You Don’t Know Polite

politenessWhy does shit like this happen to me? (This is my version of the “dark and stormy” night opening as a literary device.)

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?

15 responses

  1. Have I told
    you lately
    that I love you?


    1. You should notify WordPress immediately that your comment was misdirected. Computer error. And thanks! 🙂


      1. I have no idea what that means but thanks!


  2. I ALWAYS say “you’re welcome” when I hold a door for somebody and they don’t say thank you. I hate that third person who gave you the stink eye. And no, one person doesn’t get to say thanks for the entire line. Everyone has to say it individually!!


    1. It’s just like Saving Private Ryan. Exactly like it. They have to earn it. 🙂

      Ultimately my act of politeness is for me and has nothing to do with you. I can feel vastly superior whether you say “thank you” or not. It’s a gift.


  3. You, sir, are a modern-day Emily Post. 🙂


    1. That was very polite of you to say. And thank you. 🙂


  4. You’ve hit the big time and now all the cute girls are hanging around your blog.
    Make sure you put on clean underwear daily.
    You’re welcome.


    1. I cannot tell a lie. That’s not gonna happen. There are limits to politeness.


  5. When commenting on someone’s blog post, try to make sure the comment is pleasant and positive. Also, try to make sure the comment applies to the part of the post which does not show in WordPress’ little preview box, so that the writer will be under the impression you read the entire 437 words, even if you didn’t.


    1. I use that same trick myself. Good form.


      1. In all seriousness, I don’t get the little preview box they give for posts now. I already committed to reading the post when I clicked on it in the first place. Giving people the chance to back out of that commitment is probably what’s causing my numbers to suffer lately. People get a look at my first two or three sentences and say to themselves “Whoa! This doesn’t look nearly as appetizing as I had originally hoped. I’m gonna dump out of this dog and go see what Tommy T. is up to instead”
        Next thing you know, I’m working for a return of 3 hits per hour of writing.


      2. Again I had the exact same thought. Does that preview box count as a view? How much really gets scene? One thing I noticed about it is that is seems to function a little like Reader in Safari, which is a bit nice for consuming pure content. Still, like you, I’d rather have my visitors actually visit. Otherwise there’s not much point, right?


      3. Sorry, I can’t really give you a good answer to your comment, I only looked at the first 4 words of it…force of habit, don’t you know.


  6. But what if by pretending I like it, I end up feeling guilty? See, this is why I don’t have sex (any other reason you might have heard is nothing but a filthy lie!).

    I’m with you on ordering light if someone else is paying. Often, I’ll follow his (or her; I’m a modern man, and more than happy to accept charity from either gender) lead and order a similarly-priced entree.

    Sometimes you don’t realize that the other person’s going to pay until the end of the meal. When this happens, I invariably make the same tired joke. “If I had known you were gonna pay, I would have ordered the {most expensive item on menu}!”


Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

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