Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about sharing disposable combs at the gym, hijacking hiking plans, starting toilet paper rolls, and much more.
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah answer listener questions about sharing disposable combs at the gym, hijacking hiking plans, starting toilet paper rolls, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
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Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
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Nick: Hey, everybody. It's Nick Leighton.
Leah: And it's Leah Bonnema.
Nick: And we had so many good questions from you all in the wilderness ...
Nick: ... that we have a bonus episode. So here we go. And our first one is a voice memo we got. You guys leave us great voicemails. Usually we transcribe them. This audio is crisp and clear, and so let's play it right now.
Listener: Hey Nick and Leah. I literally just had a horrifying experience happen to me, and I knew that I had to send it in. I attend a luxury gym, and I absolutely love it. And while I was in the locker room, I was doing my hair. And next to me is this, like, jar of wooden, I'd argue, like, reusable combs. This girl comes up and she takes a comb and she starts brushing her hair. Totally normal, right? No problem. So she's brushing her hair, whatever. And then she puts the comb back into the jar. And at this point, I'm shocked because those combs should only be used by one person, and now some other unassuming person in this gym is going to pick up the comb and use it.
Listener: And I'm like, "Oh, my gosh! So gross. Disgusting." And she walks away. So she walks away, she put the comb down. And then, like, five minutes later, she comes back and she picks out the comb again—I don't know if it's the same comb or a different comb, whatever. She picks it back up and she brushes her hair again. And I'm thinking, "Okay, maybe she's trying to right her wrong. Maybe she's gonna pick out the comb and walk away with it because she realizes how gross that is to put it back." But no, she uses the comb again, she brushes her hair, and then she puts it back in the jar again. So at this point, she could have potentially contaminated two combs. And again, people are going to try to use these, and then she has already used them before. I was absolutely floored. I could not believe it. And then she walked away. So is there anything I can do in this situation? Do I say something? Do I pick out the combs out of the jar myself? I was in such a state of shock, and I just had to ask: what do I do in this situation?
Nick: Okay. So what do we think?
Leah: I feel like this is one of those things where you let yourself off the hook the first time because—you know what I mean? The first time you're always like, "What?" You're, like, watching it unfold, and you're like, "What is happening right now?"
Nick: Right. It's a little out of body. And you're like, "Oh, is this a movie? Is this real life? What is happening?"
Leah: And so you forgive yourself for not being ready, and then the next time you're like, "Okay. I've seen this. I thought about it. Now I'm prepared."
Leah: Not that there's anything to forgive. I just sometimes—I always think, "How should I have handled it?" And I was like, "Oh, I couldn't have handled this the first time. I wasn't ready. Now next time I'm gonna be ready."
Nick: But baseline, I think generally speaking, we would not want to put combs back. I think we all agree these are not shareable items, these are one-time-use items.
Leah: Yeah, we don't put combs back.
Nick: So, yeah. I mean, I think you can absolutely say something to this person. I think there is a way to do it, and the trick is just the tone that you use.
Leah: That's also what I wrote. And I thought—or you could say what tone you think is perfect. And then I will say what tone I think is perfect.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. Hopefully it's the same tone.
Leah: I mean, I think there could be multiple tones.
Nick: I mean, for me, I think you would have to do it in a way that assumes that it was a mistake both times, that it was inadvertent, that it wasn't deliberate, like, "Oh, I'm putting a comb that I used on my hair back in a communal dish." So I think it would just have to be like a, "Oh, those are actually for you to keep. You don't need to put those back."
Leah: I like that.
Nick: I think that's kind of where I would try and land. And you would have to do it without any disgust in your voice.
Leah: Yeah, I thought that—well, two things: I thought a similar tone but slightly different would be you're realizing it at the same time as she's using it. Like, "Oh, my goodness. I think that once you use it—" once you put it next to it because it's like a one timer. Like, you're realizing it at the same time as her.
Nick: Oh, that previous to that moment, that epiphany, you also thought, "Oh, we live in a world in which we put combs we've used back into this thing."
Leah: Well, that way it's not judgey, you know what I mean? It's just like, "Oh, I think you—I think you put it next to it."
Nick: No, but it is judgey because you cannot land that in a way that is believable.
Leah: You can land it.
Nick: That we all live in this world? That we all think it's fine to put a used comb back like this? No.
Leah: Well, this lady probably thinks that.
Nick: No, this lady knows better. She just wasn't thinking. This lady isn't—like, if you asked a survey on the street with a clipboard and be like, "Excuse me, ma'am. Do you have a moment to take a survey? Is it okay to put combs back like this in a gym?" She wouldn't be like, "Yes." No, that would not be what she thinks. She knows this is not correct.
Leah: I don't know if she knows.
Nick: Um, okay. I mean, I guess maybe she doesn't. I would like to think she does. Then this is somebody who double dips chips and guac.
Leah: Yeah, it is.
Nick: Right? This is the same person.
Leah: I actually would rather a double dipper.
Nick: Oh, would you rather?
Leah: Because I understand the feeling of being overwhelmed by guacamole, and you just were so excited about it that you forgot to at least turn your chip around.
Nick: Oh, what is worse: used combs or double dipping into salsa?
Leah: I've also never used a comb in my entire life. So ...
Nick: [laughs] Right. You are not the right person to ask.
Nick: That's fair. That is very fair. So I think you could definitely say something if the tone is somewhere in the world of non-judgmental. We agree that it needs to not be judgmental, and it needs to be sort of value neutral. And you can either learn this information along the same time if you want to take the Leah Bonnema approach, or you could just do the "Oh, I think you actually could take that home" kind of approach, which I think is slightly more believable.
Leah: Or like Leah Bonnema, you are just realizing it at the same time because you've never used a comb before. And the third option is you can just come down really hard, you could look at them right in their face and go, "Gross!"
Nick: Yeah, a sort of disgusted, "Seriously? Really? Is that what we're doing?"
Leah: Now can we just turn the whole tone of this podcast into, like, how to not handle things, but how to get your point across?
Nick: "I'm sorry. Is this your first time in society?"
Leah: "Do you share floss too?"
Nick: Too far.
Leah: Too far. That is too far. [laughs]
Nick: Another idea is you can tell management that clearly a sign is needed in the bathroom that these are one-time use only. That clearly there's some confusion about this that maybe should be clarified for all members of the gym.
Leah: Yeah, I was thinking there should be a sign because I do think that some people don't know, they don't think that way. You could even make the sign yourself. I'd make a little sign. "Hey, one-time use. Thank you!"
Nick: You are not gonna make your own sign. What are you talking about?
Leah: I might. I love making signs. I love making signs.
Nick: [laughs] Bring your own label maker to the gym? "Don't worry, I got a P-Touch. Do you want the translucent or do you want the white backing?"
Nick: But I think management maybe should be made aware that there are some members that just, like, don't know that, that they just were unaware previous to this moment that personal care items should not be shared. So that goes for razors, that goes for Q-tips. I mean, I don't know. Where does it end? Towels?
Leah: I do think some people don't know.
Nick: Okay. I mean, our show is meant to serve as a reminder to those who know, and new information to people who don't. So for anybody who shares this confusion: no, don't do this.
Leah: Well, also at Sephora, they have, like, you know, a place to put the used items so people don't even have the instinct to put it back. There's a sign that says—you know, where you, like—the things that—if you want to try mascara or you want to try—and then there's an empty one with a sign on it that says, "Where's the empties?"
Nick: I mean ...
Leah: They needed empties.
Nick: I feel like as a society, we cannot spoon feed people that level of help.
Leah: Obviously, we need to. Obviously, we need to.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. So I'm sorry this happened to you. This is gross. We share in your horror, and hopefully this doesn't happen again. Leah is not convinced.
Leah: I still kind of like that "Gross." [laughs]
Nick: We'll put it on the whiteboard.
Leah: I mean, I would never. Can you imagine me? Ugh! But it makes me giggle.
Nick: I don't know. I think if they catch you on the right day when you've just had it?
Leah: It's true.
Nick: And you see someone taking a comb that they just brushed their hair with and putting it back? I see a world in which you just turn to this person and be like, "Gross!"
Leah: Multiple things would have had to happen that day. But there is a world in which it happens.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, it's not inconceivable.
Leah: I can imagine, like, a stern look and a slight head nod. Like, "Mm-mm."
Nick: Yeah. I actually think if I was not prepared for this, like our listener, I probably would have given a look like, "What is happening right now?" to them. Like, that would be my involuntary reaction, which would have been like a look, which is like, "Oh, am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?" I think that probably would be where I would start.
Leah: It'd be like, "Oh, are you putting that back in?"
Nick: "Oh, I'm sorry. I feel like I'm seeing something happening, but surely it can't be happening."
Leah: "I must need new contacts."
Nick: Yes. "I must need a new gym."
Nick: So our next question is quote ...
Leah: I just want to say all these questions for me are shockers.
Leah: They get—actually, I get more and more shocked as the ...
Nick: Oh, yeah. This episode really kind of ramps up, yeah, as we go along. So buckle up. Our next question is quote, "I recently received a high school graduation announcement from the granddaughter of an acquaintance—an 18 year old I met once 11 years ago. I sent a congratulatory handwritten note inside a nice card, sealed it with glue, added a graduation sticker to the flap and put on extra postage. My acquaintance was recently in my house, and I mentioned having received the granddaughter's announcement. I was told her father phoned my acquaintance to advise my card had arrived opened, and could something have fallen out? I replied, I just sent a card. How would you have handled this?"
Leah: I'll tell you what would have fallen out is my jaw.
Nick: [laughs] And to be clear, I think the question was, "Did you send money?"
Leah: I think the question was, "Where is the money?"
Nick: Right. Yes. More that, more that. Yes.
Leah: Well, first off, I read the question wrong the first time. When I read it in my mind, I read it as they received the card, opened it, and then were like, "Hey, did something fall out?" So I was already angry when I reread it.
Leah: But I think they meant they received it. It was open.
Nick: It arrived in the mail already opened. Yes, that's how I interpreted this.
Leah: By the time I got to that reading of it, I was already a little hot under the collar.
Leah: But I do find—not to call the person who our letter-writer is talking about dishonest, I find it hard to believe, though, that something that was glued and then had a sticker on the flap ...
Nick: With sticker! Yeah.
Leah: So glue and a sticker, arrived open. It just—it hints to me of ...
Leah: Of a slight deceit.
Leah: I also know that in the past we had a letter-writer write in to us and say, "Hey, I got this card. It arrived open. What should I say?"
Nick: Right. Yes, that's what I was thinking of. Like, how would we handle it if we got the question from the other people in the story?
Leah: And I do think that a) the person who relayed this story could have said they received the card, it was already opened, but the card was lovely. That way saying there was just a card in there. Do you know what I mean?
Nick: Oh, that's a nice way to handle that, yes. That would require a fair amount of attentiveness on the listener to pick up on that very subtle cue, but I like that. That is really the ideal etiquette way to handle that.
Leah: But I do think if I was the listener and I sent you, like, a gift certificate to Olive Garden, and you were like, "But the card was lovely," I would say then, that would be my opportunity to say, "Oh, there was an Olive Garden gift certificate in there."
Nick: Yeah. No, exactly. Yeah. I mean, I think the concern for me is I have met you 11 years ago.
Nick: You were in second grade. I have not seen you since. I've not seen you since you were seven. And I was so nice to send you a congratulation card with a sticker. I mean, I have a great stationery wardrobe. I don't have graduation stickers in my kit. Like, that's next level that this person has that available. And that they took all this extra time and effort to, like, send something nice, which they were not obligated to do for the friend of an acquaintance. I mean, how more remote is this?
Leah: That's really what really heats me up. Our letter-writer was so conscientious. They got a graduation notice from an acquaintance's granddaughter, so very far away. They go through all this trouble, and then it feels like they're somehow being told that they didn't do enough. But also, I have people send me graduation cards for their children, and I don't feel like they're asking for money. I feel like they're sharing a big event in their life with me, and I'm excited to know this. I'm excited to share with them about this great new adventure. You know what I mean? And I don't think they're expecting money in return.
Nick: Yes. I actually think there's a bit of a bell curve, that people who are excited to hear the news are less likely to interpret this announcement as an invoice, whereas the more remote our relationship, the more likely I'm gonna feel like, oh, I'm only getting this announcement because you're expecting cash from me.
Leah: Mm! That's a great graph. That's a great graph.
Nick: Now I think let's just give benefit of the doubt. This envelope that had glue and a sticker arrived open, and so them inquiring, I guess, was okay if it was done in a polite-yet-direct way. And I think our letter-writer saying, "Nope, it was just the card," is fine. I think that was a nice way to handle it. I think no further commentary was required.
Leah: I think it was a nice way to handle it. I also think benefit of the doubt also, there was glue, there was a sticker and extra postage. So I feel a little bit miffed about it, you know? And maybe in the call from the person to the person, the niceness of the way they phrased, "Hey, we got this great card with this great sticker. It was open. Just wanted to make sure, you know, there wasn't something else inside," the nice, polite way they phrased it got lost in the telephone.
Nick: I see. So it turned into, "Where's my money?"
Leah: "Where's my money?" But I feel none of those things. I feel like our letter-writer has been done a disservice.
Nick: Okay. Yeah. I mean, I could see how we feel this.
Leah: I feel like their kindness was met with—and maybe that is, let me repeat again: I read it wrong the first time, so I was so angry and then I'm putting that read on it, but I feel like there was malintentions, that they weren't just enjoying their beautiful card. They were like, "Where's my gift card?"
Leah: To somebody who I met once 11 years ago and isn't even in my own family.
Nick: So yeah. Sorry. Sorry about this one too.
Leah: I think I would have said what I just said, which was just the card and my time and efforts.
Nick: [laughs] Leah Bonnema on a tear today.
Leah: "Oh, there was a sticker. Did you get the sticker?"
Nick: Yeah. "Did you see all the extra glue I added to that envelope and the extra postage so it would make sure it got to you? Hmm."
Leah: I also spent time and care. I just ...
Nick: Yeah. No. No good deed goes unpunished.
Leah: I'm upset.
Nick: So our next question is quote ...
Leah: Again, here we go!
Nick: "I've been planning an autumn hike of about 48 miles over the course of four or five days on a trail in upstate New York. I recently invited two friends that enjoy hiking to join me. I chose early autumn because the weather would not be too hot nor too cold. One of the friends I invited has now asked us to make this hike a celebration of her 40th birthday in November. November in upstate New York is sometimes snowy and very cold, which would be miserable. Is it rude for me to say no? I want to complete this hike when the weather is nice in September, or at the latest early October. I don't want to seem unkind with regards to her birthday, but this was an activity I was planning that she now wants to take over and turn into her birthday party. I would greatly appreciate your advice on how to respond politely."
Leah: Over this question I wrote in big capital letters, "WHO ARE PEOPLE?"
Nick: Yeah. I mean, we don't live in a world in which you are forced to now, like, hike in snow against your wishes for the sake of somebody's birthday.
Leah: Also, it's always our lovely listeners who are not in the wrong, who are like, "How do I handle this person who's actually co-opting my event?"
Nick: Oh, "Co-opt" is the soft word. No, this is a hostile takeover.
Leah: Yeah, hostile takeover of my event. And I would like to be polite, you know what I mean? Our listeners are always so lovely.
Leah: And they then carry the burden of trying to turn this into a polite exchange when this person, you're planning an event, you want to go hiking in September, which is very specific. It's beautiful leaves. Winter hiking is a whole thing.
Leah: Also, even if it wasn't, it's your event. They can do another. Why can't they just do another hike? Do another hike.
Nick: Also, I mean, do they really want to hike in November? Like, did they really think this through?
Leah: I don't think they know what's in store for them in hiking in November, but that's neither here nor there. Even if it was not November, our letter-writer has been planning this event, and then this person was like, "Hey, I'd love to make this my event on my timeline."
Nick: Yeah, "Two months later, at a more inconvenient time for everyone when we won't have a nice time or nice weather." So ... [laughs]
Leah: "Is that cool? Is that cool with you?"
Nick: "Yeah. So let's do that."
Leah: I think if you want to be polite, which you're lovely and I would want to be polite too, but I'm just getting amped up from the previous two questions. I think in a polite way to handle it would be like, I would say, "I've really been looking forward to taking this hike in September. I would love for you to come with me. If you want to go later for your birthday at a separate time, I understand." Meaning, "I'm going."
Leah: You want to do something for yourself? Have at it.
Nick: Yes. And I think to build on that, you could even explain weather is a major factor in that "I really want to do this hike at this time because I think the weather would be great. And so join or not? Up to you. And for your birthday in November, we could do something upstate that's maybe cozier. Like, we could do a cabin and we'll do snowshoeing for the day kind of thing. Rather than a 48-mile hike in late November, which would be a very different type of experience. So I think you could even say, like, "Let's do something for your birthday. I would be delighted, friend, to celebrate that with you. And we can even make it outdoors-y. But let's make something outdoors-y that makes sense for that time period, which would be separate from this hike that I'm now planning."
Leah: That's, I think, the nicest way to handle it.
Nick: Yeah. Well, that's the type of approach we're going for here.
Leah: I think you could say "I would love to do something for your birthday, but I'm doing this at this period of time." And then they can plan their own birthday thing. That was—obviously, you can do what Nick said. That's very kind, but I don't even think you owe them that much.
Nick: But I think the approach is just they don't realize the nature of their request, and so your response just has to have that in mind, which is like, they actually didn't realize that that's an insane idea to, like, do a long hike like that at that time of year in this location. They just didn't realize how impractical that was when they asked. So I think if that's the spirit of your reply, I think that'll probably be the right polite response.
Leah: Yeah. I mean, they do realize, but we can pretend they don't realize, and that we're letting them know, "Oh, you know November."
Nick: Oh we're not gonna have the benefit of the doubt for these people, Leah Bonnema?
Leah: They're stealing our letter-writer's vacation.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. No charitable response from Leah Bonnema today.
Leah: I just don't feel—maybe I'm totally wrong. I could be totally wrong. This feels like a mean girl situation where this girl's coming in, "Oh, I like this idea. I'm gonna take this idea, make this idea work for my plans, and now I want you to do my version of this idea."
Nick: The limit does not exist.
Leah: [laughs] I think maybe catch me tomorrow and I'll be like, "You know what? This person doesn't know what November means."
Nick: [laughs] Right. She's new. She's new here.
Leah: They've only had 39 Novembers so far.
Leah: They don't know that November's cold and snowy in the mountains.
Leah: Maybe tomorrow I would be able to believe that, but right now it feels like they are raining on our letter-writer's parade. And no me gusta.
Nick: Okay, fair enough. So our next question is quote ...
Leah: Did we—we did answer that. There was two answers in there.
Nick: Oh, yeah. No, I think we covered it.
Leah: And I mean, you can say it so nice. "I'm gonna go. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm happy to celebrate your birthday, you know, on your day."
Nick: Okay. Leah Bonnema, you're scaring me.
Leah: I'm worked up. I'm really worked up. It was just three in a row, man. We got three in a row.
Nick: Well, and is this next one also amping you up, or does this bring you down a little bit?
Leah: Oh, this one doesn't. This one calms me.
Nick: Okay. So here's a little sorbet, a little palate cleanser.
Nick: And it goes like this: "I have a bathroom etiquette question. Obviously, any well-mannered person knows that they are responsible for replacing the toilet tissue if they use up the last roll. But is it also their responsibility to start the roll? Should you also tear off the part of the new roll that is stuck together?"
Leah: I wish we got a little bit more detail in this question. Like, are we in your house? Is this a house party? Are we at a restaurant?
Nick: So I was also thinking about reading between the lines here, and what I think is happening is that our letter-writer is in a household—perhaps with a significant other, and their significant other refuses to start the roll, and our letter-writer believes that they should. And I believe we are being used as pawns in their household disagreement about this.
Leah: Oh, wow! I mean, you've really read a back story. Not that I dislike a back story, but I mean, I was like, she's at an Applebee's. She went into the bathroom. She uses up the end of the roll, and then there was that, like, stack of toilet paper. And she put it in and she's like, "Should I start it for the next person?" That's—but yours is much more soap opera, and I like it.
Nick: Yeah. No, I think that there's a tremendous amount of built-up resentment and hostility around this question. That's what I'm reading between the lines. I also think the Applebee's theory? Perfectly valid. So what do we think?
Leah: I don't think you're obligated to start the roll in an Applebee's.
Nick: Okay. But you would be if it was in a private home?
Leah: Well, I'm gonna start there and I'm gonna say, if you're at an Applebee's—any time you're using a restroom and you finish the roll and there's toilet paper you can see somewhere, refill it.
Nick: Okay. So the rule should be: regardless of what type of bathroom you're in, if you are responsible for the end of the roll, you should replace it with a new roll.
Leah: Yeah, if there's toilet paper in the bathroom. And then I think if you're at, like, a house party, or I would even in a restaurant, if there was no toilet paper left, I would inform somebody.
Nick: Yes, that is definitely courteous. Yes.
Leah: For the next person.
Nick: To let the flight attendant, let the manager of the restaurant, let the whoever—correct. So okay, so you are more inclined to start a roll if it's in a private home than an Applebee's?
Leah: I'm only gonna start a roll if I'm having a party at my house. Then I'll open the roll and I'll make that cute little triangle.
Nick: If it's in your home.
Leah: If it's in my home.
Nick: Okay. So if you're not having a party in your house, then you would replace the roll, but you would not remove the little stuck together paper?
Leah: I don't think so.
Nick: Okay, interesting. I mean, what effort is it? It takes so little effort to do it. Like, why wouldn't you? Why would you refuse to do it?
Leah: I just honestly never would have thought of it. I think if there's toilet paper and I replace the roll, that's really as far as my thinking goes.
Leah: Because it doesn't bother me in any way if I get—if there's toilet paper and it's not started, I'm just excited there's toilet paper.
Nick: But you're also not bothered when the roll is inserted upside down?
Leah: No, it doesn't in any way. I have no feelings about toilet paper.
Nick: Right. Yeah.
Leah: If there's toilet paper there, I think "I'm so glad to live in a society with toilet paper."
Nick: [laughs] Right. So maybe you're just disqualified from this question.
Leah: I maybe should be because ...
Nick: Yeah. Because I mean, I personally do think there is a right way to install a toilet paper roll—which we all remember from a previous episode—which is, of course, flap over like a waterfall. And so I do think it is courteous to the next person to make it ready for use, ready to roll, pun intended. And so I think because it takes so little effort to remove the stickiness as you're installing it, in fact, it's probably easier to do that before you install it. I think it's probably actually slightly easier having a grip on the roll the way you do when it's in your hand pre installation, that it actually makes sense for the person doing the installation to do the starting of the roll.
Nick: But—oh, that was real convincing.
Leah: I'm happy to go with whatever anybody else thinks on this, because it really doesn't matter to me.
Leah: Honestly, I'm joyous if there's toilet paper.
Nick: But actually, I think etiquette is silent on this question. I don't actually think this is probably an etiquette question, because etiquette is all about being courteous to the next person. And is it considered courteous to start it? I mean, I guess it is, but it's also not considered rude either, because they have to have the same motion to get that first square off the roll, whether or not it's stuck or not. Like, it's the same amount of effort for the next person. So it's equivalent, I guess.
Leah: I also sort of feel like—let me trot this out.
Nick: Okay. Let's workshop it.
Leah: I feel like I haven't had any inclination to ever do it unless I was like a host and I wanted to make my toilet paper pretty. I was like building a swan at the end of it or something.
Leah: Because it sort of feels like wasting paper. Because you're not gonna be able to just pull off that first square. It's always like a pull, it's a tear. It goes up the side.
Nick: Oh, okay.
Leah: And now you're just throwing away three sheets of paper that could have otherwise been used.
Nick: Three sheets?
Leah: It never just comes off the first one.
Nick: What brand are you buying?
Leah: You want to know what kind of brand of toilet paper I buy?
Nick: I mean, let's get intimate here.
Leah: I mean, I buy nice toilet paper. It's one of life's ...
Leah: But I mean, I'm real aggressive when I try to open it, so maybe that's another reason why I don't do it, because it's gonna look like a crime scene happened. I pull it, it tears, you know what I mean? And then I'm like, Now I just threw away all this extra paper and those were trees.
Nick: Actually, I think that's a fair point, that it's more practical to let the person who's about to use the toilet paper do the breaking of the seal.
Leah: Yeah, because you're just gonna throw it away. The next person's gonna use it.
Nick: I mean, I feel like the brand I buy, I'm able to dislodge it while keeping it all intact. The tackiness is such that it doesn't actually destroy that top layer.
Leah: You know what I don't want is somebody else's hands on my toilet paper.
Nick: Oh, okay. So we want the illusion that no one has touched this roll?
Leah: I like a crisp roll.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I agree with that. Okay, so interesting!
Leah: If you unleash it, you've fondled it. That's different than putting it on.
Nick: That's true, yes. There has been more evidence of human hands.
Leah: Yeah. And the more I think about it, the more I don't like it.
Nick: Okay, that's a very interesting point. Yeah. I mean, American etiquette is often about the fiction of things that, like, oh, yeah, this toilet paper was installed by robots, and no hands have ever touched it.
Leah: Nobody has ever touched this toilet paper.
Nick: And we want to believe that.
Leah: Deeply. I deeply want to believe it.
Nick: That is true. We do want to believe that. And if you start the roll, that's harder for me to believe.
Leah: But I mean, if you really think that our letter writer wants us to support that somebody should be opening it, I mean, I guess I just ...
Nick: I don't know. Now actually, I think you made a very good point. And actually, maybe it's more courteous to let the next person start it because it feels totally untouched and fresh.
Leah: It's very fresh!
Nick: Yeah. No, I think you totally changed my mind on this, Leah Bonnema.
Leah: Oh my goodness!
Nick: Yes. Interesting. Okay, I think I'm a changed person.
Nick: However, I refuse to flip over the toilet paper. It is still correct to do it waterfall style. So ...
Leah: I'm fine with waterfall style.
Nick: Of course you are.
Nick: So our next thing is quote, "It's not so much as a question, but a statement. People who flip their hair over the back of the seat on my flight so that their hair is covering the in-headrest screen, and their hair is six inches from my face. Or to pose it as a question: 'Who are these people that do this, and why do they have no idea that this is unacceptable behavior?'"
Leah: I love "Who are these people?" That's my favorite. I think that so much during the day: Who are these people?
Nick: I actually have never had this happen to me. I've never had someone's hair over the seat now on my screen. Have you had this happen?
Leah: No, I don't think so.
Nick: I mean, you really have to make an effort to make that happen, right?
Leah: I always wear my hair up in planes, just because it's so much hair and I—you know, it will go all over everybody.
Nick: I mean, I can see this happening. Yeah, someone just sort of flips their hair and sits down and now it's, like, cascading over the other seat. Yeah.
Leah: I mean, do you think they know, or do we just think they're, you know, solipsistically unaware?
Nick: Yeah, they have to be unaware. I mean, because there's no benefit of doing this. It's not like, "Oh, I need my hair to breathe."
Leah: I think they're just hair flippers.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, definitely they're not being conscientious and mindful of people around them, and so obviously that is in the world of etiquette, which would be considered rude.
Leah: I think we can stick our cute little face around and go, "Excuse me, your hair's in front of my TV."
Nick: Absolutely. Yes. And I think if you just do that in a nice way, that's totally valid. And they should absolutely say, like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't realize," rather than, "And?"
Leah: And if they don't say "So sorry," then we flip our tray down, we get their hair in the tray, and then we pull it.
Nick: [laughs] Okay, that's ...
Leah: Oh, sorry! It came back so fast from the original three questions. [laughs]
Nick: Yeah. I mean, don't do that.
Leah: I want to share our letter—because it's something that hasn't happened to either one of us. I want to share with our letter-writer: yes, gross.
Nick: Oh, absolutely. I do not begrudge this feeling. I mean, travel is hard enough, and there's so many indignities just in general that just, like, one more is just too much.
Leah: Well, then you get, like, their hair is like over your seltzer water, you know what I mean? You're like, "Can you just move your hair?"
Nick: "Like, I'm just trying to watch the episode of Big Bang Theory here."
Leah: "And I can't see it through your mane."
Nick: Yeah. [laughs] So I'm sorry that this has happened to you.
Leah: I think it's happened more than once. Obviously, it's happened more than once.
Nick: Yes. This definitely feels like a pattern, because I don't think you would write this in if this only happened once as a "People who do this." So it's a collection of experiences.
Leah: And as you were saying, all the other horrible things that usually you have to accept during travel where you're just like, "I'm getting pushed. I'm getting jostled." I think that would put a person over the edge.
Nick: Yeah. I mean again, it's the fiction that I'm alone on this airplane in my little bubble, and that I'm alone. No one can see me. No one's looking at me. And if you have someone's hair right in front of your face, that makes it harder.
Leah: Well, and your bubble's so small. It's like, "This is my little tiny bubble that I paid so much money for. Can you just keep your hair in your bubble?"
Nick: Right. Yeah. Just stay in your bubble. So do you have questions for us? Or a vent? Or a repent? We'd love to hear it. So please send it to us. You can send it to us through our website: WereYouRaisedByWolves.com. Or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message: (267) CALL-RBW. And we'll see you next time.