Monday, May 31, 2010

Etiquette Podcast: Have a Little Respect When Traveling

Just because you're at a hotel doesn't mean you get to act like a hillbilly. Ditto on airplanes. Be a little respectful when you travel. Realize that your voice carries, people need to sleep, and, no, you don't need to grab every fucking seat on the airplane as you walk the aisle.

Click the title to listen.
Running time: ~ 7 m.

Cool blog mentioned today: The Hip Hop Hippie

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Etiquette Podcast: Leave the preggos alone. Really.

Yes, I know a baby is a joyous occasion and blah blah blah. But consider that some stranger, especially a stranger who's about to pop out a kid, doesn't necessarily want to hear your comments, your praise, or your unsolicited advice.

Click the title to listen. Running time: 7 m 25 s.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Click here: No "reserving" a chair with all your crap

Notice how there are two empty chairs flanking this studious young man. Apparently, everyone in this bookstore has good manners. Or the bookstore is empty. I dunno. I didn't take the photo.

Apply the "two minute or less" rule when deciding to "reserve" a chair in a public place. Click the post title to listen.

Running time: 4 m 20 s.

Read the original letter that inspired this post. I'm with you, friend!

Got an etiquette beef of your own? Do share. Email me at etiquetteb[at]gmail[dot]com.

Wanna hear me talk in person? Join me in Ottawa at Podcasters Across Borders -- PAB2010. No bitching, just good education!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Urging acts of kindness during the not-so-fun times

Ever notice how people -- people everywhere -- are quick to acknowledge and celebrate the good, fun, happy times? But the minute something not-so-fun, something serious, something a little scary shows up -- everyone's mum and all of a sudden they've got work to do?

Yeah, I've seen it a ton. And it pisses me off.

I'm thinking about office environments, but this extends to social circles as well.

Everywhere I've worked -- offices, restaurants, swimming pools -- everyone jumps up to celebrate the good times: birthdays, pregnancies, new jobs, marriages. Cake, cards, and parties abound.

But the minute someone has a health problem? Or goes on medical leave? Or has a death in the family? It's like, "Who? Suzie? Does she even work here?"

I'm sure many of you have workplaces where everyone's like family, they bought you flowers when you were in the hospital, yadda yadda. (If so, PLEASE tell me about it in the comments or email me. I wanna know.)

So far (I'm lucky) I've only had to deal with the death of a loved one twice in my life.

Both times the response from my workplace-at-the-time was, "When are you coming back?"

Not one sympathy card. Not one "I'm sorry." No one came to the wake, either time. And that shit sucks.

I'm thinking of this now because lately Dear Amy has had a rash of, "I was out with major surgery and not one person from work asked how I was or sent a card" letters.

And I'm so with them. I am of the belief that work buddies are just that -- work buddies. Not that you can't make friends, perhaps even good, true friends, at work. I've seen it happen. Just not to me or anyone I'm close to.

Whether you love your co-workers or not, 40 hours a week is a lot to spend with someone. Work is very important to most people. Some people are so defined by it that any little shake up at work shakes up their whole world.

So if you've got a co worker who was seriously ill (not the flu, I mean hospitalized), had surgery, just experienced a death in the family, any thing kinda sucky -- buy them a damn 99 cent card, get the office to sign it, and toss it on his/her desk. Sincere or not, the gesture will be appreciated.

Of course, you could always sing your co-worker a song:

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

For as much as I bitch about having to suffer other people's photos, especially the TMI photos of unborn children, one thing I know for sure: Being a Mother is the hardest fucking job in the world.

So, Moms out there: cheers to you. I hope to eff you get some "you" time today. And, if not, sneak off tomorrow for a drink or dessert by yourself like Frankie did on "The Middle" last week.

And I also want to give a tip of the hat to Betty White. Her hosting gig on SNL was faboo. Not only is she hilarious, but she understands the importance of good manners:

"I'm not going to call people on facebook losers, but that's just because I'm polite."

And I also loved her jab at fb overshare:
"In my day, having to look at pictures of people's vacations was considered punishment."

It still is, Betty. We're just too polite to say it -- on facebook.

Happy Mother's Day, y'all!!!

*Interesting little factoid: Although much was made of Betty White hosting SNL "just in time for Mother's Day!" Ms. White actually has no kids. Love it.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Click here: Some things are better kept private. Like your birthing photos.

Not everyone likes the same things. Imagine what a boring world it would be if everyone only liked baseball and hot dogs. Why, football and Alinea would never exist!

So we all have different tastes. Please be mindful of that and stop sharing every photo of your innards (sonograms) and outtards (vagina) with everyone via Facebook and at the office.

Your kid is amazing, really, s/he is. But know that not everyone can stomach seeing your cha-cha along with your child, age 2 seconds.

Click the post title to listen, and perhaps gain some perspective.

Oh, while we're on it - you wanna see my sonogram of my pre-cancerous cells? I didn't think so.


Hey, friends and faithful followers: Please listen to On The Log tomorrow for my interview with the witty and smart John Meadows.

Shout out to my buddy (and fellow Zooey Deschanel Non-Fan) Nachos at Midnight.

And send me your own tales of what pisses you off at etiquetteb [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Click here: Leave my kids' photos off your damn facebook page. Please.

Just because technology means you can now share crap with Aunt Myrtle within minutes, doesn't mean you should.

Some people don't want their picture taken. Some people don't want you turning their kids into the next would-be victim on "To Catch a Predator."* So how 'bout respecting some other folks' requests?

Click the post title to listen. Running time: 5 m 30 s.

*"To Catch a Predator" went off the air after they cornered a guy who committed suicide rather than face NBC's cameras. Reruns, if my hotel room TV Guide channel is to be believed, still proliferate on MSNBC. So a more accurate reference would be "20/20" but I haven't watched that since 1984. To me, a more accurate title would be, "Scaring Old White People."

Monday, May 3, 2010

When the guest gets wasted (and pukes)

Hey Etiquette Bitch,

I’ve been absolutely beside myself about a situation that happened in my home a few days ago.

My husband’s nephew and his girlfriend (both supposedly responsible, 22-yr old university students) invited themselves to stay overnight as they were driving through our city. We made dinner, I set the formal dining room table for our family of 5 and our 2 guests. Apparently my husband was over-pouring the wine and I wasn’t paying enough attention, because after dinner the girlfriend proceeded to vomit all over my dining room table and brand new rug.

I was absolutely horrified!

She apologized, retreated to our guest room for the night, and we cleaned the mess up. (I’ll give the nephew some credit – he did help clean up). It was disgusting and I am still in a state of shock about it.

My question is, how does one properly respond to an apology for a totally egregious incident? I said “it’s alright”, but really, it is NOT alright! I feel like I want to burn my beautiful dining room table and new rug. And every time I serve dinner in my dining room in the future I will remember this incident. It’s like she has ruined my dining room which I put so much effort and expense into decorating 2 years ago. What would you have said?

Should try to follow up, or just try my best to forget it ever happened? The next morning she made a lame attempt at an excuse, saying she hadn’t been feeling well for a few days. I didn’t call her on it, but maybe I should have, because then they sat around drinking coffee and chatting for a few hours as if nothing had happened, so obviously my “it’s alright” response made her feel that I bought her excuse and everything was A-OK. (Personally, I would have been so ashamed of myself I would have written a profuse apology and bolted in the middle of the night.)

The nephew’s parents (my husband’s sister, with whom I do not get along with) have invited themselves to our house to stay next weekend. Should this be our dirty little secret or do we let them know what happened during their son’s recent visit? Yes, they are adults legally, and should be responsible for their own actions, but they are students living at home and I assume are still partially supported by their parents. If my 20-yr old son or his girlfriend did something like this I would certainly want to know about it so I could sit them down for a serious talk about unacceptable behavior, consequences and attempting to mitigate the damage.

Thank you in advance for your sage advice.


What do I tell S? Click the title to find out. Running time: 7 m 30 s.

Make it a drinking game: take a chug every time I say "mad props." :) (Yes, my hipness stopped around 1996.)

Got an etiquette dilemma of your own? Email me: etiquetteb [at] gmail [dot] com

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy May Day

It's May 1. Get outside and enjoy.