We hope everyone had a tasty and restful Thanksgiving and we will be back on Monday!
In the meantime check out some Thanksgiving tips we’ve shared with:
Last week, Victoria and I were interviewed for Metro New York about what to do if you’re a college student spending Thanksgiving with a friend’s family. However, a lot of the advice can be applied in many situations, like spending the holidays with your in-laws or your extended family. Here are a few more tips on how to get through it all without going crazy!
Dear Uncommon Courtesy,
If I send a check and it gets lost in the mail, who should pay the bank fee to have it stopped? Me or the recipient?
Miss Manners and Emily Post haven’t really covered this, but in other check etiquette it is generally best to cash checks ASAP when you get them so people are surprised by the draw on their account three months later (though of course, everyone should be balancing their checking accounts- HA!)
Jaya: Whoaaaa. I have no idea. I mean I think you? Actually the post office should.
Victoria: Lol okay, so I answered thus when it was originally posed on Twitter: if you are close to the person, just write a new check and ask them to tear up the lost one if it ever arrives. But if not, since you are ultimately the person who will have the check amount come out of your account when it is cashed then its on you to pay the fee to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Jaya: What doesn’t happen?
Victoria: Okay, so say you write a check and it gets lost in the mail. You write the person a new check and they cash it, then the lost check shows up and they cash that too.
Jaya: Then they’re a scumbag?
Victoria: Well yeah, but it can be an honest mistake but you are still out double the money (which you then have to try to get refunded). So its your responsibility to cancel the check so that it can’t be cashed.
Jaya: Well yeah of course. Wait is the other option people consider is asking your friend to call your bank to cancel the fee? I don’t get what the issue is.
Victoria: No, I think the issue is that the person writing the check wants to write a second check and deduct the fee the bank charges for canceling the first check. Thus making the check receiver “pay” the fee. By getting less money. Which yeah…no. They have no way of knowing that you even genuinely sent the first check! You could be lying!
Jaya: Why do people insist on making things a thousand times more complicated? I guess this seems like such a non-issue to me. I can’t imagine a situation in which I wouldn’t call my bank to cancel the check, pay whatever fee, and then send a new check. How is that not the standard course of action for everyone?
Victoria: Yeah exactly. I mean, check canceling fees CAN be high, like sometimes something like $50. So I often hedge my bets and don’t bother canceling them.
Jaya: Wait so you just ask your friend to rip up the check, right?
Victoria: Yeah, I mean, my rent check has gotten lost in the mail before and I just never canceled it. I guess, if it did finally show up and they cashed it, they would just apply it to my next months rent. Which for me is fine, but for other people might be a problem if that would overdraft their account. So you just have to weigh that kind of thing against whether it is worth it to pay the fee for the peace of mind knowing that it can’t be cashed.
Jaya: This seems less like etiquette and more like finance. Or really like, etiquette: don’t cash double checks and scam your friends?
Victoria: Haha yeah true. And business-wise, there is no way you are ever going to get, say the cable company, to pay your canceled check fee, they will laugh at you. I think it was a worthwhile etiquette question to ask though- a young person might just not know what is the social norm here!
So by now I hope everyone has had a chance to see this excellent street harassment video which shows how many catcalls and looks a woman gets walking around New York City for 10 hours. While there has been much *ahem* debate over whether these were catcalls or just guys “being polite” (um no this is not polite), an interesting thing that cropped up (in my mind) was the complaint by many men that “what, we aren’t ever allowed to talk to a women in public?!?!?!?!” Congratulations, but no, of course you can talk to women (and men and whoever) in public, but only as long as you get social cues that they are also interested in talking to YOU!
The thing about people is that your desire to talk to me does not trump my desire to NOT talk to you (or anyone else). And okay, I get it, maybe that girl who is running to catch the train is clearly your soulmate, but honestly, that is just too bad and you really need to let it go. So here is a nice handy, fun primer on how to read social cues to tell if someone is interested in talking to you (also most people do this intuitively, by what? age 15? It’s not that hard).
Signs Someone is Not Interested in Talking to You:
Signs Someone is Interested in Talking to You:
Things You Can Say to A Stranger in Public:
Things You Cannot Say to A Stranger in Public:
It’s also really important, especially if you are a man talking to a woman to not use words or talk in a tone that you wouldn’t use to speak to a man.
And please, just be realistic. If you are a kind of average slumpy joe, and you really, really want to talk to that amazing supermodel looking girl who is a good 10 years younger than you, do you REALLY think she is going to be that interested in talking to you? I mean, sure, maybe, but statistically it’s just not that likely
This quote is attributed to something called Bearings, “the recognized authority on cycling matters,” as quoted in Etiquette and Bicycling, for 1896. It is the best summation about etiquette I think I’ve ever seen. Please apply this as you want, but today this is applied to the emergence of bicycling culture. In 1896, it was a total gamechanger, allowing people to travel through surrounding areas instead of staying in their towns, and emancipating women from “slavish conventionality in both dress and conduct.” Well, maybe not. Women were still “ladies,” and despite the ability to cycle about town, there were still a lot of rules to adhere to.
An unmarried cycling woman had to be chaperoned by a married woman, and married women had to be accompanied by their groom or another woman. Occasionally, married women trained had a “servant trained in the art” in order to adhere to this convention. And though women were reminded that “modesty is becoming at all times,” bloomers were acceptable.
Things were much different for experienced “wheelmen,” though the book admits that one of the draws of cycling was it was something men and women could do it together. It was therefore customary that men hold the handles as a woman mounts her bike, from the left with her right foot on the pedal. The book argues, “Let the new woman prate as much as she please about her independence of man, but she is the first nevertheless to rise up in indignation if any of the same old time chivalry is omitted.” Therefore, the author concludes, the man will do everything in his power to make the woman comfortable. This would be hilarious if I hadn’t met men who still think this way.
Men were still supposed to be hyper-aware of their female biking companions once riding, and women were pretty much expected to be complete idiots about the whole endeavor (“it is difficult for a man and almost impossible for a woman to ride without an instructor”). A man shouldn’t dare go ahead of a woman on a narrow road, or he may “get a long way ahead of his companion without knowing she was in distress.” He should ride on the left side of a woman so he could give his right arm in assistance, and the author makes a special point to say that all women deserve assistance, “handsome or otherwise.”
Okay, this is getting exhausting. How about some general ideas for bicycle etiquette? Social Etiquette, Or, Manners and Customs of Polite Society by Maud C. Cooke says that bikes are welcome in houses of worship, so “don’t absent yourself from church to go wheeling.” Also “don’t leave your bicycle in the lower hallway of your flat house,” which is absolutely applicable today. Pass on the right, and don’t speed down hills with curves at the bottom. However, she does advise “sweaters worn like a Chinaman’s blouse are almost indecent.” Whatever that means.