Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle paying for people who crash your dinner parties, congratulating friends who are pregnant, drinking cappuccinos in Italy after 11am, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
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Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema
Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
Nick: Do you drink cappuccinos at all hours? Do you offer unsolicited advice? Do you always call shotgun? 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: Let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.
Leah: [Singing] Let's get in it!
Nick: For today's amuse-bouche, I want to take you to Italy, and it's a place we've been before on our fictional amuse-bouches. Today, I want to take you to Florence, and we're going to be sitting in the Piazza della Signoria in the heart of this city. We've just got a table at the CaffË Rivoire, and we're going to watch all the tourists roll by. In the distance, we can see the Fountain of Neptune, and then, there's a copy of the David, which is actually where the original David was for hundreds of years before they moved it over to the academia. Behind the David is the Palazzo Vecchio, which is the town hall, and of course, we have the clock tower there, and it's about 1:00. Let's have a coffee. Prendiamo un caffé. What should we have? Should we have a cappuccino? Should we have a latte? Leah, what would you like?
Leah: [Laughing] You've painted such a lovely picture. I was like, "Oh, I'm just looking around really quick. I'm checking everything out." I feel like there's an answer where I'm supposed to have a certain kind of a coffee.
Nick: Mm hmm. Yeah.
Leah: And I don't know what the answer is, but I want to say that it's a very beautiful picture, and I'm just going to have a cappuccino.
Nick: Okay, so there is this "rule" that Italians do not drink cappuccinos, or lattes after 11:00 a.m. - full stop. Don't do it. Huge faux pas. Exile you to Elba! Some people even say after 10:00 a.m., it's off limits.
Nick: Is this really a rule? Is this really a thing? Let's dig in. First of all, what is a cappuccino, or latte, for anybody who doesn't know? Basically, these are espresso-based beverages that have some proportion of milk, in some form - steamed, frothy, foamy, micro-foam, etc.-
Nick: -but they're very milky coffee beverages. It is true, you can meet Italian people who are like, "Absolutely not, after a certain time." There will be coffee shops, who are like- at 11:01, they'll be like, "Nah, we don't have milk. We poured it all down the drain. It's gone. Nope. No more milk." So, it is true that a lot of Italian people really do think of these as breakfast items, so why would you be eating breakfast items, when it's not breakfast? For us Americans, we have a very hard time with this concept because, if you were like, "I had pancakes for dinner," we'd be like, "Awesome, that's great!" Do you like breakfast foods for dinner?
Leah: I like breakfast foods at all times.
Nick: Right. I mean, there's huge movements to try and get McDonald's to serve Egg McMuffins at all hours.
Leah: Oh, yeah, people want it.
Leah: People want that breakfast menu!
Nick: But for Italians, no, they really do think of these milky beverages as breakfast things. There was this great survey that was done - I'll post a link to it in the show notes - where somebody also wanted to dig into this whole time thing. The conclusion is it's not actually about time, it's about purpose. What is the purpose of this milky beverage? So, I think one thing to know about Italians is that they usually have a very light breakfast, and these cappuccinos, or lattes, the milk part is the breakfast. It is the nutrients that they want to start their day. Then, Italians are also very concerned with good digestion, which is something we can dig into in greater detail in another day, but these two things sort of combine to create this "rule."
The idea is, like after 11:00 a.m., you are too close to the lunch zone. So, that's why there's this sense that that would be too late. There are definitely Italian people who have no problem having an afternoon snack of a cappuccino, and a piece of pastry at 3:00. That's fine because the purpose of that cappuccino is the snack. So, I think that's then also fine. If we're going to try and make a rule about this, it's that you just don't have these milky beverages with a meal, or right after a meal, but it's certainly fine if it is your meal, or it is your snack. Now, interestingly, gelato is totally exempt from all of this. [Laughing] So, that's something to note because etiquette rules don't always have to make sense, and actually, thank goodness, because can you imagine if gelato was off limits at all hours?
Leah: It'd be a crisis. It would be horrible!
Nick: Terrible! Do you have a favorite gelato flavor?
Leah: I really like pistachio.
Nick: Oh, that's a classic. Yeah, that is always a solid choice. For me, I always go with fior di latte because this is the purest expression of gelato.
Nick: It's only milk, cream, and sugar. There's no other flavors in it, so you can't hide-
Leah: [Laughing] You can't hide!
Nick: If you're a gelato maker, there's no place for you to hide, so it really is the best way to see how good their gelato is.
Nick: And, you know, I'm always looking to test people.
Nick: We're back, and now it's time to go deep.
Leah: Oh, this one is -
Leah: I'm already sweating. I'm sweating, and I'm in a very cold area, so I'm really sweating.
Nick: So, this was prompted by a question from you all, which was: "Would you do a deep dive on how to react after someone tells you they're pregnant? What should you say? What should you not say? This is on my mind because I'm pregnant and recently started telling friends and family. What a minefield! My friends without kids have actually been really supportive, but my friends with kids are a disaster. The unsolicited advice, the invasive body questions, the righteousness - it's crazy! Also, you know how people have their babies listen to Mozart in utero to make them geniuses? I've decided that mine will listen to Were You Raised by Wolves to make them a better person."
Leah: A) Lovely. Lovely ending of that question.
Nick: [Giggling] I like that idea. Do you think that actually would work?
Leah: I mean, that's what the research says.
Nick: So, please try that, and then in 18 years, check back with us, and let us know. Did it work? Are they good people now? I hope so. So, this is a minefield, I mean.
Leah: Minefield! I was so delighted to read the sentence: "My friends without kids have actually been really supportive."
Nick: Hmm. Yes.
Leah: Because I, as a person without kids, most of my friends have children, and I really am delighted when they share their news. Not that this is necessarily me, but as one of the friends without kids, I'm glad to know that we are stepping up our game of-
Nick: [Giggling] Right?
Leah: -not that we- because we can't relate it back to our [crosstalk]
Nick: You're not the problem.
Leah: Yeah. To hear that, like, WHOO! Thank God!
Nick: Finally! We did something right!
Leah: We did it as a group! We are supportive friends!
Nick: I think that is the key word - supportive. If we take nothing else away, it's the idea that we want to be supportive of this announcement. So, that's the takeaway.
Leah: And excited for people.
Nick: Well, so, here's a question, because in looking into what other people have said, the idea that congratulations should be the default answer is actually a little controversial because that assumes that they're excited about the news. I think the first question is just: are they excited about the news? Then, congratulations could be a little dicey. So, I think if we have any doubts, I think something else? Wow? Is that something you say? Wow- Or do we just say congratulations, and that's just the default, even if they don't take it that way?
Leah: I feel like if somebody is sharing the news with you- I understand what you're saying, and I've definitely thought about this many times. I do think that's a possibility. Obviously, also, people are nervous. They don't know what to say.
Leah: But I kind of- I think I err on the side of - and I could be wrong - throwing myself behind a positive excitement for them. Then, if they then offer up, "Oh, I'm sort of nervous. I'm not sure about this," then I will adjust my sails.
Nick: Okay, that makes sense. Yeah. I mean, for me, I thought congratulations is a good just default setting, like that should be universal, and that should work. Right.
Leah: I agree with you, and then I see why we would worry that maybe that wasn't true.
Leah: But then I think I've worked myself back to-
Nick: Come full circle.
Nick: So, just go with congratulations. That works, yeah.
Leah: Then, if somebody offers up their fears, or their worries, then I'm behind that, too, but I'm just going to go in with like, "YAY!"
Nick: Right. Then, I think what you should then do is just like, "How are you doing?" That's a good check in and keep the focus on the person that is pregnant and not make it about yourself.
Leah: Yeah, I think that's the takeaway from this person's question. [Giggling] People are making it about their- which I understand why people want to relate it back. I think also, a lot of times, people want to share their experience because they didn't get to talk about it or- but, you know, let that person's announcement be about their experience.
Nick: Yeah, the unsolicited advice thing? We have the internet, and unless you have some wisdom that is not available on the internet, or from their doctor, I don't think you need to share it unless you're specifically asked.
Leah: I was going to say, unless you're specifically asked.
Nick: Right, and you probably won't be asked [Giggling]
Leah: I've also watched my friends pregnant, and with children, and even strangers walk up to them and just say things, or- you're like, "Wow!"
Nick: Well, actually, I did assemble a list of things not to say, according to people on the internet. So, the first one was- in an elevator, apparently this is very common. Strangers will say, "Don't have that baby in here." Apparently, this is a very common thing [Laughing]
Leah: Oh, why are people saying these things!
Nick: [Giggling] So, if you're in an elevator, and a stranger walks in, who happens to be pregnant, don't say that. Yeah, don't say that. Other things not to say are: "You look tired."
Leah: You can globally say that across- don't say that to anybody, ever [Laughing]
Nick: Yeah, never, never say that in any circumstance. Another thing not to say is, "How did the father react?"
Leah: UGH! My friends who are over 35, who've had babies, people come - "Oh, I had a geriatric pregnancy," and people are like, "Okay, I don't need to hear-" You're like, "I'm 36!" They're like, "How is it like to have a child when you're so old?" My friends are like, "Okay, calm down. Who are you?!"
Nick: [Giggling] Right. I'm sorry. Can I just pick up my takeout order?
Leah: I think another thing not to say is: "How did that happen?"
Nick: Um, yeah, that's definitely not something to say.
Leah: Which I have seen somebody say to somebody.
Nick: [Gasping] I mean-
Leah: I mean-
Nick: Wow! Okay. Another thing not to say is, "I can't picture you as a mom."
Leah: [Laughing] I mean, the funny thing is, you're like, "NEVER!" but then, you obviously can see somebody saying this. Of course!
Nick: Oh, these are not inconceivable things. Yes. Then, also something that does come up quite a bit is don't touch someone's belly. Don't do that. Whether or not you know them, or definitely if they're a stranger, do not touch people! Don't do that.
Leah: Yeah, so-
Nick: That's not-
Nick: And I think, in general, one thing to keep in mind about pregnancy - it's actually a very private event, and it doesn't have anything to do with you, so you really have to be invited into the conversation. It is not up for public consumption, even though you can visibly see someone is pregnant, at some point. So, I think that's just something to keep in mind - wait to be invited into the conversation.
Leah: You know, how certain issues, I feel, are very- I feel very-
Leah: I do believe that women are often treated as a group, like we all get to comment.
Leah: And then I feel pregnant women, or women with newborns, it's somehow like it's been collectively decided that society gets to constantly comment on their mothering, or not mothering.
Leah: I saw this once; it was in the Chicago airport. I was on the moving things, I saw-
Nick: Oh, people mover?
Leah: Yeah. -a man walk up to this woman and touch her belly, and she-
Nick: [Gasping] Wait! Going in the opposite directions?!
Leah: No, I was going in the opposite direction-
Nick: Oh, okay.
Leah: -and I saw this. I was on a moving thing, and I screamed out; I was like, "What?!!" You know what I mean? Women do it to women, too. It's not just men doing it to women, but it's this- as you just said it - you need to be invited into somebody's life. We can't- it's not for all of us to comment.
Leah: I do think it happens across the board with women, and children, whether they're not having children, whether they already had children, whether they're pregnant. It's like a running commentary where people who aren't even related to or even know the person feel free to comment. Then, if you know the person, but still haven't been invited- even if you know the person and it hasn't been invited for you to discuss, it's not really- don't give your opinion until you've been, as you said, invited.
Nick: But what's interesting is our letter-writer here finds that the people who have already gone through this process are guilty of committing these etiquette crimes. It's sort of like, shouldn't these people know better, since they have probably been the victim of these same etiquette crimes, when they went through it their time? Right?
Leah: I mean, some of my friends who are-
Nick: Is this just a short-term memory problem?
Leah: My guess is that it's not all women with children. I do have friends who have children- because I think I'm the person without children amongst a lot of my female friends, I hear a lot of the stories because people feel safe coming to me to vent-
Nick: [Giggling] okay. To complain about your other friends? Yeah.
Leah: Or not even in the same friends group. I don't even live in the same places as a lot of these people- they just need to get it out somewhere.
Leah: I think there's this huge pressure between mothers.
Nick: Mm, oh, yes, absolutely.
Leah: And I think that sort of is a part of that.
Nick: Right. Well, I think if we had to give any take-home messages, it's wait to be invited, and be supportive, and just say, "Congratulations. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you," and leave it there.
Leah: And I love what you said earlier: "How are you feeling? How's it going?"
Nick: Yeah, "How's it going?" Yeah. "How're you doing?"
Leah: See what they want to talk about.
Nick: Yeah, definitely don't say, "Your life is over."
Leah: [Laughing] I've seen that one, too.
Nick: Don't do it.
Nick: We're back, and now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.
Nick: So, our first question is: "What is the etiquette when couples are riding in a car? Who should ride shotgun, and who should be in the back? Do couples right next to their partners or apart? For some reason, when it's a mix of men and women, I feel obligated to offer the front passenger seat to a male because leg room? Because I'm a woman? Are men supposed to right up front, while women chat in the back? I'm 5'9", so I like leg room, too." Mmmm.
Nick: So, I guess there's this antiquated notion that the men are up front, while the ladies are doing their hand embroidery in the back. Is there's some sort of old automobile etiquette when you're riding in your Edsel? Is that what this is? [Giggling]
Leah: That was back when we- this was before seatbelts, and-
Nick: Oh, definitely, yes.
Leah: You know, I try to think about this from all angles. A) I don't know if there is. I guess women sat in the back, and then- you look at mob movies, and the two mobsters are always in the front, and their wives are in the back being like, "Can we crack a window?" You know, I kind of think it's more like are you catching up with your friends? Then, who's the better friend? Did you want to sit next to somebody- I'm always the driver, so-
Nick: Well, let's figure it out. Let's say it's you, and me, and it's Chad, and Lisa, and we're all going to be going to the Valentino's Grand Italian Buffet.
Nick: Which, if you've never been to the Valentino's Grand Italian Buffet in Lincoln, Nebraska, let me tell you, it's pretty spectacular!
Leah: It's going to be a long ride, so we're going to have to be real [crosstalk]
Nick: Right, because we're leaving from here. It's Chad's car. So, Chad is driving, and Chad, and Lisa are together. The question is who sits where? Chad is driving, so I think Lisa, as co-host of this party, should ask her guests, which is us, where we would like to sit. I think Lisa would offer up the front seat to one of us, and then, if she was really tall, as a courtesy, we'd be like, "Oh, no, no, no, you take it," but if one of us was very tall, then I guess one of us might take it, and then whoever's left is in the back.
Leah: I would also like to throw in there, just for pragmatism-
Leah: I would also ask if any- some people get carsick, and I think they get priorities.
Nick: Oh, okay. I mean, I think that we want to treat this like a dinner party, so I think the hosts should still offer up the good seat to their guests, and then it would be on the guest to say, "Oh, does anybody else need the front? Does anybody else get carsick? Does anybody else need the leg room?" Then offer back to everyone else.
Leah: I think that would be the polite thing to do.
Nick: Well, that's what we're talking about. [Giggling]
Leah: I know, but this is one of those things where it's the polite thing to do, and then, where I still feel that if Chad, and Lisa were like, "We're taking the front, it's our car," I would be like, "Fine."
Nick: Oh, I mean, that's a little aggressive.
Leah: I mean, I don't think they would say that. They would just get in.
Nick: Well, I mean, Chad, and Lisa? You know how they are.
Leah: Obviously. It's Chad, and Lisa.
Nick: But I think you would want to offer up the "good seats" to your guests first and then let them accept or decline, based on the other rules of etiquette.
Leah: Yeah, I think that's fair- that's non-gender-based. That's just-
Nick: It is definitely non-gender based.
Leah: It's just host-, and hostess-based.
Nick: Right, and if one of these people is very tall, then of course, yes, let the person have more leg room. That is a courtesy to everyone else.
Nick: But I think your point is also good, which is what was the point of this drive? Are we catching up? How long is it? In which case, yeah, you should probably sit across from the person that you want to catch up with.
Nick: Right. So, that's how we would handle that.
Leah: Seems solid.
Nick: Okay. Our next question is: "I've recently moved across the country to South Carolina for a job, but with a decent pay cut. I was struggling to find housing I could afford that wasn't cockroach-infested, and my parents discovered a friend of a friend who lived in a very nice house that had an extra room I could rent, so I took it. The problem is I'm very independent, and I like to do most things alone, but the owner seems to really want to hang out; introduced me to his friends and eat out together. I'm more of a home cook, meal prep, and stay at home type, especially with a pay cut. He also uses the word we a lot. For example, the night I arrived, he said, "I figured we could go to the store tomorrow," whereas I would like some alone time to shop for necessities and just be alone. Please help!"
Leah: I wrote "Dicey," again, for this question.
Leah: I feel like we have multiple episodes of dicey questions.
Nick: I mean, the easy ones- all that low-hanging fruit, that's already have been taken care of.
Leah: This is one of those ones where I wish I could be a fly on the wall and see the tone.
Nick: Mmm. We think it's a tone-based issue? Hm.
Leah: There's the situation of this was the first night this person was there, and maybe this person was just trying to be-
Leah: -nice, and hostess-y, and being like, "I'll take you to the grocery store, so you know where it is, and where the things are."
Nick: Yeah. "You're new in the neighborhood, and don't know anybody. So, here are some friends!"
Leah: Or there's the other side of using we and inviting, where you feel like it's not just that you like to be alone, you feel that this person is actually somehow making you very uncomfortable.
Nick: Mm, right. I mean, I guess my first thought was I totally get wanting to be left alone. I get that. I also like my alone time. I love solitude. It's wonderful. So, I get that, but also, I was like let's reframe this as an opportunity to make a friend and create some new connections. It's Southern hospitality. Let's not close the door on this because it sounds kind of like this might just be a nice person. Maybe with a little boundary setting, this can be fine.
Leah: Yeah, especially since it was the first night.
Nick: Right. Although, I suspect since this email probably didn't come in on the second day [crosstalk] that maybe this is not getting better, that there's still some we issues here.
Leah: It's so hard when you're renting a room inside a house because it's not like a separate-
Leah: I also really like my own space in my own-
Leah: Then, you sort of feel obligated - because you're in a house - to be like, "Oh, hey, how are you?" You want to be polite, and grateful. I agree 100 percent with what you said that there could be nice, friendly time, and then set up the boundaries for, "I need this other time for myself."
Nick: Yeah, I think the solution here is you do need to spend time with this homeowner. I don't think you can just be a boarder. I think you do have some obligation, since this was a friend of a friend, and I think they're maybe doing you a little bit of a favor, or whatever it was. I do think you need to join in for some social something every week; a Sunday supper- there just needs to be something, but then, I think you can have a polite but direct conversation, which is like, "Hey, I really appreciate everything you're doing. Loved meeting your friends; loved being invited to the supermarket, but I also really appreciate my alone time, so forgive me if I can't always join you, or if I decline sometimes. It's not personal. It's not that I'm not appreciative. It's just like I just need that for myself, sometimes, so that's what that is." I think you could explain that in a nice way that's non-judgmental and not a comment on them. I think that could be one way to handle it.
Leah: Yeah, I absolutely agree. Like you said, Sunday supper, or you could say like "Let's do dinners together on Tuesdays."
Nick: Yeah, and I think it would be nice if you actually hosted something in the house once a week - Taco Tuesdays - and then that actually might get you off the hook for other obligations.
Leah: Yeah, and I don't think you said - especially, meal prep, stay at home type, especially with a pay cut - I don't think you have any obligations to go out to dinner.
Nick: Oh, definitely not. No. I think you can absolutely set a financial boundary [crosstalk]
Leah: Yeah, no problem there.
Nick: Yeah. I think it's just about having a polite and direct conversation about your needs and what is going to work for you. You want to be appreciative and all that, but I think if you set some nice boundaries, the harmony will reign.
Leah: Yeah, unless it was the other read of it, where this person just keeps opening your door, and being like, "Let's go! Let's go grocery shopping right now!" In which case, you're gonna have to move.
Nick: Or the old standby - pigeon spikes [Laughing] traps.
Leah: -just roll it down right in front [Giggling] I had a roommate like that. That's why I- where the boundary was impossible, and one of us just had to go.
Nick: Uh, okay, and that was not her!
Nick: So, our next question- Ugh!
Nick: I mean!
Nick: I mean.
Nick: What is this question? Okay.
Leah: My lip- did you see my lip just started sweating? [Laughing]
Nick: Yeah. I'd be very curious to see if your notes on this are the same as mine. All right, without further ado [Giggling]: "We invited my in-laws to a special birthday dinner for my youngest, and when we arrived at the restaurant, we discovered that they had invited another family. When the waiter asked if there would be separate checks, they said we had, 'generously offered to treat them all.' The other family are distant relatives, and my husband and I didn't see any way out of this awkward situation. Please validate my frustrations here. Was this rude?" Yeah. "Was this correct? Uh, no. "What would you have done? Can I reseat family in my theater?"
Leah: I didn't even write down- I just circled: "Please validate my frustrations here" multiple times with a thousand exclamation points.
Nick: So I wrote, "This is gross."
Nick: This is gross. Yeah-
Leah: It is GROSS!
Nick: Yeah. So, just to clarify, just in case, maybe I missed something here - you invited your in-laws to dinner, and then they invited additional people without asking you, and then made you pay for everybody. Is that what happened?
Leah: That's what- can I add to that - you invited them for a birthday dinner for your child!
Leah: It's about-
Nick: As if that matters, at this point.
Leah: But it's the kid! You're celebrating the kid's birthday.
Leah: And then, now, all of a sudden, it's about these distant relatives!
Nick: And you know they ordered the Lobster Thermidor. They definitely went for the most expensive options on this menu.
Leah: They had drinks.
Nick: Oh, yeah, no. There's Steak Diane prepared tableside. Oh, yeah, the works, of course. So-
Leah: So, yes, your frustrations are so valid!
Leah: Frustration seems to be like a kind word.
Nick: Yes, I think that would be a very mild way to put it. I mean, what could we have done? Was there a way out of this?
Leah: I honestly think this is another one of those - how could one have prepared?
Nick: Yeah. I mean, the only thing I was thinking of - the only option maybe is you knew, as soon as you discovered this bonus family at your dinner, that there was trouble and that there was probably going to be some issue with the bill. That's what would have gone through my mind the entire time. It's like, "Am I paying for all these people?" So, you could maybe have pulled the waiter aside and explained how the checks should be delivered to the table. Maybe you'd be like, "We're going to pay for these set of people, but then please bring a separate check for those people."
Leah: I think I would have spent the first 20 minutes- because they didn't find out until they got to the restaurant. It's not like they got a phone call in advance. I would have just been like, "Is this happening?"
Nick: Yeah. No, you just walk to the booth and be like, "Oh, there's an extra four people here."
Leah: And it's your kid's birthday! It's not like they were bringing somebody who had kids to make the kid happy or- you know what I mean? They've made something-
Nick: I mean, what- No! [Giggling]
Leah: No, but I mean- you know what I mean? It has nothing to do with celebrating-
Nick: No, it was just like, "Oh, we heard there was a nice dinner happening. We want to be in on that."
Leah: Yeah, "That we could get for free." It's just, I feel like the person was so taken aback- I would've just replayed it. Then, you don't want to cause a scene in front of your kid for their birthday party!
Nick: Um, yeah. You don't want to cause a scene. I guess, if you were really feeling prepared and really could nail the tone, when the waiter came, and there was this sort of like, "Oh, ha, ha, they're going to pay for all of us," what you could have maybe jumped in with was, "Oh yes, we would be delighted to take care of these people. Feel free to bring a separate check for these people," and just say that very neutrally, and factually, and just have that be what it is. Then, if those other people are mad that they're stuck with the bill, that's not on you.
Leah: If you could land that-
Nick: It would really require you to stick the landing; get perfect 10s across the board. Yeah.
Leah: I mean, you could say it any way. They're being so incredibly rude that it would be very hard- but I don't think I would have it in me to say it, in that moment. I think I would just be so-
Nick: Yeah, no, you would be shocked. This is shocking. I would be shocked for the entire 90-minute experience. So, it would be very difficult to do this. But I think one thing to keep in mind about etiquette, in general, is there is this feeling that we don't want to embarrass people, but that actually only applies to embarrassing people who are acting politely.
Nick: We are allowed to embarrass people who are not acting politely. That actually is allowed. You're allowed to make people feel uncomfortable, who are doing bad things.
Leah: I really want a poster that says that. [Giggling] As a side note, I want a poster that says, "You're allowed to make people feel uncomfortable who are making you uncomfortable!"
Nick: Yeah. If somebody is expressing bad etiquette behavior, we don't have to tolerate that, and we can make them feel bad about it - in a polite way - still within the bounds of etiquette. But the idea that etiquette prevents you from ever making someone feel uncomfortable, that's not true, actually. So, that's a little advanced, but I think our audience is ready for a little Etiquette 201.
Leah: Our audience. Me, too. I'm sweating, but I'm also kind of very excited. I mean, can you imagine? How exciting to say that and let them know, "You're not-" You know what I mean? "Oh, no. They're paying for theirs." [Laughing]
Nick: Yeah, yeah.
Nick: Yeah, I think that's just something to keep in mind - etiquette does not require you to always make everyone feel comfortable all the time. You do have the ability to make a certain subset of people - bad people - feel embarrassed, and that's fine. So, for this, if you could muster it, I think that would be okay, if it was just factual. That's the real key. It'd be like, "Oh yes, we're going to be paying for these people, but you can bring a separate check for these other diners. Thank you."
Leah: I love that. And I think, obviously, this person is well within their-
Nick: Oh, yes, and if those extra bonus people are mad about it, they're not mad at you. You didn't invite them. You didn't say you were going to be buying them dinner.
Nick: It's these other people who issued an invitation they should have never issued. They're the ones who did the bad thing. You can be mad at them.
Leah: I mean, I wasn't saying [Gasping] because I think that would be a great thing to say. I just can't imagine being ready with that, you know what I mean?
Nick: Yeah, no, this really would be impossible to pull off because no one has that in their back pocket.
Leah: Well, I mean, now we do.
Nick: Now you do.
Leah: Now we do.
Nick: Now you do. If this happens to you, if you show up to your child's birthday party, and there's extra people there who are asking you to buy them dinner, sure. Ready to roll.
Leah: This is just so stressful, and the "Can I reseat family in my theater?"
Nick: Oh, right. Yeah, you absolutely can.
Leah: I think that seems like a big yes. Absolutely!
Nick: Yeah. The thing with reseating people - that metaphor that I sometimes use - it is not about necessarily announcing this to the person that's being resat. You don't actually tell them. You just do it for yourself, and how you want to engage with them, and how much mental energy you want to spend on that relationship. The further somebody is in your theater - at the high balcony - you just spend less effort there, and that's fine; as opposed to the closer relationships, the people on stage with you, those are the relationships you really want to nurture and spend more time with, and that's more of your bandwidth. So, if you want to reseat these people, have at it; don't have to tell them, but definitely do it.
Leah: I do think that, moving forward in the future, with- I mean, it's hard because it's your in-laws, so it's a very close relationship, but I would be careful inviting them to- I'd be like, "This is a closed dinner. Don't invite anybody else."
Nick: Well, what you have to do is you have to make it like a rave, where you only announce the location an hour before-
Leah: [Laughing] People have to have the password.
Nick: Right? Exactly. Yeah. "You'll get a text in 45 minutes with the location." [Giggling] Do you want to see your location from us? Let us know! You can ask us through our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com, or you can text us, or leave us a voice mail - (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729)
Nick: We're back, and now it's time to play a game we like to call, Vent or Repent.
Leah: [Singing] 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: Uh, I'm going to repent.
Nick: Okay! Feel like it's been a while.
Leah: [Laughing] That's because knowing that we have Vent or Repent-
Leah: I often try to fix situations before we record. [Laughing]
Nick: Yes, which I think is a nice thing that we all should be doing.
Nick: Trying to prevent the repent.
Leah: Yes. Which I would have done anyway, but now it's just on a timeline, you know.
Nick: [Giggling] Right. So, for today?
Leah: For today. I'm going to repent. It's just- it comes to me sometimes, when I'm walking, or trying to fall asleep at night, or-
Leah: I thought, "I'll just bring it to the show."
Leah: A while back, not that long ago, in recent episodes, we had a lovely person write in who said that they got nervous about sending out their Christmas cards because they wrote more on some people's than others, and what if one of those people saw that they'd written more or less on the card to them?
Leah: Then, I - in an attempt to say that I understood the anxiety - brought up that I sometimes sent different cards to people who were related to each other.
Nick: Right. Mm-hmm.
Leah: I have, since then, worried that I made that person feel that what they were doing was somehow inadequate-
Leah: -because that was the last thing I wanted to do. I thought our letter-writer was so conscientious and that they would even think about it showed how wonderful they were, and then I felt- I was trying to say I relate the thinking, and doublethink, thinking, "Oh, is this-" I relate to that. I've often fallen to that myself was what I was trying to say, but then I worried that maybe I made it sound like, "You should be sending different cards," which is not what I meant at all.
Leah: And I have felt very bad about it ever since.
Leah: And it just comes to me in moments of silence-
Nick: [Giggling] Oh, gosh!
Leah: -that I somehow would have made that person feel that they should be sending - that's not what I meant at all. They're absolutely perfect. I just wanted to say I also feel that worry sometimes, too, and especially in a year like this, where I couldn't get out any cards. Here's this person genuinely trying to get out cards.
Leah: And then I accidentally- maybe the idea that I would have said something that made them feel like they weren't doing enough just haunts my dreams!
Leah: I would like to apologize.
Nick: Okay. Um, yeah, this was really serious, Leah. I mean, we've all been talking about it, so I'm really glad that you have admitted your mistake [Giggling]
Leah: I'm very sorry!
Nick: I mean, as etiquette crimes go, this feels really mild, but if it makes you feel better, I'm very happy that we have a forum for you.
Leah: It's woken me up at night.
Nick: I mean, if not this, it would be something else, so, okay.
Leah: It would be those people I murdered back in the early '90s.
Leah: That doesn't bother me so much.
Nick: No, you're from Maine.
Leah: But the idea that I made somebody feel bad about Christmas cards, that destroys me!
Nick: [Giggling] So, for me, I had an in-person- oh, I want to vent. I mean, obviously.
Nick: So, for me, I had an in-person meeting with somebody last week, and so we got it all scheduled, like, "Oh, what time's good? Okay, great, I'll see you there." So, I'm there obviouslyon time, and no show yet. Okay, so I will give you 15 minutes. I'm not thrilled about it, but I'll give you 15 minutes. Then, at the 15-minute mark - and obviously, I look at my iPhone to make sure that the second hand totally sweeps to that 15-minute mark before I'll text you - I'll text you, and I might even leave you a voicemail. So, I did that. No response. So, I leave, and I go back to my desk, and I send an email in the same thread where we had confirmed all this and be like, "Hey, we had a confirmed appointment today. Just want to check and see if there was a glitch or something." No response.
Nick: And so, now it's been like a week later, so now I'm thinking like, oh, my goodness, I should reach out to their family because something horrible has happened. I mean, they've been kidnapped, or there's been some injury. But no. No. A quick look at the Instagram definitely confirms she is definitely alive, and she definitely has enough internet access to post daily.
Nick: So, as we know, it is actually not polite to say to a person directly that you're being rude. That's not something we do, but I do not believe there is a provision for me saying someone is rude to a global audience of listeners.
Nick: And, uh, so, I would like to use this opportunity to say, you, Madame, you are single handedly destroying the fabric of humanity. You are tearing at both the warp, and the weft of society until all that is left is a smoldering heap of what could have been a great society of courtesy, and consideration, but no - you are personally ruining civilization with your carelessness and your narcissism, and this has not gone unnoticed. Everyone listening today knows and agrees that you, Madame, are what's known as a bad person. Have a good day. Thank you.
Nick: UN-believable, I mean-
Nick: Totally! Totally inexcusable. There is no words.
Leah: No words!
Nick: There's no words for this. No.
Leah: But the words that you came up with - very good.
Nick: I am particularly proud of the phrasing - warp and weft.
Leah: [Laughing] I was like - You need to roll that back out into something. That's phenomenal.
Nick: Yeah, put that on the pillow. Ooooh. So many layers.
Leah: [Laughing] Who is this person?!
Nick: Somebody who's not in my life anymore.
Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?
Leah: I learned that when I'm in this beautiful setting in Italy, where I'm looking at all this stuff, and there's people walking by, and I'm just a part of the culture, I'm not ordering coffee with milk!
Nick: No! Not doing it!
Leah: After 10:00 a.m.
Nick: Yeah, don't do it.
Leah: I'm not going to do it.
Nick: And I learned that you may have murdered someone. [Giggling]
Leah: I get very upset when people hurt other people's feelings.
Nick: Well, thank you, Leah.
Leah: Thank you, Nick.
Nick: And thanks you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery.
Leah: He does!
Nick: So, for your homework this week, I want to hear from you. I do. And you've got questions for us. Yeah, you. Yeah. You right there. Yeah. You listening. I see you. Yeah. You. Send us your questions. You can send them to us through our website, or you can call us, or you can text us - (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729) - and just send them in. We want them. We'll see you next time.
[Instrumental Theme Song]
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, this one's a little bit step out of the normal box. I would like to say a huge Cordial of Kindness to the people who created The Mandalorian, because Star Wars was a huge part of my childhood, and my dad and I shared together, and it was like- I always wanted to be Hans Solo. I'd already watched The Mandalorian, and then, when I came home with my family, we re-watched them together. They're just so beautifully done, and it's so nice, especially during hard times, to have something that's just enjoyable to share. Just a thank you to the storytellers. It's really- thank you so much for creating wonderful stories for us!
Nick: Aww, that's very nice. We got a great one through CordialsofKindness.com, which, as a reminder - you can send us Cordials of Kindness, and maybe we'll read them. This says: "I have made it a point to praise people as much as I can, and I've been listening to you since Leah appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I greatly value a good laugh and deep thinking, and I get both of that with your show. The fact that the show is about manners is somewhat irrelevant to me. [Giggling] I enjoy listening to the conversations between you two - funny, opinionated, and delightfully entertaining. You two are quite amazing. Thank you for the entertainment!"
Leah: Oh, my goodness!
Nick: Isn't that the nicest thing?
Leah: That's the nicest. I feel like we should frame that!
Nick: So, thank you. Really appreciate that. [Buzzer Sound]
You can start with our first episode, our most recent episode, or jump in with one of these favorites in the middle:
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