can you stump Nick and Leah? I want to find out. Can it be done?

Leah: I just broke into a sweat. I just broke into a full sweat.

Nick: [laughs] Yeah. I don't know. Is there—is there an etiquette paradox we cannot solve? I'd be very curious.

Leah: I mean, I feel like there's ones that we just guessed at and threw out there and were like, "Let us know what happened." [laughs]

Nick: I mean, good enough. So send those in, and we'll see you next time!

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

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 you know me, I like to fully think of both sides of the issue. So I would like to thank everybody who's working at the airport who is very flexible and lovely and supportive and knows that all of us out there are really just trying our best. And thank you for all of your patience.

Nick: Yeah, for sure. And for me, I want to read a nice review we just got, which is quote, "I've been listening since Lisa rocked her silky warmup tracksuits and the show still swooshes like Jordan Duncan while wearing silky warmup suits. I do hope homie gets his million dollar toilet. 100%. Anyway, I went back to the Apple podcast app just to freshen up my review and see if old T. Cook forked up 20 bucks for a six star review system because this show is a seven. Fire!" So sadly, five stars is the most you can give us. But this review? Priceless. Totally priceless.

Leah: Makes me feel like a ten out of ten.

Nick: So thank you. This is great.

Leah: Thank you!