Tag Archives: manners

I suck at small talk: holiday party edition

OFFICEXMASUgh, I went to a holiday party tonight. It was work-related and therefore somewhat obligatory.  I’m really grateful to the woman who welcomed me into her home and makes me feel a valuable part of her business, so please don’t take the following rant as ingratitude.  I suck so much at small talk at these parties. What the fuck do you talk about?  I ask about the kids. I ask about work.  I ask about holiday plans.  I intently listen, but I never get comfortable.  I always feel ill at ease.  I know; this is why people drink.  I don’t drink and drive at all, and don’t drink at work functions, so no social lubricant for me.  I stayed just shy of 90 minutes.  I had probably 10 conversations, 3 of them meaty.  I’m pretty sure I offended someone in one of those conversations.  I was definitely awkward in another.  And in the last I had to do all the conversational heavy-lifting.  All three were tedious, and now I feel tired.  If I’m honest, the night peaked with delicious cheese and crackers and the M&M bowl.  Sidenote: Can we stop with the mini cupcakes?  They’re as dry and flavorless as my lame party chat.MINICUPCAKES

Demeter Clarc Manners Moment: Cell Phones in Yoga Class; let’s not

CELL PHONES IN YOGAAlright yogis, I know you are busy.  I know you have kids.  I know you are electronically leashed in a variety of ways.  All that notwithstanding, do you really NEED your cell phone in yoga class?  Yoga is a spiritual practice.  Your postures are your body praying.  Would you bring a cell phone into pray?  Leave your electronics, keys, and shoes outside the yoga room.  If you are understandably nervous about your shit getting stolen, lock it up.  Namaste. DICK WITH CELL PHONE IN YOGA CLASS

Demeter Clarc Manners Moment: worry-making

CATHY COMICI know this woman as a friendly acquaintance.  I’ve posted about her before awhile ago.  She’s like a human Cathy Comic.  I liked her though.  I think she’s smart, funny, well-meaning, and enjoyable in small doses.   I’ve extended a number of invitations to her over the last year.  Several months ago, she just stopped responding.  I’m the last holdout on the fucking Facebook, but other friends tried to contact her though her page.  She never responded, despite her FB page showing recent updated activity.  She’s a single woman living alone on my side of town.  Therefore, it’s partially my responsibility to make sure she didn’t die alone, and her cat wasn’t gnawing off her three-day-dead face.  After multiple attempted contacts from a number of sources, finally a co-worker confirmed that Cathy Comic is fine.  No illness.  No tragedy.  Just chronic unresponsiveness.  Well fuck you human Cathy Comic.  Do you know how rude it is to make people worry?  Cathy Comic must be so flush with friends that she doesn’t need any more thoughtful people to care about her.  Well it’s a good thing because I won’t be wasting a moment more of my concern.  I’m recycling that friendship like yesterday’s newspaper.  And don’t come calling when he dumps you.  I don’t want to hear it.  CATHY COMIC BEDIf you are late, call.  If people express concern, respond.  Remember that pit of anxiety that forms when you are worried about someone you love.  Don’t ever recklessly give another that feeling due to your own thoughtlessness and irresponsibility.  It’s fucking rude, and it makes you unworthy of the concern.BYE CATHY



EMA LOST LAKEI saw EMA this week at a local hole in the wall.  This joint is so small you literally brush elbows with the talent.  She invited Mas Ysa to open for her.  He was neither superb nor abysmal.  I would describe his set like I describe this website – as amateurish, but charming.  Anyway, after he finished and during EMA‘s set he settles in next to me.  We chat a little.  He sporadically shouts at the stage and dances wildly with nervous over-intensity.  I tried to reassure him with a few kind words about his performance.  I came to see EMA, so I’m not trying to talk to the opening act during her set.  That seems a bit disrespectful.  The room is small, so everyone can see everyone.  After loudly proclaiming his love for the headliner, he flailed around for two songs and then split for the bar.  I suspect this is a metaphor for his entire existence.  Sometimes, you learn everything you need to know about someone in the first two songs.  MAS YSA


Demeter Clarc Manners Moment: Last Minute Mutherfucker

OTTOI know in the Tinder age I should be happy for any invitation that doesn’t come via the latest app, but I don’t appreciate last minute date invites.  Such late requests assume I have nothing better to do.  Last night at 5:30, I got a dinner invitation for the same night.  It didn’t occur to you to ask me to dinner before 5:30 pm?  I declined.  I’m not just sitting around waiting for you to ask me to eat.  I have plans.  My plans include not feeling like an afterthought.  If you want to spend time with me, ask in advance.   WAITING FOR PHONE TO RING

Demeter Clarc Manners Moment: the birthday dinner

SATC 35 BIRTHDAYI’m all for going big on birthdays.  I’m happy to be included in an ensemble dinner celebrating my friend’s birth.  What I do not enjoy is picking up the financial slack for the other diners.  Explicitly, attendance at a birthday dinner means you are communally paying for the birthday boy/girl’s dinner, drinks, and gratuity.  I was recently at a dinner of about 15 people celebrating a friend’s birthday.  I told the server to put birthday girl’s order on my tab.  Whether the majority lack mindfulness or are just cheap, only 2 people of 15 attendees offered a contribution to the birthday girl’s portion of the bill.  I can’t excuse such grotesque and tacky behavior.  These grown folks should know better.  Err on the side of generosity in dealing with matters that involve communal cash.  Verify the bill is adequately covered including a generous tip for the server.  If you are invited to such a dinner and finances are a concern, it’s your responsibility to budget for you + 1, which may mean you order one less drink or a less expensive meal.   BILL SPLITTER

Demeter Clarc Manners Moment: cue compassion

FUTURAMA SOCIAL CUESAt work yesterday, I had an encounter with a man illiterate at reading basic social cues.  My unqualified armchair diagnosis is that he may suffer from a mild form of Asperger syndrome.  This is my second interaction with him, and I suspect that I will continue to see him professionally in the future.  I have compassion for this man, but he makes me uncomfortable.  After we complete our initial salutations, he just stands there and stares intently and asks inappropriate questions.  His inquiry is well-meaning, but invasive.  I struggle with how to respond.  The awkwardness is compounded by the presence of other people listening.  Even though I intentionally break eye contact and busy myself with other matters, he just. keeps. staring.  The boundary-crossing interrogation continues until he is forced to stop by interruption of someone else requiring my attention.  He is at once creepy, annoying, and harmless.   STARING PROBLEMClearly the universe has repeatedly put this man in my path to teach me a lesson.  Patience?  Compassion?  A test of my ability to maintain my own healthy limits when challenged?  While I try to decipher this dharmic dickslap, I’ll try to remain polite yet resolved in the protection of my own privacy and integrity.  Any additional insights from DC readers with experience in such matters is always valued and appreciated. SUPERIOR EMOTIONAL IQ


STICK A FORK IN ITSo now that it is over, can we admit a few truths about Thanksgiving?  I hear a lot of people say that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday.  When you peel away all the layers of butter and get to the core intention of gratitude, I understand the appeal of the holiday.  However in my practical experience, Thanksgiving celebrations rarely reflect that core intention.THANKSGIVING MYTHOne of the most annoying aspects of Thanksgiving is the collective white-washing we find so comforting with regard to the historical facts surrounding early settlers’ contact with native people.  Why are we still spewing this happy pilgrim / helpful native bullshit?  Not to get all preachy, but how ’bout we use Thanksgiving to highlight other examples of neo-colonialist exploitation happening right now?  Or better yet, take a trip to a Reservation and show the kiddies how great it worked out for those helpful “Indians.”  Even though this isn’t a new criticism, there’s still no new narrative. PILGRIM BULLSHITThanksgiving has become more a celebration of gluttony than gratitude.  Now I’m going in on the food  – which if you actually think about it is really disgusting.  The traditional Thanksgiving spread is a depressing two note tune.  SWEET or SAVORY.  There is usually nothing raw, scant spice, and little in the way of contrast.  Veggies drown in heavy sauces or casseroles.  Fruits slug through sugary syrups.  Almost everything else is brown or white.  Every year experts hotly debate the best way to prepare a moist turkey.  Brine?!  Parchment?!  Deep fry?!  Newsflash.  Any which way you prepare the turkey it will be dry and gross.  That’s because turkey is innately dry and gross.  No amount of submerging, poking, or braising the bird will change this eternal truth.  I watch people saw away at dry turkey every year.  No one ever compliments the turkey.  They compliment everything but the turkey.TURKEY REMNANTS

The art of conversation is apparently lost.  People truly don’t know how to communicate with one another anymore.  A series of rapid-fire questions isn’t a conversation; it’s an interrogation.  Don’t force me talk about being a vegetarian when everyone at the table is eating meat.  Don’t ask about work.  This isn’t a job interview.  I hate small talk.  There is an art to finding interesting and inclusive topics of conversation.  Engaging the group requires social tactical skill.  Cultivate it.  Myself included.  DEAD CONVERSATION


Demeter Clarc Manners Moment: Don’t Post About Your Friends Without Permission

BACKSTABBERWow.  I really shit the bed you guys.  A couple of weeks ago, I threw up a post willy nilly that hurt my friend’s feelings.  I’m concerned I’ve done irreparable damage to the relationship.  I’m heartsick at the thought because I truly love, value, respect, and honor this person.  This woman is generous, kind, intelligent, caring, and fun, so I’m a real asshole for hurting her feelings.DON'T BE MADOver dinner with other friends, one of my nearest and dearest leveled that she thought is was definitely off-side that I hadn’t given our other friend a head’s up on the post.  Duly Noted.  In fairness, if someone put me on blast on the internet, I would be IRATE.  Hypocrisy is just another of my more charming qualities.A TRUE FRIENDMy friend is super pissed and she has every right to be.  I have apologized in writing because she understandably isn’t interested in talking to me right now.  I hope she gives me the opportunity to make amends in person.  I make really good amends.FORGIVE METo this dear and cherished friend:  I apologize.  I was wrong.  I mishandled the situation.  My intention was never to hurt you, and I feel terribly that I did through my own thoughtlessness.  I hope you will forgive me because you are like a sister.I'M SORRYIf it makes you feel better you can call me a bitch on Facebook.  I deserve it.CALL ME A BITCH