Jan. 27, 2020

Sabotaging Recipes, Tossing Napkins, Blocking Stairs, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle using napkins, behaving at a live performance, redeeming gift cards, sharing cake recipes, departing earlier than expected, being distracted on stairs, leaning into other diners, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)


  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Napkin etiquette
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: How to behave at a live performance
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: What to do when someone gives you a used gift card? Do you have to share your famous cake recipe? Is it OK to "check out" early when you're an unhappy houseguest?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Walking slowly up stairs, leaning into other diners
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Something nice from a listener, something nice about Nick




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

Nick: Do you wad your napkin up at the end of a meal? Do you use your phone in a live performance? Do you sabotage your recipes when people ask for them? 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 I'm Leah Bonnema!

Nick: We're in New York today, and let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah: Mm-mm-mmmm ...

Nick: So, for our amuse-bouche, today, I want to talk about napkin etiquette because I think people need to know.

Leah: I love it. I love napkin etiquette.

Nick: Yeah, so this is for dining out. If you're at home, and you want to have a roll of paper towels, have at it!

Leah: It's your home, do what you want.

Nick: No problem. So, we're dining out. We're in a restaurant of any caliber, but you are given a napkin, so at least that caliber.

Leah: This is a cloth napkin.

Nick: A cloth napkin, yes.

Leah: Because it makes a difference.

Nick: It does make a difference. We're talking about cloth napkins. So, if you are dining somewhere, and there's a host of the evening, the first thing to note is just wait to put the napkin in your lap until your host does. Wait for the host. Now, if there's no host, then wait until enough people are seated around you; then, we deal with the napkin. So, now we're dealing with the napkin. You're going to take the napkin, and you're going to unfurl it, but you are not a bullfighter, so we are not going to elaborately shake it out like laundry. Ideally, we're going to do it below table level, and we're going to do discreetly. I actually really dislike when restaurants think they're being fancy, and they assist you with the napkin. Have you had this happen? I don't care for this.

Leah: No.

Nick: Yeah. I don't actually find it fancy.

Leah: "I don't care for this ..." I don't [crosstalk]

Nick: Yeah, I know-

Leah: I just love it. I care for when you say that; I love it so much.

Nick: Yeah. If you are listening, and you run a fancy restaurant, don't do this.

Leah: Well, because you're touching somebody.

Nick: Yeah, you're kind of in my personal zone.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Yeah, and it's like, I also know how to deal with a napkin.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, it's like trust that I'm going to put this where it goes.

Leah: Trust that I know where my lap is.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So, I also understand because, as a waiter, I was told to do so many things that, sometimes, you're just like, "I don't want to do this either."

Nick: Right? So, we have the napkin, we have unfurled it, and we're going to cover the entire lap. It goes over both legs.

Leah: Mm-hmm.

Nick: I see a lot of people where the napkin is just over one leg.

Leah: Well, sometimes, it slips.

Nick: Well, but I see a lot of men, particularly, where they just cover one leg.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: So, we don't do that. We cover the whole lap. The napkin is not a bib - with one exception, which we'll get to at the end - but-

Leah: I think I know what that exception is.

Nick: I bet you don't.

Leah: Well, it's when I use it. [Laughter]

Nick: So, if the napkin is super-big, then you're not going to actually unfurl the whole thing. It's not an afghan blanket. You're just going to fold it in half and then, the folded side goes towards you.

Leah: I love an afghan.

Nick: But this is not that.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, napkin use. We are blotting. We are not wiping; we are not spitting; we are not blowing ... We're blotting.

Leah: Right.

Nick: That's the ideal usage. Also, let's not put our gum in the napkin [crosstalk]

Leah: Right. That's why I said let's make sure we know it's a cloth napkin.

Nick: Right. Yeah, we don't put gum in cloth napkins.

Leah: You can do things with paper napkins that you cannot do with cloth napkins!

Nick: Correct, yes. This is very important!

Leah: Some people have to clean this.

Nick: Actually, somebody- one of our Instagram followers sent us a photo of them ... They work in a restaurant-

Leah: Oh, that's right!

Nick: They sent us a photo of somebody who put gum in a napkin. It was like-

Leah: Just so rude.

Nick: It's rude, yeah; so don't do that. You are dining; you need to get up temporarily. Now, this is where people find it a little controversial. Where do you put the napkin?

Leah: I put it ... Well, can I say something?

Nick: Please!

Leah: Know that if you're in a fancy place-

Nick: Leah just raised her hand ...

Leah: I did raise my hand. Know that if you're in a fancy place, the waiter or waitress is going to refold your napkin.

Nick: Yeah, but you have gotten up off the table. The napkin was in your lap. Where is it going?

Leah: I always sort of pull it into a little long teepee ... You know what I mean?

Nick: No! Please describe that.

Leah: So, it's not like ... I pull it through the- I make a circle with my thumb and finger-

Nick: You've made a little napkin ring.

Leah: -and I just to make so it's not flopping around. Then I put it next to my plate.

Nick: Mm-hmm. Okay. Wrong!

Leah: I mean, that's what I'm going to do anyway.

Nick: Okay. Yeah, what you want to do-

Leah: I guess you could also put it on your chair.

Nick: You want to put it on your chair, and you want to put it on the seat of the chair. It doesn't go on the arm; it doesn't go on the back. Yeah, you do want to kind of ghost it. You want to create a little Halloween ghost out of it-

Leah: Which he just did the same thing that I did with the finger circle.

Nick: But I'm calling it ghosting.

Leah: But we recognize that ghosting is something else.

Nick: Well, in napkin etiquette context ...

Leah: When somebody goes, "He ghosted me ..." Oh, he folded your napkin?

Nick: You do not want to actually elaborately fold it into squares as you do this.

Leah: No.

Nick: Just the ghost shape is fine, and you leave it on your chair. Now, if a restaurant comes along and wants to refold it, or bring you a new napkin, that's on them.

Leah: That also happens a lot at weddings. I was recently with a friend at a wedding, and the waitress was coming through, and refolded. He didn't know, and I was like, "Oh, this is- at a fancy wedding, or any fancy event, the waitstaff has to come through every time you get up and refold your napkins.

Nick: Yeah. So, your friend was unaware that this was going to happen to them and was like, "What has happened to my napkin?"

Leah: Well, there was a third person who left and then, somebody came through, and they were like, "Oh, no, that person's still eating." I was like, "They're just refolding the napkin."

Nick: Okay, yeah. Good thing to know, yeah.

Leah: They're not stealing it.

Nick: Right. So, at the end of the meal, where does the napkin go?

Leah: Next to the plate.

Nick: Okay, so-

Leah: That shows that you can take it-

Nick: That you can-

Leah: -not you ... That you're finished. "I'm done."

Nick: That you can take the napkin. You can't take the napkin home with you.

Leah: No, I mean you can, but you better be real sly with it.

Nick: I'm just clarifying. Yeah, so you keep your napkin in the lap until you're done. So, even if you're done eating, and there's no more food happening, the napkin stays in your lap until you're ready to depart the meal. Then, when you are ready to depart, you will take it; you will loosely sort of fold it into square, if you'd like. Some people do the ghost method. There's some different thoughts, if you're ... Depending on who you want to listen to.

Leah: What you do is don't wad it ...

Nick: You do not wad it, for sure, and you do not leave it on a plate. You don't toss it on dirty plate!

Leah: Yeah, there's no napkin tossing.

Nick: Yeah. Then, it goes to the left, ideally, of where the plate was and then, you depart ... That's napkin etiquette.

Leah: There it is.

Nick: Voila! Oh, the one exception with the bibs ... Well, first, let me hear about your exception.

Leah: I realized, after I said that, that I actually have two exceptions.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Both of them are gauche, and you would be mortified.

Nick: All right, bring it.

Leah: One of them is if I'm eating crabs' legs.

Nick: Yeah, if there's a crustacean involved-

Leah: If there's any kind of a shell that I'm breaking, I'm putting it up around my neck.

Nick: Okay. This is the Maine girl speaking.

Leah: Because it's going to squirt.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: The other option is - obviously, I wouldn't do this if I was dining with The Queen-

Nick: Okay.

Leah: -however, if I'm with friends, and I am wearing white, there is no chance that I am keeping it white, if I don't have a napkin up. So, I'm just putting a napkin on and looking like an idiot.

Nick: Okay. All right, well-

Leah: I wouldn't do this at a business dinner, but if I'm with friends, and we're grabbing something and then, say, if I have to go to a show after, and I'm wearing my show shirt, napkin's going on.

Nick: Okay. All right.

Leah: Because I get wild when I eat.

Nick: So, the exception that I was thinking of in my head-

Leah: Neither of those?

Nick: - neither of those. So weird - is on an airplane. On an airplane, if you are flying in a class of service, where you are given a cloth napkin, there is a very good chance that in that napkin is sewn a button hole.

Leah: What?!!

Nick: You can take the button hole on the corner of the napkin, and you can attach it to your button-down shirt, sort of chest height, and affix it to your shirt during the meal.

Leah: Well, A) that seems sexist, and B) it's unbelievable, this other world that's happening on the other side of the curtain! We're not even getting napkins in the back, and they're getting sewn button holes.

Nick: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Many people are unaware that this exists.

Leah: Yeah. I would be like, "There's a hole in my napkin!"

Nick: Right.

Leah: So, thank you for forewarning us.

Nick: Yeah! So, if you see a button hole in your napkin, you are allowed to attach it to your button-down shirt because you're the man flying business class, obviously.

Leah: Obviously, if you're the woman flying business class, and you have a nice blouse on, it's just a reminder that you are not welcome here.

Nick: Right ... Yeah, that's what the buttonhole on the airplane napkin is all about.

Leah: Ugh!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I would've been like, "Is this part of an adventure, where I've to find where it connects to and then, there's a clue?"

Nick: Yeah, your shirt. Bon appÈtit!

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to go deep!

Leah: Very deep.

Nick: So, for today, I want to talk about how to behave at a live performance.

Leah: I think most live performances - similar audience etiquette.

Nick: Yeah, the rules feel pretty across the board.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: In an earlier episode, we did have some specific rules that come up when you go to the opera.

Leah: Right.

Nick: You're allowed to boo when you go to the opera-

Leah: Which is- you are not ... You should not be booing other places.

Nick: Should not boo most places, yeah. But I think, just in general, I think we just want to remember you're not at home. Those are people-

Leah: Human beings.

Nick: Onstage.

Leah: They can hear you.

Nick: They can see you, and they can hear you.

Leah: And so can the people around you who also paid.

Nick: Yeah. So, I think we just remember that. That's it. All right; end of the show; bye.

Leah: Clear! We fixed it.

Nick: Thanks, Leah. Yeah, but it is unbelievable-

Leah: Yep.

Nick: -that people are just unaware.

Leah: I also think we've come to a point in our culture where there's so much Yelp reviews, and people commenting on articles, and videos, and that people then ... It rolls into their- in human life, in the human interactions where they're like, "I should comment on this in real time!"

Nick: Oh! You mean, we're so used to just commenting, and rating our Uber drivers, and we're liking things on Instagram, and that-

Leah: And sending in complaints, and things; we're like, "I should just do this ..."

Nick: At all times.

Leah: At all times!

Nick: With human interactions.

Leah: You're like, "No ..."

Nick: Oh ...

Leah: "Don't do it."

Nick: That's an interesting theory. I like that. Yeah, that's not wrong.

Leah: That's what I think - people are like, "My opinion matters right in this moment!"

Nick: Yeah, "And I need to express it. People care what I think!"

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Yeah. I was at a performance recently of Evita, and some woman was basically watching the entire performance through her phone.

Leah: Yeah, I'll see that now. People hold up their phones to tape it.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I'll be like, "You're here!"

Nick: Yeah. "You can actually look at them!"

Leah: Also, it affects the person behind you-

Nick: For sure. This was so distracting!

Leah: It's so distracting.

Nick: I guess, also, people are so conditioned to only watching things on screens that when you have to watch it live, maybe there's just too much depth?

Leah: You're like, "It's too much!"

Nick: "I need some borders around the screen to help me just focus."

Leah: But then everybody behind you-

Nick: Is now affected, yeah.

Leah: I mean, cell phones, in general ... If you're at a live performance, if you have to look at your phone, make it quick and turn the lightness down.

Nick: Yeah, if you have to, but when is that happening?

Leah: If there's a medical emergency, or-

Nick: Sure. Okay.

Leah: You're waiting for somebody who's late ... You know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But pull it out real quick, look, put it right back because it affects the people's experience near you and, honestly, performers can see it.

Nick: Yeah, and I think some performances - no phones at all.

Leah: Yeah ...

Nick: If it's the theater; if it's the symphony ... Your phone actually should just be powered off. It actually is one of my great fears that my phone will accidentally go off during a performance.

Leah: Oh, mine, too. I double check. Now, if I'm with a friend, I'll always be like, "I'm doing the double check," so then they've seen it, too.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Because I also am recognizing that I've already checked it once, and we all know that I'm being crazy.

Nick: Yeah. I'm that person that leaves the house and then runs back in to make sure the gas is off. I make sure.

Leah: I am, too!

Nick: Aww.

Leah: There it is!

Nick: Oh, we find something. Yeah.

Leah: I'll actually turn my phone off all the way.

Nick: Yeah. I think you do. At music concerts, I know people like to take photos during a concert and all that. I think the rule should be you can only take enough photos to post it on social media to make the point that you're there, that your life is better, or that people should be jealous. Then, once you've achieved that, that should be it for the photos.

Leah: Yeah, put them away.

Nick: Because, also, your concert photos are terrible. They're blurry. You're far away. Even if you have good seats, they're not good photos. These aren't good photos, and you're not going to look at them again.

Leah: Right, and it's fun to get a little fun clip.

Nick: Yeah, you get a little video clip. You get a couple of photos. You get one video clip. Then, we put away the phone.

Leah: I think unless somebody's Dolly Parton, and they have a huge, wildly established audience, it's helpful ... A lot of performers want you to put the photo- tag it, you know what I mean? Because it's helpful. But holding your cell phone up the entire time to tape it-

Nick: Yeah, no. Don't do that.

Leah: I also don't think that you need to yell out when you disagree with something.

Nick: Okay. This feels not hypothetical. Uh-huh ... Okay, well, let's talk about comedy club etiquette.

Leah: Well, comedy club etiquette is ... I think people think of comics as such a different art form because we do talk with the audience.

Nick: True. There's more interaction.

Leah: There's more interaction, but it is still inherently a show.

Nick: Right.

Leah: So, don't be up front on your cell phones. You don't need to help us out by just yelling out things.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Also, often, there's multiple comics on a show. You might not like one of us. You could wait until ... Just wait until the next person.

Nick: Right, yeah. You don't have to comment in real time.

Leah: Yeah, it doesn't have to be a ... I mean, obviously, everybody's welcome to not like whatever they like. I don't know if you just need to yell at people?

Nick: Yeah, I think that does feel rude, and that actually is not part of the comedian audience contract.

Leah: Yeah, because comics, we all have different point of views.

Nick: Mm hmm. Yeah. You should, at least. Yeah.

Leah: Yeah, otherwise, it's ... A lot of people groan.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: "Ohhhhhhhhhhh!" Which I actually don't mind. I think it's hilarious.

Nick: That was a groaner? Okay.

Leah: Yeah, well, as comics, backstage, we'll be like, "Very groany audience."

Nick: Oh! It's a style of audience.

Leah: Yeah, it's really a group of ... It's a particular audience where they're groaners.

Nick: But just-

Leah: Or, you don't have to worry about the performer. Oh, no ...

Nick: Oh ...

Leah: I think it happens more to women because women tend to be- when people are self-depreciating, I think sometimes people feel like they should let the person know, "Oh, it's gonna be okay!"

Nick: It's like, "No, this is an act."

Leah: Or, if it's not an act, it's like, I'm fully aware of my thing.

Nick: Right, yes. I'm in public telling you about it. Right. I guess, in the end of the day, you just want to be cognizant of the fact that you are not alone.

Leah: Yeah, not alone. I also, and this may be ... I think, sometimes, if you're going to something, have an open mind. I do feel like I see more and more people come out to things like they just want to not like it.

Nick: Oh! So, you're kind of connecting bad audience etiquette with people being in a bad mood.

Leah: They come out, and they're like, "I don't wanna be here. I'm gonna be on my phone the whole time."

Nick: Oh, yeah, okay.

Leah: Like maybe that person that was in the play: "I'm gonna be on my phone the whole time doing business."

Nick: Right.

Leah: Or, "I'm gonna talk to my friend during a play."

Nick: Right.

Leah: Or, "I'm gonna go to a movie that is clearly an entertainment movie, not a Scorsese. I'm going to ..." and then just be irritated that it's low class the whole time. It's like you've gone to this event, maybe participate in it enough to not upset the people around you.

Nick: Yeah, I guess ... Yeah, have the right attitude about the thing you're about to do.

Leah: Or don't go.

Nick: Yeah, stay home.

Leah: Or, I see it at comedy shows all the time, where people come in; they cross their arms in front of them, and they have this, like, "Make me laugh ..."

Nick: Right. It's like, this was voluntary.

Leah: You're like, "Why ..."

Nick: This is not court-mandated comedy.

Leah: Yeah, I know ... What's happening? You know what I mean? I just think, is it horrible if we try to have a good time together?

Nick: Yeah. No, that's a good point.

Leah: If you don't want to be there, if you want to be on your phone the whole time, cool. But, then, do that at a coffee shop, not where people behind you are trying to watch a play. Or if you and your friend wanted to catch up, don't go to the opera.

Nick: Yeah, okay.

Leah: The other one was what you would ... It's don't badmouth the thing until you're out of the venue.

Nick: Yeah. Wait until you're out of earshot. Yeah.

Leah: Because if you're at a play, someone's mom could be sitting next to you, and you're like, "That person sucks," and that was their mom.

Nick: Yeah. Okay.

Leah: Just don't do it!

Nick: Well, this is good- these are good tips.

Leah: I mean, that's how I feel about it.

Nick: Yeah, I agree.

Leah: Great.

Nick: Great.

Leah: I mean, I think, just enjoy it and support live performances.

Nick: You should support live performances. Yeah, don't let other people's bad behavior discourage you. Set a good example. Have a good time-

Leah: Have a great time.

Nick: -and remember that you have a responsibility, as well.

Leah: I also go to some things that are ... People are still putting it together; you know what I mean? It's-

Nick: Workshopping.

Leah: -where they're workshopping it, and I'm going to have a great time anyway.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: The lighting's not ready yet, they're ... You're just like, "Whatever. I'm here to support, and learn, and see ..." Have a new experience.

Nick: Mm-hmm. I actually find that, with rare exception, even bad performances were still good.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: Or were still worthwhile.

Leah: There's always something lovely to take away.

Nick: I didn't feel like I totally wasted my time.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: There was something to get out of it, or, if it was so bad - and I can think of a couple of occasions - it was so bad that it's actually a great story.

Leah: Right. It's like Showgirls.

Nick: Oh, Showgirls is wonderful.

Leah: Because it's wild.

Nick: It's one of the greatest films. It should be on the Criterion Collection List.

Leah: Okay, we'll ... This is another agree to disagree.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: I wish you could see Nick's face right now because this is the same look I got when I said that I may put my finger on my plate to get the remaining cheese sauce.

Nick: I think the audience is with me that Showgirls is one of the finest films of American cinema.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: And I'm going to ... I'm scissoring my hands right now. We're going to push you down the stairs and make it look like an accident. [Laughing]

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to take some questions from the wilderness.

Leah: [Howling]

Nick: Oh, you were ready for that.

Leah: Well, I stayed in my lane.

Nick: Oh ... The student becomes the master. Our first question is: "I was given a gift card, but when I went to use it, it said it had already been redeemed. Should I tell the person who gave me the card?"

Leah: Yes, definitely.

Nick: Yeah, yeah ...

Leah: Because they wouldn't want ... I'm sure there was an error somewhere.

Nick: I would assume so because if someone gave you a gift card that they knew was redeemed, that's bold!

Leah: Yeah, that is a statement, and you need to know that about them right away.

Nick: Yeah, or you know what you did ...

Leah: Oh ... Ohhhh!

Nick: You know what you did.

Leah: Oh, wow!

Nick: So, maybe you don't say something. Maybe that's the equivalent of a horse head in the bed.

Leah: Yeah. If you haven't not put someone in your movie that was backed by the mob ... Otherwise, I think you can just-

Nick: I would say something, yeah.

Leah: I would just be like, "Hey, I ..."

Nick: "Oh, by the way, I was trying to buy something, and ..."

Leah: "It was already ... What should I do?"

Nick: Right ... And hopefully- I'm sure they'll be mortified.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Right. So, do that. Our next question ... Oh, this is real controversial: "A friend wants my recipe for my famous chocolate cake, and I don't want to give it to him. It's sort of my signature cake, and it's something I'm known for. How do I decline?"

Leah: This is not controversial at all. It's your cake ...

Nick: [Gasping] Ohh ...

Leah: It's your signature recipe.

Nick: Oh, we have very different opinions on this.

Leah: You are not obligated!

Nick: Mmmm ...

Leah: What you do is you put it on somebody else. "I'm so delighted that you love it. I'd be happy to make it for you. This is a family recipe, and I'm not allowed to give it out."

Nick: Not allowed!

Leah: "Because my family ... It's just a family thing, and I would be shunned."

Nick: Oh! I do not agree with that. A lot of people do agree with you, I will say. There are a lot of people who will take your position, or they'll give the recipe, and they'll sabotage it.

Leah: See, that seems very passive-aggressive.

Nick: They'll likely leave an ingredient out, or they'll change the amounts, or they'll change some technique. I think that's, uh, bold. There are people that will be like, "Oh, there isn't a recipe. I just throw things together. I never even measure!"

Leah: I would just rather people be direct with me than be dishonest because they don't want to share.

Nick: So, this is going to sound like something you say.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: I don't see what the big deal is. Just give the recipe.

Leah: This person doesn't want to, though.

Nick: Yeah, but what's the big deal?

Leah: The big deal is that it's their signature cake.

Nick: There are so many things in my life that I don't want to do-

Leah: Right.

Nick: Half of my life is things I don't want to do.

Leah: I would give anybody a recipe. I don't- this is not my thing, but this person, it's their thing.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: If you have a thing.

Nick: Okay ...

Leah: But I think you should own it, and say, "This is my thing."

Nick: Do you think that is a polite response?

Leah: Which one?

Nick: Just setting the boundary, and being like, "No, it's a family secret ..."

Leah: I don't think the person-

Nick: Taking it to my grave.

Leah: I don't think the person should've assumed that you would share. I actually, this weekend, asked somebody for a recipe.

Nick: Mm-hmm. For what?

Leah: For these unbelievable gluten-free cookies! You don't even know they're gluten-free.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I said, "Is this something you'd be willing to share?"

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And I would've been fine if they were like, "No, I'm gonna market these, and sell these."

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Because I'm asking them to share something that's maybe their thing.

Nick: I mean, if there is a commercial aspect to this, that changes the equation a little bit.

Leah: Or, also, maybe this is a community where people show up, and they have competitive baking.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: You know what I mean?

Nick: Sure. Mm-hmm.

Leah: I don't know what the backstory is here, but if this is how you feel, and you don't want to share, I just think you should be upfront about it. Not rude; just be like, "Hey, this is my secret cake. Happy to share other things with you, but not that. Of course, you understand."

Nick: Uh-huh. I don't love that.

Leah: I know you don't.

Nick: Yeah!

Leah: But I'm sticking with it.

Nick: Okay. I mean, I guess-

Leah: I would- I'm not saying ... I'm just saying for this person.

Nick: Yeah, you ... I hear that you don't want to be this person. You just want to accept that this person doesn't have to.

Leah: No, I'm not saying I don't want to be this person. I'm just saying that this is not my thing.

Nick: Right. You're happy to give any recipe.

Leah: Right.

Nick: I hear that you are happy to give any recipe anybody asks you for.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Leah Bonnema - free recipes.

Leah: I have three. You guys are all welcome to them.

Nick: But I think one way out of this, if you don't want to give the recipe, is to try and demure because, a lot of times, people actually ask for recipes, and they are just being polite. They don't actually want the recipe. They're not actually going to make this thing. It's just a think people say, like, "Oh, my gosh, the frittata's so great! Can I get the recipe?" I'm never going to make this frittata.

Leah: Right, so ignore it.

Nick: You could just like, "Oh, of course ..." and then, are they really going to follow up? They're not going to follow up.

Leah: Okay, say they follow up. What's next?

Nick: I would turn it over because so much ... Especially cake; so much of cake is technique that the way you do it is not going to be the same as the way I do it. We have different ovens, we have different pans; we're probably buying different butter ... We're just not going to have the same cake. Also, everybody knows this is my cake, so, in our community of competitive bakers, they know that I had this cake first, so I would just give it.

Leah: Okay. Hmm.

Nick: We have differences of opinions.

Leah: No, but I think we're also reading the question differently. She's saying, "I'm not giving up the cake."

Nick: Yeah, and I'm saying I think you should.

Leah: [Hearty laughter]

Nick: So, there's that.

Leah: All right.

Nick: Okay? Our next question: "I was taught that when signing a note or letter as a couple or family, the name of the woman is supposed to come first - for example, "Sincerely, Jane, John, and Joe" - But, as of late, I've seen a mix of this in sign-offs, where the man's name comes first. So, which is the most appropriate for this time and age?" Leah?

Leah: I think that whoever's handwriting it's in is the first name.

Nick: Okay, that's what you think? So-

Leah: Not that's what I think, that's what I practice.

Nick: Okay! So, I think, historically, there's a lot of different answers to this, so the answer you get depends on how far back you want to go-

Leah: Right.

Nick: -and who you want to listen to. So, are you an Emily Post person? Are you a Miss Manners person? Are you a Baldrige person? Or do you want to even go further back in time? Because one way to do this is the man's name goes first, and then the wife's, and then the children of descending ages.

Leah: Right because it goes by who is who's property.

Nick: Right. Chattel. So, I think, in today's day and age, and I think Miss Manners actually agrees with me on this one - I'd have to look that up - the person that is writing it puts their name last.

Leah: Really?!

Nick: I think that's the proper thing to do. Correct.

Leah: I don't sign both of our names, though.

Nick: You can.

Leah: I don't. That's what I'm saying. I put mine first, and then I write "And ..." and then I leave the card for my significant other, and I say, "Hey, babe, I'm going to send this out. Sign it."

Nick: Oh, I think that's fine, then, because everybody's signing their own names.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Then, whatever wording you want to do, it's fine.

Leah: I don't sign his name ever.

Nick: But, sometimes, I send thank you notes on our behalf to people who have done nice things for our show, and I will write, "Leah and Nick."

Leah: Interesting.

Nick: And it's in my handwriting. It's on your behalf, but my name goes last.

Leah: Okay.

Nick: Yeah. So, that is proper. The letter writer goes last, regardless of gender, regardless of the relationship between the people. The only exception, I guess, is if you're including a family pet in this. Then, you might want to add the family pet afterwards.

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, it's like, "Leah, and Nick, and Fido."

Leah: Right.

Nick: Maybe. I don't know. I'm not quite sure where the dog goes on that.

Leah: Right.

Nick: I'm not sure what the exact rule is on that. Maybe, is it, "Leah, and Fido, and Nick?" Feels weird to have Fido in the middle.

Leah: It does.

Nick: Right?

Leah: It sort of feels like Fido should have his own line.

Nick: Mmm, or does Fido come first because Fido's the most important?

Leah: You know, I would say, "Nick, and Leah, and Fido say hello!"

Nick: That's nice. Okay, let's do that. So, our next question is: "We were invited to stay with some friends, but when we got there, it turns out it was super-dirty, and everything about it was uncomfortable. We toughed it out, but we really wanted to check out early. What should we do if this happens to us again?"

Leah: Well, I think first off, next time, don't stay there.

Nick: Yeah, there should not be a next time.

Leah: So, I assume the 'again' is at a different place.

Nick: Yes, if you've got all these friends who have horrible homes that are uncomfortable, yeah ..contractor

Leah: I mean, I think, unfortunately, if you come, and unless you have to cut the trip short ...

Nick: Yes, there's something back home-

Leah: Yeah, the only-

Nick: -that requires your attention.

Leah: But if you were just leaving and then staying in the same city, I don't think there's any delicate way to do it.

Nick: Yeah. There would need to be something, like, "You have a dog, and I didn't realize I was allergic," excuse.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Oh, I think there's that, yeah ... There's, "I have a 3:00 a.m. conference call in Bangalore for work, and I don't want to disturb you?"

Leah: Yep, but otherwise, it's really ... Because you- it is making a comment.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: And-

Nick: Yeah, there's no way to check out early without it being like, "Oh, there's something about your home."

Leah: Yeah, without hurting somebody's feelings.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I think it will affect the relationship.

Nick: Yeah, you can't.

Leah: So, you have to decide how important to you it is.

Nick: You definitely have to stick it out for one night. Let's say the trip was two nights. Can you check out after one night?

Leah: Nope, not if you're staying in the same city.

Nick: Yeah, can't be like, "Oh, that mattress and my sciatica ..."

Leah: I do think that if you say you're going back to their place again, this city, and this person is, "Oh, you can stay with us," you don't have to.

Nick: You definitely don't have to.

Leah: You don't have to go back again and want to visit them. And people, you can just say, "Oh, I just want to have my own space," which people understand. You're out of town. You want to have your own space. But I feel like checking out early, under any circumstances, is-

Nick: It's a statement.

Leah: It's going to hurt people's feelings.

Nick: So, you just have to decide if you want to make that statement or not.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Yeah. Okay. So, do you have statements for us, or questions? You can send them to us through our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com or you can send us a voicemail, (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729), because we want to hear your voice.

Leah: We really want to hear it!

Nick: We get more nuance.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: We get tone.

Leah: We can understand better what you're trying to get over to us.

Nick: Yeah because, you know, there's a lot of subtext.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: A lot of subtext!

Leah: You guys aren't giving us ... You're giving us the straightforward. We know there's backstory.

Nick: Oh, there's backstory, and we know there's an answer that you want from us.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: And if we hear your voice, we know whether or not we want to give it to you.

Leah: Yeah ... I'll give it to you. I will! I will agree with you.

Nick: I make no promises. So, send them to us. Leave us a voicemail. (267) CALL-RBW (267-225-5729) or you can send us a text message, but we want the voicemail.

Leah: [Whispering] Please ...

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent.

Leah: Is it a game, or is that just us- or an opportunity to set free on people?

Nick: Well, um, it's not not a game.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: So, this game - or not game- is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette thing that's happened to us, or we can repent for some bad etiquette faux pas we've committed. So, Lean, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: I'm gonna vent!

Nick: Hmm.

Leah: I would like to discuss-

Nick: Uh-huh?

Leah: -what is happening with people who walk up the middle of stairs!

Nick: Mm-hmm. [Laughing] I bet- I'm good with there. We can just end it right there. Yeah.

Leah: On top of that, often, on their phones.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Are you watching a video on stairs?

Nick: That feels dangerous!

Leah: Yeah, it's happening, and they're in the middle so people can't go around!

Nick: This is happening to you all the time?

Leah: This happens to me ... Well, it happened yesterday with this woman where I'm ... Unbelievable! But I see it happen ... Move to the side!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Get off your phone! What is happening in this world, where we are walking up the middle of stairs?!

Nick: Wow! It's the end of civilization.

Leah: And on your phone?! Can't you have two- two seconds?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I can't.

Nick: Is this when you're going upstairs or downstairs? Are you ...?

Leah: Up.

Nick: So, you're behind this person?

Leah: I'm always behind.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I'm always behind these middle-of-stairs ...

Nick: Oh ...

Leah: Then, people are trying to come down the stairs. Have you no-

Nick: Personal space, yeah.

Leah: -sense of other people?

Nick: Yeah because, also, when you're on your phone, because it's dangerous to be on your phone and moving, they're probably walking slower than they would ordinarily. So, they're not only in the middle of the stairs, but they're actually at a pace that is lugubrious!

Leah: Oh, they're always going slow!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: If you're a speed sprinter going up the middle of the stairs, doesn't matter.

Nick: Right.

Leah: But it's never the speed sprinters.

Nick: Yeah. So, do we secretly hope that they trip and hurt themselves?

Leah: No! I don't think that way about people.

Nick: No? Okay. [Laughing] Leah's secretly nodding aggressively ...

Leah: I just want them to stop doing it! What I want to do is yell, "You're going first in the Apocalypse!" Which I've said before-

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: -and it's really what I believe. But I feel rude doing that. I feel like if I address it, I become the rude person.

Nick: Well, I would say, "Oh, I'm so sorry. Can I sneak by you?"

Leah: Oh, I do say that.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Because I don't have 45 minutes to get somewhere that should take me five minutes.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But why are they doing it?

Nick: It feels shortsighted.

Leah: Then, some people look at you like, "Oh, my God, I can't believe you need to move up these stairs at a regular human fashion while I'm watching the television show, Friends!" I saw a person walking through Times Square, which is- for those of you at home, the Times Square subway station is packed!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Most the subways stop there. It's busy. They had a cell phone on a necklace-

Nick: Oh!

Leah: -that had a holder. So, they were watching-

Nick: Oh, so like hands-free-

Leah: Hands-free, watching a show-

Nick: Oh!

Leah: -on their phone, in front of them, while they walked through the subway station.

Nick: To have specialized equipment-

Leah: Un-uh!

Nick: -attached to your body, which enables you to watch video on your phone, hands-free, in public-

Leah: While you're walking [crosstalk] in one of the busiest places in the entire world!

Nick: Wow!

Leah: Have you no common decency?

Nick: Wow ... Yeah.

Leah: It was a sitcom. It wasn't like this person-

Nick: I mean, does that make a difference?

Leah: It did. It did to me because I always ... You know me. I'm like, maybe it's like a [crosstalk]

Nick: Maybe you're watching C-SPAN ...

Leah: -or maybe it's a thing that helps them see in some way? No, it was a ... They were watching television shows.

Nick: Mmm.

Leah: I got in close enough so I could judge them without feeling bad to make sure that I was accurate at what I was seeing.

Nick: Well, what I was seeing ...

Leah: Let us hear it!

Nick: Ahhh ... So, new restaurant just opened up in the neighborhood. Great! I feel like all of my vents ... Oh, this is a vent, in case my tone was not incredibly clear!

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: I was dining in a restaurant. Like all restaurants in New York, it's a little cozy. So, we're near the corner. We're at a two-top table, so we're across from each other. Then, the corner table is right next to us, so there's two people on a banquette, and then they had, actually, four people around the table because there's a little extra width. So, the back of the person who is nearest our table had their back sort of to my right shoulder, so we're at perpendicular angles, but there was actually plenty of space for everybody. No problem. But, as this person was drinking more and more, they backed their chair further and further away from their table-

Leah: Un-uh ...

Nick: -which means they were closer and closer to my chair, to the point where the back of the chair was touching the side of my chair.

Leah: Nope!

Nick: Then he leaned back further, and now his head is over my sight line!

Leah: No!!

Nick: So, now, not only have you breached the invisible walls of my chair line, you have now made it- reclined into my zone.

Leah: Was this a United Airlines flight?

Nick: It was-

Leah: That's unbelievable!

Nick: No, this is more reclined than you can get on United Airlines.

Leah: Oh, wow!

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: You were within your rights to hit the side of their head.

Nick: Well, so, as it was [crosstalk]

Leah: I don't approve of touching anybody. I apologize.

Nick: So, as this was sort of happening slowly, and slowly, in slow motion, I could not say anything without him hearing, which, obviously, I was saying something to all the people at my table. I'd be like, "Oh, this is interesting that this is happening," hoping he would hear because if you could hear at a whispered tone, obviously, you would then be like, "Oh, maybe I should not be in this person's personal space." So, I did say something, like, "Oh, actually, can we maybe rearrange ourselves here?" Then he did, but then he did it again in my space! So, I could not actually reach for the fork because now I have to keep my elbow so tight to my body because there's no space! Unbelievable!

Leah: Unbelievable!

Nick: Unbelievable, yeah. Nowhere else in New York City have I experienced this, yeah.

Leah: No, that's crazy rude.

Nick: Yeah, we were-

Leah: This person definitely walks in the middle of stairs and looks at their phone all the time.

Nick: I mean ...

Leah: So disrespectful of your space!

Nick: A lot of people are going first in the Apocalypse.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So, Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I've learned two things about you.

Nick: Oh, we both feel very negative?

Leah: No!

Nick: Okay.

Leah: They're neither negative nor positive.

Nick: Mmm, they're facts!

Leah: They are things I've learned.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: One of them is that we both are people that go back and check if the oven is on.

Nick: That is true! Yes! I like that about you.

Leah: I sometimes, now, know that I'm going to do it, so as I'm standing in the door, I say, "Oven, fish tank, candles ... Done!"

Nick: Verbally.

Leah: Yep, verbally.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: So, I'm like, "You already repeated it out loud. Are you going to go back again?"

Nick: Mm-hmm. Insane, right.

Leah: Because that's borderline. Yeah.

Nick: Right, okay.

Leah: The other thing is that you, even if people want to keep their cake recipes, you are a cake-recipe sharer!

Nick: Yeah! Spread the love.

Leah: Spread the love.

Nick: I learned that there is such a device that allows people to watch a video, hands-free, in subway stations!

Leah: I can't even!

Nick: I'm going to have to google this!

Leah: Yeah, I googled it when I got home.

Nick: It feels like an extreme version of a selfie stick.

Leah: It is. It also-

Nick: It feels like Selfie Stick 2.0.

Leah: It feels like the beginning of that movie that came out so long ago; it was meant to be as a joke, where people end up just staying in their homes. Do you remember that? It's with the actor, Matthew Fox, I think. Everybody just orders things at home, and just watches things in front of them. I was like, "Oh, we're starting this!"

Nick: Yeah. I mean, that's just called winter in New York.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: You just get your food delivered, yeah. 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 engraved stationery. You know, I really would send a note.

Leah: No, he absolutely would!

Nick: Yeah, it's not just a line.

Leah: I know. I know he's signing both our names.

Nick: Yes, my name last. So, thanks for listening, and please subscribe to the show, and leave us a nice review, wherever you listen to podcasts.

Leah: We really appreciate it.

Nick: And the algorithm is really helpful.

Leah: Yeah, it would really mean a lot to us for many reasons.

Nick: Yeah, the algorithm, actually ... The way we rank, and how people discover our show, is affected by the number of reviews we get. So, we like it for a lot of reasons.

Leah: Not just because it makes us feel like we're living a life worth living, but because it helps us promote.

Nick: Yeah, so a lot of reasons. Also, follow us on Instagram, and follow us on Facebook, and subscribe to our newsletter, and visit our website, wereyouraisedbywolves.com. We have a lot of homework for people!

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: A lot of tasks!

Leah: If it's too overwhelming, just pick one.

Nick: Pick one. It's fine.

Leah: Or you don't have to do anything. Just enjoy us! Thank you for being here!

Nick: Thank you! We'll see you next time.

Leah: [Whispering] Next time ...

Nick: Bye!

[Instrumental Theme Song]

Nick: Okay, it's time for a little sip of cordial of kindness!

Leah: A little kindness cordial that we're forcing on Nick!

Nick: So, Leah wanted an opportunity in the show to say nice things, and I'm only going to give her 30 seconds, and she makes me do it, too!

Leah: This time, I'm making Nick go first because I always go first.

Nick: Bossy! See how nice I am? All right, fine. 30 seconds. So, I want to read a nice review that we got because I do love the reviews that come in because they make it all worthwhile.

Leah: They really do!

Nick: They do, when I'm staying up late at night editing this thing! So, the review is just very nice. It says: "I love that the hosts always get right to the point each episode. Don't get me wrong, I love banter-heavy pods, but there is something so refreshing about this. Also, I've learned so much about things I might never even think about." So ...

Leah: I think that's wonderful.

Nick: It's really nice. So, thank you, whoever wrote this. This makes it all worthwhile, so thanks.


Nick: All right, you've got 30 seconds, Leah ... And, go!

Leah: I would like to say that my things that I'm really kind- that I think is wonderful, and kind, is actually you, Nick Leighton!

Nick: [Gasping]

Leah: I would just take a second, and maybe even 30 seconds, to say how much I appreciate how hard you work on all-

Nick: Oh, we can give you more than 30 seconds [crosstalk]

Leah: -can I break the 30-second-

Nick: Oh, no time limit!

Leah: How hard you work on our super-cute Instagram with all the wonderful little pictures with words on it! I don't even know what they're called. You're so good at it!

Nick: They're called pictures.

Leah: They're pictures with words! You do such a great edit, and all of the mailing lists are so wonderful! [Buzzer] and I just think-

Nick: Oh, our time's up, but you can keep going!

Leah: -you're really terrific. You're so terrific, and I am so grateful for you and how wonderful you are at producing, and creating, and making this all happen.

Nick: Thank you.

Leah: Thank you!