Going Whole Hog At The Steam Tables
Just hit send, Thomas Cromwell.
The Cut posted a transparent and massively successful bid for group-chat virality this morning in the form of a one hundred forty item list of etiquette rules which purport to reveal “How to text, tip, ghost, host, and generally exist in polite society today.” Read the whole thing, it’s delightful and you will find yourself alternately furious and confirmed in your hottest etiquette takes, like a refreshing sauna and cold-plunge. Everyone is raving about it!
Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst together:
Especially Good Advice:
3. Don’t be loudly naïve about dating apps if you’re in a relationship.
Actually if you’re in a relationship, do nothing but offer unqualified support and affirmation to your dating friends, no matter how objectively wrong you know their behavior is.
7. While on a date, if you find you’re talking a lot, ask yourself, When was the last time I asked a question?
This applies to any conversation, not just dates.
14. Never send an Edible Arrangement.
20. Don’t describe TikToks. It’s more boring than describing dreams.
21. Gift randomly.
22. If you’re real friends, you accommodate the most COVID-careful among you.
These are straightforwardly correct, but too-often violated.
55. For group dinners with friends, always split the bill evenly.
56. But if you’re drinking and I’m not, offer to pay the entire tip.
These two pair very well, and 56 is one of two signed Mary H.K. Choi opinions which are both among the best-written, although the other one is wrong (see below).
Sorry Midwesterners, this is right and I am going to keep doing it. Someone has to eat it! They’re just going to throw it away!
This is correct and if it bothers you, please turn off your notifications. Set do not disturb to start at 11pm, if not earlier. As this item says: “We can’t successfully move into the future unless we recognize that the onus is on the receiver, not the sender.”
This probably should have been the whole parenting section.
This makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve never been a voice memo person, but maybe it’s time to change that.
139. Post like the wind.
Another well-written one, this time by Rayne Fisher-Quann. “Post excessively, indulgently, tastelessly. Maybe even take some shots with the in-app camera and post them as-is (it only seems unimaginable because you’re not thinking big enough).”
11. When another human is present, don’t talk to your animal in the private voice you use when alone together.
Try to stop me, Emperor Killjoy.
59. The correct number of slices of pizza to order for a group of X people is 2X + X/3.
I appreciate the effort to quantitatively answer this bedeviling conundrum, but this is simply not enough pizza. If you have five people, you’re ordering 1.45 pizzas for the group? In the wise words of Sir Mix-A-Lot: “only if she’s 5’3”.” A better formula is X * 3.5, and round up to the next whole pizza. What’s the worst that can happen? Leftovers?
What else even is there to gossip about at work?
134. Find your signature sign-off and stick with it.
Don’t sign emails. When the email is over, just stop typing and hit send. In fact, you can probably fit the entire meaningful contents of an email in the subject line, so just do that and leave the body empty.Better yet, make it a text. You’re not Thomas Cromwell. Just hit send.
Somehow Both Good and Bad Advice:
10. Straight people can use the word partner only when they’re trying to get something out of it.
“It’s annoyingly vague (and also smug).” This is true! But on the other hand, there aren’t a lot of great alternatives. If you want to take away “partner” you’re gonna have to suggest something to replace it.
Extremely New York Writer Concerns:
Yes, all your friends have written books. We get it.
43. Here’s a good way to handle yourself when being introduced to a famous person.
44. You and Bobby De Niro may go way back, but to everyone else, he’s Robert.
A surprising number of these items are concerned with how to act around famous people. And sure, that has a higher chance of happening in New York than most places, but the advice here is surprisingly weak. For example, if your friend says “This is my boyfriend, Pete,” and it’s Pete Davidson, the obviously correct thing to do is laugh and say “ohhh like the comedian!”
Naturally, your table has superstars.
71. If you put out bowls of cigarettes at a party, you have to let people smoke inside.
Smoking indoors is disgusting and putting out bowls of cigarettes at a party is painfully thirsty. This is the behavior of someone who desperately wants a magazine profile that describes them as “a hedonist.” Grow up.
Objectively Deranged Advice
Never?? Most people spend at least one third of their time working. I would understand “don’t ONLY ask people about their job,” but like, NEVER asking anyone EVER is bonkers.
38. Always wink.
Absolutely not. It takes zero seconds to think of whole demographic categories of people who must not under any circumstances follow this advice. It applies to almost no one.
This is the single worst piece of advice in the entire post. I was baffled until I reached the attribution, and then it all made sense because this one is by Freddie Deboer and it displays his remarkable knack for being not merely wrong but the exact opposite of right. Freddie’s work is actually sort of useful in that you can always find the truth by just taking the inverse of what he says, like a compass that reliably points South. In this case, the correct advice is to always be impressed by everyone, because everyone you’ll ever meet has accomplished something amazing. For example, Freddie makes a living writing! Incredible.
120. Even when a kids’ party says “no gifts,” you’re supposed to bring a gift.
Jesus Christ, Emily, what are you doing. Absolutely do not bring a gift to the “no gifts” party. They said NO GIFTS. You’re just making everyone who followed directions feel bad, and saddling the hosts with junk they explicitly asked you not to bring, as well as social awkwardness. If your kid has a special gift idea for their friend or something, give the gift later, in private.
Too Much Information
As advice, this is perfectly fine, and it’s well-written. It truly is never too late to send a condolence note. The TMI arrives near the end, when Lisa Miller asserts that “just because your friend is unmoored by grief, don’t make the mistake of believing she isn’t keeping track.” Yikes! I guess we know someone who’s keeping track, at least.
At first this sounds reasonable, but the context apparently includes, like, former co-workers that you were office pals with?
But let’s say we worked together in some context, were supportive of each other as colleagues, spent some time together socially, created a genuine rapport — and then you stopped responding to emails, texts, DMs, whatever. That’s fine, I guess. Working relationships don’t always last (even if it feels like more than a working relationship). It’s always going to take me a minute to stop reaching out, because abandonment trauma, but I’ll eventually move on and try not to take it personally (with varying degrees of success).
Abandonment trauma? From an ex-coworker texting less? No. Listen, if you have a reason to reach out to a former co-worker that you haven’t been as close with lately, just do it. If it was me, I would love to hear from you. I’m sorry Rebecca Carroll has these issues, but they’re a poor basis for generalized etiquette.
72. If you like them, text people within three hours of hanging out with them.
This one is very entertaining, and apparently being Entirely Too Much is just Annie Hamilton’s thing, but under no circumstances should any normal person try to take this as real etiquette advice.
This is great advice, but: “Once, I said to a colleague, ‘Wow, sport, you’re really going whole hog at the steam tables!’” Lmao, Choire.
Sharing the real dirt on early parenthood with your friends is fine, if you want to, but (I’m so sorry to have to say this) talking about parenting with childless friends is often very unsatisfying, especially compared to the many conversations you could be having about things you have in common instead. This is Mary H.K. Choi’s other signed item, and I couldn’t help but wonder if whoever it’s about was also reading it and recognizing themself. “This is it, you know: where the drifting-apart happens.” Yikes.
Needs A Corollary:
124. Don’t scroll through your friend or acquaintance’s photo roll.
Yes, true, but also the person whose photo roll you absolutely will scroll through with no shame? That’s your best friend, keep them close.
Ok that was a lot, so very briefly: Popula is over again, and Tom Scocca recommitted himself to Indignity with an extremely kind encomium to my carefully crafted content strategy of sitting down around 1pm every day and typing out whatever is in my head. I think it will work well and I can’t wait to get more newsletters from Tom. Twitter thinks people are going to pay to use its API with a week’s notice. There is 0% chance this gets rolled out as announced. Chris Stokel-Walker reports that NFT coma guy was lying (of course) as part of a baffling “plan to gain attention for his allegations about the way the NFT industry is corrupted.” Like… yeah, dude, we know. New David Harbour house dropped. What is in the bathroom fridge? “Some insects I found inside dried Turkish figs from Trader Joe’s.” Happy Groundhog Day to everyone except Punxsutawney Phil’s wife Phyliss, who sips not from the Elixir of Life.
Finally: Battery Ventures partner and multi-millionaire Marcus Ryu writes that we should “Stop Paying People So Much.” Wow, so true bestie, let’s start with The Information’s paywall.
Today’s Song: Mogwai, “Glasgow Mega-Snake”
This is so late, I blame the national Adderall shortage. Here’s the worst thing on Reddit:
Subscribe for Friday Tabs, I Iove you, goodbye.
I apologize if these links don’t work well, I did my best but the piece doesn’t offer links to each item.
Not me though.