Today the Huffington Post has an intriguing entry (with slideshow!) from Daniel Post Senning, who happens to be Emily Post’s great-grandson. He explains that etiquette is not just for women, oh no — it is for men, too, and men, in fact, “are hungry to know what to do, what is expected of them and how to distinguish themselves.”
We are glad of this news, for lack of etiquette, whether from man, woman, or animal, is something that bothers us immensely. But…pardon us for being rude…Emily Post’s great-grandson does not seem to frequent our social circles, and thus, his essential etiquette tips — get good at writing thank you notes? Ask permission to hold open a door for someone? RSVP? — are a bit, well, let’s just say “high-minded” for our ilk. In terms of etiquette, we suggest starting small and working your way up! Here are our 10 real-life etiquette tips. While we’re ostensibly doling them out to hungry men, really, they go for women, too. Etiquette knows no gender.
10. Wash your hands. It is shocking, truly shocking, to us that there are men (and women, too, you know who you are) who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom. Can you really be in that much of a hurry/fearful of water and soap/that easily distracted? Make a little scrub and bub a part of your routine. It’s fun, and gives you more time to gaze upon your handsome visage in the mirror and avoid getting to the task at hand (ho, ho). Also, in this city, doors are thin, and we can totally hear if you didn’t wash and will always have that in the back of our minds when you ask us to dinner. Related: If you must read in the bathroom, deny, deny, deny!
9. Say hello, or sort of at least give a sidewise grin, when you pass a person you know and maybe once accidentally dated, whether you’re on the sidewalk, at the gym, in the office, or at the mall. We realize sometimes this is awkward — what the fuck are you doing at the mall? — but it is one of those moments in which you need to just take the bull by the horns and do the right thing. Grace is about making others comfortable, then going home and eating a plate of mac and cheese and drinking an entire bottle of wine (or whatever it is you drink — remember to recycle!) until you forget.
8. Table manners. How many relationships have been ruined by a wayward strand from a delicious French onion soup? Use a napkin when you eat, chew with your mouth closed, and never order the lobster on a first date. (If someone you’re with does order the lobster on a first date, excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, wash your hands, and climb out the window as quickly as you can.) You just dodged a minefield with that one, and anyway, some things are more important than etiquette!
7. Transportation manners. Attempt to keep your legs somewhat close together while riding the subway. Don’t shove your way in when people are still trying to get off. Avoid honking too much if you’re driving a cab. If someone asks for a ride and they live in Brooklyn, say HELL NO and speed away, then feel bad, turn around, pick them up, and drive them home. Acknowledge that guilt makes you do funny things; then make them give you gas money. Let them chose the CD, though.
6. About the toilet seat. Of course this legendary female-to-male complaint would have to be on the list, but we suggest a caveat. Leave the seat where you first saw it. If it was down, put it down after you use it. (Then wash your hands.) If it was up, leave it up. Maybe the cat knows how to use it that way, what do we know? If there’s no toilet seat, leave immediately (but, again, wash your hands first). If the toilet seat manages to hover midair, stare at it for as long as you can, flush once, and then blearily walk out of the bathroom a changed man. This is called conscientiousness and will score you massive points.
5. General politeness. If you’re going to the bar to get a drink, ask whomever you’re with if they want one, too! Perhaps they’ll even repay the favor, but as much as you hope they will, you are not allowed to mention it until 10 drinks in when you have no money left and have to wash potatoes to pay the tab. If you’re going to Jamba Juice for a juice, change your mind and go to the bar instead. Hold the door for people, because it would be nice if they’d do it for you. No need to ask first, if someone gets mad at you for that, simply drop the door upon their churlish face and never speak to that person again.
4. Reply in kind. If you get a phone call, dial that person back. Behave similarly for a text, a Facebook message, a Tweet, a shout out the window. Jumping the technological ladder and calling someone when they’ve only Facebook friended you can be jarring, and no one likes to be jarred. That said, there are times when a phone call is necessary and appropriate (for example, to confess that you have crabs), and there are times when falling off the face of the earth is not. Use your judgment, and when that fails, take a long walk off a short pier, or offer to Skype.
3. Hygiene stuff! Bathe your body and brush your teeth regularly. If you have a lot of stubble and it gives your lady razor burn, apologize, and every now and again, shave it off, just ’cause. Clip the fingernails and toenails. Watch for errant nose and ear hairs. Use those Q-tip thingamajiggers. Basically: Look at yourself in the mirror at least once a day (but not tooooo much, that’s obnoxious), smell yourself (without enjoying it tooooo much, that’s obnoxious), and apply an approved deodorant when it seems a good call. Also, put on clean socks and underwear without leaving the old ones strewn about the floor, especially if you’re inviting someone over.
2. Go private with your disgusting habits. This is a bit abstract, but if there is something that you do that is extremely annoying to the other people in your life, like spitting on the street, smoking cigarettes, scratching your balls, licking Cheetos dust from all the couch pillows, or playing Wii with your feet, by all means: Do not stop doing it. That’s unnecessary and, frankly, overkill. Just stop doing it around them. They’ll never know.
1. Thank us repeatedly for reminding you of all this. Oh! You’re so welcome. And you smell so clean, too!