March 9, 2020

Scolding in Elevators, Tipping Bathroom Attendants, Worrying for Others, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle slashing names on social stationery, worrying for other people, conflicting information on invitations, scolding people in elevators, tipping bathroom attendants, handling impolite parents, FaceTiming in public, overcrowding in vestibules, holding packages for neighbors, and much more. Please subscribe! (We'd write you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)


  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Slashing your name on social stationery
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Worrying for other people
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: How to deal with conflicting information on an invitation? Is it OK to scold people in an elevator? What's the deal with bathroom attendants? What do you do if you were raised by wolves?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Face-timing in public, crowding vestibules
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Holding packages, a nice review




Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian


[Musical Introduction]

Nick: Do you ask for cash donations at your birthday party? Do you talk in elevators? Do you not let people out before entering? 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. Let's just get right down to it.

Leah: Let's get in it!

Nick: So, for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about something on social stationary, which is very specific, which is the slash.

Leah: Oh!!!

Nick: Recently, Leah gave me a fabulous gift, and I sent Leah a thank you note on my hand-engraved custom stationery.

Leah: It was gorgeous.

Nick: Now, do you recall there was a slash through my name?

Leah: I do.

Nick: Do you know why I did that, or what that was about? What did you think when you saw that?

Leah: I used to work for a family who did that.

Nick: Oh! So, you knew!

Leah: So, I knew about it.

Nick: Okay!

Leah: But had I not ... I like the way it looks, a lot. I think I would've been like, "Oh, that's a fun look." But had I not worked for this family that did that, I don't think I've come across it any-

Nick: In any other situation.

Leah: Correct.

Nick: So, what we're talking about - social stationery. This is where you have a piece of paper that has your name preprinted at the top. I have it. I think everyone should have it. So, do that. I have this social stationery, and when you [crosstalk] When you're sending a note, like a thank you note, to somebody, and you want to indicate that your relationship with this person is more familiar, that we're closer friends, more intimate, what you do is you take a single pen stroke from the lower left to the top right through your name at the top of the card, and you strike it, with one strike, indicating, "Oh, no, no, this is not on my personal stationery; this is just from me." It indicates just like a nicer relationship. It's sort of a nice way to signal to someone that you feel like you're very close with someone. So, this is why I did this for you, Leah.

Leah: So lovely.

Nick: That's what that's about. It doesn't come up a lot because most people don't have social stationery at all, but if you do, and you see this, then this is what this is about. Now, I don't always do it, even if I do feel like I have that relationship with someone because people don't know about this, so if they see it, they think it's strange. Then, they're like, "Oh, why is there this line through his name? That's weird. Why'd he cross it out?"

Leah: They can google it.

Nick: Uh, yeah ... It comes up if you google it, I think, a little bit. Yeah. I think Town & Country did some article about this some years ago, but it's not well covered in the etiquette world, so that's why I'm telling you. I did actually have a friend- I think I mentioned this on social media, or something - a friend, who has saved all of my thank you notes for years, called me out because he had saved them, and he took a picture of all of these cards where I did not strike my name.

Leah: OOOhh!

Nick: It was tongue in cheek, and it was actually very clever, but he was like, "Oh, I see what our relationship is. Didn't strike your name. Hmm." So, he called me out on that; but now I know I can strike the name, and he knows what this is about, and it's fine. So, if you see this happening, this is what this is about. If you have social stationery, you can do this, and that's what this is about. That's our amuse-bouche for today.

Leah: So fun!

Nick: You're welcome.

Leah: [Singing] Amoooooze Booouche! I put it at the end.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: We're back, and now, let's go deep.

Leah: Let's go deep!

Nick: For our deep dive, today, this comes courtesy Leah!

Leah: I thought this was a very interesting topic.

Nick: I guess, as I understand it, the idea here is that we don't want to worry for other people.

Leah: Yeah, so the topic is worrying for other people.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I would be interested to see what our friends and family at home ... I call them our family because they're our Wolves family.

Nick: Yes! Well, they're our pack!

Leah: Yeah, they're our PACK!! Oh, my goodness. I'm so excited. This came about because, normally, I try very hard not to discuss anything of my close-friend relationships, but this is a comic. I told her to her face, when she did it, and I've been trying to make a joke out of it, so it's fair game.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I don't keep my cellphone in case, and we were having a conversation, and I took my cellphone out to charge it, or whatever, and then she was like, "Oh, you don't have a ... You have to get a case right now!" Then, she was like ... The whole- I didn't ask, "Do you think I need a case?" You know what I mean?

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: But she became avidly worried about my cellphone, and my case, and what kind of a lifestyle I'm living that I walk around caseless-

Nick: Reckless! Wow!

Leah: Then, I made fun of her. I was like, "I get how phones work ..." You know what I mean? I don't know ... So, it just sort of put this idea in my head. Then, I was out to dinner with another friend and I asked- she doesn't have a case. I said, "Oh, you don't have a case. Do you find that people ...?" She said, "I will have strangers walk up to me and be like, 'You have to go buy a case!'"

Nick: Oh, gosh!

Leah: "'I'm worried about your phone.'"

Nick: Oh!

Leah: So, just this sort of idea of worrying for other people.

Nick: Okay, I get that.

Leah: Then, it goes into ... This is the thing that happened this week. I was wearing a warm coat. I leave the house, and then I stay out very late, so the temperatures will really change, but it was one of the days where it was kind of warm. They were like, "You're really overdressed. You're gonna get hot. I think it'd be uncomfortable." I was like, "Am I an adult?"

Nick: "Am I your child?"

Leah: Yeah. Who ... You know what I mean? Then, I don't want to have to explain to a person my ... It's this idea of-

Nick: Ah ...

Leah: Do you know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah, so let's break it down.

Leah: I thought this was a very interesting topic-

Nick: Let's break it apart. Yeah, because I guess, at the end the day, why this is an etiquette thing is that we agree that this is poor etiquette, right?

Leah: Yeah, I feel like this is poor etiquette.

Nick: This is poor etiquette.

Leah: Because you're essentially saying to a person, "I think that you make bad choices."

Nick: Yeah. "You have bad judgment, and my judgment is better than yours."

Leah: I feel like I should tell you that even though I understand this is all under the guise of a person, "caring about you ..."

Nick: Eh ... Sometimes. We can give them the benefit of the doubt, if you-

Leah: You know me; I love to give a benefit of the doubt-

Nick: -want to do that.

Leah: -I'm gonna throw that out there-

Nick: Okay.

Leah: -and say that I understand that's where it's coming from-

Nick: Potentially.

Leah: -but I think it's a weird thing to do.

Nick: Yes, because it is patronizing.

Leah: It's very patronizing!

Nick: It's patronizing, and I think being patronizing is rude.

Leah: Rude! That's why I think this is essentially an etiquette issue.

Nick: Right. Definitely, the clothing thing comes up a lot; like, "Oh, aren't you cold?"

Leah: "Don't you need a scarf?"

Nick: So, that's very common.

Leah: I've been walking around with a neck my whole life; I think I know how to handle this.

Nick: So far, so good. Yeah. It also feels like the comment's about, like, "Oh, are you gonna eat that thing. That's bad for you!"

Leah: Yeah, or, "Are you taking the train so late?" People say that to me, as an adult person who takes the train late every night.

Nick: Oh ... Yeah, that's patronizing, at the end of a day.

Leah: At the end of the day, it's just rude.

Nick: Yeah. So, I guess, don't-

Leah: But I understand they're saying it because, somewhere in there, they think they're being-

Nick: Helpful ...

Leah: Mother-y? I don't know what it is.

Nick: I guess it's a difference between trying to be supportive and trying to fix someone, right? Is that what's happening?

Leah: Yeah, if somebody ask, have at it. They asked you.

Nick: Yeah. So, it's that line is like when is it support, and when you trying to fix someone who didn't want you fixing them?

Leah: Right. Wouldn't you agree it's ... I think we've agreed that it is-

Nick: We've agreed. Yeah, I think we're totally on the same page. There is no daylight here.

Leah: Okay, because I did think worrying about somebody is an etiquette topic. That's really what it is.

Nick: Yeah, that's it. It's just an etiquette thing. It's rude to do because you are being patronizing, and you're saying that their judgment is poor.

Leah: Yeah!

Nick: And you're saying a negative thing about them to their face.

Leah: I don't think people realize, when they do it, that that's what they're doing.

Nick: That's what you're doing, so don't do that.

Leah: I'm sure I've been guilty of it.

Nick: Oh! Who among us has not-

Leah: Who has not?

Nick: -done something bad?

Leah: But I do feel like I've tried really hard to reel it in.

Nick: Yes, and I think step one is acknowledge that this is a thing that happens. Then, when it is happening to you, or you're doing it to someone else, take a step back; take a moment.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Be like, "Oh ... Is this patronizing?" And then, don't do that.

Leah: Yeah, and sometimes, I'll go to say something, and I'll be like, "Oh, they didn't quite ask me."

Nick: Yes.

Leah: So, then I'll say, "Are you asking me, or did you just want to share this?"

Nick: Yes, that's also true. That feels a little adjacent as a topic ...

Leah: That is adjacent, but I'm just saying I know sometimes that-

Nick: It's the same flavor where you feel the impulse to be like, "Oh, let me weigh in on what I think you should do in this situation;" whereas, like, oh, this was not an invitation for me to weigh in.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yes. Sometimes, the way people present information, it is left ambiguous whether or not they want your opinion or not. Sometimes, that does happen, where you're like, "Oh, are you just wanting to just express something, or are you wanting me to weigh in?" It's unclear what my role is in this conversation-

Leah: Right.

Nick: Sure. All right, well, I think we really covered some ground there.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: Thank you, Leah.

[Musical Interlude]

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

Leah: [Howling ...]

Nick: That is Leah howling.

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: So, our first question is: "I am the parent of a toddler, and we get invited to a lot of birthday parties. On multiple occasions, parents have said, "No presents, please," but then send a link to an Amazon shopping list, or a college savings fund, saying that if we did want to give a present, then we could shop from this list or donate cash. I think this is rude. If it's a no-presents party, shouldn't that be the rule? Is it then rude not to bring a present? What do you think?"

Leah: This shocked me. I was shocked!

Nick: What part?

Leah: I was- honestly, I started out shocked, and then I worked my way up to more shocked.

Nick: I mean, college savings plan? Like, "Come on over! Toby's turning two."

Leah: You guys are probably still paying off your own college funds.

Nick: I mean ... So ... Okay, so our shock is [inaudible]

Leah: The shock, though, for me, is if you say no presents-

Nick: I think we take that at face value.

Leah: -and then you have presents.

Nick: Then, what is it?

Leah: What's happening right now?!

Nick: What is it? Yeah.

Leah: I almost want to say to the person - which I agree that we're not saying - but I would want to be like, "Can you clarify? Is it presents, or no presents?"

Nick: Yeah. Which is it?

Leah: Because I don't understand, and I don't want to be rude, but you've given me two exactly opposite ... You know?

Nick: Right. Like, it's a casual breakfast buffet - it's black tie/evening formal. Wha-? Ok- what?

Leah: Yeah ... Which?

Nick: Hm. So, I think, in general, there's a lot of thoughts about presents at kids' birthday parties, and this is a big conversation among parents on the mommy blogs.

Leah: It seems really stressful.

Nick: So, in general, an invitation is not an invoice. The whole idea that you are obligated to bring a present, and it must be a certain type of present, and you have to do from a registry, and all that - this has gotten out of control.

Leah: What I find that is wild here - outside of that - is the no presents, and then, "Here's the list of presents."

Nick: The contradictory information is rude, and you've got to pick a lane. Yeah.

Leah: Yeah, pick a ... What's happening?

Nick: I think if there's presents, then fine, that's what we're doing. If we're not doing presents, then it's no presents, and we're not doing presents. Miss Manners has an interesting take on this, which is she doesn't like the no-presents parties because she thinks there's actually something very important for child-rearing around presents; that by doing a party with presents, you are teaching your child how to give a present that they may want to keep for themselves. When you're giving the party, you're teaching your child how to accept presents that they may not want, and they don't like. You're also teaching about thank you notes, and you're also teaching about that whole ritual, where, as an adult, presents happen, and you should know how to do this graciously. So, Miss Manners doesn't like taking that off the table because she feels like this is important for children to learn how to do. I think that's an interesting point.

Leah: That is interesting. I think there's so much pressure, it seems, on parents to do all these things that all cost money.

Nick: Horrible!

Leah: The idea of learning: never show up to an event empty-handed-

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: -but you could also be like, "Hey, we're gonna go to Tommy's birthday party. Let's bake them cookies." So, you're coming with something, but it's something that you can buy all the ingredients for-

Nick: Right. Yeah. I definitely think a good present does not have to be related to the price of that present.

Leah: Yes, I think that's important.

Nick: So, people should keep that in mind. I think, for this letter-writer, the main question was just what are we supposed to do - bring a present, or not bring a present? I would say the invitation says no presents, so we go with that.

Leah: Yeah. They said no presents.

Nick: So, stick with that.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I mean, I think I would still show up with a card and-

Nick: A card is nice, yes. I think a card is nice, but that's it.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Okay. Our next question-

Leah: Actually, you know me, I would show up with a present because I'd feel horrible, but ...

Nick: You would?

Leah: I don't think you're being rude not to bring a present. They're being rude by giving you different information.

Nick: Correct. Conflicting information.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Yeah. Okay, so our next question is: "A few weeks ago ..."

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: "... we were staying at the same hotel as a college football team. The elevators were slow and often crowded with tourists, football players, and business folks. At one particular occurrence, the elevator had stopped on a number of floors, picking up people, and the football players would get off at various lower floors, presumably to visit with other teammates, attend meetings, or whatever. An older woman in the elevator started saying things about their physicality, and how they should have just used the stairs. There was plenty of room for more people, and it was not overly crowded. I was offended by her comments about who should or shouldn't be in the elevator, and there were eye rolls and side glances from others, so I think other people were annoyed, too. I finally spoke up and told the woman we should not judge others. My husband was furious with me for saying something to shut this woman up. Isn't it appropriate to say something when others are being rude, or should I just bite my tongue?" Leah?

Leah: I feel like what my answer is, is not the correct etiquette answer-

Nick: Uhhh ...

Leah: I'm going to go with what my answer is, anyway, because I know you already said two wrongs don't make a right.

Nick: That's true.

Leah: However ... I think - good for this woman!

Nick: Oh!

Leah: Because this lady is commenting on people's bodies and that they shouldn't be taking the elevator. It's not appropriate!

Nick: It is definitely not appropriate. What she is doing is incorrect and rude. Totally agree. In general, I do not like talking in elevators, which we've established.

Leah: We've established that.

Nick: So, right there, I'm like, "Ugh, why are people talking in this elevator?" I think that because this woman was talking about a third party who is no longer there-

Leah: No, I think some of them are still in the elevator. They're coming and going.

Nick: Well, okay ... I think because this woman is talking about somebody else that is not our letter-writer ... This letter-writer is not involved in the direct scene. She's a bystander, and because there is nothing you can say that is going to make this woman a better person-

Leah: No, but she may think twice before she comments on people.

Nick: I don't think we're going to have an epiphany for this woman today. I don't think we're going to be able to be like, there's a magic phrase that's going to lock something in her brain, be like, "You know what? I was wrong. I should never do that again." I don't think we're going to get that from this woman. This is such a brief interaction that I would just let it go; bite my tongue. Part of that is that if I say something in the elevator, now I'm talking in an elevator, and that's against my rules.

Leah: Right. That is against your rules.

Nick: I don't like doing that, but I think we just bite out tongue because there's no polite response to this.

Leah: I see it more as she's sticking up for the people who have been wronged. That's what I like about it.

Nick: Okay, so what would you say?

Leah: I don't know what she said, but I think whatever she said was absolutely fantastic.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Because I also feel like there's a part of- there's always this culture of this woman was being judgy-

Nick: Sure! Oh, absolutely!

Leah: -about teenagers.

Nick: Well, there's that, and also, she's being impatient; like, "Ugh, this is stopping on every floor!"

Leah: When she's saying it: "You're good enough to walk," that's not appropriate, and you shouldn't say that, and somebody should tell you. Then maybe you'll stop acting like that.

Nick: Yeah, I just don't think we're gonna get that from this woman.

Leah: No, but I do ... I would never say anything out loud, and I completely understand [crosstalk] that we're not supposed to-

Nick: Well, that's the other thing. You would never do anything.

Leah: No, I would never, and that's why I love this woman, and I want her to come with me wherever I go.

Nick: [Laughing] Okay. All right, I think we have just a different take.

Leah: I know, and I completely understand why it's not in the bounds of good etiquette, but I think it's-

Nick: Leah's using air quotes.

Leah: Yeah, because, you know, I ... "Good etiquette ..."

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: But I do think that, in the global of good humanity, letting this woman know that she's getting checked? I think, good for this lady.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: She just said it real quick, and then she was quiet again, so nobody was talking the elevator anymore.

Nick: I side with the husband in this story. Everybody wins, I guess. Everybody has somebody on their team.

Leah: I'm going to say, my significant other often will check people, and I get humiliated because I'll be like, "Why would you do that?!" [crosstalk] He's like, "They should know."

Nick: He's like, "I'm making society better."

Leah: He's not wrong. I'm just mortified.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: But I do think, good for her.

Nick: Our next question-

Leah: [Laughing]

Nick: -"Hey, Raised by Wolves. Please explain bathroom attendants. Do I tip? Do I go back to the table to get my wallet and tip? What if I'm pee-shy? What if they want to engage in small talk? Help!" This was a text message that came in, I believe, from the bathroom where this was happening.

Leah: I see a bathroom attendant, I just fly into a panic.

Nick: So, I was on my phone when we got this text because I get these texts ... They don't go to the ether; I get them. So, I was able to respond in real time, and I did give her some advice that just sort of [crosstalk] came to me. I did not have any time to research or give any contemplation. I know what I told her. What would you have told her?

Leah: Often, you'll go to the washroom, and you don't have your wallet.

Nick: Really?

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Where's your wallet?

Leah: At the table in my bag.

Nick: Oh, okay ... Yeah. Men always have our wallets.

Leah: I don't usually carry my wallet to the bathroom unless I'm alone, and I don't want to leave it.

Nick: Sure. Okay.

Leah: So, I always say to the person, "I don't have my wallet. I'll come back."

Nick: And then you will.

Leah: Then, I do, yeah.

Nick: What will you tip?

Leah: I'll tip a dollar.

Nick: A dollar. Okay.

Leah: I'm also not- Often, bathroom attendants will have products.

Nick: Sure!

Leah: I'm using none of the products.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Maybe I'll take a mint. If I'm going to use all the products, maybe you should up your tip. Also, if you don't use anything, I don't know if you need to tip, but also they're in there keeping it tidy, and clean, and nice. I just feel like ... I don't think you have to, but I always want to tip. I just often panic, when I don't have- so, I say, "I'm gonna come back!"

Nick: Okay. So, what I told her is you should tip if they performed a service for you. If you've used any of the products, or they did something for you, then that is a tippable event. If they did nothing for you, then I think you do not have to tip. This is what I told her. Upon further reflection, it feels like keeping the bathroom clean, I don't think is enough of a service. I don't think that rises to the level. So, if you walk in, you grab a paper towel on your own, you walk out, I don't think a tippable event has happened here.

Leah: Right.

Nick: But I think if they hand you a towel, that is a service.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: You can't get around this by trying to get to the towels first.

Leah: Yeah, you can't-

Nick: Blocking them.

Leah: -they're between you and the towels.

Nick: Right. So, I think you do that. Now, in terms of how much to tip, a little hard to say. Miss Manners has weighed on this in some book from 20 years ago; she says we start at 50 cents. Who has quarters?! So, I don't think change is really probably the right amount anymore. Emily Post also starts at 50 cents and then goes up from there and suggests $3 could be okay. So, I feel like a dollar is a good baseline, if they provided basic services - like they've given you the towel, or they turned on the water; they've given you the soap. I think if you do use any of the actual item that they have offered, I think you have to pay for that with standard drugstore pricing; so if you got a pack of gum-

Leah: You're not taking a pack, though; you're just taking a piece.

Nick: Oh, is that how that works?

Leah: Yeah, the open the top.

Nick: Oh ... I mean, I have been in bathrooms where this happened, but I've never partaken.

Leah: Oh, if you took a pack?!

Nick: I don't know-

Leah: I can't imagine.

Nick: Well, I mean, I would pay for a pack.

Leah: Yeah. Then you would pay for ... But I don't think that's ever happened.

Nick: Okay. But a spritz of cologne, or perfume, or whatever else is- or hairspray.

Leah: Usually, there's hairspray or things like that.

Nick: Any of that, I think we're in the $2-$3 zone starting and then I think it goes up from there.

Leah: But I think you should feel fine- a dollar's fine if you just use a hand towel, and-

Nick: Yeah, I think a dollar is fine for, like, they hand you the towel; they were pleasant; everything was fine experience.

Leah: I always feel sort of anxious, but I feel like, often, going to a place, that's just going to be a part of the situation.

Nick: Yes. Well, I think we just sort of pretend like this isn't happening; this anxiety of there's a person watching you in the bathroom.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: We just sort of pretend this is not happening-

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: La-la-la-la-la ... Then, just sort of-

Leah: Go about your business [crosstalk]

Nick: Yep. Our next question: "Your discussions are very interesting because I, myself, was raised by wolves. You said that it is rude to correct someone's behavior." True. "I'm 27, and my parents are 53, and their public behavior embarrasses me so much," and she provided some examples!

Leah: A lot of examples.

Nick: A lot of examples. I'll abbreviate. "My dad thinks it's okay to walk around in public wearing his old jeans that have little holes in them and show his underwear. My dad doesn't know anything about appropriate dress codes for certain places and events; literally showers himself with a nauseating perfume you can smell 20 meters away." Oh, meters! Where do you think they are? They're using metric! "My dad talks on the phone very loudly in public; spits in public; picks his nose in public; is short-tempered and always gets into fights with people - mostly road rage." Oh, gosh!

Leah: Hmm.

Nick: "My mom would boss around servers whenever we eat out and forgets to say please; would make demands, like, 'Shouldn't this room have a TV?' when she was hospitalized once; always makes comments about people, like, 'That skirt she's wearing makes her look like she's crazy ...' [Giggling] My mom told one of my friends that this haircut is 'bad,' and gave him money for the barber. My sister and I always correct them, and they would say, 'Okay,' only to repeat the same behavior over, and over again. We've given up. How can I get them to act properly? Is it too late because you can't teach old dogs new tricks?" Oh!

Leah: I don't think 53 is an old dog.

Nick: No, no, no-

Leah: Not at all. That's sort of prime.

Nick: I think, in general, on some level, we're all embarrassed by our parents, at some point.

Leah: Right.

Nick: I think this is kind of universal. There's always something that's sort of like, "Ahh!"

Leah: I also do think that, particular with the dress- she's wearing the skirt that makes her looks crazy ... The generation above us, it wasn't a thing where you couldn't comment on what people looked like. I really notice that a lot.

Nick: Uh, I hear-

Leah: You know what I mean? Where I'll be like, "Uh, we don't comment on people's stuff anymore."

Nick: Yes, certainly what is considered appropriate comments to other people has changed.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: The standards have changed. I've seen Mad Men. I know how things go. [Laughing] So, yes, things have changed, but etiquette evolves. It has evolved.

Leah: Oh, I know, but I'm saying that that seems to be a global phenomenon [crosstalk] that whole generation is still commenting on people's-

Nick: Okay, so that's ... Yes, it's an explanation. Okay, yeah, it's an explanation here, okay.

Leah: Not as an explanation, but as a way to look at it; a way to frame the conversation.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: Oh, "Oh, hey ..."

Nick: Yep. You don't realize that we're not in 19-

Leah: We're not doing this anymore.

Nick: Right. I think- I get the concern from our letter-writer, which is, like, "I don't want to be judged in public based on the behavior of these people that are with me." So, part of it is just being concerned about what other people think, which-

Leah: And feeling embarrassed.

Nick: And feeling embarrassed. Etiquette is about what other people think, on some level, so I get that. I think one thing that comes to mind is that the transitive property of embarrassment ... If you're at a dinner, and you're at a restaurant, and your parents are being crazy, wild people, the waiter doesn't necessarily think that you are also being lumped in with their behavior. You're at the same table, but people know that you're a different person and, if you're acting politely, they know how to separate these things. Your parents' behavior is not necessarily being reflected on you in the grand scheme of things. So, maybe we could just be less concerned-

Leah: Mm.

Nick: Could be an idea; because I do think we're not going to change these people. I don't think we're going to change these people.

Leah: I have trouble with restaurant stuff because it's really hard when somebody's rude to people.

Nick: Yes. Oh, I mean, I am mortified if I'm dining with somebody and they're rude to staff; absolutely, yes. I-

Leah: Sometimes, I've been with people, and I don't know how to handle it, so I will go over to the waiter and apologize, and then I'll extra tip when I leave.

Nick: Yes, I do recall dining with people that were being beasts and undertipped the waiter, like with a five-percent tip. He worked so hard trying to make everybody happy. I went back in, and I basically- I just topped up the tip. I was like, "Here's what you should have made tonight. I'm so sorry." Shouldn't have to do that; but you should be mindful-

Leah: Once other people become involved, I feel like it's a different thing.

Nick: Like a waiter, you mean?

Leah: Yeah, like other people. You know what I mean?

Nick: So, once they are being rude to other people, this feels like a line has been crossed; that you should correct ...?

Leah: I don't know how we're going to correct it because I understand that, but I do feel like these are two different issues [crosstalk] If somebody is wearing pants with holes in them-

Nick: Right.

Leah: -but then, if somebody is being rude to people-

Nick: Okay, I see that, and I agree. Yeah, I think if it's just about you're embarrassed by the way they look, or the way they present themselves-

Leah: Like when your mom tells your friends they have a bad haircut?

Nick: Right.

Leah: That's different than your dad wearing too much cologne.

Nick: Right. That's true. So, for the cologne/pant-hole issue, we just sort of accept that, and we move on?

Leah: I kind of feel like you have to.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Or, if it's your event, like say you had a big graduation, or a work event, you could say, "This is a really big work event for me. It's dress up. Could you please wear ...?"

Nick: Okay, you can request, sure, and see if they will.

Leah: I mean, how do you feel about that?

Nick: I guess, if it matters, I think you would want to ask. I guess it depends on where is this coming from? I guess I would try and get to the source of the problem. Like, are they wearing holes in their pants because they just don't know better, or they think that's fine, or they don't care, or it's a statement against society's rules?

Leah: Right.

Nick: Is it money? Is it ...? Why are we doing this? And depending on the reason for that, well, how do we solve that problem, if you're worried about it?

Leah: I think it's a great way to look at it.

Nick: If they just don't know better, or that's just the pants that they have, well, then, "Okay, let's get you some clothing for my big graduation party."

Leah: Right.

Nick: So, there's that. If they want to make a statement about society, and "I don't want to follow society's rules, and I'm going to wear what I want," then I don't think there's anything to do.

Leah: Yeah. Some people are just- that's how they are, and that's how they're going to wear it, and if it bothers you a lot, you just don't invite them; but asking them to be somebody that they're not is not appropriate.

Nick: They're not ... True. Yeah, I guess one solution here is to minimize the amount of time you spend with them in public.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: So, dine at your house, not in a restaurant.

Leah: But I think it's fine- I agree 100 percent with what you said about the why.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: But for the things where it's like, "Please don't tell my friends negative things about what they're wearing," I think that's fine to say.

Nick: Yeah-

Leah: Just don't say it in front of other people.

Nick: Yeah. I guess letting her know that this hurt her feelings-

Leah: Because somebody's feelings are being hurt.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Do you disagree with that?

Nick: No, I agree with that. It's just like, oh, that's such a hard thing to say in a polite way, sometimes.

Leah: You can just be like, "Mom, that hurt their feelings!"

Nick: Yeah, but, in general, I think we kind of just have to suck it up.

Leah: Yeah, a lot of times, if it's parents in particular, just suck it up.

Nick: Yeah. I think you can't ... You can't pick your parents.

Leah: I do think it's very- I really liked what you said.

Nick: I have been frustrated with my parents, in my day, and I think it's always nice to take a big step back and be like, "Forest for the trees; how important this relationship is, and is this really a big deal? They're not going to be around forever; let's try and enjoy these times." So, I try and have that moment of clarity, when frustrated.

Leah: Right.

Nick: Easier said than done, I know. So, I think we just want to try and have, I guess, a little compassion and just remember that, in the grand scheme of things, this is not the worst thing.

Leah: Yeah, I often feel like somebody who's just like, "That's just how they are."

Nick: Yeah. "Well, that's my dad ..."

Leah: I do think if other people get involved, you can go back and tip, or-

Nick: Yeah. I think you would want to try and make the situation right as best you can, if there's been some etiquette damage.

Leah: I do think if one of your friends' feelings got hurt, you could talk to your mom about it.

Nick: Yes or apologize to your friend on your mom's behalf.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Yeah, I think that might be the best you could do. So, these were some interesting questions this week!

Leah: Yeah, these are great questions!

Nick: They get harder and harder.

Leah: They really do.

Nick: I mean, at the beginning, it was just like, "Should I tip on the tax or not?" Now, it's like, oh, God ...

Leah: We're just digging into-

Nick: It gets deep, where it's like I don't know the right answers anymore.

Leah: But I like that we're trying to figure it out.

Nick: We try and figure it out. So, we're all trying to figure out your questions; send them in. Send them into our website,, or you can send us a text message, or leave us a voicemail, or you can slide it into our DMs. Any way you want to do it, bring it!

[Musical Interlude]

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

Leah: [Singing] Vent or Repennnnnnnnnt!!!!!!

Nick: This is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette thing that's happened to us recently, or we can repent for some bad etiquette thing we've done. So, Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: You know, I was going to repent, but I'm going to go with a vent! [Laughing] It's actually repenting in real time. I apologized immediately, so, I'm going to get a vent out.

Nick: You're a clean slate. What is your vent?

Leah: I'm walking down the street-

Nick: Uh-huh ...

Leah: -and it's a big street for-

Nick: Paint the scene! What street are we on?

Leah: Okay, we were actually on Lexington Avenue.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I'm walking north.

Nick: Ah!

Leah: It's busy.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: It's not 1:00 a.m..

Nick: Okay.

Leah: It's-

Nick: Prime time.

Leah: There's a group of us walking, you know what I mean? A younger- two people were FaceTiming with a friend.

Nick: Okay, so they're on the street, and they're like, "Hey, Lisa! We're on Lexington Avenue!"

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: It's busy enough so everything's a crowd.

Nick: Are they walking while they're doing this or no?

Leah: Yes.

Nick: Oh, they're walking, and FaceTiming.

Leah: While all of the whole rest of the world is still trying to walk.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: Then, they're talking very loudly!

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Then, we stop at a light. They continue ... We went with these people- 'we' being me and the other people who are all walking-

Nick: 60 people!

Leah: Yep. Three lights.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: At every light- they're holding the phone together, so they're ... Then I finally look into- you know, because, me, I want to give everybody a loophole. Well, maybe this is like ... I look! The girl on the other end was driving!

Nick: [Gasping]

Leah: She is FaceTiming with her phone in her ... I was like ... I don't know. It just went from just like, "Really? You have to FaceTime, walking down the street, loudly, with a group of people, so we all kind of have to ...?"

Nick: We're part of your conversation!

Leah: We were all a part of your conversation. We can't move faster. Now, it's like an emergency situation on the other end. She's just FaceTiming while driving!

Nick: Yeah! Dangerous!

Leah: What's happening?! How did this all of a sudden become okay?!

Nick: Wow! And what were we talking about? What fascinating conversation were we having?

Leah: They were talking about-

Nick: Proust!

Leah: [Laughing] [crosstalk] Imagine, I would've been like, "This is so interesting!" No, they were fighting [crosstalk]

Nick: Platonic forms. Hmm. Okay.

Leah: They were talking about who they didn't want to eat dinner with.

Nick: Oh! Gotta solve that problem!

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: A-SAP!

Leah: And it wasn't solved either. They were just bemoaning ... Like it was a crisis.

Nick: Well ...

Leah: Now, I'm getting judgy, but I just- I couldn't believe it.

Nick: Oh, now you're getting judgy? The previous four minutes ...

Leah: But, it's like, you have at least 15 people. We all have to walk together up this block because it's a busy time.

Nick: Right.

Leah: We're all now in your conversation because you're so loud-

Nick: That's the etiquette crime. I mean, if you want to FaceTime and get in a car accident, okay, but-

Leah: I'm not into that, either. A) I think it's illegal.

Nick: Probably.

Leah: And it's definitely an etiquette if you murder somebody.

Nick: Etiquette frowns upon murder. It's true.

Leah: Yeah, it' s just rude!

Nick: Yes, murder is rude.

Leah: You could hurt somebody!

Nick: Yeah, no, murder is definitely rude. That's a firm etiquette rule. I think we can state that. Yeah, no [crosstalk] the crime is that when you force people to participate in your conversation, which is what happens in elevators - which is why I don't like people talking in elevators - um, that's rude. [Laughing] So, being on speakerphone in places where you are forcing people to participate-

Leah: FaceTiming!

Nick: Well, FaceTime is like a speakerphone-

Leah: But it's also- they're holding it so they can see it, so they're taking up not only my ear space, more physical space!

Nick: Yeah. The being disrespectful of the physical walking space - this is terrible! So, speaking of space [Laughing] what is going on with people in vestibules?

Leah: That's so funny. I thought you were going to say, "In space ..." [Laughing] We just moved right into Mars.

Nick: Um, no, vestibules; like, little foyers, or at a building, in wintertime, when there's the little shed to keep cold air out ... What is going on with people thinking that we need more people in there, versus let people out?!

Leah: I don't know [Laughing]

Nick: What is happening?! It's like ... I grew up- I did Montessori as an elementary school kid, so I have a very good sense of putting blocks in things and what happens when you put a physical object into another physical object. Now, there's no more room. I have a very good sense of this. Maybe I'm just gifted in a very special way that the average person does not have, but I think if you are in a little vestibule, or a small foyer, and you want to go through this place, and there is people already there trying to exit, it makes sense to let people out first. I think-

Leah: Absolutely!

Nick: -the rule should be you want to maintain the minimum number of people at all times. So, if you're standing outside, you let people out first.

Leah: What do you think they're doing? Are they hanging out?

Nick: No, they come in! You're in there, and you're about to leave, and then they want to come in and get around you, rather than let you out first.

Leah: Yeah, that's wild.

Nick: It's similar to being on a subway; it'd be like, let the people out.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: But it's even smaller!

Leah: You wanna be like, "Where do you think I can go?"

Nick: Yeah, no, it's sort of like, "Oh, I guess I'll just put my back up to the wall. Okay ... Yeah, you just shimmy by me. Yeah, please. No, you're in a hurry, I guess." They gotta get in there! Gotta get in!

Leah: Do you ever say anything?

Nick: No! What do you say? "Oh, looks like your time is more important than mine ..." [Laughing]

Leah: "Do you know how movement works?"

Nick: Yeah, "Do you know how physical objects and space- two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time?"

Leah: "I can't go if you don't back up!"

Nick: Yeah, I ... That's my vent. I think, next time you go into a very small space, check to see if there's someone in there trying to leave first! [Laughing]

Leah: I would listen to you venting- I would just listen to a whole 30 minutes.

Nick: Well, that's kind of what the show is.

Leah: No! No!

Nick: Kinda, yeah.

[Musical Interlude]

Nick: So, Leah-

Leah: So, Nick-

Nick: What have we learned?

Leah: You know, I'm going to say what I learned, in the great question we got for that person about their parents-

Nick: Hm.

Leah: I would have - except for, obviously, when somebody else is involved and maybe you want to help jüj-jüj their feelings a little bit - I often, with parents, am like, "We'll just let it go." I didn't know that that's the way you would come down on that, and I realized that we came down in the same way.

Nick: Okay. It's nice to find common ground, sometimes.

Leah: Yeah, because I often feel like I want to appreciate them while they're here, so let's just let stuff go.

Nick: Yeah ... I learned that you can just take a single stick of gum, if there's a bathroom attendant offering gum.

Leah: Yep.

Nick: Didn't know that.

Leah: Take the gum. Take a mint.

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! And I would!

Leah: He would!

Nick: Send me your address. You might get a note.

Leah: [Singing] Ohhh!!! I actually have a friend who wants a note!

Nick: Well, have her send me her address.

Leah: [Whispering] I got it.

Nick: Thanks to you out there for listening. Please subscribe to our show and leave us a nice review. It really does warm my heart when I see them!

Leah: Oh, they're so lovely!

Nick: I mean, it makes it all worthwhile.

Leah: It really does.

Nick: And do lots of other things that you can find out about on our website,, and we'll see you next time!

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

[Musical Theme Song]

Nick: Okay, Leah ... This is the part of the show where Leah makes us say nice things-

Leah: Yes!

Nick: -and I only give her 30 seconds to do so.

Leah: Pfffffffff!

Nick: So, ready, set, go!

Leah: Oh, am I first? Okay! So, I wanted to say that, in my building, I really have tried to force my friendship on people in our building-

Nick: Yes.

Leah: -because I just- I want to-

Nick: Don't do that.

Leah: I love people! When I was- I was away for a chunk, and so was my significant other, and we had a big package come in. One of my neighbors got it because, you know, it just stays out in the hall?

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: And then messaged me and said, "Hey, I got your package. Do you want me to keep in until you get here?"

Nick: Oh!

Leah: I was like, "Yes! That's so nice!"

Nick: That's very nice.

Leah: It's so sweet!


Nick: Do you know that the statistic is, I think, 90,000 packages in New York City are stolen every day?

Leah: No!

Nick: Can you believe that?

Leah: That's so much!

Nick: 90,000?!?

Leah: That's UN-believable!

Nick: Yeah! So, interesting ... All right. So, for me, timer starts-

Leah: Now!

Nick: Got a very nice review, which I always love. This one says, "Adorable, and funny, [That's us!] and very smart! [I think that's also us!] I love how [Laughing] they answer etiquette questions with humility, humor, and compassion. Did I mention how funny and entertaining they are? But they also take on more serious questions. We often find ourselves carrying on the discussion after the show ends. Lots of food for thought without the heartburn!"


Leah: Awww!

Nick: Isn't that nice?

Leah: That's so nice!

Nick: What I really love is that people continue to talk about what we talk about after it ends.

Leah: That's so nice!

Nick: That there's more to talk about, and you can think about how you feel about things.

Leah: Yes!

Nick: So, that's very nice. So, thank you!

Leah: That's so nice!

Nick: I really appreciate all these reviews.

Leah: They're really lovely.

[Final Buzzer]