My wife and I were out to dinner and having our usually jolly time. Things were clicking. My jokes were firing on all cylinders. I was witty. Our repartee was fast and furious on a highly intellectual level.
As we exited the restaurant I was feeling pretty good. (It could happen.) I saw four people behind us. They were far enough back that I could have let the door close and no slight would have been perceived. I decided to be nice and waited to hold open the door.
They came through single file. As she passed, the first person actually said, I kid you not, “Thank you.”
Wow. It’s a modern day miracle. I’m now that much closer to sainthood. I was momentarily stunned and at a loss for words. As quickly as I could I responded with, “You’re welcome.”
Oops. By then the third person was already walking by. She heard what I said and turned and looked at me. With dagger eyes. Of hatred and death.
Ah. She thought I was talking to her and assumed I was being snotty because she decidedly did not bother to say thank you.
Good intentions: 0. Crass misunderstandings: 1.
Bad form, Mr. Smee. Bad form.
And now some politeness tips from yours truly.
How To Buy Dinner
Wait until after the meal for the big reveal that you are a big shot. That way your guest will order based on their wallet and not yours.
I don’t know about you, but if I know someone else is picking up the tab, I generally do the polite thing and order the cheapest thing on the menu. It’s a much better gift to leave me under the impression I’m paying my own way so I’ll order what I really want. Once I know different you just limited my choice.
If you’re with the insistent sort, sometimes you have to take steps. Usually this means making some excuse to leave the table, stalking the waitress, and prepaying the check so you don’t have a game of tetherball with the damn thing.
How To Bring A Gift To A Party
Here’s one situation where “don’t ask, don’t tell” is acceptable.
If you ask, “Oh, should I bring something?” the host will naturally answer, “No” as required by international hosting law.
You have to think this one through. Just show up with the damn cheese ball or bottle of $3.99 vino from the 7-Eleven. Don’t ask. Trust me, they’ll thank you for this.
How To Talk About Someone Behind Their Back
Make sure they can’t hear. Duh. If they “accidentally” overhear your poisonous snark, you’re doing it wrong. (See: How To Deliberately Push Buttons.)
How To Deliberately Push Buttons
Arrange things so your victim will “accidentally” overhear your poisonous snarky remarks. A real crowd pleaser!
How To Poop In Someone Else’s Toilet
Of course, the first rule of thumb is: Don’t even think about it! This falls into the same general category as things like sleeping with your host’s spouse or eating all of their Wheaties. Just don’t do it. Even so, there may be extreme situations where even the most prepared house guest will be forced to make difficult choices. If that happens:
KISS: Keep It Short and Sweet. Like a military exercise. Do not linger. This is not the scenario for the New York Times crossword puzzle.
Initiate fan. Sit. Go. Wipe. Flush. Soap. Wash. Dry. Spray. Police the area. Close door.
Yelling “next!” as area is egressed is optional.
How To Have Sex
Pretend to enjoy doing what your lover has requested. That way they won’t feel guilty while you’re doing it. Whatever it may be.
Got any etiquette advice for the rest of us? Don’t be silly nilly! Do share. May I recommend the comment section below?