Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this very special 100th episode extravaganza, Nick and Leah revisit their favorite moments from the series and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)
Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this very special 100th episode extravaganza, Nick and Leah revisit their favorite moments from the series and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we had your address.)
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THINGS MENTIONED DURING THE SHOW
YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO...
Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton
Theme Music: Rob Paravonian
Leah: It’s our 100th episode!
Nick: 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 I'm Leah Bonnema.
Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our hundredth episode. Can you believe it?
Leah: I can't believe it.
Nick: So for this episode, we wanted to go down memory lane and revisit some of our favorite segments.
Leah: I really had a good time. To our listeners at home, we were trying to pick which one should we pull, and I really enjoyed it.
Nick: Yeah, it was really a blast to go back and remember things that I actually don't remember at all. [laughs] Like, there were definitely moments where we were like, "Oh, that was really funny." So it was hard to choose, though. Did you find it difficult?
Leah: I did find it very difficult. I was, like, listening to our different choices, I went out for a walk.
Leah: Since I feel like that’s when I do my best listening. And I often hate hearing my own voice.
Nick: Oh, imagine how I feel having edited all of these episodes.
Leah: [laughs] I love hearing your voice, but I hear myself and I'm like, "What?" But I didn't—I actually giggled, like, through so many that I was like, walking, giggling. I was like that person with the earphones. Just like, "Ha!" It was really fun.
Nick: So for the amuse-bouche, it was definitely hard to choose. I mean, there was corn on the cob, there was answering the telephone, but I think this one checked all the boxes for me. It's Japanese, which I love. I was virtually guaranteed that you had no idea what it was, which I also love. And it has to do with the bathroom, which I think hits your sweet spot.
Leah: [laughs] I love that I wanted to be like, "That's not true," but it's absolutely true.
Nick: Yeah, after a hundred episodes, I think I know what you're into.
Leah: [laughs] One of the things I really enjoyed about this one is I think it's also a big push, everybody gets to find out what Nick wants for Christmas.
Nick: Oh, yes! I'm still waiting for that NX1, everybody. So without further ado: Otohime (音姫). Tanoshinde kudasai (たのしんで ください).
Nick: Hey, everybody. It's Nick Leighton.
Leah: And I'm Leah.
Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.
Leah: Oh, let's get in it! [laughs]
Nick: [laughs] So for those at home who don't know, Leah has no idea what these are, and I do take special pleasure in trying to find amuse-bouches that she has never heard of. So for today, I want to talk about Otohime. Do you know what this is?
Nick: So wonderful.
Leah: I already knew I wasn't going to know. And then I was just like, "No, I don't know."
Nick: So Otohime. So this is a thing that is found in women's restrooms throughout Japan. And so here's a little background. It is said that some Japanese women feel embarrassed making noise using the bathroom. And this embarrassment is not necessary even just for them, it's for other people in the room with them. And so because of this, what was happening is that women would flush the toilet throughout their entire time in the stall, over and
over. And this, of course, wastes a huge amount of water. I mean, gallons and gallons of water. And so in the late '70s in the city of Fukuoka, there was a drought. And they did this public education campaign, which was like maybe we shouldn't waste water, everybody. But it didn't work. And women were still just flushing over and over and over and over and wasting a huge amount of water.
Nick: And so, of course, necessity is the mother of invention. And so the Toto Corporation, which maybe you're familiar with, they're, like, the first name in Japanese toilets. And if anybody has $10,000, I would really love a Toto NX1 toilet. It's like the top of the line Toto. It's like the best Toto you can buy. I would really love one in my home. Sidebar. Anyway, the Toto Corporation, they invented this thing called Otohime, which literally translates as "sound princess." And so what this is is a little device that is in the stall, and it has a button, and you push the button and it makes flushing sounds. That's the whole thing. That's what it does.
Nick: And now they're actually motion activated, so you don't have to touch the button. You can just, like, wave your hand in front of it. And it'll just just make a whooshing, flushing sound for maybe 25 seconds, and then you can push it again and have another 25 seconds. And so this was invented, and this really solved this water wasting problem. And now they have portable ones that you can, like, keep in your purse, you know, in case you happen to be in a public restroom that doesn't have a Otohime.
Nick: And now there's actually an iPhone app too, which I just downloaded, which is kind of fun. And so if you're ever in a Japanese restroom and you see, like, this little device that looks like a building intercom with, like, a speaker and a button, this is what this is. So you can push it and you can make a flushing sound.
Leah: I wish our friends at home could see my face, because I am grinning ear to ear. This is phenomenal, and I would love this in restrooms everywhere.
Nick: So would it be weird if you had a portable one in an American restroom, and other people were not expecting electronic flushing sounds to be coming out of your stall?
Leah: I've been in restrooms where people are just constantly flushing. Like, this is—this happened. So I would assume that people would just think that I was constantly flushing. They wouldn't jump to, oh, she has one of those electronic flushers. [laughs]
Nick: [laughs] Oh, it must be a sound princess! And it should be noted that men also feel embarrassed too. They did, like, some survey and, like, a significant number of Japanese men also felt this. But this device is more commonly found in women's restrooms in Japan. So there you have it.
Leah: What a delight!
Leah: How cool is that? I also love knowing that that's the thing that you want, this toilet, because I have a running list of things that Nick has said he liked.
Leah: You know, because ...
Nick: Christmas is coming!
Leah: Yeah, one never knows when one will be in a place where something might show up.
Nick: Yeah. No, NX1 toilet, I would really enjoy that, yeah.
Nick: And we're back. And this is the part of the show where we go deep in some topic.
Leah: Also, we're like, how are we gonna pick our hundredth episode deep dive celebration topic?
Nick: We have covered so much ground. There has been ghosting, there's been drive-thrus. I mean, there's just been so many topics.
Leah: There's been email closings.
Nick: Yes. Guinea pig kisses.
Leah: Guinea pig kisses.
Nick: But I think for me what I like about the segment we have selected is where we kind of go. We kind of go on a full journey through information that's useful, an insane story about redecorating and ...
Nick: ... then crime scenes.
Leah: And then it goes into a murder mystery.
Nick: It really gives you the full breadth of the Nick and Leah experience.
Leah: I also—there's, like, one little—I think it could be easily, because it's just a quick thing you say, and I wrote it down because I loved it so much.
Leah: It was the concept of you said, "Whatever makes that person whole."
Leah: When you were talking. And I was like, you know, that's just such a lovely way to say that.
Nick: Sure. That's also a very legal term. [laughs]
Leah: Is it?
Nick: Yes. Yes, yes. If somebody's done you wrong, they need to make you whole, which usually involves giving you money. Yeah, that's a very legal thing, but it also works in etiquette.
Leah: And also works just emotionally.
Nick: And we're back, and now it's time to go deep.
Leah: Another great question.
Nick: So we got a great question from the wilderness, which is, quote, "What is the protocol when asking a friend to house-sit? In this instance, I'm asking about someone actually staying at your house, and doing some basic things like getting the mail and taking care of the cat. If your home offers your friend more space and amenities than where they live, for example, it's a single family home with a pool versus a small apartment, is it considered a trade, since they are enjoying upgraded digs while also doing you a favor? Or should there be compensation regardless? Or at least offered? And how to handle the conversation of which bedroom to offer them, presuming a guest bedroom is available? There's something that weirds me out thinking about anyone other than me or my husband sleeping in our bed and using our bathroom. But I feel strange not offering the best accommodations to someone who is watching the house for us. I think a gift is appropriate for anyone who watches the house, friend or family. But compensation?"
Leah: I think right off the top, the easiest part of that question, is no problem putting them in the guest bedroom. I don't think that's a thing.
Nick: Yeah, I feel like that's fine, as long as your guest bedroom is comfortable. You know, if you've just got a metal cot with no mattress in there.
Leah: Yeah, if it's like a bed of nails and then I think maybe find it another space for them. But I think otherwise, not a problem.
Nick: Yeah, if your guest room is lovely, that's no problem. Yeah.
Leah: I also personally would rather sleep in a guest bedroom, because I don't want to feel like I'm being invasive in any way.
Nick: I can see that, yeah. I can see how being in, like, the inner sanctum can feel a little intimate.
Leah: I think guest bedroom? Lovely.
Nick: Yeah. Okay, so that aside ...
Leah: You can take that right off the top.
Nick: So my first thought is: in friendship, the currency that we talk about is reciprocation, not cold, hard cash. Like, if you invite me over for dinner, I'm not gonna slip you a $100 bill at the end of the night. Like, that's not what we do as friends. And so I think for asking a friend to house-sit for you, I mean, that's sort of part of friendship. And so I don't think we necessarily do, like, cold, hard cash. I don't think we want our friend to be out money. So, like, if it will cost them to do this favor for you, like, a lot of gas trying to drive to your house, or somehow they've lost money doing something else for you, like, you should definitely make them whole. But I don't think we necessarily pay them for this service.
Leah: Well, I also think it depends on, is this somehow more of an inconvenience? Is it farther from their job, you know what I mean?
Leah: So in those things, I think it could be—I think the word "compensate" is a nice word. "Can you stay here? You know, I'm happy to throw in this much for your troubles because I know it's out of your way."
Nick: Right, all of that. But I guess if it's an acquaintance and less of a close friend, then somehow compensation sort of makes more sense the more remote the relationship is. Like, the closer the friend, the less likely you would give them cold, hard cash. And then the less of a friend they are, maybe you would toss them some cash for their troubles.
Leah: Yeah, because it's more of a job.
Nick: Right. Yeah, exactly. And then I think if we start thinking that, like, oh, because I have a pool, they really should be paying me for an upgraded experience that is so much better than their normal life, I don't think we want to go down that road. And so, like, just because your home might be nicer, it's not like you're really doing me a favor by allowing me to experience it for three days.
Leah: [laughs] I think if, say, it was in another city, and you knew that that friend wanted to visit that city, but it would save them money on a hotel, then that's also a nice exchange. "Oh, hey. I'm gonna be out of town. I knew you wanted to come here. Do you want to stay? You know, so you don't have to have a hotel. And can you take care of my cat?"
Nick: Yeah, okay. So I guess in thinking about, like, how it should go down then, some dos and don'ts come to mind. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is, like, we should set very clear expectations for how this should work. Both sides should understand, like, what is expected of them. So, like, what exactly do you want me to do when I'm house sitting? And what are the dos and don'ts?
Leah: And I wrote that. "Just ask what's okay! Exclamation point! At the beginning. Like, at the beginning, everybody should go over it.
Nick: Right, yeah. So, like, if it's about taking care of pets, like, are they allowed to go off their diet? Or what are the rules? Or can I eat the stuff in the fridge? Or whatever. So I think, yeah, definitely making all that clear way up top is very useful.
Leah: Yeah. I think go through the whole list, especially because also, I was thinking sometimes when people are out of town, like, say you broke something, they may not want to know while they're out of town. They may be like, "I'm very out of town."
Nick: Oh, interesting.
Leah: So try to go over everything before people leave.
Nick: I mean, what is that conversation? "If I damage something in your house, would you like me to tell you or would you like me to wait?"
Leah: No, not that question. That was separate, I was just saying that because inevitably, you know what I mean? But it's things like that. It's like, does this person want to be contacted or not contacted?
Nick: Yes. I think definitely having some sort of conversation about how much checking in do we want to be doing.
Nick: Like, if you're taking care of my house, and you're not taking care of any of my pets. So it's just about, like, bringing in the mail, watering the plants, making sure that it doesn't burn down, I don't probably need daily check-ins from you. Just, like, contact me if something has gone wrong and you need me. Otherwise, like, see you when I get back.
Nick: But if you are taking care of my pet, I probably want more frequent updates on that.
Leah: Maybe a few pictures.
Nick: Definitely want video, maybe some live face-timing. Yeah, we want all that.
Leah: You guys snuggling on the couch. I want to see it. I want to see it.
Nick: And I don't think we have wild parties—or any parties. And I think you definitely don't want to invite anybody over without permission at all. It's like, not even a friend to watch the game. I think you should ask for permission.
Leah: Yeah, but I do think that if you're like, "Oh, hey, I always watch the game on"—whatever, depending on what you like to watch, what day it is. "Do you mind if I have a friend over? It'll just be one person."
Nick: Right. And obviously, yes, should be the answer.
Nick: But you definitely need to ask, because if the person finds out that you had someone in your house and they didn't know about it, that does feel like a violation. And they will find out about it, and they will not like that.
Nick: So don't do that. And don't redecorate. And I mention this because in the Hamptons, where I've spent a lot of time covering that world, there was a story once where people would come back in the spring after, like, leaving their houses all winter long, and they would come back to discover that someone had broken in, didn't steal anything, but rearranged all the furniture.
Nick: And rehung pictures. Yes! And so it ended up looking better, usually, most of the time. And so most people just actually kept it the new way. But this was a thing that happened several times, or so the stories have gone.
Leah: The people broke in to redecorate?
Nick: Well, no one locks their houses in the Hamptons. That's one dirty secret.
Leah: Oh, my goodness. I'm getting a ticket right now.
Nick: [laughs] But yeah, broke into people's houses on Gin Lane, rearranged the living room furniture, put the couch on the other wall, put the TV somewhere else, and then you walk in after four months and you see your living room, like, totally different. So I think the same rule applies.
Nick: If you're a houseguest, don't redecorate. They like their furniture where it is, so just, like, leave it.
Leah: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, wow. That's—I mean, a lot to take in, yeah.
Nick: Never would occur to me to, like, redecorate.
Leah: You call your friend, "Hey, I know you're out of town, but I just wanted to let you know that your painting would probably look better on the other wall. What do you think about me moving it?"
Nick: Or, "I just moved it, and I'm just gonna tell you it looks better." Yeah. Other things on my list: don't go snooping. Don't do it. Don't go through their stuff.
Leah: Yeah. I mean, I never have—I actually don't have interest. It makes me feel bad.
Nick: Yeah. I wouldn't want to do that. Also, what am I gonna find? Would it be shocking? Probably not.
Leah: I mean, if I was, like, down in the cellar looking for a shovel because they asked me to, like, fix a garden or whatever, and I saw, like, a foot sticking out, I would absolutely have to look, because it's a murder mystery. But barring that ...
Nick: You would look?
Leah: If you saw a foot?
Nick: Umm ...
Leah: I would be like, "I got to get out of this house."
Nick: I feel like I would run. I don't think I would want to get closer.
Leah: Oh, I would have to look. And then I would run. And then I'd be like—I would call my friend and be like, "You have a foot in your basement.
Nick: I mean, I feel like they know.
Leah: I would somehow convince myself that they didn't know.
Nick: I see.
Leah: I guess I would have to call the police first. I'm gonna have to work this out in case it happens. [laughs]
Nick: I feel like your first phone call is to the police.
Leah: I mean, it depends on the friendship I have. Is this your ride or die friend?
Leah: You want to—you need to know the story first. You know what I mean?
Nick: "Please explain the foot in your basement."
Leah: If you can explain this to my full—you know?
Nick: Uh-huh. Okay. That's friendship.
Nick: One thing also on my list is, I was once housesitting for friends in Los Angeles who are, like, impeccable taste and their house is beautiful. And it's a one bedroom, so I was in their bed. And their bed had 9,000 pillows.
Nick: All different types of patterns. And their taste is such that it feels like, oh, this is just spontaneous. But you know that there is a special order in which all of this works. Like, obviously this pillow goes next to this one and this size and all that. But no joke. There probably were, like, 25 pillows on this bed.
Leah: Oh, wow.
Nick: So what I did is I photographed the bed from all different angles before I got into it, so that when I left I was able to have a reference for exactly how all the pillows should be put back. And so I made sure it was, like, precise to the millimeter.
Leah: I mean, you're, of course, as always, phenomenal.
Nick: So I do recommend photographing any areas of the house that you do need to put back the way you found them.
Leah: I think that's a great idea. I would probably sleep on the floor, I'd see it and I'd have a panic attack, I'd sleep on the floor.
Nick: Like, oh, I can't. I can't touch it.
Leah: I can't touch it.
Nick: And then at the end, I think you might want to do something nice for the person when they come back. So—I don't know—some flowers or, you know, fresh milk and coffee or something. Just on your way out the door.
Leah: I think that's very nice. I also think that it depends on how much of a favor you're doing them.
Nick: I mean, you have this pool. So, you know, huge favor.
Leah: A lot of times people would rather stay in their own house, regardless. So depending on who's doing who the bigger favor is who leaves it. I mean, it's always nice to leave fresh milk, but it may be the other way around.
Nick: Yeah, I guess who owes whom in this instance. Right. Who's in debt?
Leah: I mean, it's always just nice to do nice things, but I think if you're doing them a favor ...
Nick: Yeah, just leave it the way you found it, and then, you know, try not to break anything. And if you do, just let them know.
Leah: Let them know, and offer to fix it.
Nick: There you are.
Leah: And I guess don't leave anything very murder mystery in the basement, because then your friend's gonna be in a conundrum.
Nick: Yeah, because if you don't let them know about the foot and then they come home and they find the foot, they're gonna think you're responsible, and who needs that?
Leah: Oh, I didn't even think of that layer.
Leah: Then you'd have to be like, "Oh no, I didn't bring it up because I thought it was you, and I was trying to have your back." And then your friend's like, "Oh, you thought I murdered someone and you were just gonna go along with it?" And then it's a whole thing.
Nick: Ugh, story of my life.
Leah: [laughs] Nick was like, "I took a picture of the foot exactly where I found it, so in case I moved it, I could put it back exactly the same."
Nick: That's how I roll.
Nick: So Leah, have you had any further thought about what you would do? Would you call the friend or the police first?
Leah: I actually believe there are three options, which I want to make clear.
Leah: One is that something happened that they were unaware of, and that's when you want to involve authorities.
Leah: Two, your friend did something, and that's why you got to call your friend first to be like, "Are we hiding this together?" Because I assume they had a very good reason, and they're your very close friend.
Leah: So you want to be supportive. The third option is that your friend is setting you up.
Leah: Because they are getting you back for something, or ...
Leah: ... they were never a good friend. They were, like, living under a different name. They're setting you up for something. They're gonna come back and be like, "While I was gone." So that's why you have to check it out immediately and figure out which circumstance this is.
Nick: Oh, that's—oh yeah, come over and houseguest while I'm out of town. Yes, do me a favor.
Leah: And then all of a sudden you're taking the rap.
Leah: I've read a lot of mystery books, and people get set up by people they love.
Nick: And we're back, and this is the part of the show where we take questions from you all in the wilderness.
Nick: So this was really hard to try and find the most fun, favorite of these insane questions that we get.
Leah: Oh, it was so—there were so many, and so to narrow them down ...
Nick: Yeah. I mean, over a hundred episodes, we have covered a lot of questions.
Leah: A lot of great, amazing questions.
Nick: All of them are great, yeah. I would not be able to pick, like, my most favorite, but I was able to pick a few of the standouts.
Leah: I think that we definitely did a nice sprinkle of what I'd like to call the "I need a moment questions." The "What happened here?" questions.
Nick: Right. Mm-hmm.
Leah: And then questions that were, like, really interesting. They're all very interesting but, like, how do we handle this? Like, some of the ones we're just shocked.
Nick: Yes, all the emotions are covered here.
Leah: Yes, we tried to get a range.
Nick: Shock, surprise, rage, disbelief.
Nick: Yeah, all of those emotions are fully represented. So we're also just gonna play them one right after another, we're not gonna interrupt the magic. So we'll see you after the musical break.
Leah: Hope you enjoy it.
Nick: Our next question - also about children. This one is good.
Nick: I was actually on the floor when this happened-
Leah: Listeners at home, if you're driving, stop driving, because this is what ... You're going to have to pull over and deep-breathe.
Nick: "I'm a parent and have a sticky situation with another parent in our close friend group. Our children are the same age and often interact with each other at school and neighborhood gatherings. My child often extends invitations to my friend's child, which he happily accepts but doesn't reciprocate. We've come to accept this and are not forcing a friendship that doesn't come naturally. However, my friend's child has an elaborate destination birthday celebration coming up ..." Destination birthday celebration ... "Destination birthday celebration coming up, for which I was asked to co-chaperone and assist with transportation. My child is not invited. I think it was rude for my friend to ask me to attend without my child. I politely declined the invitation by saying I already had plans. However, this isn't the first time a situation like this has come up, and I would like to respond without making an excuse. What should I say next time?"
Nick: I need a moment. I have follow-up questions.
Leah: I wish we could have a full tea with this person.
Leah: A) our letter-writer is very polite.
Leah: And I think has ... You don't have to be polite anymore.
Nick: Well, before we get there, Destination Children's Party?
Nick: Does that mean we're going to Chuck E. Cheese, or are we going to St. Barts?
Leah: No ... I feel like it's somewhere in the middle-
Nick: Okay [crosstalk]
Leah: -like the Science Museum in Boston.
Nick: Oh, okay. That's-
Leah: Which is equidistant-
Nick: Between Chuck E. Cheese-
Leah: And St. Barts.
Nick: Fair enough. So, the idea that you would ask someone to chaperone a child's birthday party, where their child was not invited?!
Leah: I can't even take it!! I want to show up on the block and flip some tables!
Nick: How do you ... How do you do that with a straight face? Because they- you know that's rude.
Leah: It's so rude!
Nick: You can't not know that's rude. There's not a world in which you're like, "This is fine."
Leah: Yeah. If I had to guess what that person is telling themself in the head- their head, which I love to try to do-
Nick: Uh-huh. Please?
Leah: -even though we're not supposed to do that.
Nick: Oh, bring it!
Leah: That person's probably like, "You know, my son doesn't want to invite their child ..." They didn't say boy or girl. They made it-
Leah: "Doesn't get along with- doesn't want to invite their boy or girl, but I want to keep relations with their family, so I'll just invite the moms, so they all don't feel left out."
Leah: I mean, is that the thought is?
Nick: That's the best-case scenario.
Leah: That's the- But even then, it's RUH-DIC-U-LOUS!
Nick: Yeah. I mean, there's no- I don't think- there's no way to slice it.
Leah: I don't even understand. I feel like this mom is well within her rights ... It would be polite to say, "Hey, I can't go to something that my son's not- or daughter's not invited to."
Nick: Right. I think that's the response; like, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I can't chaperone. I can't leave my child, who was not invited, and go to this party."
Leah: "Imagine how my child would feel!"
Leah: I think that's ... You could even say more than that, but that's a fair and balanced-
Nick: Yeah, and I guess one step more opaque, if you wanted to do that, would be like, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I can't chaperone. I promised my child I would spend the day with him." The implication is, "If my child were with me this day, I could chaperone; but my child is not coming because you haven't invited him."
Leah: I think that you should clearly point out the difference of inviting someone when you didn't invite their child.
Leah: Because, as a mother, that person should understand. "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah; of course she can't go when her kid's not invited. It's an insane thing that I just did."
Nick: Yeah. Although, you aren't supposed to point out people's rudeness.
Leah: No, but in that case, you're not. You're just saying, "Hey, I can't go to something where my kid's not invited."
Leah: You're not saying, "I can't go to something that you invited me to that you didn't invite my child to."
Leah: You're saying, "Oh, I'm invited; my kid's not; I can't go."
Nick: Yeah, that's it. This is wild.
Nick: Truly wild. Yeah. I don't you want to be friends with this family.
Leah: Yeah. I feel like with their- it's like a close ... I think this happens a lot where it's a small area.
Leah: And everybody's in the same grade.
Nick: Yeah. Also, get along, people! Just invite them to this destination birthday!
Leah: What's ...?!
Nick: What's the big deal?
Leah: There's enough room at the Boston Science Museum for everybody!
Nick: Right, or Chuck E. Cheese, or St. Barts! They're all big.
Leah: They're all big.
Nick: Our next question-
Leah: We may need to take a breather after that. I'm so worked up!
Leah: This poor mom and her child!
Nick: Yeah, no, it's wild. I mean, this is an etiquette ... What's worse than a crime? This is an etiquette ...
Leah: This is a federal prison.
Nick: This is federal. Yeah. This is not small claims court.
Leah: This is federal.
Nick: Yeah. This is that place in Colorado that has no windows. Yeah.
Leah: I also want to tell that kid who didn't get invited, you're the person who's going to grow up to be the next, you know, Bill Gates. Don't worry about it.
Nick: Yeah, you'll be fine.
Leah: You didn't want to go to that party anyway.
Nick: No. That party is garbage.
Nick: Garbage party. Although, Science Museum is nice.
Nick: Our next question is - excellent question - "Is there a polite way to eat Cheetos?"
Leah: That's a great, fun question.
Nick: So, I have actually never had a Cheeto.
Nick: Never. Yeah. It didn't come up in my macrobiotic-vegan household.
Leah: Do you know why the question is?
Nick: Yes. No, I have lived in the world.
Leah: Okay, I just didn't know-
Nick: I have been outside. I have seen television-
Leah: If you haven't held one in your hand, I don't know if you'd know-
Nick: Yeah, and I've had other things that have a Cheeto-like quality. I've eaten Doritos.
Nick: Which is sort of going towards that world.
Leah: Yes. On the path.
Nick: But I have never actually had a Cheeto. I have learned a lot about Cheetos from Wikipedia, based on this question.
Leah: It would be amazing to watch you have your first Cheeto.
Nick: I feel like that's a whole BuzzFeed thing that they do-
Leah: Oh, is it?
Nick: -people eating new things for the first time. But I have learned that Cheetos have an official name for the dust on them.
Leah: Oh, really?
Nick: Yes. It's called Cheetle.
Nick: Like, "Oh, you've got some Cheetle on your shirt."
Leah: Really? Like a Don Cheadle.
Nick: Spelled similarly, yes.
Leah: I wonder how Don feels about that.
Nick: I'm sure there are some trademark issues that their lawyers are working out, yeah.
Leah: I see him at home, like, "Ugh! They're using it again!"
Nick: One thing I thought was fascinating, from my internet research, was that there are strawberry Cheetos in Japan.
Nick: Which, I don't know if that's terrifying or wonderful.
Nick: But strawberry Cheeto ... Yeah.
Leah: When I first moved here, one of the many, many jobs I had ... I was signed up with a catering company.
Leah: One of the jobs- they sent us to a place where people made new versions of food, and then they taste-tested them, and they decided what was going to move forward and what wasn't.
Nick: Oh, I see; like the new flavor of Pringle.
Leah: We all tasted in the back, and I feel like there was a very spicy Cheeto there.
Nick: Yeah, well, I guess Flaming Hot Cheeto-
Leah: Now, there's a Flaming Hot, but this was way before it came out.
Nick: Oh, you have some finger on the pulse.
Leah: Yeah, finger on the pulse.
Nick: So, the question is what is the polite way to eat Cheetos? So, you have had Cheetos.
Leah: Oh, yeah.
Nick: So, do you have thoughts on this?
Leah: I do have thoughts. I was just ... It said, "Is there a polite way ...?" I wrote, "Just don't throw them at people." I just- I feel like, going in, people are going to know this is going to get on your fingers.
Nick: I mean, on some level, Cheetos are inherently designed to do that.
Leah: Yeah, that's-
Nick: That's part of the thing, because you can have cheesy puffs that don't do this.
Leah: Yeah, you're not going to not be able ... You're gonna have orange stuff on you.
Nick: Right; say, Cheetle, if you will ...
Leah: You're gonna be Cheetled.
Leah: You've gotta have napkins ready.
Nick: Okay, napkins. Now, does a napkin remove the Cheetle efficiently?
Leah: You may have to involve, like, water?
Nick: So, are we involving finger bowls?
Leah: A liquid ... You're going to involve a finger bowl?
Nick: I'm going to do finger bowls for this.
Leah: Or you could hand-sanitize, which I feel like loosens it, and then you wipe it down.
Nick: Hm. Okay ...
Leah: Obviously, that's something I have done.
Nick: You have used, like, a Purell-
Leah: A Purell to get it, and then, you just- then you napkin.
Nick: Okay, interesting. I was thinking that the best way, at my formal dinner party, where I'm serving Cheetos as my amuse-bouche, I guess-
Leah: Oh, it'd be a great amuse-bouche!
Nick: -is that I would serve it with chopsticks.
Leah: Oh, wow! You know, that would be fun.
Nick: Right? I mean, don't you think chopsticks solves a lot of problems?
Leah: It does, and I would absolutely ... It would be so fun.
Nick: Yeah, so I think you want to decant the Cheetos into a nice decorative bowl.
Leah: You're decanting Cheetos.
Leah: Of course.
Nick: Then, I think ... Everybody should have their own individual portion of the Cheeto.
Nick: I don't think we have a communal bowl of Cheetos.
Leah: I think you could just serve it to each little bowl.
Nick: Right, and then, everybody has chopsticks, and I think we want chopstick rests. I think that's nice.
Nick: Then, I think we eat the Cheetos with chopsticks.
Leah: This is lovely.
Nick: Yeah, so-
Leah: This is for a sit-down formal Cheeto.
Nick: Correct. Yes.
Leah: As opposed to walking around a party-
Nick: This is not a passed hors d'oeuvre Cheeto.
Nick: But I think, if this was a passed Cheeto, I think I would also serve the chopsticks.
Leah: Okay. What about at a buffet?
Nick: Cheetos a buffet?!
Leah: Yeah. You walk by, and you grab some.
Nick: Well, I think there would need to be tongs.
Nick: There's tongs. Now, I'm back at my table, and I- it would always come back to chopsticks.
Leah: I think a part of Cheetos - if it's not Nick's version, which I love - which really makes them more fun is that-
Nick: Yeah, well, it really takes it from desk to dinner. Yeah.
Leah: [Laughing] It does.
Leah: The other side of the Cheeto experience is if you're in a couch spiral, and you're at home alone, and you're eating something that just highlights this, "I'm not leaving ..."
Nick: Despair. Uh-huh.
Leah: Yes, and that's when you eat Cheetos.
Nick: Oh, I see.
Leah: It's on your face. It's on your hands.
Leah: You're like, "I'm covered in Cheetos!"
Nick: It's physical manifestation of your internal state.
Leah: Yeah, you're watching- you're on the fifth season of Love Island. You know what I mean?
Nick: Okay. It's dark.
Leah: Yeah, you've hit the Cheetos.
Nick: It's dark.
Leah: You've wiped it on a shirt. I mean, that's a part of the Cheetos experience.
Nick: Okay. Well, I'm really missing out! Christmas is coming, guys. Send Cheetos my way! All right, our next question ... Oh, this is real controversial: "A friend wants my recipe for my famous chocolate cake, and I don't want to give it to him. It's sort of my signature cake, and it's something I'm known for. How do I decline?"
Leah: This is not controversial at all. It's your cake ...
Nick: [Gasping] Ohh ...
Leah: It's your signature recipe.
Nick: Oh, we have very different opinions on this.
Leah: You are not obligated!
Nick: Mmmm ...
Leah: What you do is you put it on somebody else. "I'm so delighted that you love it. I'd be happy to make it for you. This is a family recipe, and I'm not allowed to give it out."
Nick: Not allowed!
Leah: "Because my family ... It's just a family thing, and I would be shunned."
Nick: Oh! I do not agree with that. A lot of people do agree with you, I will say. There are a lot of people who will take your position, or they'll give the recipe, and they'll sabotage it.
Leah: See, that seems very passive-aggressive.
Nick: They'll likely leave an ingredient out, or they'll change the amounts, or they'll change some technique. I think that's, uh, bold. There are people that will be like, "Oh, there isn't a recipe. I just throw things together. I never even measure!"
Leah: I would just rather people be direct with me than be dishonest because they don't want to share.
Nick: So, this is going to sound like something you say.
Nick: I don't see what the big deal is. Just give the recipe.
Leah: This person doesn't want to, though.
Nick: Yeah, but what's the big deal?
Leah: The big deal is that it's their signature cake.
Nick: There are so many things in my life that I don't want to do-
Nick: Half of my life is things I don't want to do.
Leah: I would give anybody a recipe. I don't- this is not my thing, but this person, it's their thing.
Leah: If you have a thing.
Nick: Okay ...
Leah: But I think you should own it, and say, "This is my thing."
Nick: Do you think that is a polite response?
Leah: Which one?
Nick: Just setting the boundary, and being like, "No, it's a family secret ..."
Leah: I don't think the person-
Nick: Taking it to my grave.
Leah: I don't think the person should've assumed that you would share. I actually, this weekend, asked somebody for a recipe.
Nick: Mm-hmm. For what?
Leah: For these unbelievable gluten-free cookies! You don't even know they're gluten-free.
Leah: I said, "Is this something you'd be willing to share?"
Leah: And I would've been fine if they were like, "No, I'm gonna market these, and sell these."
Leah: Because I'm asking them to share something that's maybe their thing.
Nick: I mean, if there is a commercial aspect to this, that changes the equation a little bit.
Leah: Or, also, maybe this is a community where people show up, and they have competitive baking.
Leah: You know what I mean?
Nick: Sure. Mm-hmm.
Leah: I don't know what the backstory is here, but if this is how you feel, and you don't want to share, I just think you should be upfront about it. Not rude; just be like, "Hey, this is my secret cake. Happy to share other things with you, but not that. Of course, you understand."
Nick: Uh-huh. I don't love that.
Leah: I know you don't.
Leah: But I'm sticking with it.
Nick: Okay. I mean, I guess-
Leah: I would- I'm not saying ... I'm just saying for this person.
Nick: Yeah, you ... I hear that you don't want to be this person. You just want to accept that this person doesn't have to.
Leah: No, I'm not saying I don't want to be this person. I'm just saying that this is not my thing.
Nick: Right. You're happy to give any recipe.
Nick: I hear that you are happy to give any recipe anybody asks you for.
Nick: Leah Bonnema - free recipes.
Leah: I have three. You guys are all welcome to them.
Nick: But I think one way out of this, if you don't want to give the recipe, is to try and demure because, a lot of times, people actually ask for recipes, and they are just being polite. They don't actually want the recipe. They're not actually going to make this thing. It's just a think people say, like, "Oh, my gosh, the frittata's so great! Can I get the recipe?" I'm never going to make this frittata.
Leah: Right, so ignore it.
Nick: You could just like, "Oh, of course ..." and then, are they really going to follow up? They're not going to follow up.
Leah: Okay, say they follow up. What's next?
Nick: I would turn it over because so much ... Especially cake; so much of cake is technique that the way you do it is not going to be the same as the way I do it. We have different ovens, we have different pans; we're probably buying different butter ... We're just not going to have the same cake. Also, everybody knows this is my cake, so, in our community of competitive bakers, they know that I had this cake first, so I would just give it.
Leah: Okay. Hmm.
Nick: We have differences of opinions.
Leah: No, but I think we're also reading the question differently. She's saying, "I'm not giving up the cake."
Nick: Yeah, and I'm saying I think you should.
Leah: [Hearty laughter]
Nick: So, there's that.
Leah: All right.
Nick: Okay? Our next question: "Last year, myself and four friends decided that we would make a bit of an effort to go out to cultural events. So far, this has included going to two plays. The first was enjoyed by all, but the second was terrible. In fact, it was so terrible that it really bonded us as a group. After the second play, one member of our group (we're gonna call him Chad) called dibs on choosing the next activity. Recently, I discovered that a musical I'm very keen on seeing is coming to our city, so I invited these friends, plus anybody else I thought would be interested in going. Almost immediately, someone from the smaller group responded with, 'Chad called dibs.' It seems to have shut down the conversation, and no one else has responded to my invitation. So, Chad called dibs six months ago and has made no attempt to organize anything, and my invitation included people who aren't in this group. Is there a time limit when dibs can reasonably be considered expired, and should the dibs be considered valid, when the invitation was extended outside the core group?" Leah!
Leah: I have thoughts.
Nick: I have lots of ... First, let's explain, because we do have a lot of international listeners-
Leah: Oh, that's a good idea.
Nick: What 'dibs' is because I think this is a fairly American term. So, 'dibs' is basically when you claim something.
Nick: Like, "I claim the front seat of the car."
Leah: That's usually the most popular use of dibs.
Nick: Yes. Although, in America, we would use the alternative expression [in unison] 'Shotgun!' Which, you know where this comes from?
Nick: I think when there were stagecoaches- horse-drawn stagecoaches, and you were transporting gold, you would have the person sitting in the passenger seat-
Leah: Oh! With a shotgun!
Nick: -with a shotgun, while the other guy got the horses going.
Leah: Oh, wow!
Nick: I think 'getting the horses going' is the technical equestrian term for that [Laughing]
Leah: "I'm gonna get the horses going. You get the shotgun."
Nick: "You get the shotgun!"
Nick: So, dibs is basically just you're claiming something; like, "I call dibs on the last cookie." "I call dibs on the passenger seat in the car."
Leah: I call dibs on the couch.
Nick: Right. So, that's dibs. My first reaction, when I read this was, like, grow up, people! [Laughing] I mean, how horrible that somebody wants to make an effort to plan a fun night out for everybody. I mean ... That's my first reaction.
Leah: Yeah, and we don't mean grow up, the letter-writer; we mean your friends [crosstalk]
Nick: Your friend! No, letter-writer's lovely.
Nick: Making an effort; inviting people ...
Leah: You've found something that you were excited about-
Nick: Want other to be people excited about ... Yeah, so our letter-writer, totally in the clear here. Yeah. Well, A) Chad is the worst.
Leah: Also, Chad may just be ... Chad didn't weigh in on this. Chad's taken too long.
Leah: But I think that Chad- it doesn't seem like Chad took this personally.
Nick: No, it's the other friends that seem to feel that we have to respect the dibs system.
Leah: I also think that that person probably just didn't want to go to that place, so they said something-
Nick: Oh, you think that's what it is?
Leah: If you honestly, six months out, are like, "Hey, we have to go in order because someone called dibs," I can't put that into a framework in my brain where that's a real thing that person thinks.
Nick: Yeah, no, that's true.
Leah: I think our letter-writer could write back: "Oooh, I didn't mean to go out of order, Chad. This was just something I was excited about that I wanna go to. I've been ... I love this play." I mean, I don't even know how you can make this-
Nick: Yeah, it's a little mind-boggling. Yeah, I think the idea of dibs, I think, does expire at some point, though. I don't think there is a fixed point in time when it does, but it does feel like six months has now passed.
Nick: Because, is the idea here that we only do two cultural events a year? Is that what this new little group has decided, that six months is our duration?
Nick: Also, I think we need to establish the order in which we go. I think we need to establish some ground rules for how this group works. For a little while, I was part of a supper club, where there were six of us, and every month or so, one of us was in charge of picking a restaurant of some cuisine. There was an order in which we were going to do it, which we established, and we mapped it out for six months, and we picked the date six months in advance-
Leah: Oh, wow!
Nick: It was sort of ... Well, I mean, you know me enough to know-
Leah: No, of course.
Nick: Of course. You think we don't have our 2025 plan all sorted out? Of course! But that's how we did it. It was like, "Okay, I know that you're doing February, you're doing March," and it was set. Whereas this feels very nebulous, which is why maybe nothing is happening.
Nick: But also, Chad has lost the privilege.
Leah: I don't even think a person has to bring up, "Hey, it's been six months since we called dibs."
Leah: I mean ... I think it could just be like, "Oh, this is a thing I wanted to do."
Nick: This is a bonus thing.
Nick: Right. But also-
Leah: And then, set up ... I think what you're saying is a great idea. What's the schedule on this?
Nick: Yeah, "I'd like to plan my life out. I would love to make sure I'm available for these dates. Let's get a shared Google Doc going."
Nick: Yeah. So, yeah, I would say ignore the people who don't want to go. If they don't wanna go, they don't wanna go. Then, just find other people to go with.
Nick: Just ignore these bad people.
Leah: Yeah, you don't have to wait to go to something because Chad called dibs!
Nick: Definitely not. Also, in general, I think if you wait on other people to do stuff, you'll never do anything.
Nick: I have a lot of friends that are like, "Oh, I really wanna go to Greece, but I don't have anybody to go with ..." Just go. Just go alone.
Nick: Just decide you want to go. If somebody can join, great. If not ... Otherwise, you're never gonna leave the house.
Nick: So ...
Leah: And it's nice that ... He or she is inviting extra people.
Nick: Yeah. We'll go. What's the play? Let us know. We're around.
Nick: Our next question comes from Los Angeles, and our writer writes, "I am at my wit's end," which, you know-
Leah: This is very exciting.
Nick: Great start. So long story short-
Leah: I wish we could have gotten the beginning of what this person has done before.
Nick: Oh, for sure.
Leah: I wish I could get a full list.
Nick: So let me explain. This email came with like attachments and supporting materials. So this woman has a friend who goes rogue anytime she has a dinner party. So like, "I'll have a dinner party," and like, "Here's what we're doing for the dinner party." And this friend decides just like go off script and is not apologetic about it. And so our writer in Los Angeles is going to have a fried chicken party, which you're not supposed to invite yourself to someone's party. But like, if I was going to break that rule, this sounds great [crosstalk]. So if you are a gust at this party, you're supposed to bring a type of fried chicken, bring a Korean fried chicken, southern fried chicken, popcorn chicken, whatever it is. You, the guest, are bringing a type of chicken. And our host, the letter writer, is doing all the sides and all the beverages. Awesome. So this broke friend is like, "Great, I'm bringing roast chicken and sides." And it's like, no.
Nick: No -- I -- that's not what this is.
Leah: And our letter writing makes it clear that this person has behaved this way in the past.
Nick: This is not a first time.
Nick: This is a pattern.
Nick: And so the question here is like, I want to explain that this is like not OK. What do I say? So.
Leah: And you absolutely should.
Leah: You're doing this really wonderful, nice, fun thing.
Leah: They can not come if they can't follow the rules.
Nick: So but the question is, how do you say this?
Nick: Right. So they send a copy of the invitation. It is not unclear what is expected of guests.
Leah: Oh, it is very clear.
Nick: It's very polite, very nice. I would totally attend this party. And there is a co-host on this invitation, says letter writer and somebody else. So I think subtle hands have clearly not worked with this person. I think you have a couple options. One is you can throw the other co-host under the bus.
Nick: So be like. "Well, I would love for you to bring roast chicken and sides, but Jasper is very adamant that it has to be fried chicken."
Leah: I don't think you even have to say I would love for you to. You can just say, "This is Jasper's thing and Jasper is really into the fried chicken."
Nick: Right. So it has to be fried chicken. You could also, if you wanted to kind of twist the knife a little bit, say something along the lines of like, "I feel like when I hear you want to bring roast chicken," use like I statements. "I feel that when you bring roast chicken, it makes me feel bad that I'm not hosting an event that would please you." Is that too far?
Leah: I feel...
Nick: That too far?
Leah: I mean, I get why-
Nick: Something in that zone, though.
Leah: It's a nice, nice, knife twisty one. I think you could -- I like to default. I always like to give somebody a, "Oh, maybe you didn't understand," even though I was perfectly clear you leave that part out.
Leah: You write back and you say, "Hey. Oh, I think you misread the invitation. I'm doing the sides, and we're inviting people to bring the fried chicken. If this doesn't work for you, no worries. We can invite you to another event."
Nick: That's very nice. Yes. That may be the best answer, although I do like a nice I statement.
Leah: I think both of those work. It just depends on the tone you want to set.
Nick: Right. So I think either way, I think we will achieve-
Leah: You could send a first of, "Oh, maybe you misunderstood. This is it." And then if that doesn't go through, we go with the knife twist.
Nick: OK. That's your last resort.
Leah: Yeah, and that's when you're like, "Sorry, this doesn't work for your life."
Nick: Right. "Sorry, we've ruined it."
So, our next question is: "A friend of mine recently moved out of state, but before she left town, I took her out to lunch at a local restaurant to say goodbye. As I was driving her home, she asked me if I liked lentil soup. I told her that I haven't had it before because it never really appealed to me. She responded with, "My friend's mom made me a huge batch of lentil soup that I've been keeping in my freezer for a few months. It's so good, but I won't be able to eat it before I move out, so I'm gonna give you some." I really didn't want the soup, especially since I knew it was now months old. So, I said, "Thank you, but I'm okay. I'm not a huge soup-eater." She replied again, "Trust me, you'll love it, but you'll have to season it first so it's not bland." I gave up and I said, "Okay ..."
She then asked me if I liked more things: ketchup, teriyaki sauce, miso soup. I told her, "No, thank you," more definitively this time. She seemed to accept this until we got back to her apartment. She ran upstairs to get the lentil soup and returned with an enormous bag full of lentil soup and other used refrigerated items. I tried to politely tell her, "Thank you, but I don't know how to cook with these things, and I don't want them to go to waste," but she insisted that she was "saving me money" and proceeded to text me recipes to use said ingredients. I went home and ended up throwing everything out because I have no idea how long they've been open and sitting in a refrigerator. All this to say - when moving out, please do not burden your friends with the contents of your fridge!"
Leah: My back hurt reading this.
Leah: I just ...
Leah: There's a real issue with people who can't hear no.
Nick: Yeah. I think we all have this person in our life. I think we all know this lentil-soup person.
Nick: I really ... I could picture this person in my life. I know this person. Yeah.
Leah: Unfortunately, you have to dig in on your no's with people like this. "No thank you ..." It makes somebody, especially somebody like me, who- I hate saying no to people that I really like because I inherently want them to feel good. But then you just say your no, and then that's it! "Oh, but you ..." "No! No thank you. No, thank you," and then, that's it.
Nick: Yeah, but this is somebody who doesn't listen, and somebody who doesn't listen, they don't hear "No." It does not fire any synapses in their brain. It doesn't compute. No means white noise. So, when the stakes are low like this - it's lentil soup - I think we just take the lentil soup.
Leah: Yeah, but now she didn't just take the lentil soup. Now she took a bag of this person's-
Nick: Garbage! [Giggling]
Leah: -fridge garbage! This just made me so angry. Then, this person texted them-
Nick: That, I love, yeah.
Leah: -recipes. So, now, this person has to invent a story, or be like, "Are you kidding me? I threw them out. I told you I didn't want them." It just ... If it was just the soup, I would have been like, "Just take it ..."
Nick: Oh, but it's the ketchup that puts you over the edge?
Leah: It's the teriyaki sauce-
Nick: Uh-huh ...
Leah: -and then the texting of recipes, as if this person isn't able to find recipes on their own, if they were interested in the teriyaki sauce.
Leah: "I'm saving you money." Oh, thank you so much! It just ... For some reason, this one really, really grinded my gears.
Nick: Yeah. No, I see that. I mean ...
Leah: This friend is treating this person like a child.
Nick: Oh. You get a little patronizing flavor from this?
Leah: "Let me tell you how to use condiments ..."?
Nick: [Giggling] That's true. "Here's how ketchup works."
Leah: Yeah, that's exactly-
Leah: If I get a text that, I just ... Unfortunately, I would love to become the kind of person who, when they came downstairs with the condiments, I would love to be the kind of person who is like, "I really can't take this. I appreciate it. I already have too much stuff." But no, I wish I was that person.
Nick: But you're not that person.
Leah: I am not that person. I would take it.
Leah: Then I would get it to my house, and I would get so upset about it that I would eat a bag of candy corn and then aggressively watch all three Lord of the Rings to calm down.
Nick: Wow. That much rage over miso soup? Okay ...
Leah: Because it's not ... When somebody doesn't listen to your boundaries-
Nick: Yeah, no, it's upsetting.
Leah: This is not the first time this happened with this friend.
Leah: This friend has been doing it to this- she's like, "Finally, you're moving!" Then, she has to keep your miso soup!
Nick: I mean, what I also love is that the lentil soup is bland.
Leah: Yeah. She's like, "Also, this soup tastes bad. You're gonna have to doctor it up." Am I taking your garbage?!
Nick: Yeah, but I do think the etiquette response here is just let it go. Take the lentil soup, throw it away. You probably won't see this person very often. That is the path of least resistance. She's leaving town. This is not when we set boundaries. I feel like we just-
Leah: I think you're probably right, but at the same time ...
Nick: Yes. I mean, etiquette is not satisfying. The correct etiquette response is often not the satisfying response.
Leah: How rude is it that a person would give you-
Leah: -their garbage?
Leah: I've said to people, when I was leaving places - because sometimes people need stuff, and I understand that - I've said, "Hey, I have stuff in my freezer. I'm going out of town for a while ..." like my neighbors that I get along with, "do you ...?" If they're like, "No," I'm like, "Of course." I only say it to people that I'm close enough friends with because I would ... If somebody was next door, and they're like, "Hey, we have this huge thing of ketchup; we're moving," I'd be like, "Yeah, give me the ketchup."
Nick: But yes, you're offering these things. This is a situation in we're not offering-
Leah: This person is putting trash into your car!
Nick: Right? [Giggling] Yeah, yeah.
Leah: I just ... I don't ... This, for some reason, really just put me over.
Nick: Yeah, no, I hear that.
Nick: So, I don't know if we've come to any conclusion here, but I guess as a PSA - this is a PSA - please don't do this.
Leah: Don't do this to your friends!
Nick: Or anyone.
Leah: Or anybody!
Leah: I also think that Nick is absolutely right. The easy thing to do ... If you didn't have a lot of backed-up emotion about this-
Leah: -would be to just take it, go back to your house and go, "I got another bag of condiments and lentil soup that needs to be doctored," and just laugh about it.
Nick: Yeah, I actually find this quite funny, so I'm into it
Leah: I think that would be the goal, but my guess is that there are some backed-up feelings, otherwise they wouldn't have written the letter.
Nick: Yeah, no, this is not the first time there's been some wayward condiments. It's true.
Leah: So, I just want to say to our letter writer: this person isn't listening to your boundaries. If you continue this friendship with them, your no's are going to have to get louder.
Nick: Fair. Okay, that's a good way to put it. Sure.
Our next question is: "I just saw this on social media. It's a photo of a woman who brought her own bell with her to a restaurant in order to get a server's attention. Thoughts?" Oh, I have thoughts.
Nick: We'll post this photo on our website, so you can see in the show notes, but you can picture it: it's a woman seated at a table at a restaurant, and there's a little metal bell that you might see at a concierge desk in an old-school hotel in a Wes Anderson movie - That ... That type of bell. So, she brought one to a restaurant.
Leah: I had hot lightning waves going down my back-
Leah: -when I saw the- when you texted me the picture, I just ... My hair on my neck-
Nick: A little tingle.
Leah: -started vibrating!
Nick: Mm-hmm. Yeah. So, we all agree this is rude. This is rude. You should not bring a bell to a restaurant, right? We agree on this.
Leah: It's whatever is the next thing.
Leah: You can't treat people like that! You're gonna ding your waitress or waiter?!
Nick: Yeah. Yeah. So, I guess that's the question - why is it so rude? What is it about this that is so rude? What boxes is it checking? I guess it's patronizing, right?
Leah: It's patronizing.
Nick: It's also super-disturbing to other diners! This is not just about getting the waiter's attention. If I'm at the next table, and you're dinging the bell? I don't want that, as a fellow diner.
Leah: Yeah, this is not your house in the 1940s, where you're dinging your butler to come fill your tea.
Leah: You're in public, and these are people working at a restaurant.
Nick: Yeah, I guess it's rude. Yeah. Okay, we have this woman; she's now in this restaurant. What do we say to her if we are the restaurant?
Leah: I think if we are the restaurant, we send over the manager.
Nick: Yes. Oh, this is definitely a job for a manager. I guess we say, "Ma'am, unfortunately, we don't allow outside bells here."
Leah: [Giggling] "We don't allow outside bells."
Leah: We say, "You're disturbing other people."
Leah: If she asks why.
Nick: I mean, I feel like she's the type of person who would need to ask why because, to all of us, it's very clear that you don't do this in the first place. So, I think the person that brings their own bell needs to have it explained to them why they can't do that.
Leah: I mean, are her friends not mortified?
Nick: There was another person at this table that she was dining with, yeah.
Leah: There was!
Nick: She wasn't dining alone.
Leah: If I went out with a friend, and they put a bell on the table, I'd be like, "You cannot do that!"
Nick: I would be ...
Leah: I would be mortified.
Nick: I would be mortified. Yeah. I would ... Yeah, I would have to say something to my dining companion, or if the waiter came over, I would have to give them a look, which was like, "I am so sorry! I had nothing to do with this bell!" [Giggling]
Leah: I couldn't ... This would be something where I'd have to be like, "You can't ring the bell."
Nick: Yeah, you can't ring the bell. But, interestingly, in many parts of Asia, there actually is a bell system at each table. I remember being in a restaurant in Seoul, and you would push a little garage-door-opener button, and it would signal to somewhere in the restaurant that you wanted service, and then a waiter would come over to your table-
Leah: Right, but-
Nick: -and it didn't ding audibly.
Leah: -you're not bringing in your own bell!
Nick: It was not BYOB. That's true.
Nick: I think I like the bell idea when you want service ... I think that, as a generalized concept if it's sanctioned by the restaurant, I like that.
Leah: Oh, it's completely different if the restaurant has set it up.
Nick: Yeah, that's true. It's the bringing your own, which is, uh, the problem.
Leah: It's like bringing in a whistle. Are you gonna whistle at people when they walk by to get their attention? I mean ...
Nick: It happens. You've been on the street in New York City.
Leah: Oh, I've also been a waitress, and I've had people whistle at me.
Nick: Ugh ... Oh, that's so rude.
Leah: It's so rude!
Nick: It's SO rude!
Leah: Everybody should have to be a waiter for a year.
Nick: What's more rude - snapping at you or whistling?
Leah: I'm gonna say snapping.
Nick: Oh, you think a 'snap-snap' is more rude than a whistle?
Leah: [Giggling] Yeah because if you whistle, there's also a part of it that's just hilarious. I'll be like, *"Are you whistling?"*
Nick: [Giggling] Okay ...
Leah: That will get me over the rude. I'll be like, "Oh, they're whistling ..." but if you just snap? I can't.
Nick: Yeah. That's true. Okay.
Leah: There's nothing to even carry me over it.
Nick: But we all agree bell is above snapping.
Leah: Because you had to bring it in as a prop.
Nick: Yeah, that's true. You had to take the effort to put it in your purse.
Leah: You put in your bag!
Nick: [Giggling] Yeah, it's unbelievable.
Nick: And we're back, and it's our 100th episode, which would, of course, not be complete without playing a game we like to call Vent or Repent?
Leah: Vent or repent!
Nick: Which is, of course, our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had, or we can repent for some etiquette faux pas we've committed. So Leah, I did some statistical analysis to determine how many vents and how many repents we've each had. The results may surprise you.
Leah: [laughs] I don't think so.
Nick: [laughs] So for me, I have repented—you want to take a guess?
Leah: It's either three or four times.
Nick: It is four times, yes. And for you ...
Leah: Five times?
Nick: So you have repented nine.
Nick: But you want to take one of them back. [laughs]
Nick: So I believe the official count then for you is eight. So for today, we went back and looked at all of our previous vents and repents. And there's some good ones. I mean, there's some really good ones.
Leah: I also was—for one second I thought, "Should I pick a repent?" Because that seems ...
Leah: And then immediately I was like, "No. No, no, no."
Nick: So without further ado, here are our favorite vents.
Leah: Enjoy! I hope it's cathartic. [laughs]
Nick: It was for us.
Leah: Yes, it was for us. Thank you.
Nick: Thank you, yes. Thank you for indulging us, yes. It makes us feel much better.
Leah: We really appreciate it. It has to go somewhere. [laughs]
Leah: I'm gonna vent!
Leah: I would like to discuss-
Leah: -what is happening with people who walk up the middle of stairs!
Nick: Mm-hmm. [Laughing] I bet- I'm good with there. We can just end it right there. Yeah.
Leah: On top of that, often, on their phones.
Leah: Are you watching a video on stairs?
Nick: That feels dangerous!
Leah: Yeah, it's happening, and they're in the middle so people can't go around!
Nick: This is happening to you all the time?
Leah: This happens to me ... Well, it happened yesterday with this woman where I'm ... Unbelievable! But I see it happen ... Move to the side!
Leah: Get off your phone! What is happening in this world, where we are walking up the middle of stairs?!
Nick: Wow! It's the end of civilization.
Leah: And on your phone?! Can't you have two- two seconds?
Leah: I can't.
Nick: Is this when you're going upstairs or downstairs? Are you ...?
Nick: So, you're behind this person?
Leah: I'm always behind.
Leah: I'm always behind these middle-of-stairs ...
Nick: Oh ...
Leah: Then, people are trying to come down the stairs. Have you no-
Nick: Personal space, yeah.
Leah: -sense of other people?
Nick: Yeah because, also, when you're on your phone, because it's dangerous to be on your phone and moving, they're probably walking slower than they would ordinarily. So, they're not only in the middle of the stairs, but they're actually at a pace that is lugubrious!
Leah: Oh, they're always going slow!
Leah: If you're a speed sprinter going up the middle of the stairs, doesn't matter.
Leah: But it's never the speed sprinters.
Nick: Yeah. So, do we secretly hope that they trip and hurt themselves?
Leah: No! I don't think that way about people.
Nick: No? Okay. [Laughing] Leah's secretly nodding aggressively ...
Leah: I just want them to stop doing it! What I want to do is yell, "You're going first in the Apocalypse!" Which I've said before-
Leah: -and it's really what I believe. But I feel rude doing that. I feel like if I address it, I become the rude person.
Nick: Well, I would say, "Oh, I'm so sorry. Can I sneak by you?"
Leah: Oh, I do say that.
Leah: Because I don't have 45 minutes to get somewhere that should take me five minutes.
Leah: But why are they doing it?
Nick: It feels shortsighted.
Leah: Then, some people look at you like, "Oh, my God, I can't believe you need to move up these stairs at a regular human fashion while I'm watching the television show, Friends!" I saw a person walking through Times Square, which is- for those of you at home, the Times Square subway station is packed!
Leah: Most the subways stop there. It's busy. They had a cell phone on a necklace-
Leah: -that had a holder. So, they were watching-
Nick: Oh, so like hands-free-
Leah: Hands-free, watching a show-
Leah: -on their phone, in front of them, while they walked through the subway station.
Nick: To have specialized equipment-
Nick: -attached to your body, which enables you to watch video on your phone, hands-free, in public-
Leah: While you're walking [crosstalk] in one of the busiest places in the entire world!
Leah: Have you no common decency?
Nick: Wow ... Yeah.
Leah: It was a sitcom. It wasn't like this person-
Nick: I mean, does that make a difference?
Leah: It did. It did to me because I always ... You know me. I'm like, maybe it's like a [crosstalk]
Nick: Maybe you're watching C-SPAN ...
Leah: -or maybe it's a thing that helps them see in some way? No, it was a ... They were watching television shows.
Leah: I got in close enough so I could judge them without feeling bad to make sure that I was accurate at what I was seeing.
Nick: So, for me, I would like to vent.
Nick: This happened not necessarily recently, but it happened, and it's always bothered me; because this is a safe space, I wanted to share.
Nick: So, I'm in San Francisco. I'm dining with a good friend. I'm in, arguably, one of San Francisco's finest restaurants. I'm wearing a suit. There's linen. This is the type of place that has a butter program.
Leah: Oh! I don't even know what that is!
Nick: They have programmed their butter. They have different butter options. There's a discussion about butter when they bring it to the table.
Leah: Oh, wow!
Nick: This is where we're dining. Okay, so nice restaurant. We have ordered; we're chitchatting; and now, the first course arrives. Wonderful. So, they bring me my plate, and it was sort of like a lobster-salad-y thing. A restaurant like this would typically have all of the plates arrive at exactly the same time, but there was some delay or something. So, my dish arrives, and I'm waiting for the other dish to arrive before I start eating because we don't start eating until everyone's served. Obviously, we know this. So, I'm just waiting for this, and it's probably 20 seconds or so; I can survive 20 second to wait for this person. So, I'm waiting patiently. The waiter leans over to me and whispers in my ear to tell me a secret that he doesn't want anybody else to hear because he doesn't want to embarrass me. He leans in, and he says, "You start with this fork," and he takes his index finger, and he taps the table next to the fork - up and down - indicating which fork I'm supposed to use.
Nick: Because he thought I was waiting because I was paralyzed, not knowing what fork I was supposed to use. Can. You. Imagine?
Leah: I can't even close my mouth right now.
Nick: Can you imagine?!
Leah: I can't imagine.
Nick: I mean!
Leah: What did you say?
Nick: Well, first, it takes a little while to process this information! [crosstalk]
Leah: -you're in shock. You're in shock. You're in shock!
Nick: I'm still in shock! The feelings that this brings up inside of me is still ...
Leah: I feel like you should call them now. You know what? I thought about it.
Nick: You know what? Yeah. Here's what I'll say ... I mean, I was wearing a suit. I looked like I have eaten in restaurants before. I am Nick Leighton, host of Were You Raised by ...? I just ... I know the fork situation, here! And to think he was being so helpful, whispering what fork I should be using! What?
Leah: I wish you had a card with you.
Nick: So, I want, for the record, to let everybody know that I do know what fork to use, and I think we don't correct diners.
Leah: Yeah! Even if I didn't know what fork to use, I don't want to be corrected.
Nick: No! [Laughing] Everything about this was awkward, and horrible, and should never have happened.
Leah: What did your friend say?
Nick: Well, because this was a quiet whisper designed to not embarrass me-
Leah: I know, but I mean, everybody sees somebody whispering.
Nick: I mean, obviously, I told her what happened, and she was also just in shock, yeah. So, yeah. There is nothing to say. There is nothing to say-
Leah: You start with this fork ...
Nick: You start with this fork ... Yeah! So, I know now!
Leah: I was gonna eat it with the knife.
Nick: I was gonna use my hands.
Leah: Oh ...
Nick: Or, I was just not gonna eat until someone told me-
Leah: I was just gonna put my face into the plate.
Nick: Or where does the food go? Where do I put it? I don't know. [Laughing] So ...
Leah: Oh, no!
Nick: That's my vent.
Leah: You, of all people, to do that to.
Nick: Me, of all people!
Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?
Leah: You know what I learned? I mean, I've learned many things.
Leah: But what I learned—one of the things that's one of my big takeaways from this whole Were You Raised By Wolves? wonderful adventure that we're on together ...
Leah: ... is from all the letters we get, that sort of something that's very emotionally supportive or makes me feel about how much so many people like myself worry that they handled a situation correctly.
Nick: Yes, you are not alone.
Leah: So it's sort of just like, oh, we're in this together.
Leah: Because sometimes I go home and I'm like, "Am I the only person who's, like, worrying so much about how a situation was supposed to go?" And you're like, "Oh, we're all—a lot of us are doing this."
Nick: Yes! I mean, society is inherently about us all being in this together. That is society. That's the whole point. And etiquette exists to help make all of that work better. Yes, you cracked the code. That's what it is.
Nick: And I learned a lot of things. The first thing I learned is that people are actually interested in hearing us talk about these things. Like, when we started, this was not a given. I did not know if that was gonna be the case that anybody was interested. So I am delighted to have learned that actually people are actually kind of interested in this. So that was number one. The second thing I learned is that people really do genuinely want to do the right thing. That everyone's sort of default setting is to do the right thing. Nobody is out there actively trying to do the wrong thing. Now we don't always know what the right thing is, but we all want to do that, whatever that is. And I really learned that I think there's an inherent goodness in everybody, and it's really nice to be reminded of that every week. So I really have learned that, and I really appreciate that. So thank you, Leah.
Nick: Thank you, Nick!
Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery.
Leah: He definitely would.
Nick: I would for now, until we get too popular, in which case we're gonna have to rethink this. Just warning everybody now, may not be able to write all these notes. Just putting it out there.
Leah: Then Nick's gonna default to what the rest of us has been doing, which is a lovely text message with a photo of us waving.
Nick: I don't know. It's a real etiquette conundrum. Like, what do you do? Because I want to be able to do that but, like, if we get too many requests, like, what do I do? I don't know. I'll figure it out. But in the meantime, for your homework this week, I want you just to celebrate with us. This is a great milestone. We're really proud of it. And we are so happy for you to be on the journey with us. So whatever celebration means to you, do that.
Leah: People at home can't see I'm smiling so hard. Just big grins, just so delighted. A hundred episodes. And as you said, Nick, we had no idea when we started off.
Nick: We had no idea. So thank you.
Leah: Thank you.
Nick: 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. Although maybe there'll be a little slack today. Ready, set, go!
Leah: I love that I forced this on Nick, so I think for our one hundredth episode Cordials of Kindness ...
Leah: I just want to do a big thank you to our amazing, amazing Were You Raised By Wolves? audience.
Nick: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, we exist because of you, and so, yeah, that's a good one. And for me, I would like to give a huge shout-out to you, Leah.
Nick: Because when this all began, I basically said to you, like, "Oh Leah, it's gonna be a show about etiquette." And that's kind of all I really knew at the time. And you're like, "Okay." And so it's like, "Oh, okay. Great." So you just took a leap of faith that this was worth your time and effort, and turns out it's also been a blast. So I really appreciate you having faith in me and took a chance, and I really appreciate it.
Leah: Now I'm gonna get emotional. Nick!
Nick: Well ...
Leah: Honored to take a leap of faith with you.
Nick: Delighted to be leaped with. And before you start crying, let's get the bell.
Leah: So sweet!