Wednesday, May 1, 2013

25 Things I'm Dying to Know About Social/Dating/Sexual Etiquette

No, I'm not particularly interested in being Mr. Manners, but I wouldn't mind being a nicer, more polite person (losing none of my slightly testy edge, of course). To that end, today I've got some burning questions on my mind.

1. Is it okay to drop by without calling first?

2. Once on the inside, is it a gross invasion of someone else's personal space to enter it and... a) light up a cigarette without permission, b) change the music or the television channel, c) open the refrigerator, drawers or closet doors without asking, d) lie or sit on a nicely made bed without an invitation?

3. Is it rude to tell someone that he/she has bad breath?

4. Is it okay to ask "What's your name again?" the morning after, or should you just hope he includes his name when he writes down his phone number on the way out?

5. If you can't be with the one you love, should you really love the one you're with? Is that fair to either one of you, especially if the one you're with has issues with being a consolation prize?

6. If the one you're with calls out someone else's name, do you have every right to kick him out of bed?

7. Is it okay for an ex to send you the email equivalent of longing glances while he's dating someone new?

8. How do you nicely tell a romantic suitor to get lost? (Or that you can't date him because he has bad breath?)

9. Is it "nicer" to just stop responding to his texts/IMs (a non-response I'd prefer to get over those dreaded words: "I'm just not that into you"), or is that a total cop out, and far ruder? Do we owe it to everyone, even the guy we've only been out with once, to tell them how we feel, whether by text, email, phone call or in person?

10. Is it acceptable to answer the phone, read a text message, or respond to one during a date?

11. It is fine to ignore a "hi," "hello" or "hola" instant message until later, or forever? Does the person sending it really have anything significant to say?

12. Is it wrong to end a cyber exchange without typing "Goodbye" or some other concluding equivalent to indicate that it was nice chatting, and the conversation is now over?

13. If you instigate an email or text message conversation -- say, after a first date -- do you have to respond to the other person's response, or are you locked in as a "good guy" for writing first?

14. Isn't deleting people on Facebook so 2009?

15. What does "xxoo" really mean? Unlike "I love you," is it okay if I don't write it back?

16. Is it wrong for a white guy to refer to the black mother of his child as his "baby mama" (as nu-Matthew Buchanan did to nu-Destiny Evans in the April 29 premiere webisode of the One Life to Live reboot)?

17. When mad man John Hamm complains about people discussing the size of his, um, package, is it just false modesty, or does he have a point?

18. Does the next person who dares to ask me "Is it true what they say about black men?" deserve the full eye-roll treatment?

19. Who gets to claim the armrest in coach on airplanes?

20. Is it wrong to make a stutterer keep talking on national TV? (Shame on The Voice [Australia]'s Seal and American Idol's Ryan Seacrest?)

21. If lunch or dinner was your idea, are you stuck with the bill?

22. To the left, to the left, or to the right on the sidewalk? Does it follow the country's road rules?

23. Do pedestrians still have the right of way at intersections, and should people on bicycles yield to runners on the jogging track?

24. When people declare that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results as if that really is the definition of insanity, is it okay to inform them that no, actually, it isn't, that it's just an overused Albert Einstein quote that's not nearly as clever as what he said about the infinite universe and human stupidity?

25. Speaking of human stupidity, is it okay to call people out on isolated instances of it, or is calling what someone has said or done stupid tantamount to calling them the same?

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