Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle giving business cards in Japan, behaving in locker rooms, ignoring ventriloquists, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle giving business cards in Japan, behaving in locker rooms, ignoring ventriloquists, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)
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Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema
Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
Nick: Do you put away people's business cards too quickly? Do you video chat from the locker room? Do you not like pizza in a park? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!
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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: Whoo! Excited!
Nick: So for today, I want to talk about meishi kōkan, which is the business card exchange in Japan.
Nick: Obviously. So Leah, have you ever exchanged business cards in Japan or with a Japanese person?
Leah: I rarely exchange business cards.
Nick: [laughs] Do you have business cards?
Leah: I have cards that I would hand out after a show which aren't business cards, because they only have general ways to get ahold of me, as opposed to, like, a telephone number.
Nick: Right. Okay.
Leah: So it's almost in that way, I'd say more like a flier.
Leah: But I do have business cards.
Nick: So in Japan, business cards are very important. And a business card is almost like an extension of the person. And if you go to Japan and you don't have business cards, that is seen as, like, very strange, because you're almost like a nonentity.
Nick: Like, you don't exist, you are of no consequence. So if you go to Japan, definitely have business cards. And like a lot of things in Japan, there is a whole ritual around the business card and exchanging them. And so I want to tell you about it because it's very important. I don't want you to embarrass yourself. So next time you're in Japan, here are the most important things to know. The key thing is that the exchange usually takes place when you do the introductions. So, like, you're meeting the people, that's when it happens. It's at the beginning of the meeting.
Nick: And then also very important that, if you're with your boss, they go first. The highest-ranked person, like, does the exchange first, and then you go. And you always hold the card with two hands—very important. Two hands. And you don't want to cover any part of the card with your thumbs. So you will grip the card in the corners just like in a teeny-tiny corner. So that's the basics. So here's what's gonna happen when you give somebody your card—and there is some variation depending on if this is a simultaneous exchange, or if we have business card cases. So the easiest is just, I'm gonna give you my card. And what's going to happen is that I'm going to—with two hands—take my card out of my card case or wherever it was, I'm gonna rotate the card so it's facing you, so that when you grab it, you don't have to rotate it to read it. So it's facing you, so you'll be able to read it. And with two hands, I'm gonna hold it out to you.
Nick: And the height where all of this is taking place is kind of mid-chest. Like, if I was holding a platter of Thanksgiving turkey, like that height, that's kind of like the height all this is taking place. And so I'm gonna reach out, hand you the card with two hands, and then you're gonna grab the card with your two hands and you're gonna hold the card in the corner very carefully so that you don't cover any part of the writing with your thumbs.
Nick: Okay, so if we're gonna do a simultaneous exchange, then what's gonna happen is I'm gonna reach out to you with two hands, and then I'm gonna let go with my left hand and I'm gonna grab a corner of your card, and you're gonna do the same at the exact same time.
Nick: So we're gonna do a little switcheroo there. And then once you have my card, I'm gonna take my free hand and I'm gonna put it back on your card, two hands. So now I'm holding your card with two hands. Now advanced. If we're doing a simultaneous exchange and you want to show respect for the other person, you're gonna come in lower with your card than theirs, so that their card will actually be physically higher above the ground than yours. Like, only an inch or two but, like, enough where it's sort of like, "Oh, I'm coming in lower." That's a little advanced. I think we're ready for that. So then the third variation on this theme is if we have business card holders, which who doesn't? I mean, everyone should. Leah, do you have business card holders?
Leah: I do, actually.
Nick: Oh, okay. Great. So you're ready.
Nick: So if you have a business card holder, what happens is you will be holding the business card holder with your left hand, and as we do the simultaneous exchange, you're gonna put the business card on my card holder, and then I'm gonna put our hands together, I'm gonna be holding your card in my hands with both hands. And I'm also gonna be holding the card holder as well. I'm gonna post a video of this on our website so you can see what I'm talking about. Okay, great. I now have your business card in my hands. Congratulations. So the next thing—probably the most important, like, the most important thing, you have to study the card.
Nick: You cannot put it away right away. So crucial. So I'm holding your card in my hands—two hands, and I got to look at it. I got to look at the card stock. I should look at the font. I should look at the design. And you can even compliment any of these things. Like, "Oh, Futura. Nice choice! I like it better than Avenir." Or, like, "Oh, my favorite ramen shop is, like, near your office." Or you can ask a question. Like, whatever it is, but you have to take a beat to acknowledge you are pulling in information from this card. This is very important. So if we're starting the meeting and we're all staying in this room, we're gonna sit down and now you will place these business cards in front of you on the table, and they stay there through the entire meeting. And you can arrange them either by status, or you can arrange them based on where everybody is seated in the room. And that's also fine.
Nick: If we're leaving right then or at the end of the meeting, it is very important to treat these cards with respect. Like these are 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps baseball trading cards. Like, it's so important. So you're gonna want to put it back in your card case. If you don't have a card case, you're gonna want to put it in, like, your front pocket or your briefcase. And you might even apologize, like, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I forgot my card case today." But it's very important to treat it with super high respect. So you don't want to bend the corner, you don't want to fold it, you don't want to fan yourself with it. You don't want to write on it. You know, often we make notes on people's business cards. You can do that, you just have to wait until you're not in front of them, because that's almost seen as, like, writing on their face.
Nick: You know, it's super rude. Like, you just don't do that. And also, you don't want to lose the business card. Losing a business card and asking for another one? Also super rude. So definitely, like, keep track. And that's it. That's the whole business card exchange. Very simple.
Leah: That is so interesting. I feel like it's the thing that I would have to practice with a partner.
Nick: It is worth practicing. I mean, the Japanese are so forgiving for non-Japanese people because they're just surprised that we bothered at all. I mean, what the Japanese must think of us. I mean, their etiquette is so much better in general. You know, when they come to the United States, they must be like, "Oh, what are these people doing? How does this society function?" But yes, the Japanese business card exchange, it is sort of lovely when you see it.
Leah: Well, I think it would be fun to practice, you know, so you had it down and then you like—and then when the moment arrives, you're like, "I practiced for this."
Nick: Yeah. Like, "Ah, the moment has come! Yes, I'm ready!"
Nick: And then the Rocky soundtrack is playing in your head.
Leah: Yes. You're like, "Whoo!" as you, like, slowly move your hands across. [singing] Da na nah!
Nick: Oh, one thing I didn't mention, because it's a whole other world that we need to discuss at some point, not today—bowing. As you're handing the card, you do need to do it with a little bit of a bow. And also when you're receiving the card. And I think it's sort of a 30° angle, you could go to 45 if you want to really show a lot of respect. So another day we're gonna discuss bowing angles and feet position in Japan. But, like, for today, just know, like, a little bit of bow, that's all you need to know.
Nick: And if you wanted to add a little Japanese expression that you might say when you're giving the business card, "Hajimemashite," which is sort of like, nice to meet you.
Nick: That's it. Yeah, you nailed it.
Leah: Thank you. I was so excited about this.
Leah: I realized at home they can't see me. I'm doing my 35, maybe into a 45.
Nick: Okay, that's good. Right angle.
Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to go deep.
Leah: Yeah. [laughs]
Leah: I mean, I feel like this has happened to a lot of people.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, a lot of our deep dives maybe don't feel universal—I feel like this is. So today, I want to talk about locker room etiquette.
Nick: And this was actually inspired by a question we got from you all in the wilderness, which was, quote, "What is the correct response to someone staring at the gym? I chose locking eyes and glaring. Is that rude?"
Leah: [laughs] I love this question because I always think, "Good for you!"
Nick: Yeah. I mean, don't I guess.
Leah: But also, good for you.
Leah: Because I get that feeling where you're like, you feel so undone in the moment. You're like, "What? Stop it!" You know?
Leah: Good for this person for just glaring back. You know what I mean? I know that it's not right, but I'm still very excited about it.
Nick: Yeah. No, a lot of bad etiquette is really entertaining.
Leah: But also, what were you gonna do back? You know what I mean?
Nick: Well, what you're gonna do is ignore it.
Leah: Yeah. I mean, that's what I'm gonna do. But I wish I would do this.
Nick: Sure. So locker rooms. A lot to say.
Leah: I think I brought this up when we first started.
Leah: I actually used it as an opening scene of a pilot I wrote because I was so—this woman was on speakerphone in the locker room.
Leah: And she was admonishing one of her—somebody who worked for her.
Nick: Oh, nice!
Leah: And he—I could hear him because we're in the locker room.
Nick: And it's a speakerphone.
Leah: And she's yelling. And he would go to try to fix it or apologize, and she would start talking to him in a baby voice, like very mocking.
Leah: And so she's already on speakerphone. Then she's yelling and she's doing business. And all of us then were listening to this poor human being get mocked and berated. And we were all sort of like cowering in the corner.
Nick: So don't do that.
Leah: Don't do that!
Nick: Is that the takeaway?
Leah: Don't do that, because I will write a pilot with the opening scene being you. [laughs]
Nick: Yes. So I think okay, let's jump to phones. Yeah, I think we don't want to be on the phone at all, not just speakerphone. I think we just don't want to be on the phone.
Leah: The locker room? People are changing.
Leah: Do you know what I mean? It feels like an intimate place.
Nick: It is, yes.
Leah: So I understand that sometimes there's like an emergency call, you've got to check in with somebody. I get that there's moments where something has to happen.
Nick: Yes. I think so often when I'm at the gym locker room and people are on the phone, it's not that.
Leah: Yeah, it's often not that.
Nick: It's generally not that.
Leah: But I do know that sometimes you get a call, you got to pick your kids up, it's something for work, you got to pick up real quick. You look around, you say to the people, "Excuse me, I got to pick this up real quick."
Nick: Yeah, I don't think I've ever had that.
Leah: That's never happened.
Nick: No, it's always just talking about the day, hanging out with the friends. "Oh, did you see this episode of whatever last night?"
Leah: I just think remember that everybody at the gym, that's their hour that they get for themselves the whole day.
Leah: They're trying to not do work, they're trying to not catch up on emails. Like, everybody's trying to forget that they have a million things to do. So ...
Nick: It's an escape for a lot of people.
Nick: Yeah. No, I think having that sort of mindfulness, yeah, that would be nice. And I think a lot of times when we go to the gym, we actually are in our bubble world because it's like, "Oh, this is me time." And this happens a lot in group fitness, particularly. And we forget that me time still involves other people.
Nick: Like, me time. I'm in my bubble, I'm entitled to a certain experience at the gym that I'm paying for, too. I am entitled to have X, Y, Z here. And that's just gonna have to come at the expense of other people. Like, this is what a lot of people are thinking. But no.
Leah: But don't think that.
Nick: But all of it's incorrect.
Leah: I just remember all those people that are in the spin class, in the darkened room in front of me who take their phones out, lights up the whole room, and you're like, "Stop that!"
Nick: Yeah, yeah. So I mean, same—this is the same person. This person is now just in the locker room.
Leah: It's just—stop.
Nick: So no phones, no video. So a friend of mine was in the gym recently, and somebody was doing a video chat on their phone. And my friend was like, "Really?" And the guy was like, "What? Is this a problem?" [laughs] And so that was the exchange. And I told my friend, like, "Oh, please write this up. And I would love to use this on the show." And he was like, "No, I still want to go back to the gym. So I can't use any details that might incriminate me."
Nick: But yeah, video chat at the gym. I mean, that's outrageous.
Leah: It's outrageous!
Nick: I mean, in no world is that ever okay. We're not checking to see if the babysitter is okay or needs anything with video chat.
Leah: It's just really unbelievable. Also, when you use video, it's other people's private space you're now ...
Nick: Well, that's what—I mean, that's why it's so inconceivable. Like, why are we videoing in the locker room? Like, that's not—we don't take pictures in the locker room.
Nick: So now we're gonna take 30 pictures per second? Like, no!
Leah: The last gym that I was at, there were signs: absolutely no video, no picture. Just to make it crystal clear.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, that should go without saying.
Leah: Yeah, I don't understand how people—there are naked people!
Nick: Yeah, so don't do that.
Leah: I didn't understand when you were telling me that story that they were in the locker room. I thought you meant in the gym in general.
Nick: No, no. Locker room.
Leah: I can't believe the person was like ...
Nick: "Is that a problem?"
Leah: "Is this a problem?"
Nick: "Does this bother you?"
Leah: Yeah, it's the locker room!
Nick: [laughs] Right! And that's a great example of, like, you're committing the etiquette crime here, don't make this my problem. I'm not doing anything wrong. Don't make me the prude. It's like, no, I don't want to be on video naked in front of a stranger on your phone. That's reasonable.
Leah: Very reasonable. Yeah, those people who are like, "This is you." No, it's you!
Nick: Yes! So other things on my list? Showering. So I think we want to dry off in the shower area, and I don't know if it's a universal thing or just the gyms I've been to, where people are wet and walking through the whole room, creating a slip and slide. And they wait to dry off until they're, like, 40 feet away back at their locker. And it's like, no, bring the towel with you to the shower. Dry off there. That's where the drying off happens.
Leah: So they're walking through naked?
Nick: Walking through naked, dripping, yeah, they're like Slimer from Ghostbusters, just, like, leaving a trail of water.
Leah: I think women—that happens significantly less in the women's locker room just because women are like, "I'm gonna get completely redressed inside the shower." You know what I mean? We're just—hate to generalize, but I feel like that happens way less. I never see women not bring their towels.
Nick: Okay. Well I mean, I'm just putting it out there. And nakedness in general, I think, you know, in the United States, I think we're a little more conservative. So we typically are not walking around hanging out in a locker room naked for longer than necessary. I think that's generally our tradition here. So something to note is that you want to minimize the naked time whenever possible.
Leah: Yeah, when I lived in Quebec our gym was you left the clothes at the locker, and you walked. And it was very different.
Nick: Right, yeah. No, I went to the gym in Oslo once, and I was like, oh, this is not the United States no more. So yeah. No, different places in the world have different standards. That's fine. Etiquette is regional.
Nick: But yes, in the United States ...
Leah: I was referring to showers in the US, in the women's locker room where I feel like people are just like, "I'm gonna completely bring in my boots. I got my shoes in the shower. I'm just gonna redress.
Nick: So then I think when we're redressing and regrooming, I think be mindful of that also. Like, I think a lot of times there are sprays and hairsprays and perfumes and all sorts of things. So we have different opinions about perfumes in public. But ...
Leah: Right. I don't think we really do. I'm not saying douse yourself, but I am saying that everything that you have on you smells.
Nick: Fair, yes.
Leah: Your lotion smells, your hair stuff smells, a roll-on isn't gonna make a difference.
Nick: Okay, yes. So why are we singling out roll-on scents as something different?
Leah: Yeah, everything you wear, unless everything you wear is no scent, I can smell it.
Nick: That's fair, okay.
Leah: But obviously, you don't spray your perfume with people behind you or around you.
Nick: Right, don't do that.
Leah: Also, don't spread out on the bench. That's a big one.
Nick: Naked or ...?
Leah: No. I mean, your stuff. Like, you take everything out of your locker, you put it down the whole bench.
Nick: Oh, yes. I mean personal space in general, I think is a key thing.
Leah: Use your portion of the area.
Nick: Yeah. There are people that definitely like to spread out, and you're like, "Oh, where am I supposed to put my bag?"
Leah: There's, like, 30 lockers, and so you should get a portion of the bench.
Nick: Right. Yeah, be mindful. Other people might need to set their stuff down and don't want to put it on, like, the wet ground.
Leah: I also don't think—don't leave your towel wet and rumpled up on the bench. Like, throw it in the towel bin. It's right by the door. It's always right by the door.
Nick: Yeah, clean up after yourself. I mean, all this stuff sounds so basic. Like, do we even need to talk about it?
Leah: Well, clearly we do. I also haven't been in a gym in so long that I'm slowly remembering it. Oh, remember?
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I go to a gym that's close to my house so, like, I'll just come home. It's just easier to, like, just come home. Like, I'll just leave the gym and I'll come home and shower.
Leah: I've always gone home. I also have, like, such complicated hair.
Nick: What, you can't possibly address your hair in a gym setting?
Leah: No. What, am I going to bring, like, eight different bottles of things?
Nick: I mean, you could. I don't know.
Leah: No, I would never.
Nick: What does Keri Russell do?
Leah: Keri Russell probably has her own gym.
Nick: Oh, that's true, yeah. [laughs] And then conversations with friends or running into people. What do we want to say about this?
Leah: I feel like those are two different things: running into people and having ...
Nick: Okay. Well, let's say I am working out with you—well, not with you. Let's say I'm working out with a friend, and now we're in the ...
Nick: Because we're in the locker room.
Leah: Oh, this is in the locker room. I was gonna say that felt really hurtful. You're like, "I'm not working out with you!"
Nick: No, I'm in the men's locker room.
Leah: Okay. Okay.
Nick: And so I've just worked out with a buddy. And so now we're, like, ending our workout. We're, like, changing. So I think that conversation, I think we still want to kind of minimize and not make everybody in the room part of our conversation.
Leah: Unless it's a really juicy conversation, then please have it so I can go home and retell other people what I heard.
Nick: Okay, fine. And then I think if we run into somebody we know in the locker room, I think it's like a nice, courteous hello but, like, we can leave it there.
Leah: I think I told you this lady in the locker room was like, "Oh, I haven't seen you ..." and I was, like, mid-change.
Nick: Okay. [laughs]
Leah: And so I was, like, totally nude. And she just kept talking. And I was like, do I stand here? You know what I mean? I was like, I need to get, like, some item of clothing on. It was just so—somebody I hadn't seen in years.
Nick: And so she just picked the time when you were, like, fully naked?
Leah: Fully naked. It was like, "Ah!" And then she was, like, intense in a conversation, and I was like—I would have had to, like, turn around, you know what I mean? And I didn't want to, like, put my back to her, but I was also like, I'm totally naked.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, that's awkward.
Leah: I mean, I just leaned into it. I put my leg up on the thing. I, like, put my hand down. I was like, "What's up?"
Nick: Yeah. I mean, go big or go home.
Leah: I mean, if you're there, you got to just get into it.
Nick: I mean, I think what you could have done in that instance was say, like, "Oh, it's so great seeing you. Give me a moment to put clothes on."
Leah: Well, I think I was like, "Let me grab a towel."
Nick: Okay. Yeah, I think something like that.
Leah: Or I was just like, "I'm grabbing a towel." You know, I tried to make it casual.
Nick: Very like, "Oh, I'm not bothered by you harassing me while I'm naked."
Leah: I just thought it was more, like, funny. You know what I mean? I'm like, this is odd.
Nick: So ...
Leah: Oh, I think locker room, you know, there's also the bathrooms in there.
Leah: And I find that a lot of people go into the bathrooms to make phone calls. As if that's any different than the locker room. And it's actually even, I think, more inappropriate.
Nick: Like, they just use a stall as a telephone booth?
Leah: Yeah. I've been in there a lot of times where the stall's being used as a telephone booth. And I don't love that.
Nick: Well, that's rude because you're tying up a stall.
Leah: You're tying up a stall, and ...
Nick: And also, unless these are, like, those rooms that are totally sealed floor to ceiling?
Leah: Which you know they are not.
Nick: [laughs] Right? No, these are just, like, three-foot dividers.
Nick: So, like, I could hear your conversation, sure.
Leah: I can hear your conversation, and your poor friend at home can hear sounds of a bathroom.
Nick: Yeah, yeah. And there's probably not an Otohime in there, that's the Japanese sound princess, if you recall from a previous episode.
Leah: Which I'm still thinking about, because I was in an airport—I took a picture of it and posted it on my Instagram, and they didn't—I saw a thing on the wall and I was like, "Is this gonna be my moment?"
Nick: Pretty sure not at the Phoenix Airport.
Leah: [laughs] And it wasn't. It was the thing you could wave your hand in front of and it shot out a scented spray.
Nick: Oh, not the same thing.
Leah: Not the same thing at all. Far less exciting.
Nick: I'm so sorry.
Leah: But still fun.
Nick: What did it smell like?
Leah: Oh, I didn't do it. I just thought it looked fun.
Nick: You passed up the opportunity to wave your hand and make a scent appear?
Leah: What if it was a scent that I did not like, and then it was on me?
Nick: Oh, it sprays you? Doesn't just spray the room?
Leah: I don't know where it sprays. No, it's in your stall.
Leah: Yes! That's why I thought it maybe was an Otohime, because I was like, "Oh, it's in the stall!"
Nick: Oh, Molly, you in danger, girl.
Leah: I didn't want to risk it. Oh, Molly, you in danger, girl. I guess maybe I could have done it on my way out just to be like, "Let's just see what this is." But, you know, I didn't want to risk it.
Nick: One hundred percent that was not a scent you wanted to smell like for the next journey of your flight.
Leah: [laughs] Yeah, I was like, "I can't. I can't put myself in this situation."
Nick: You dodged a bullet.
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, "I'm currently suffocating in the back seat of the smelliest Dodge Dart I've ever been in. I just dropped my own car at the dealer for service, and was planning on using the free shuttle they provide, but was surprised that they ordered me a Lyft at their expense. Normally, I tip drivers for rides I've ordered myself, but this stinky tin can isn't getting any extra from me. How do I not feel terrible about this?"
Leah: [laughs] A) I think when people order you a Lyft, they usually tip on it.
Nick: So that's a very good question. I mean, do they? Do they?
Leah: Anytime I've ordered a Lyft for somebody, I tipped on it.
Nick: Right, you should tip.
Leah: Well, I ask if they're okay first. Like, was anything appalling happening?
Nick: Oh, interesting. So before you tip in the app, you check in with the person to see like, oh, is this typical?
Nick: Well, just to make sure. Particularly if it's a woman, I want to make sure that no egregious thing happened to them on the way.
Leah: And then I just tip across the board. Once they get there, I say, "Let me know when you get there." You know what I mean? And then I tipped.
Nick: So the flipside of this is, let's say you're in this car that someone ordered for you, and it was a great ride. Like, the best ride of your life. This driver was so wonderful. The conversation was sparkling. They knew a secret route that got you there a half hour early. Like, this was the ride. And someone else ordered it. In this instance, I think you could also tip some cash, just in case the person that ordered it didn't tip. Like, that would be the other side of this.
Leah: Yeah. I think you could say, "I assume they're tipping, but you were just so lovely." And then you would also have to have cash on you. Like, who carries cash anymore?
Nick: [laughs] That's fair. So the flipside then, okay, it's a bad ride. And I guess is not tipping the thing we want to have happen, and we're okay with it not happening. And so I guess if we are, then we would just leave it in the fate of the person that ordered the ride to tip or not.
Leah: But I don't think that people who are driving Uber or Lyft are expecting to get a cash tip. It goes on the app.
Nick: Uh ...
Leah: They're not exchanging cash.
Nick: I mean, I think Uber or Lyft drivers are delighted to get cash.
Leah: But I think most often than not, they're getting—I always tip on the app.
Nick: Yes. People tip on the app. I mean, I think the question here is that I'm a passenger in a car that you've ordered. I didn't have a good ride. And am I okay with a situation in which no tip is given? Let's say the person that ordered the ride just isn't an app tipper. They just don't tip on the app, that's not their thing. They don't do it. And so are we okay as a passenger in this car allowing this to happen for a bad ride? That's what our letter writer wants to know. How do I not feel terrible about this?
Leah: I'm still stuck three inches before that, getting to that answer where I would assume that these people, especially if it's a business, like, if I was the person who was setting up—I understand this is not the question, but let me just say this really quick.
Nick: [laughs] Okay.
Leah: If I set up cars for people who had to drop their other cars off, if that was my job, I would just categorically across the board be tipping on the app.
Nick: Absolutely. Because also, it's probably not your money.
Leah: It's a business and they're going to tip on the app.
Nick: Yeah, exactly. Yes, I think that is a fair assumption here. Correct.
Leah: And if they're not, I mean, they need to look into their standards and practices. It's very rude. You should be—if what you're doing all day is sending out cars to pick up people whose cars are in the shop and you're not tipping on the app? I mean, that's not cool.
Nick: Right, that's totally fair.
Leah: So this person is gonna get tipped.
Nick: This person is probably gonna get tipped. Okay, so our letter writer does not have to feel bad because, even though it wasn't a great ride, the person will still be tipped. And okay, fine. The world goes on.
Leah: Because I just don't think it's the—tradition isn't the right word, but it's ...
Leah: Thank you. That when people order—I think we've sort of all agreed that when people order cars for you, they're also responsible for tipping. And I think this because I've asked many times, because I always get nervous and I say, "Oh, should I add a tip?" And they'd say, "Oh, no. It's included."
Nick: Yes. I think the equivalency here is—and correct me if I'm wrong, it's like going out to dinner. If I take you out to dinner and I'm paying for dinner, I'm tipping.
Nick: That's part of the thing here.
Nick: So I think this is the same thing.
Leah: Yes. And that's why I'm having trouble answering that question, because I really don't think that anybody expects you to be tipping.
Nick: Yes, nobody expects the passenger to be tipping in this instance, okay. So I think we got there. We got there.
Leah: Because the question is: how do I not feel terrible about this? Are you gonna call the company and say, "Don't tip?" I don't think you should do that.
Nick: Right. Yeah, don't do that. So, okay, that's it.
Nick: Our next question is, quote, "My mother and mother in law recently threw a Zoom baby shower for me. I want to send thank-you cards for the gifts, but since I didn't throw the shower and it was on Zoom, we don't have anyone's mailing address. We do have email addresses, though. Would it be considered poor etiquette to send an electronic thank-you card instead of a handwritten card?"
Leah: I just want to say up top ...
Leah: Anybody who writes in to Nicholas Leighton asking about a thank-you card, I feel like you can 99.99 percent know what the answer is going to be on this.
Nick: Yeah, that's probably true.
Leah: I would actually—I would actually knock that up to 100 percent.
Nick: Yeah, I think 100 percent is fine. I think we can go above 100 percent. I think we could actually exceed 100. So I will take an electronic thank-you card if my choices are no card or electronic thank-you card. So I'll accept electronic if those are my choices. However, I think we can ask people for their addresses and then mail them a card. That is fine. You can ask people for their address.
Leah: I also think you can ask your mother and mother in law to ask for the addresses because they set up the call.
Nick: Also that, yes. "Thank you so much for joining us last night. Great to see you. What's your mailing address? Lisa would love to send you a note." That's good.
Leah: And then they could just do that as a reply all to the group, and then people could email back separately.
Nick: I would rather it be individualized. But however you want to achieve the goal of getting people addresses for the purposes of sending handwritten thank-you notes, I will allow.
Nick: Okay. So yes, you do need to send handwritten notes. You do. And not having addresses is not an excuse.
Nick: So our next question is, quote, "My five year old was invited to a birthday party in a park tomorrow evening. The party is at five p.m., and the invitation says pizza will be served. Lovely! The problem is that my son won't eat pizza. I know, I know. Is it rude to bring him a PB and J instead? I don't want to check in with the host because I don't want her to feel like she needs to provide a second option. Normally I wouldn't bring something different, and I would feed my son when we got home, but the timing of the party puts us dangerously close to hungry kid meltdown time."
Nick: So I asked whether or not this kid can't eat pizza or won't eat pizza. Because I think there's an important distinction there. And it turns out he won't. It's not that he can't, he just won't. He doesn't like it. So I responded, since this was like an emergency etiquette situation. My response was that we should use this as a teaching moment to teach the son what to do in situations when you're offered something to eat that you don't eat, because this will come up throughout your entire life. And so I think this is a great occasion to practice the etiquette for this situation. And then I also suggested feed the kid at 4:55, the PB and J, right before you hit the party. And then when he is offered pizza, he can politely decline, and then that should be fine. I think alternatively, it is very possible that the host is gonna be offering other things, you know? Because, like, everybody has gluten problems or dairy or all these other dietary restrictions. So, like, very possible there was something other than pizza available and you could let your host know. But if you didn't want to bother the host, that's the suggestion. Just feed the kid at 4:55 in the car, and then have fun at the party, make him a polite guest, declining politely and then that's fine.
Leah: I love all these options.
Nick: Yeah, that was my suggestion.
Leah: I also thought it wasn't rude to have that PB and J ready in the back pocket. And talk, obviously, to your kid about, you know, politely declining.
Leah: If they're not going to try it. And I think when you drop them off, it's fine to say to the host, "You know, he doesn't eat pizza. So I slipped a little PB and J into his back pocket. I hope that's cool."
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think this seems pretty casual.
Nick: So, like, I think that's also fine. But yeah, I think we just don't want to make a big deal about it.
Nick: I think that's kind of the key is sort of like minimize.
Leah: That's why it's very under the pizza party radar.
Nick: Right. [laughs] So that was my suggestion. And then I asked, "Like, how'd it go?" And so this mom basically said, "It went well. We did the sandwich thing. We used the walk over to explain, like, what to do when somebody offers you something you don't want to eat. He did that. It was great." And quote, "Thanks for seeing me through what could have been an awkward situation." So I think we have another satisfied customer.
Leah: That's great!
Nick: That's wonderful.
Leah: It's great. Because I totally appreciate our letter writer's not wanting to make the host feel like they had to do something else. So they're just trying to make it casual and easy.
Nick: Yeah, I think that's sort of the key for this party is, like, let me not inconvenience our host, and just, like, solve the problem myself.
Leah: Which seems to have been done perfectly.
Nick: So do you have any questions for us—emergency or not? 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 could repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So Leah, would you like to vent or repent?
Leah: I think I'm gonna vent.
Leah: As Nick actually put in a request on this vent. [laughs]
Nick: Oh, good! I specifically ordered this one up.
Leah: So I recently have been flying, and I mentioned to Nick—I think I also updated my Instagram because at the moment I was, I think, shocked. There's a—whatever the next word is from "shocked."
Nick: Disgusted? Alarmed?
Leah: Alarmed. I think I was very alarmed. So I was transferring flights, and I was in the waiting area. And I see a man with a ventriloquist dummy.
Leah: And he's not, like, carrying the dummy in, like, a ...
Nick: It's not in the suitcase.
Leah: It's not in a suitcase. It's not even in, like, a baby carrier. It is in full—it is in full life. I don't know. It's fully animated.
Leah: Yeah. He's got his his hand in it, and it's sitting on his other arm
Leah: And it's walking through the waiting area of the airport with him, and it's looking at people. And in my mind I just think, "Oh, no!"
Leah: Oh, no! I think, "I'm not ready for this." There has to be a part of this that feels ...
Nick: You got to warm up to that.
Leah: Yah, I can't just jump in the ventriloquist dummy. And part of me was like, is this illegal somewhere? I don't know.
Leah: And was the doll, like, greeting people?
Leah: The doll then, of course, you immediately start throwing up prayers to heaven where you're like, "Please don't let this person be next to me." You know what I mean? I think that's what you're thinking.
Nick: Don't make eye contact. Don't make eye contact.
Leah: I thought, "Don't make eye contact." And then I get on the plane. I'm sitting. I'm in an aisle seat. I see the man and the doll coming down the aisle, and the doll is greeting people.
Nick: Oh! Coming down the aisle?
Leah: Coming down the aisle. And the doll looked at me and I—I just, like, waved. I was like, "What am I supposed to do?"
Nick: You don't want to be rude.
Leah: I don't want to be rude. I don't want to start something with the doll, you know what I mean?
Nick: You definitely do not want to get into an altercation with a doll.
Leah: No. I have seen movies about this. I am not getting involved. I was then emotionally forced into saying hi to this doll out of fear that there would be some repercussions.
Nick: Okay, so I think this is an etiquette crime.
Nick: I think it is rude to force ventriloquism on others. I think it is. I think it's rude.
Leah: It's definitely very shocking.
Nick: Yes, I think to make other people uncomfortable is always rude. And I think this is definitely an occasion that makes people uncomfortable.
Leah: I went from not flying to flying with a ventriloquist doll that's talking to people. And you think, "Is this a haunted plane? What kind of a scary movie am I living right now?"
Nick: Right! Well, I'm sorry this happened to you.
Nick: And it is an etiquette crime. So this vent? It's solid.
Leah: I actually remember thinking Nick would not like this.
Nick: I would not care for this, definitely not. Because I don't want forced interactions with strangers on planes in general, and then when they're inanimate objects pretending to be animate, I definitely draw the line there. Absolutely. Hard line in the sand.
Leah: Hard line. And then, of course, I was also like, "Hi, how are you?" [laughs]
Nick: Terrifying. So for me, I have often talked about etiquette being like the lubricant that makes the machinery of society work better. And when everyone's using the same script, everyone feels more comfortable and things go more smoothly and we achieve world peace. So I would like to talk about one script that I think we all need to be operating from. So this past week, I was on the phone with somebody who had one of those names that's spelled a zillion different ways, like Hailie or Kaiden. You know, like, there's a lot of different ways to spell these. So I was just like, "Oh, can you spell that for me?" And this person proceeded to take forever coming up with different words associated with each letter. But instead of like, "R is for Romeo," they were, like, coming up with these examples that were not clear at all.
Nick: So for example, they said, like, "Oh, it's B as in berry." Did I just say, "B as in Bravo, or V as in Victor?" "B as in berry." What did I just say? So what I would like is for everyone to agree we're all just gonna use the NATO phonetic alphabet whenever we have to spell something on the phone. This is what pilots and air traffic control use, and it does a pretty good job of preventing planes from crashing. So I think we can use that, too. And you've probably heard of it. It's Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot. Like, that's what it is. So, like, if I was going to spell "Wolves," it would be Whiskey, Oscar, Lima, Victor, Echo, Sierra. Leah is Lima, Echo, Alpha, Hotel. So I think we should just all use this. Be on the same page. It will make things work so much better. And the way I learned, because actually I've soloed in a Cessna 152. I did, like, flight school and all that.
Leah: Wow! I didn't know that!
Nick: Yeah, fun fact. Actually, the same day I got my driver's license was the same day I soloed. So it was a very big day for vehicles.
Leah: That's such a huge big day for vehicles. Oh my God!
Nick: So the way I learned is I would just, like, while I was walking down the street, I would just, like, use the alphabet to try and spell signs that I saw. So, like, stop sign. Like, Sierra, Tango, Oscar, Papa. Or like "Bank," Bravo, Alpha, November, Kilo. And so you just go through and you just, like, practice that and then you get very fast. So I just want everyone to practice it, learn it and now use it. And so I think we will achieve world peace a lot faster if we all do that. So get on that.
Leah: *[laughs] I love the idea that not only would they not use it, which, you know, maybe ...
Leah: But that they would pick words that are still words that you can't tell the difference of.
Nick: Deliberately confusing! B as in berry? That's not ...
Leah: Because I'll be honest, I'm not using the pilot alphabet, but I do use words that are definitely like, "B as in boy."
Nick: Fine. Okay. I mean, it would be ideal, though, if you said "B as in Bravo."
Leah: You know I'm going to throw that out next time. "B as in Bravo."
Nick: And I would applaud you, and I would say, "Brava," if you do.
Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?
Leah: I learned about this beautiful card exchanging ceremony.
Nick: Oh, sure!
Leah: In Japan.
Nick: Yes, meishi kōkan.
Leah: Meishi kōkan.
Nick: And I learned that if you do something inappropriate around you in a locker room, it's fair game for your next pilot. You're gonna write about it.
Leah: Yeah, if you put it out there in front of me, I will change your name since I probably don't know it, but it's going in a TV show.
Nick: Well, thank you, Leah.
Leah: Thank you, Nick.
Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery.
Leah: He will.
Nick: So for your homework this week, please hit "subscribe" or "follow" in whatever app you use to listen to us. This way, you'll never miss an episode, and the algorithm that all these apps use to recommend us to other people, they'll think you like us and they'll recommend us to other people. And the more people that listen to us, the closer we'll be to achieving world peace. And don't you want world peace? Yes. Yes, you do.
Leah: So no pressure there.
Leah: And not only world peace, but also it will make Nick and I feel good.
Nick: Oh, yes. We also like the validation. So please do that, and we'll see you next time.
Nick: All right, Leah. It's time for Cordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, but I only give you 30 seconds to do it. Ready, set, go!
Leah: So in a match up to my vent ...
Leah: On the returning flight of that. I've never seen this before on a flight, the flight attendants, there was a bridal shower.
Leah: On my plane. And the flight attendants, I don't know what was in it, but they made, like, a little gift.
Leah: And they brought it over to the bride to be. And it was just like a surprise. It was just so lovely. And she was in the next aisle over from me. So she was so happy. You know, it made her—it was like an extra surprise, you know? And I just thought it was so delightful to see somebody do something extra to make somebody feel nice.
Nick: I mean, they cobbled together enough, like, stroopwafels and Bombay Sapphire minis to make a gift?
Leah: Yeah, who knows what it is? You just wrote on the—I could see the bag, they wrote on it, "Congratulations to the bride to be, you know, best wishes." And then whatever's in there, it's just a recognition of somebody who's celebrating something. And I thought so lovely. And just shout out to people who just make people feel nice.
Nick: That is nice. That's very nice. And so for me, I want to give a shout out to Donna, who's one of our listeners. And she just sent me a book. And the title is Manners and Rules of Good Society. And it's British, and it's from 1940—which was World War II—which I think, like, how to eat a grapefruit was, like, not the most important thing happening right then. And what I really love, though, is that the author is listed only as, quote, "A member of the aristocracy." No one put their name on this. And the author laments about how informal things have gotten. 1940s Britain? Informal? Can you imagine what this person might think about us walking around supermarkets in our Snuggies today? I mean, like, they don't know informal. So thank you, Donna. I really appreciate this book. So thoughtful.
Leah: Donna, that's so sweet!
Nick: So thank you.
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