Feb. 14, 2022

Using Mourning Stationery, Talking While Chewing, Fixing Flat Tires, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle using mourning stationery, talking while chewing, fixing flat tires, and much more.

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle using mourning stationery, talking while chewing, fixing flat tires, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

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  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: Mourning Stationery
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: A friend is hosting a party in my home...what's my role during this event? How do I decline to write a letter of recommendation for a former employee who wasn't good? How can I tell my best friend that they shouldn't talk with their mouth full?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Texting at the theatre, Parking outside the lines
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: A flat tire, A nice email







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



Episode 126


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Nick: Do you use the wrong colored stationery? Do you chew with your mouth full? Do you humblebrag? 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: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah: Let's get in it!

Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about mourning stationery. And "mourning" as in somebody's died, not the stationery you use before noon.

Leah: Mmm.

Nick: So Leah, do you know about mourning stationery?

Leah: No, I did not.

Nick: So I love stationery. And so I want to explain what this is because it's a thing that exists in the world. Not very common today, but it does exist. And so basically what this is is it's stationery that's white or cream or gray, and there's a black border around the edge. And there's also usually a black border around the envelope that goes with it. And when you are mourning a loss in your life, you switch to this stationery to signal that. And it's not very common anymore, but there is a Johnny Cash song about it. There is a song called "The Letter Edged in Black" about the postman basically bringing him a letter edged in black with very bad news.

Nick: And this tradition got going in the Victorian age, of course, because they really went all in when it came to, like, mourning. And Queen Victoria, when Prince Albert died, she basically wore black for the rest of her life. And she did switch to mourning stationery. And you would also see these black edges around funeral announcements and funeral invitations.

Nick: And this is not just a British thing. It actually made it across the pond to the United States. Abraham Lincoln did it. You can see when one of his sons died, the stationery he used afterwards had a very thick black border around the edge. And the thickness of the black border was often meant to signal the depth of your mourning and who died. So if it was a spouse or a child, then the border would be very thick, and if it was like a great aunt or, you know, some more distant relative, maybe your mourning would be slightly less deep, and so the black border would actually be a little thinner.

Leah: Hmm.

Nick: And originally, the idea is the black border would actually reduce in size as time went on, as you sort of emerged from the mourning period, although some etiquette people thought that that was a bit tacky, depending on who it was. Like, if your spouse dies? No, you keep the thickness the same thickness the entire time. We're not reducing the mourning here. So there was sort of a lot of debate around that.

Nick: And when we get to the 20th century though, a lot of the etiquette experts were like, "Thick borders are tacky." And Emily Holt, who was actually a contemporary of Emily Post—long story—she says that it's vulgar to have borders that are too thick. And Emily Post gave you very precise measurements. She says, "A quarter of an inch or three-sixteenths of an inch is sufficient for the deepest mourning." And then as we go along in the 20th century, I think this sort of died out. I think by the time we get past World War II, like, nobody's doing this anymore.

Nick: And there was some etiquette book from the 1960s I was reading, and the author is like, "This is basically unheard of anymore." And so that was the 1960s that this was unheard of. But it does still happen, like when Queen Elizabeth was mourning the loss of Prince Philip, she actually slipped a handwritten card onto his casket, and that card was black bordered. So it is still a tradition today.

Leah: Immediately, I assumed it was the stationery you sent to people when they were mourning.

Nick: So no. And that's actually a very important point. So yes, you only use this when you are in mourning. This is not for condolence notes. And Miss Manners actually explains it as if you did, it's the written equivalent of showing up to a funeral wearing black veils.

Leah: Mmm.

Nick: Like, you're not the one actually mourning here. So yes, it's only when you are mourning, it is not for condolence notes. So yes, mourning stationery? Not very common, not a lot of people know about it. But there's this great example of why you should know about it that the New York Times wrote about in the 1990s. And they tell a story about somebody who was a student, and he was gonna miss a deadline for a term paper. And he was already, like, home at his parents house for the summer, and he was gonna write a letter to his professor asking for more time. So he's going through his parents' desk and finds some stationery and writes a letter to the professor in which he's like, "Hey, I really need more time. Would that be okay?" And the stationery he found had a black border on it.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: And so the professor received this note and was like, "Oh, yes, of course! I have sympathy for the situation. No problem." And so guy has a great summer, writes the term paper. In the fall, turns it in. He gets an A. And on it, the professor writes a note which is like, "Oh, how hard it must have been for you to concentrate following a death in the family." And so that Professor obviously knew the tradition about black bordered stationery, and assumed that that was the reason why this person was asking for an extension.

Leah: Oh my goodness! Did the student go and say, "Oh no, that's not what happened?"

Nick: I mean, the article does not give any aftermath. I'm pretty sure that the student kept their mouth shut and didn't say anything. [laughs]

Leah: I would want the aftermath on that. I would like the follow up, New York Times.

Nick: So long story short, I just want everybody to be aware of this history, because a lot of times etiquette is like poetry. You're allowed to break the rules if you know it. So if you know this rule, but you still want to go out and get social stationery with a black border? Have at it. It looks chic. Black is very chic, it looks nice. Or if you want to have a wedding invitation for some evening wedding and you want to have a black border on it, I mean, have at it. Do whatever you want to do. Just know that there is this tradition in the world, and that some people may interpret it in that way. Like, if you send me a wedding invitation with a black border, I'm gonna be like, "Who died?"

Leah: Ugh. I'm going through my mind to anything I've ever sent out with a black border.

Nick: I mean, how many things is that?

Leah: Quite possibly a lot. You know I love black.

Nick: [laughs] Okay. Well, so now you know.

Leah: Now I know. And I never would have known.

Nick: That is what I'm here for.

Leah: Knowing is half the battle.

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to go deep.

Leah: Deep and maybe loud?

Nick: Oh, okay. [laughs] So for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about bragging.

Leah: This is such a good one because I really feel like it has changed over my lifetime.

Nick: Oh, for sure. Yes. Yes, it is not coincidental to the advent of social media.

Leah: [laughs] Yes, exactly.

Nick: Actually, I saw some great quote about social media, and it's "People are showing higher levels of self-esteem." [laughs] I was like, "Oh, that's an understatement. Yeah, okay." So yes, bragging. So I guess the question is: what is bragging?

Leah: I would say bragging is like boasting.

Nick: Yes, there is an excessive quality to it, right?

Leah: As opposed to being self-confident, which is different. Or self-promoting, which is different. It's sort of louder.

Nick: Yeah, I think it's louder. But I think why it's an etiquette crime is that bragging is insensitive to the people you're doing it to.

Leah: Mmm.

Nick: There's always this little flavor of comparison. And as the recipient of somebody hearing you brag, there's always a feeling of inadequacy or jealousy. Like, it's a lot of those flavors. And that's, I think, why it's considered rude.

Leah: So in your mind, bragging is like competitive in nature?

Nick: Yes. Well, it's about you having something or achieving something, and I don't have these things, and I'm made to feel bad about it.

Leah: I think it's—like, my age range is a very interesting place to look at this because we've moved into an era where you have to self-promote, you have to be confident.

Nick: Yes. I mean, there's definitely—professionally, socially, like, if you don't tout your accomplishments, then they don't exist. It's sort of like a zen koan.

Leah: Yeah, and I'm a person who has trouble with that. I feel bad doing it. But it is that you sort of have to, especially for people who are self-employed. So it's like walking that line of presenting yourself in a confident manner and not stepping over the line where it's, as you're saying, braggy.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think there is a line. Historically, I think, in the United States, we have historically rewarded people that are modest, people that don't necessarily boast about themselves. I think we are observing a shift in this in that the people that are actually getting rewarded are the ones that are probably the loudest about promoting themselves.

Leah: And I think there's also this, like, one can be modest while still asking for what they deserve, whether being a raise, or saying "These are things that I've done at work that I would like to be looked at maybe for a different position." And that's not bragging. And I do think that people such as myself have struggled being like, "Oh, I shouldn't point out my accomplishments." But I think particularly in a work environment, that's not bragging. That's important to be able to do.

Nick: And then I think a related flavor is the humblebrag, which I think is probably the worst of the brags.

Leah: Is the humblebrag like a name drop?

Nick: Definitely could be a name drop. Or it could be just like, "Ugh! They just stopped serving the brand of champagne I like in this first class cabin!"

Leah: Hashtag humblebrag.

Nick: [laughs] Actually, I just saw on Twitter somebody posted a good humblebrag, which was like, "Oh, I just stepped in gum! Who spits gum on a red carpet?"

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So, you know, the humblebrag, I think, is a problem because it's not sincere. And I think in general, sincerity is key.

Leah: Yes, I think that's like a lovely way to make that differentiation. I think some people, we need some people to pull down the bragging and then some people to pump up. You gotta pump yourself up a little bit.

Nick: Yes. Oh, I think we could definitely hit a better equilibrium than we currently have. Yes.

Leah: Yes.

Nick: And then the opposite, though, is that you want to actually underplay your accomplishments. And that can be okay, except sometimes it actually comes off as insincere as well, and it sounds like you're just fishing for a compliment. And that's not good.

Leah: Or it puts people on this place where they need to be like, "No, you are good. No, it's okay. No, you're doing great."

Nick: Right. So that's not—that actually also puts people in an awkward place too.

Leah: I mean, you could be very sincere about feeling inadequate. I mean, I dwell in that area. But you don't want to give people a constant job of making you feel better about yourself.

Nick: Yes, that's true. I guess it's all about balance.

Leah: Yeah, I feel like it's like this nice balance of confidence without aggressively putting it in somebody's face.

Nick: And that's a good word: confidence. I feel like the people that are the most comfortable in their skin and their accomplishments—whatever they are—are the ones that are the least likely to probably brag.

Leah: I do feel like the one place in society we've allowed bragging and boasting, it's actually nurtured in this environment, is sports.

Nick: Oh, true. Although, I guess is that fine? That feels fine.

Leah: Yeah. I think it's like an agreed-upon area where we're like, that's what everybody does.

Nick: Well, and at the end of the day, etiquette is just about a society agreeing on something.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: So I guess if we've agreed, then that's considered good etiquette.

Leah: Mm! [laughs]

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to take some questions from you all in the wilderness.

Leah: [howls]

Nick: Our first question is quote, "My husband's very dear friend is in town recently, and decided to host a 40th birthday party for himself at our house. Tonight. This is fine, really. I'm happy that we have the space for him to do this, and we love him. Yesterday, I realized what an elaborate event this is turning out to be. It is themed. There are many complex dishes on the menu, and even eight new themed serving dishes and trays that have appeared in the last 24 hours. While all this gives me a considerable amount of anxiety, it's happening and I want to have a good time and make sure he has a good time. My question is this: do you have any advice on how to be a good hostess at my home while not being the host of the party being thrown at my home? I should add this party starts in four hours and I don't know 90 percent of the attendees. Actually, I don't even know who's coming. Maybe I know more. Or less."

Leah: I wish we could hear the conversation where the party ...

Nick: Was being scheduled? [laughs]

Leah: Was being scheduled at the house.

Nick: Yeah, the conversation, which was, "Oh, I'm having a party at your house. Thank you so much."

Leah: Yeah. Yeah. [laughs] How did that conversation go?

Nick: They actually sent copies of the invitation, which were like elaborate invitations. And one of the highlights is going to be "Exotic hors d'oeuvres." And I'm thinking, "What is an exotic hors d'oeuvre?"

Leah: It's almost like, I wish we could be there.

Nick: I mean, to be honest, it did look like a fun party. [laughs] Based on the invitation.

Leah: Looked like a fun party.

Nick: So this is bonkers. This is totally bonkers.

Leah: It's totally bonkers. And I'm so sad that we missed the intro conversation as to how ...

Nick: How we arrived here?

Leah: Like, did they invite themselves? Or was it like a thrown out, "Hey, you could do this here." And then all of a sudden ...

Nick: It became this event with a Ferris wheel and a bouncy house and mimes and aerialists. People eating flames. Yeah.

Leah: I feel like this? It's out of your hands. Like, you could just be polite. "Hey, welcome!" You could show people to where the restroom is. You know what I mean? It's ...

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: This has been planned around you.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, we actually are not being asked whether or not we should have done this, how to say no to this. Basically, our letter-writer is saying, "I'm totally on board with this," which ...

Leah: This is happening.

Nick: ... I don't know if that's true. I mean, do we take this person at face value? I guess we will.

Leah: Yeah, well the party's starting in four hours, so I feel like it's just like, what's the easiest way to be a polite hostess while accepting—"I'm not taking full responsibility for this."

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: "I really didn't plan any of it."

Nick: The only thing I wrote down was: "Make sure your insurance is up to date."

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: But I think your responsibility here, you are basically the catering hall manager. You have leased a venue to somebody throwing an event, and so your role is to help the event run smoothly, protect the physical property and ensure nobody gets hurt. I think that's kind of your responsibility tonight. You are not a guest and you are not a host. So I think you are just the catering hall manager.

Leah: I like that comparison. I visualize somebody just sort of walking around the party. "Hey, how's everybody doing?" You know? "Oh," you know what I mean? Just kind of checking in, making sure everything's going okay, having a smile on your face.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Somebody has questions about, "Oh, do you know are there any extra paper towels?" or something like that. Maybe you could jump in? Otherwise ...

Nick: Yeah, otherwise, I think you just sort of white knuckle this and just hope it's over relatively quickly.

Leah: [laughs] Oh, we missed so much up top!

Nick: Well, we always do. We always come in medias res. You know, we never get, like, the good starting point.

Leah: I mean, this has already happened, so I wish we could hear about it.

Nick: And I did follow up asking, like, what happened? I have not heard back yet, so I guess it was maybe legendary and great. I don't know.

Leah: Well, it looks like it was gonna be a great party. I think our letter-writer just needed to feel like, "Hey, I didn't plan this. This got taken out of my hands, and it got much more complicated."

Nick: Right.

Leah: "And I don't have to be responsible for it. I can just be polite to people and point them to the restroom."

Nick: Yeah. You're not the host at the end of the day, so you don't have hosting responsibilities.

Leah: Whew!

Nick: So our next question is quote, "I have just been asked by a former employee for a letter of recommendation. If their performance wasn't up to a standard to which I would actually recommend them, what's the best approach?"

Leah: This is always so uncomfortable.

Nick: Well, I love that. Is this hypothetical? "If their performance wasn't up to a standard?" Sounds like their performance wasn't up to a standard.

Leah: Yeah, that's how I read it.

Nick: Of course.

Leah: I actually had somebody once not tell me they were using me as a recommendation.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: And I got a call from a job asking about them with no ...

Nick: Oh, that's awkward.

Leah: Very awkward.

Nick: Because your long pause and silence also says everything.

Leah: [laughs] Yeah, it really does. What I did in that circumstance was say the things that I did like about them.

Nick: Okay. I mean, put a pin in that, whether or not that's actually a good idea. I think for this, a question is: do we think the person asking for the letter is clueless or super bold? Like, do they have no idea? Do they think their former boss thinks they did a good job, and that they would write a good recommendation letter? Like, are they clueless?

Leah: Yes. No, I think they think that.

Nick: Okay. Yeah, that's awkward then.

Leah: I mean, I think you could say, "Unfortunately, I don't feel comfortable giving a recommendation."

Nick: Yeah. I think it would need to be that, because I don't think we write the letter with half truths. And coming back to your point where you only said nice things, there is some reputational hazard to you if you only said nice things and then this person gets hired and it doesn't work out, and they're like, "Oh, Leah Bonnema actually said this person was great. Like, I wonder about her judgment."

Leah: I didn't say they were great in areas where I didn't think they were great at.

Nick: So you were just like, "We both like soup."

Leah: [laughs] Yeah, that's basically what I was like.

Nick: *[laughs] Okay.

Leah: I also was very much caught off guard.

Nick: Right. Oh, I'm sure you were. Yeah.

Leah: So then I—you know, I would say things like—they'd be like, "Are they, you know, timely?" And I'd be like, "When they show up, they're very energetic." [laughs]

Nick: Okay. I mean, I guess if you could let them read between the lines on that. Yeah.

Leah: I mean, I was caught off guard. I'm not gonna lie to the employer hiring because I don't want it to be on my word that this person was—and I did call this person afterwards and say, "Hey, these people called me for a recommendation. You never told me you were asking me."

Nick: Yes. And sidebar, if you actually ever need to list somebody as a reference, get their permission first. It definitely goes a lot smoother that way.

Leah: So the most uncomfortable thing to do, but we'll deal with it very quickly, is to say "I don't feel comfortable."

Nick: Yeah, I would think something along the lines of, like, "Unfortunately, I don't think I'd be able to confidently write the sort of letter that you need. So sorry!"

Leah: Yeah. And it feels awkward, I think, doing that, but then the band aid's off. It's done. And that's the most ...

Nick: Yeah, well because what other choices do you have? You can ignore it, you can lie, or you can actually just be polite and direct.

Leah: Yeah. Or you can write a recommendation that's like, "We both like soup."

Nick: Yeah. I feel like that's sort of deception because you're omitting half the story.

Leah: I know. But I mean, I think that's what I'm saying: these are your choices.

Nick: But yeah. No, the polite yet direct option? I would go with that one.

Leah: I think that's great. I told this woman who called me that I hadn't been asked to be a reference, so I think that was pretty clear right up top.

Nick: Oh! Yeah, okay. Well, threw her under the bus.

Leah: Well, I mean, I was shocked, so I was like, "Oh, I didn't realize!" Like, I was trying to maintain honesty. You know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah. No, I think people who do those types of reference calls often pick up on those subtle hints, and are like, "Oh, that's interesting." So I think they got the reference that they needed from you.

Leah: This was a while ago. Obviously, I would handle it different now.

Nick: Oh, yeah. No, you have 120-plus episodes under your belt. Yeah. No, the Leah Bonnema today? Different person.

Leah: Also, the Leah Bonnema today would never pick up a phone number that they don't recognize. Let's just say that up top.

Nick: Oh, actually, that's the whole thing right there.

Leah: That's—that part is ...

Nick: Who picks up their phone?

Leah: Who was I? Who was I? And also, you know, I was just trying to relate to how uncomfortable it feels to have somebody ask something of you and you not being able to do it in good conscience.

Nick: Yeah. No, the broader theme here is that you have been asked to do something that you don't want to do, and how do you say no? That's really the thrust of the question.

Leah: You have to say no because it's your word. And I think at the end of the day, and it's really what we're left with ...

Nick: Our reputations? Yes.

Leah: Well, and our deeds. Did we say what we meant? And so obviously you can't.

Nick: Yeah. No, and that's the pith, that is the true essence of this question, which is why it's a great question

Leah: Unless you want to end up being stuck on a phone—which I wouldn't do now—basically saying, "We enjoy soup together," because you're not gonna say they get there on time.

Nick: "Well, they're great when they show up."

Leah: When they show up, it's a delight." [laughs]

Nick: So our next question is quote, "My best friend will take a big bite of something, for example, a steak or lobster, and proceed to tell a long story with her mouth full. Did I mention this is at group dinners? Since she is my best friend, I can't not eat with her. I think we can assume that she also does this on dates. As her friend, I'd like to help her out, but how?"

Leah: I felt like you might have a clear feeling about this.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, my suggestion is that we make this a purely consommé-based relationship, where we only eat clear broth with her. She can't chew it, but we can still eat with her. That's my idea here. Consommé-based relationship. Yes, a CBR.

Leah: Okay, so say we can't do that.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And the question ...

Nick: It's going on the whiteboard, Leah. It's going on the whiteboard.

Leah: Throw it up there. I think what our letter-writer is saying is they want to be able to tell their best friend to close their mouth.

Nick: Oh, okay. Fine.

Leah: Is that okay?

Nick: Okay. Well, I think this is actually super common. And especially with the eating thing, but just in general where we have a friend that has a habit that we think is holding them back in other areas of their life, and we want to intervene, I think we actually addressed this on a recent episode.

Leah: I was gonna say I think we talked about it recently.

Nick: This is how often this comes up. Yeah. So I mean, I guess you have some options. I mean, I guess the first thing is, is your relationship such that if the roles were reversed, would you want something said to you? Like, is that the relationship we have?

Leah: I feel like this is dicey, you know? And also, is this the kind of friendship where you could say in a light way, "Oh, tell me after you finish eating."

Nick: Yeah, I think that's the world I would want to kind of be in. Like, I don't think I want to pull you aside for a private chat about this, you know? I don't think I want that. But I think as it's happening, I might want to say something light, non-judgmental, value neutral in the moment, which is like, "Oh, finish your bite, then you can tell me a story. I don't want you to choke."

Leah: Yeah, if you can land something like that, I feel like that's a way that could happen. I feel like any other way is going to feel ...

Nick: Well, you could embarrass your friend, which is what we're trying to avoid here.

Leah: Yeah, it's gonna hurt their feelings

Nick: Because actually, if you Google this question—which I did—there's a lot of ideas on the internet about what to do with friends that chew with their mouth open. Like, there's a lot of pages on Google of ideas. They range from the polite to the not-so-polite. One I liked, which I do not recommend, but I still like, is that what you say to them is, "Does it taste good? Because it sure sounds delicious." [laughs]

Leah: Oof! I feel like that's something that my Nana would say. Actually, that's not true. My Nana would just be like, "Close your mouth!" [laughs]

Nick: And I think we should just mention like, why speaking with your mouth full is sort of like, not polite is because no one really wants to see half-chewed food in your mouth. And that is sort of what does happen when you speak with your mouth full.

Leah: I don't know if this is a situation where you as the letter-writer could, when you are talking and eating, puts your hand over your mouth, and maybe they will just mirror your behavior unconsciously.

Nick: I don't know if I want a hand in front of my mouth, but I think it is always a good idea to, like, model good behavior in general. So I would definitely want to make a very good effort to make sure I'm not doing it if I'm dining with you.

Leah: I've been at a table that was, like, friends when one person ate with their mouth open, and somebody else, like, tried to be like, "Hey," make a joke about it to kind of make it stop.

Nick: And how'd that go?

Leah: You know, it's always uncomfortable.

Nick: [laughs] Right. Yeah.

Leah: But they stopped.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I guess that is one way to do it. But I think modeling good behavior is good. I think saying something in the moment which is, like, polite and direct but value neutral and non-judgmental, which is sort of concern for them and their health and not choking, I think there's something to land there. And I guess if you really feel concerned for your friend about how this is holding them back in life, I mean, I guess you can have that polite-yet-direct conversation with them, separate, away from a meal, where you can be like, "Hey, I just wanted to share something that I wanted to share with you. Can I do that?" Asking for permission first, and then explain, like, how it makes you feel when you dine with them, and how you want them to be more mindful of this. I don't think we want to go to the place of, like, "This is also holding you back in life, and you're gonna die single and alone if you don't fix this." So I don't think we need to necessarily make it, like, a bigger issue. Make it just about how it makes you feel and how it impacts you, and maybe that could maybe be effective.

Leah: And so you're suggesting something like, "Hey, I really hate or I feel uncomfortable looking at unchewed food?"

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I don't think it's that exact phrasing, but I think it's maybe in that spirit. Your other option is just let it go, you know? Just let it go. Like, is it really worth it? Can you handle just dining with this person, and just like this is one habit and we're just gonna accept it? And shouldn't they go on dates with people that also accept them for who they are? Like, isn't that the world we want to live in? So maybe it's fine.

Leah: That was my immediate response. Like, this is your best friend. You've known them presumably a long time. They're mouth-open eaters.

Nick: [laughs] Right. That's just their deal.

Leah: I'm sure they have other lovely qualities.

Nick: But I think, just to come full circle, let's just move to a liquid-based relationship and let's just not eat with them.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: I think that consommé is starting to look better and better now, isn't it?

Leah: And then your friend will be like, "Do you notice we only eat soup?"

Nick: "No, we have applesauce!"

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] "And there was that time when we had smoothies."

Leah: [laughs] Yes!

Nick: Yeah. No, we've had lots of meals together. Yeah, what are you talking about?"

Leah: Oh, I find these particularly hard because ...

Nick: Some of these are no win. Some of these can feel no win, sometimes.

Leah: You're gonna hurt their feelings.

Nick: Potentially, yeah. And is it worth it? Is it worth it?

Leah: I think that's the question. It's going to hurt their feelings. Do you think this is worth it?

Nick: Yeah. Well, that's the age-old question.

Leah: It's a lot of soup references in this whole ...

Nick: Yeah. We've really talked about soup a lot today, haven't we?

Leah: I think we all know that soup is wonderful.

Nick: It's really the ties that bind. So do you have questions for us about soup 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: Vent or repent!

Nick: And this 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 think that I would love it if you went first. I always get to go first.

Nick: All right, I would be delighted to share. So one of the greatest things about living in New York City is that we get to see Broadway shows all the time. Like, it's actually very easy to go anytime you want. Either you have friends at work on Broadway, or you can just get last-minute tickets. Like, I love a good snowstorm because people try to dump all their tickets at the last minute on all, like, the ticket brokerage sites. And so I've gone to great shows at, like, 20 minutes to curtain at, like, great prices when there's a snowstorm. So highly recommend it.

Nick: So I have a friend who works on Broadway, and he was able to get tickets to a musical I really wanted to see and I was like, "That's awesome!" And it was a Monday night, which is actually the night that most of Broadway houses are dark. And so at this performance that we were all attending, in our section at least, it was all Broadway people. Like, everybody worked on Broadway in some capacity, either they're on stage or you're behind the scenes or you work in marketing but, like, you're involved in the Broadway community. And the friend I went with, he actually recognized, like, everybody. Like, he said hello to everybody the entire time. So it was very clear, like, I was the only civilian in the balcony. And so it was great.

Nick: And so the show begins, and in the row ahead of me, one seat over, is a gentleman who is now checking his phone. And it's kind of like, come on. You know, better! You work in this industry. You know what's happening here. So I was like, "Come on!" But I was like, obviously, it's not gonna be happening the entire first act. Oh, no. It was happening the entire first act.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: And it was just like, not, "Oh, I need to make sure that the babysitter is okay and there's no emergencies." It was checking news headlines, popping on Instagram. There was a text exchange with a friend. And I'm close enough where I can see this text exchange. And what actually made me very mad is that they started texting about a television show I watch and had not seen the latest episode of. And I was like, "Oh, no! There's gonna be a spoiler! I have to avert my eyes so it doesn't spoil the episode for me." So this was happening the entire first act. And it was so disappointing, because there's one thing if you don't know better but, like, you absolutely know better, and yet you're doing it anyway. So it was very distracting for the first act. I was going to say something politely yet directly in the intermission before the second act if he kept doing it, but actually somebody else already beat me to it. So he did keep the phone away for the second act. But I was just like, "Oh, where is Patti LuPone when you need her?"

Leah: Where is Patti?

Nick: Where is Patti? Yes. And for those who don't know, Patti LuPone: famous actress on the Broadway. And she's very famous for many things, but she did once go into the audience and grab somebody's phone when she was on it, while she was a performer in this show. And she walked off stage with it, and the person actually only got their phone back at intermission when, like, an usher gave it back to her. And so Patti, very famous for having very low tolerance for audience members on their phone. Which I agree, you should not be on your phone.

Leah: You should not be on your phone!

Nick: You should not be on your phone.

Leah: Unbelievable.

Nick: Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: I'm gonna vent.

Nick: Okay. What has happened?

Leah: In our building, we have a parking lot.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Behind our building. These spots are tight.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: If you go over your line into my line, our doors can't open.

Nick: Okay, very snug.

Leah: I mean, you're doing a multiple-point turn to get in correctly, which you have to do because if you're off the next person's off, the final person's in the wall, you know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah, it's dominoes.

Leah: It is. We are all agreeing to park in our spots.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: We have a new person in the building.

Nick: Mmm. I see where this is going.

Leah: Yeah. Who has one of the spots next to us.

Nick: Mm-hmm.

Leah: I have not come home one time yet to this person being parked in between their lines.

Nick: So, like, over the white line into your physical space?

Leah: Every time.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: They must have pulled left. I don't get how you don't get that we can't—you can't be in my spot. There is, like, not enough inches for all the cars to fit here. They just don't. Also, they have a huge car. It's a huge car, so it makes it hard for people to pull out. I don't even know how the person on the other side of them is pulling around them to pull in because they're putting it at such a bad angle. You live in Los Angeles. You should know that you have to park a car correctly. Do you know what I mean?

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: If one of us—we can't even—we have a very small window for us to actually drive out. So not only are you blocking me from being able to pull in, you're blocking people from being able to drive out. And this person, like, has no idea. Like, they just don't even care. It's not like one time. They just keep doing it.

Nick: All right. So what are we gonna do about it?

Leah: We're workshopping it right now.

Nick: I think we want to put down some tire spikes along the white line.

Leah: [laughs] We're all gonna throw that down. But you also don't want to pull in right next to them to be like, you don't have any room because this kind of person reminds me of the kind of people that would throw their doors open and dent your car.

Nick: Oh, yeah. Oh, for sure. Yeah. Oh, communal living.

Leah: Oh!

Nick: What a blessing.

Leah: But it's like, just park your car between the lines. How hard is that?

Nick: Well, it's one of those skills that we hopefully learn as children. You know, stay within the lines. But some people, they just are free spirits.

Leah: I also rarely get it in a straight shot. I pull back in, I go back out. I make sure the people on either side of me have enough space. Is that hard? I don't think so. I don't think so.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: I'm giving them a grace period. Maybe they literally just learned how to drive. You know me, I have my caveats. And then at a certain point, we're gonna have to fix the situation.

Nick: Oh, I can't wait. Keep me posted.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned what the Johnny Cash song "The Letter Edged in Black" is actually talking about, what it means.

Nick: Oh yeah. Oh, it's a good song. I'll post a link to it in the show notes.

Leah: Fantastic.

Nick: And I learned that if a caller is unknown, you're not gonna answer.

Leah: Oh, I do not. I don't think—are people out there answering the phone from unknown callers?

Nick: Oh, people are. Yeah, absolutely.

Leah: Don't do it. Don't do it.

Nick: [laughs] 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 leave us a nice review and subscribe to our newsletter and visit our website, where you can click on "Monthly Membership" and see if that's something you'd like to do.

Leah: Please join us!

Nick: That was creepy.

Leah: [laughs] Please join us!

Nick: And we'll see you next time.

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

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: This huge cordials of kindness. I'm coming home from a gig in Palm Springs. I go over construction. I get a huge bolt in my wheel. I get a flashing light on my dashboard.

Nick: Tire pressure!

Leah: Tire pressure. And then I start hearing it click.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: I was like, I'm gonna make it home or I'll make it to the dealer. And then I realized I'm not gonna make it home. I pull into this place called Ron's Tire and Wheel.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: They're closing. I didn't realize they were closing 'til I get out. They were like, "Oh, we're closing. What's happening?" And I was like, "I hit a bolt in my wheel. I'm losing tire pressure." And they were like, "You know what? We'll see you right now. Don't worry about it." They saved my tire. I didn't know. I thought I had to lose my tire. They were like, "Oh, we can fix your tire." They totally could have taken advantage of me. I would have done anything at that point, you know what I mean? I would have paid. I would have maxed out a credit card.

Leah: I was—I was nervous. I was scared. They didn't overcharge me. They saved my tire. They were absolutely delightful. It was just they were so kind. They were like, "Get in here. We'll take care of you. It's not gonna be a problem." It was just, I needed it so bad. I was so anxious, and they were just so lovely.

Nick: Oh! Well, thanks, Ron!

Leah: Thanks, Ron's Tire. I mean, you know what I mean?

Nick: No, it's wonderful. And for me, we got a great email, which is quote, "I just wanted to say how much I love your show, and it really makes my day and lifts my spirits. I can always get through any situation knowing I have the option of venting to you. I love you guys."

Leah: That is so sweet.

Nick: We're here for you. Bring on those vents.

Leah: I love it.

Nick: Send them our way.

Leah: I'm delighted. That's so delightful.

Nick: So thank you!