Lifehacks are that fun internet thing where someone comes up with a better way to do a thing that everyone does and makes everyone go WHOA! Like, if you take a cupcake and tear the bottom portion off and put it on top of the frosting, like a sandwich…that’s somehow better than eating it the normal way.
…some lifehacks are better than others.
The problem with lifehacks is when the hack is downright rude. I found a round up of lifehacks that had been shared on Reddit, that bastion of goodness and propriety, and some of them are shocking!
Many of them are full on illegal or unethical, cheating the system- like using blank Visa gift cards to make in flight purchases because the credit card scans aren’t processed until the plane lands.
However, many of them break etiquette in a particular way- they are something that might be okay if one person does it but if everyone did it, it would be impossible to get away with. This has actual real life repercussions- for example, student loans can’t be discharged through bankruptcy (mostly). Part of the reason why the law changed in the 1970s to disallow it was the fear that too many people would take the risk and declare bankruptcy when they didn’t really need to, early in life so that it wouldn’t affect them that much.
That’s an extreme example, but putting traffic cones in a parking space to hold it (winter snow parking excluded in some regions), is only going to work for one person. If everyone does it, then you’re going to see a sea of orange cones that no one pays attention to. Basically, you’re breaking the social contract and being a big jerk to everyone around you. And being a jerk is rude.
Last weekend, Jaya and I were bridesmaids in a college friend’s wedding. It was the first time I have been a bridesmaid, and it occurred to me that being a bridesmaid is a lot like being in a sorority (the bride happened to have been one of my sorority sisters). So these are the ways that being in a sorority prepares you to be a bridesmaid:
- You are accustomed to wearing matching outfits (including teeshirts for the bachelorette).
- You are used to walking and standing in heels for many hours.
- You don’t blink at the suggestion to wear Spanx and/or pantyhose.
- You are comfortable with all women events (for the shower, bachelorette, and getting ready the day of)
- You know the value of a kit full of emergency supplies such as bandaids, medicine, Tide pens, sewing kits etc from long days of recruitment parties.
- You know how to express extreme enthusiasm for EVERYTHING.
- You are used to posing for group pictures.
- You know how to deal with drama.
- You can make conversation with people you have never met (people really like to talk to bridesmaids for some reason.)
- You can (hopefully) hold your liquor and not embarrass yourself.
- You know all the words to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”
- You can stay out on the dance floor for hours.
- You are good at crafts (if necessary to help the bride DIY).
- Theme parties make you happy.
Not all of these are unique to sorority women, of course, but there is an alarming amount of overlap, don’t you think?
You know, usually Portlandia’s jokes are a major exaggeration of reality (obviously this is the point of the show!), but in one particular episode they hit the nail right on the head- the coffee shop manifesto. Now of course, baristas are not getting together in a dramatically lit room to yell about etiquette rules for coffee shops. But maybe they should and everyone would behave better. Here is what they came up with (they only get through a couple in the dialogue and the rest is posted by the counter later:
1. Cell phones are not to be used or the coffee will be abused.
2. Unattended children will be given an espresso and a puppy.
3. Know what you want before approaching the counter, no questions should be asked. (Ed: This is especially timely as I had to wait several minutes to make my Friday doughnut purchase at my super bougie doughnut place this week because a pair of tourists had to ask the counter person about EVERY.SINGLE.FLAVOR. of doughnut and what they personally recommended. Yes, first world problems, I know.)
4. The coffee is never too hot. You spilled, get over it.
5. Whipped cream is for kids. Foam is for adults.
6. Take your headphones off when ordering.
7. Don’t ask me what’s playing right now. We are a coffee shop, not a record store.
8. Do not ask me what’s good. It’s all good.
9. It’s espresso, not expresso.
10. I don’t know what the WiFi password is. Don’t ask.
11. Open your mouth! Also shut up! Get out!
13. Bus your own table. We are not a restaurant.
14. This is not a hangout shut your mouth.
Check out the scene for yourself!
Okay, so this is a rather fussy bit of etiquette, but when you are eating grapes in company
(do whatever the hell you want when you are home alone, I always say), it is better to remove a clump of grapes from the communal bunch and eat those rather than picking the grapes one by one off the bunch. It’s one of those things that just looks neater.
But getting a clump of grapes off the bunch can be so hard, you say. That’s true, but that’s why we have sharp things such as scissors and knives. If you are really fancy, you can buy special grape scissors for just this purpose.
I should also note that if you are eating grapes with seeds, you should put the whole thing in your mouth, eat the grape-y part, and then extract the seed with your thumb and first finger and put it on your plate. No spitting!
I’ve been watching a lot of Bollywood recently, which I highly suggest you do. It is an art form that fully appreciates the magic of the moving image. We have this incredible technology, so why waste it on making quiet, dark little art film? Make it three hours of dancing and 5 different plots! Anyway, should you find yourself in the middle of a ridiculous Bollywood romp, you’d do well to remember these etiquette tips.
- Do your best to be a beautiful, young widow.
- Only kiss if you are married or, if you’re a bit more modern, if you are soon to be married. If you need to flirt, do so by dancing around trees.
- You can be as feisty of a woman as you want, as long as you know how to cook halwa.
- If someone is chasing you through the narrow streets of a small village, be sure to knock over as many fruit stands as possible.
- Always weave through traffic on your motor scooter.
- Chai smoothes over every social interaction.
- If you’re not sure who the shrill, judgmental Auntie in your social circle is, it’s you.
- Men need not wear shirts if they are wearing leather jackets.
- Keep checking on the identities of those around you, because in all likelihood somebody is lying about who they are.
- Respect your elders.