Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle throwing bridal parties, losing lasagna privileges, contacting noisy neighbors, and much more.
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle throwing bridal parties, losing lasagna privileges, contacting noisy neighbors, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)
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Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema
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Nick: Do you throw your own showers? Do you annoy people with your phone calls? Do you ignore your neighbors? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!
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 it's Leah Bonnema.
Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.
Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, Chad and Lisa are getting married! We are so happy for them.
Leah: Yes. Congratulations to you both.
Nick: [laughs] So Leah, who throws Lisa's bridal shower?
Leah: I believe that it is either a relative or the maid of honor.
Nick: Okay. So first, a little history about where does this bridal shower come from. And so there's all these fun stories floating around, but one that gets repeated quite often is that in 16th century Holland, there was a woman who wanted to get married to the miller's son. She was a high society girl, and the miller, of course, was very poor, but he had a good heart and he gave grain to all the poor people in town. And she really loved this about him and they wanted to get married. But the father didn't approve and he was like, "No, you're not gonna get married to this guy. You are gonna go get married to the pig farmer. And you know what? No dowry for you if you disobey me."
Nick: And so, of course, everybody in town was like, "No, no, but they're in love!" And so all the townspeople got together and gave this woman all these little things to build up the dowry and so that she could get married to the one she really wanted to, the miller's son. And then one twist of the story that you sometimes hear is that the father was like, "Oh, they are in love. I've had a change of heart. I now approve." So this is one story that comes up. This feels a little Disney, but this is a story.
Leah: I love this story. I love that he also gave stuff to the whole town.
Nick: Right? He was a good guy.
Leah: He was a good guy. And then they showed up for her. How lovely!
Nick: Yes, community. So this is one story. I don't know how true it is, but it is a story. Now this story gets repeated in Victorian England, but in that version what happens is friends of somebody getting married would put gifts into a parasol that was turned upside down. And then the idea is you would then open this parasol over the bride to be and then all the gifts would, like, shower on her head.
Leah: I hope they aren't heavy.
Nick: Yeah. Is that like a KitchenAid mixer? Like what is happening? So not quite sure, like, how that worked logistically, but that is also one origin of the word "shower."
Nick: That we are literally showering somebody with presents. So these are stories. Where this may come from, who knows what the real story is? And before we really kick this off, let me just preface that what we're about to talk about are the etiquette "rules," quote unquote. Now I don't need angry letters. I know that people do it differently. I know that maybe these etiquette rules no longer apply. Maybe they're outdated. Maybe they don't apply in your community. I am the messenger here, just want to make that clear. I'm just reporting what the etiquette "rules" are, quote unquote. Do with them as you wish. So is that clear?
Nick: Okay. [laughs] Because I'm anticipating some letters here. So let's kick things off with Miss Manners. And do you think she has some thoughts about the bridal shower?
Leah: If I had to guess, I would say that yes, she has thoughts.
Nick: Oh, she does. Quote, "The very mention of the word 'shower' when it is intended to benefit anyone but the tomato plants is enough to set Miss Manners off these days. That once charming, frivolous gathering planned by intimate friends to surprise and delight the guest of honor and to present her with amusing little tokens of a major change in her life has become part of the greed fest that has replaced honest hospitality."
Leah: Whoo! Greed fest!
Nick: Coming in hot!
Leah: Coming in real hot.
Nick: [laughs] So that's where she comes down on this, just as a baseline. And so I went and I looked through all of the etiquette books in my collection to see what do all the etiquette gurus have to say about this. So the big rule is that friends throw showers, family does not.
Leah: Oh, okay.
Nick: And you certainly don't host your own shower. And the reason for this is that, like, the shower is about getting gifts, and it's seen as, like, a little unseemly to be like, "Give me presents." And so we do need a little distance between the person hosting the party and the person getting the presents. And so it is seen that if a family member does it, that's a little close because you're like, "Oh, buy gifts for my daughter."
Nick: Now Amy Vanderbilt will allow a cousin. So she'll allow a cousin, but she will also give you a loophole, which is if the mother of the bride wants to pay for the party or even make her house available as a venue, that's okay, but she can't be an official host. So, like, that's the loophole. Interesting, right? The other big rule is that you do not ask people to throw a shower. They have to volunteer. It has to be voluntary. And one shower is preferred. Letitia Baldrige actually says that one shower is sufficient. Two should be the maximum. Three becomes a travesty.
Leah: Three becomes a travesty is ...
Nick: I mean, that's serious. That's very serious. And you don't want to invite the same person to more than one shower because the point of the shower is like, "Oh, give me presents." And so we do not invite, like, one person to multiple showers. So if you are having two showers, which is definitely sufficient, or three—the travesty—then yeah, don't make someone buy you three presents.
Leah: Yeah, I can imagine it's like maybe you're bicoastal and you have one with your friends on the West Coast and one with your friends on the East Coast.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, that would be one way that goes, yeah. And as for the gifts themselves, they are supposed to be little trinkets as Miss Manners says. They're just supposed to be, like, inexpensive and practical. I mean, the idea was like, oh, I'm helping you set up a household. Like, you're starting a household. You don't have like, linens, and so, like, we're gonna help you get started. And so that's sort of the vibe of the presents. It is not supposed to be like major gifts.
Leah: Because then you also still have the bachelorette party.
Nick: Oh, it is endless. There's the bachelorette party. Then there's, like, the rehearsal dinner and there's the engagement party. I mean, like, you can make many events.
Leah: Many events!
Nick: Many events. Yeah, you can see why people get exhausted by all this. Yeah. No, the wedding-industrial complex is very clever. They have definitely created a lot of opportunities to extract money and time out of people.
Leah: And I mean, you could just pull a Leah Bonnema and be engaged for 13 years.
Nick: That's working for you.
Nick: Yeah. Relatedly, Amy Vanderbilt says that showers are senseless if the bride comes from a family that quote, "has everything." So senseless. But this is also why we don't typically see showers when somebody is having a second marriage, which I just came across an interesting term for this: encore bride.
Leah: Ooh, I like that very much.
Nick: I had not heard that before. But if you're an encore bride, showers? Because presumably you already have the things you need.
Leah: I hadn't heard that either. I really like it. What if—what if ...
Leah: ... you just want to get your friends together to celebrate? You say "No gifts. I just—" oh, I'm not throwing it for myself. Somebody is—I just want to get some cupcakes, you know what I mean? And maybe we all sit around and chat.
Nick: Yeah, that's wonderful. That's called a party. And you are welcome to have those. And you can actually host your own party. If you're getting married and you want to have a party where you invite people over and it's a party, not a shower, it's the word "shower," because shower means "give me presents."
Leah: Shower me with presents.
Nick: But if you just want to have a party where you celebrate, that is delightful. And in fact, I love those types of parties. But if you're the host of that party, then yeah, you cover the refreshments, you make sure everybody has a nice time. You are the host of the party. All of those rules apply.
Leah: I got you. I got you.
Nick: But back to the showers, it is important with the guest list that you only invite people that you think actually want to be there and actually want to contribute a present. And you don't want to invite people just because you want gifts out of them. Like, that's an important distinction on the guest list. This is also why you actually don't typically invite people from out of town to a shower because it's considered a lesser event, it's considered pretty informal. And somebody from out of town wouldn't make a trip to your shower the way they would for a wedding, which is considered more of a major event, an event that somebody might actually travel from out of town for. But, like, the shower is supposed to be more casual and so, like, that's why you actually would have a very small guest list.
Nick: And with that guest list, those people need to be on the wedding guest list. You do not invite somebody to a shower who is not going to the wedding.
Leah: Oh, yeah, that would be a FSR.
Nick: Seriously. But there actually is a bit of a loophole with that one, though, which is if the people in your office, like, let's say you work in an office, and your colleagues are like, "Oh my gosh, you're getting married. We want to have a shower for you." Then that's an office shower. You do not necessarily have to invite the office people from the office shower to your wedding.
Nick: So that is sort of allowed. That's a little bit of a loophole. But again, they're deciding that they want to have a shower for you.
Leah: And also very nice of them.
Nick: Very nice. Yes.
Leah: Thank you for throwing a shower, office people.
Nick: And then lastly, in terms of thank-you notes? Required! You just got loot. Please write a thank-you note. Please do it promptly. And the guest of honor has to do the writing of those thank-you notes. The host can certainly thank everybody for coming, but the guest of honor who's getting all the presents, yeah, you gotta write those thank-you notes.
Leah: Of course.
Nick: I mean, you say, "Of course," but the number of people we have heard from who are like, "I just gave a very expensive gift to a bridal shower and I didn't get a thank-you note." Like, oh, we have quite a few of those emails in my inbox. So it is not necessarily an automatic thing that's happening out there, and it should be.
Nick: Mm-hmm. You know who you are. Mm-hmm. And so finally, Miss Manners does have a final request for everybody, which is quote, "Can we please return it to being a light-hearted gathering that friends give voluntarily, and not a major crowning and fundraising event?"
Leah: Oh! What did she call it? A what of greed?
Nick: She called it a greed fest.
Leah: A greed fest!
Nick: That has replaced honest hospitality.
Leah: I think I'd flip that in my mind to a festival of greed, is what I slipped. [laughs]
Nick: So these are thoughts about the bridal shower. And etiquette's like poetry. You know, you're allowed to break the rules once you know them, so do with it as you wish but just, like, know that these are some thoughts that a lot of people have.
Leah: e. e. cummings.
Nick: [laughs] Exactly. Yeah. A lot of weird punctuation right now.
Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to go deep!
Leah: Deep and into a group office setting.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. Yes. For today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about coworking spaces. So Leah, are you familiar with these? Have you been to one?
Leah: I have. Quite a few, actually.
Nick: Okay. So describe for our listeners who may not be familiar, what are we talking about?
Leah: So a coworking space would be like a WeWorks.
Leah: Or some form of a WeWork.
Nick: Right. Or something that's like WeWork.
Leah: Like a WeWork, where you basically pay monthly to go into this space where there's a lot of people who don't have a home office, or don't work at an office who want to go to another space to work.
Nick: Yeah, it's basically an office, except everybody doesn't work for the same company.
Leah: And there's usually, like, a kitchen space and a living area space in the middle.
Nick: Yeah, it definitely looks very, like, Silicon Valley. Like, there may be some beanbag chairs and there's, like, desks that you can jump around, and there could be like a kitchen with stools and then, like, cafe tables and couches and, like, different zones and meeting rooms and phone booths.
Leah: Sometimes they even have, like, recording rooms, like if you do a podcast.
Nick: Yeah, all sorts of amenities. And usually there's, you know, like, tea and coffee and things like that. So that's what we're talking about. And like an office, I think all the standard office rules apply, but then there are some more specific things in a coworking space.
Leah: I think we want to watch our volume.
Nick: That's the big one. Yeah, I think that's the easiest way to annoy other people who are also trying to get work done.
Leah: Because there are—like, I've met friends at their coworking space when we were working on a project together.
Leah: But we made sure to be at—sometimes they have, like, long tables.
Leah: So we made sure to be in a space where we're not disrupting others. We kept our voices down.
Nick: Yeah. So with that, if you are gonna have, like, a meeting with other people and a conversation, that needs to be in an area that's sort of like for that. The areas where there are desks, where people are seated with their laptops just like trying to get work done, they don't need you having a full meeting conversation, like, four feet away from them.
Leah: And I feel like if you want to have, like, a full meeting with multiple people, there are rooms you can reserve.
Nick: For sure, yes. I think most people avoid that because you have to pay extra money for that. So then they end up having meetings where you're not supposed to be doing that, or meetings where you're a little too close to everybody else. But yes, I think if you are having a multiple-people meeting, just be mindful that you all are gonna be much louder than you think you are.
Nick: So the noise thing, that is the big thing. And when you're on the phone? Yes, you probably talk louder. And so you should go into one of the phone booths that this place probably has.
Leah: And clean up after yourself.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, please do that. Yeah, please do that. And also stay contained. People, like, spread out. You know, you have all your taxes out and you have, like, external hard drives and you've got four mugs and you're like, no longer sort of in the zone of where your desk sort of is.
Nick: Like, be mindful of, like, how far out your blast radius is.
Leah: Shared space.
Nick: It is shared space. I mean, the coworking part is, I think, what some people forget. And this goes with, like, being on a Zoom conference call. Like, if you are just watching, then that's fine, in the public areas where everybody else is. But, like, if you're presenting, if you're giving a pitch, you can't be doing that at your desk with everybody else, like, four feet away. You gotta go into, like, the phone booth for this or a meeting room.
Leah: So I've had this happen to me multiple times, and it felt—I felt like I was being invasive, where I've had people get on phone calls to doctors. Have you had this happen? You're, like, just somewhere. Then the person next to you just has, like, a full conversation about their—and then you're like, "Should I be?—"I'm, like, putting on my headphones, you know what I mean? I feel like I'm being aggressive, but I'm like, I'm just sitting here.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, I feel like there are different types of phone calls that can take place in a coworking space. I think, like, the quick low-voice phone call is fine. Something that's really personal, or—maybe you might want to take that somewhere else. If it's loud or you're loud naturally, then I think you probably want to take that into a more private area. If it's a phone call where you're yelling at somebody or you're complaining.
Leah: Then please do that. Please do that right next to me, because that's the kind of stuff I like to overhear.
Nick: One thing on my list, it's kind of related to, like, overhearing doctors' conversations, is there is a difference between eavesdropping and networking. And I think there will be occasions when you will overhear people talking about people they know or meetings they've had or businesses that they're doing, and it's sort of like it is sort of expected that we pretend we don't hear any of these business-y things happening. And so eavesdropping is not great. If you are more like in the kitchen area, getting another cup of coffee, and it's more like, oh, break room conversation then, like, jumping in and networking is, like, more acceptable there. But I think you just want to be mindful of the line, that's all. Just the line between eavesdropping and networking.
Leah: Yeah, I think we are definitely pretending that we're not sitting right next to each other making business calls.
Leah: I didn't just hear who you're working on this deal with.
Nick: I am reminded of—I was at a coworking place once, and I just needed to print something real quick, like one page of whatever it was. And somebody in there had this whole, like, collage book, it was like a 50 page thing and was, like, making color copies and was trying to actually, like, assemble books or—it was, like, very elaborate. And I just needed to print one page. And so I was sort of like standing to the side, trying to get a sense of like, oh, when is this over? Where can I jump in? Or what's the vibe? Before I could have a chance to be like, "Oh, would you mind if I jump in?" this person—so aggressive—was like, "You're gonna need to go to the fifth floor to print that. I'm gonna be here a while."
Nick: And I was like, "Oh, that's not how I thought this was gonna go." And so I was like, "Okay, I will go to another floor to print one page because you can't hit pause and let me jump in." Which really would have been very easy, would not have really interrupted what was happening for this person, and would have been, I think, the correct etiquette response here, rather than like, "Oh, please take an elevator to another floor to print one page." But that happened.
Leah: Just the idea that somebody would be like, "I'm gonna take over this ..."
Nick: Shared resource.
Leah: "And make it all about me the whole day. I'm gonna do a full collage." I just—I've also been to co-working spaces where they had little snacks, little candies. That was fun. Little drinks, little seltzers. I think don't take other people's food.
Nick: Oh, yes.
Leah: But I mean, I feel like that was covered in the regular office rules.
Nick: The regular office rules? Yeah. Yeah, don't—don't do that.
Leah: But sometimes they do have fun little snacks, which I think if they have a little—some M&Ms out, get in there.
Nick: Yeah. And you're welcome to the snacks and all of that. And I think there is also sometimes, like, happy hours that happen where there's, like, wine or pizza or whatever it is. And I think all that's great but, like, take one piece of pizza. Don't take 10 pieces of pizza. Like, let other people have the shared resource. I guess it comes down to shared resources.
Nick: Like, we're all sharing this space and the idea that, like, oh, we have to share is maybe where some people fall short.
Leah: I think that covers it. We're sharing.
Nick: We are just sharing. One thing I do want to just mention about, like, the making noise thing, I have been in a coworking space where somebody was on a very loud Zoom call where both the Zoom audio on the computer was loud in the space—so no headphones—and the person doing the pitch was also, like, very loud. And I was like, oh, this is not how this is supposed to be. We're all participating on this conference call right now and we don't want to be. And so everybody actually in the room was sort of like making eyes with each other, which is like, we all see this is happening, right?
Nick: And so I was like, I got this. I'm gonna just stand up and I'm gonna, like, get in their field of vision, and I'm just gonna be like, give a nice smile and give a little gesture to the phone booths and be like, "Would you mind?" And it was very polite. It was very non-judgmental, value-neutral body language. And they were like, "Oh my gosh, I didn't realize I was being an animal!" They didn't say it that way, but that was the vibe. And they, like, grabbed their laptop and went into a phone booth and, like, harmony was restored to the universe.
Nick: And so that's all it was. And why I mention that is I think most people who are being louder than they need to be are definitely not doing it on purpose. And sometimes you just need that little, like, external reminder and be like, "Oh, we can all hear you. You just need to, like, check yourself." And so I think it is okay in a polite way just to, like, let people know that, like, "Oh, would you mind?" Or, like, "That's a little loud." Or, "Maybe there's another place for that activity."
Nick: So ...
Leah: So good. I bet everybody else cheered and carried you out on their shoulders.
Nick: One person actually did say, like, "That was so good. Like, that was really good!" And I was like, "I know, I know."
Nick: [laughs] "I've had a lot of practice." But it just goes to show that when we talk about, like, non-judgmental and value neutral, that can go for body language too.
Leah: So good.
Nick: So—so coworking spaces, yeah, I think at the end of the day, like, it's a shared resource. And so let's just be mindful that other people exist.
Leah: I mean, that's really the takeaway in most things.
Nick: Right? Kind of everything. Yeah, definitely this.
Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.
Nick: So our first question is quote, "Recently, I was asked by my fiancé to host a dinner for seven friends. They requested that I prepare my homemade lasagna. My fiancé and the friends are organizing a big event for the summer, which I'm not involved with. So after dinner, the plan was for them to gather to discuss it. Two days before the dinner, after I did most of the grocery shopping, my fiance was contacted by one of our friends who asked if the gathering could be moved to their house since they are the parents of a baby and it would be easier for them. My fiancé didn't want to refuse and said okay. The gathering moved and I wasn't invited since I'm not part of the group that's organizing this summer event. Now I feel very left out. How could I have handled this?"
Leah: I wish we knew how they did handle it.
Nick: Well, isn't the first question that everybody has: what happened to the lasagna? No? Just me?
Leah: Well, she didn't make it. Or they didn't make it, they only bought the ingredients.
Nick: So I wrote back immediately and I was like, "Great question. What happened to the lasagna?" And so she said, "I ate lasagna. Since I had all the ingredients and I didn't want to waste any, I prepared it. I was home alone Thursday evening and I ate a bit then. I also froze about half of what was left. And on Friday, my fiancé and I ate lasagna for lunch and dinner." So I was worried that the fiancé asked to take the lasagna to this party and she didn't get to eat any of it, because I was just assuming the worst. So I guess I'm glad on some level that, like, at least she got to enjoy the lasagna, even if it wasn't for, like, the party that she was planning for.
Leah: I'm also glad that she got to enjoy the lasagna. I didn't think that she sent the lasagna, because I feel like I feel this tone, which is not the tone of a person who is also going to make the lasagna and send it after having this having happened to them.
Nick: True. Yeah. No, this lasagna was not gonna be made with love. That's true.
Leah: And I feel like I have two very separate paths on this.
Leah: I feel two very opposite ways about this question.
Nick: Okay, so what's one way?
Leah: One way is we could just say our fiancé's hands were tied. Their friend has a new baby. I'm gonna let it go.
Nick: Right. Because I think it is important to note that I don't think it was necessarily a problem for the friend to be like, "Oh, would you mind if we did it at our house because we have a baby?" Like, I don't have any issue with that.
Leah: I have an issue with the timing with it.
Nick: Oh, you think coming up with that?
Leah: "They requested that I prepare my homemade lasagna." So in my reading of this, the friend said, "Hey, we'd love to do it at your house. Can your fiancée—who's not invited to this event—make us lasagna?" That was the point.
Nick: Okay. Yeah, that's a fair point.
Leah: Or even, even if we had planned it at our house, but it's putting the request in for lasagna and then changing your mind and saying, "Actually, can we do it here?"
Nick: Yes. I mean, it definitely makes our letter-writer like, "Oh, you're a restaurant, and we placed an order and actually we decided we're gonna cancel our order."
Leah: And you're not invited.
Nick: Right. Okay, so path one for you: let it go, move on.
Leah: Let it go.
Nick: Path two?
Leah: Part two is die on that hill.
Nick: [laughs] Okay. And what does that look like?
Leah: That hill looks like, "Hey, you requested that I do this for you. I've gone shopping. I've planned around it. Then you've canceled, and then I'm not invited. And I will expect an apology."
Leah: Because you've hurt my feelings.
Nick: Yeah, I can see why this is hurtful. Absolutely. But I think my question is, okay, I'm not invited to this thing, whatever it is but, like, can I not come over to your house with my lasagna for the dinner, and we're all gonna enjoy each other's company and enjoy my lasagna? And then I guess when you all have to talk about your very private event planning that I can't be around, then I'll go home at that point. Like, that would have been a nice maybe compromise here.
Leah: Yes. That's what—like, why can't she come over to the house? If she was already making the lasagna for you, why can't our letter-writer go over to the house? If you've already asked her to make lasagna and then you're canceling, why can't she come? And then when you have this meeting, maybe she can hang out with the baby.
Nick: Yeah. Or maybe participate. Maybe she has ideas for planning, even if she's not involved with the event. I mean, I don't know. But yeah, it definitely feels like the fiancée and these other friends sort of downplayed the amount of effort required to make a lasagna and plan for that, and to sort of cancel on someone is not very nice. And if you do cancel on someone, I think it is nice to apologize sort of profusely for the inconvenience that's been caused here. And yeah, I don't think an apology happened, and I guess that's what's missing.
Leah: It's not just the inconvenience, it's what you said earlier. It's being made to feel like a restaurant. "Hey, can you do this?"
Leah: "Even though you're not involved, do this." And then at the last minute be like, "Never mind."
Nick: And yeah, now you're just home alone eating lasagna that you just made for all these people. Like, I don't love that scene.
Leah: Which, honestly, that's a dream of mine. I would love to be home alone eating lasagna. Throw on that television. But I mean, we don't know. The fiancé could have been like, "I'm so sorry this happened. You know, obviously we want to accommodate new baby." And everybody would be like, "Of course!" But it just is like a little bit recognizing of the effort you put in.
Nick: Yeah. And I think that's what's missing, just that recognition, that empathy.
Leah: What's so funny is that really—this question really highlighted the two different parts of my personality. I could totally let this go, you know what I mean? "No biggie. Whatever. I love lasagna. I'll eat alone." And the other part of me could have been like, "I'm gonna come over and stand outside that house and yell through the window until somebody says that they're sorry."
Leah: And also ...
Leah: ... I would not make lasagna for any of these people ever again.
Nick: Oh, wow!
Leah: You have lost lasagna privileges.
Nick: Drawing a line in the sand.
Leah: Lasagna isn't just something you throw together. You've gotta make sauce. The sauce has to simmer.
Nick: Yeah. We're assuming this is, like, real deal, homemade lasagna.
Leah: This is like lasagna. You've gotta get different kinds of ingredients from different places. It's work!
Nick: Yeah. No, there's—there's definitely time. You can't just, like, toss a lasagna into the oven in 10 minutes.
Leah: So there will be no more lasagna for you. That's how I would say it: "No more lasagna!"
Nick: Wow! Leah Bonnema getting tough!
Leah: I get tough about certain things. And one of them is ...
Nick: Layered Italian food.
Leah: Layered Italian—if I'm gonna make you my sauce, and I go and I buy the things, and then you just throw me aside, there will be no more lasagna for you.
Nick: Wow. Leah Bonnema is Italian.
Leah: [laughs] There will be nothing with sauce. I'm not gonna make you meatballs. I'm not gonna make you spaghetti.
Nick: Yeah. I mean, it's over. Wow!
Leah: I'm not gonna make you manicotti.
Nick: Okay. [laughs] So our next question ...
Nick: ... is quote, "My stepdaughter is getting married soon, and she's provided guidance on what colors the guests are to wear. There is no bridal party, which means there won't be any bridal party pictures with the colorful matching dresses. This also means she's wanting the wedding pictures with her guests to have a matching esthetic. Here's the thing, though: after looking high and low for a dress that actually fit right and match the color palette, I started to worry that the one I found might be too close to white, or that it's too showy, or that it's not exactly the same shade as what's in her color palette. Can you take a look at her recommended colors and the dress I picked out? I'd love to hear what you think so that I know whether or not to keep looking."
Leah: Did you write back right away?
Nick: I did. I did, yes. So I'll share what I said and how it went at the end here. But first, she did send a photo of the dress.
Leah: And the color palette.
Nick: And the color palette is, like, 15 different colors, but it's all shades of white. So there's ivory, cream, eggshell, champagne, parchment, vanilla, alabaster. Like, it's all white. And then there's some very muted shades of pink that are all very dusty rose.
Leah: Yeah, I was going to say and some blushes.
Nick: And so it's sort of like if you're worried about, like, looking like the bride and wearing white, like, I don't know what we do with this color palette.
Leah: Well, I don't think—that's what I was gonna say, like, this was the color palette. And this dress, as far as I was concerned, was right in the color palette.
Nick: Square in the zone, yeah. So the dress was basically a very nice-looking dress, and it had sort of a floral pattern all over it where the pink really did look like a nice Pantone color match. And it was sort of an off-white background. And I was like, "This meets the brief."
Leah: Absolutely. I thought it was—I mean, I felt like you actually nailed it.
Nick: Yeah. And I gotta say, not easy to find something that threads that needle. So I know what I said to our letter-writer. What would you write back?
Leah: I would say, I think that you bang on nailed the color palette.
Nick: So I said that, but then I said, "It doesn't matter what I think, though. The only person whose opinion matters is the bride. And so what you gotta do: send this dress photo to this person and get their approval explicitly. Because only that person knows whether or not this is acceptable."
Leah: And then did they do that?
Nick: They did. And the bride said, "Oh, no, it's too pale. It's gonna look too washed out in photos. Please keep looking." [laughs] So she writes quote, "I've ordered five more dresses that she's okayed, and I'm certain at least one will be the right fit."
Leah: I really thought that color palette was perfect.
Nick: I think it was totally perfect. However, aren't you glad you actually checked in with the bride here, and you didn't show up in a tasteful dress that meets the brief? Right? So it is true, though, I think if you ask for white as one of your signature colors, and are worried about it looking too white in photos then, like, this is no win. This is a no-win situation.
Leah: Well I mean, it's good that you brought up "Just send it to her."
Nick: Yeah. So I think when in doubt, ask. Like so many etiquette problems, like, it really is just sometimes just asking is the right way to go. Just ask. Just ask. So do you have questions for us about colors or anything else? Please let us know! You can let us know through our website, WereYouRaisedByWolves.com. Or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message: (267) CALL-RBW.
Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent.
Leah: [whispers] Vent or repent!
Nick: Which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had recently. Or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So Leah, would you like to vent or repent?
Leah: I'm gonna vent.
Nick: All right. Let's hear it!
Leah: Okay. I've gotta set up the visual for you.
Nick: Please. I'm ready.
Leah: So I live on a street. At the bottom of my street, there's a lot of events.
Nick: Right. Because you're, like, in Hollywood-Hollywood.
Leah: Yeah, I'm, like, in Hollywood-Hollywood. So if there's an event happening—which is often—the whole next block is blocked off. So everybody going down that street turns up my block.
Nick: Hmm. Okay, so a lot of traffic.
Leah: We got a lot of traffic. And then the light at the top of my block is a very short light.
Nick: Mm-hmm. Okay.
Leah: Then, the next light down—so you have to turn. You can't go straight, my block ends. You have to turn left or right. On both sides, there's another light. So then it can also get backed up, so even when you have that five seconds when it's time for you to turn, there's nowhere for you to go. So you completely miss, which happens a lot. So you just have to add in an extra 30 to 40 minutes when there's an event to get out. So I know this is happening. I leave in the extra time. I get in my car, I turn left, I get in line to get off the block. All of us are waiting patiently. I'm so proud of us as a group, you know what I mean?
Nick: [laughs] Okay. Slow clap.
Leah: So we've missed three lights because it's backed up from the other light. None of us have moved. Finally, that other traffic goes through. We get to go. This man crosses the street, so he's crossing on the lights. So we all have to wait for him to cross. And I mean, a saunter would be fast.
Nick: [laughs] Okay.
Leah: And it's not that he's like a slow walker or carrying things, he just doesn't care that it's a full traffic jam and everybody has to wait on him. Then ...
Leah: ... three cars—he gets across. Three cars whip around. The car in front of me stops, is waiting for that person, doesn't move to the side. We can't get around. Just stops at the middle ...
Nick: To, like, pick up this ...
Leah: He's picking this person up!
Leah: And not like a Lyft or an Uber. Like, they're friends. They're, like, chatting through the open window. Nobody's hurrying. Us behind them can't ...
Nick: Oh, no!
Leah: I lost—I—I don't understand the amount of which people—these two people think that an entire street who's been waiting now for at least 15 minutes, and our one chance to go needs you to have a conversation through the window after you sauntered and already held us up. We all missed the light.
Nick: Oh, of course you did.
Leah: And I almost went through my window. I—they were just chatting. I was like, "Hurry up! Hurry up!" I couldn't ...
Nick: Like, I wasn't totally on board with, like, slow sauntering. Like, annoying, but etiquette crime? Or is it just a pedestrian, and that's just the rules in the state of California, which we do let them walk in crosswalks. But now we're actually, like, not getting in the car quickly and we're now ...
Leah: We're not getting in the car.
Nick: That's too far. That is officially too far.
Leah: It's too far!
Nick: And then I think we can then go back and use the original sauntering as additional evidence for the etiquette crime.
Nick: So I think that's material evidence. It's not the crime itself, but it is definitely evidence of ...
Leah: The personality, the personality of the person.
Nick: Character witness, yes. Yes. So it is admissible.
Leah: And this person didn't even pull over so we could get around and get through the light. They just stopped right in the middle.
Leah: Conversation through the window.
Nick: I mean, what is that about?
Leah: I then had to spend the next hour and a half of my night tailgating them. I ...
Nick: [laughs] Right.
Leah: No, of course I didn't. I thought about it.
Nick: You wanted to.
Leah: I really wanted to, but I was like, "We're gonna breathe and we're gonna bring it up on Wolves."
Leah: Can you imagine?
Nick: Well for me, I would also like to vent. And so for the past few months, I have been woken up by a very strange noise coming from upstairs. And ...
Leah: I love whatever this is.
Nick: And it is very unclear what it is. It sounds like somebody is moving around, and it definitely sounds like maybe an exercise equipment, maybe, like an ab roller. Like, it's very unclear. And I'm reminded there's this great YouTube video which is called Everybody's Upstairs Neighbors, and they call themselves, like, sound artists. And they're like, "We think of their ceiling as our stage!" And they do all these very elaborate things to the floor to make you wonder, like, what is happening? And so it feels a little like that. I'll post a link to that in the show notes. And so it is unclear what this thing is.
Nick: And my best guess now that it's been happening for so many mornings is that I think it's a robot vacuum. I think it's a robot vacuum because it kind of goes back and forth. It kind of like goes around. It doesn't last that long. So maybe it's just like on some programmed timer-y thing. So I have a very high tolerance for these sorts of things. And I was like, you really gotta rise to a certain level before I'm like, "We gotta do something about it."
Nick: So I wrote a note, a very nice, handwritten note on a very nice card, it had like chrysanthemums on it. And I was basically just like, "Hey, I'm your neighbor downstairs. Hope you're having a great day. I wanted to chat with you briefly about a noise concern. Please give me a ring at your convenience and, like, here's my number." And so that is a very nice note. It's not accusatory, it's just like, "I want to talk to you about a concern I have. I'm not even saying the concern is you."
Nick: I'm just saying, like, "There is a concern, an ambient concern. Would love to chat with you briefly about it." I left the note on the door. It has been a week.
Nick: A week! Seven days. Seven days. Have not heard from this person. That is rude!
Nick: That is rude, because I know you got the note because I taped it to your door and it is no longer on your door. So I am assuming you got it and you took it off your door. What do we do with this? What do we do with this?
Leah: Rude! That was such, like, a very ...
Nick: Very nice.
Leah: ... benign checking in.
Nick: Textbook example of how you're supposed to handle this thing.
Leah: "Hey, how's it going?"
Nick: Yes, very polite. And so now I'm gonna have to, like, email her because, like, I can find out her email. And, like, now I have to email you and be like, "Hey!" And I have to use my best tone, which is like, "I know you got my note and I know you ignored it, and now I have to email you directly." And so I have to say all this in a way that doesn't have that tone, which will be very hard for me. And so usually when I have to write this type of email, I send it to Leah first and I'll be like, "Please make this nicer." [laughs]
Nick: Then she edits it. She's like, "You should say something nice up top." Like, "All right, fine. 'I hope you're having a nice day.'" And so I get those notes from Leah. But yeah, how rude is that? Because it's like, you're still making the noise, and other people exist here. And it's like, I don't know how to be nicer about this.
Leah: It's so rude. It would make me want to not do the next thing polite. Like, next I'd be like, "Well, I tried and now I'm just gonna bang on your floor."
Leah: "With, like, upside down brooms."
Nick: Yeah. Now I'm gonna put superglue in your locks. Yeah, that's what's gonna happen.
Nick: And I can't be held responsible for that at this point, right?
Leah: I tried.
Nick: I tried. Yeah. Sorry there's mayonnaise everywhere on your door. You left me with no choice.
Leah: I mean, that was such a nice note that you left.
Nick: Very nice note. Yeah.
Leah: Can we find her on Instagram?
Nick: Oh, I know who she is, yeah. And I know where she lives.
Leah: Oh, yeah. I mean, now I know where she lives.
Nick: [laughs] Exactly. So that happened, and I'm not happy about it. So I will report back.
Leah: I mean, we're all gonna expect an update next week.
Nick: Oh, yes. Oh, there'll be aftermath one way or another. Oh, there will be aftermath.
Leah: I immediately just got, like, very hot on my neck. [laughs]
Nick: Imagine how I feel. So stay tuned.
Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?
Leah: I learned that Miss Manners refers to modern-day showers as "greed fests."
Nick: Yes, she is not happy about it.
Leah: That is very pointed language. "Festivals of greed."
Nick: Right. And I learned that without hesitation, you will revoke someone's lasagna privileges.
Leah: I wouldn't take it lightly, though. It would be a serious choice, because I make up my lasagna with love.
Leah: And if it's been revoked from you, then you need to think about your actions.
Nick: Wow. Well, thank you, Leah!
Leah: Thank you, Nick!
Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery if I could.
Leah: He would!
Nick: So for your homework this week, we want you to share us on social media with your followers. So go on your MySpace, your Friendster, your Google Plus, and let your followers know that you like our show.
Leah: Get on the AOL chat rooms and tag a friend.
Nick: Yeah, get on the IRC. And we'll see you next time!
Nick: All right, Leah. It's time for Cordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, but I only give you 30 seconds to do it. Ready, set, go!
Leah: So we got a new building manager, and I was a little bit nervous just because I loved our last building manager. And our new building manager is also a completely lovely, amazing, on top of it, human being.
Nick: How wonderful! And for me, I just had jury duty. And I just want to say to the good people of 111 Center Street, I applaud you. It was a really polite and lovely experience. I was on the lookout for etiquette crimes. Like, I was looking everywhere because I was like, "Oh, I need a good vent for this week." And so I was hoping there'd be some etiquette crimes, and no, to a T, everybody was polite. The people working there were nice, security was lovely, the jurors were nice. Like, everybody was very respectful, polite, lovely. And I was like, "Oh, this is really nice." So I had a very nice, polite service.
Leah: What a dream!
Nick: What a dream! So thanks, everybody. I appreciate it.
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