Miss(ed) Manners

September 27, 2007

Ask Dave! Vol. 14

Filed under: Ask Dave — missedmanners @ 2:31 pm

Dear Dave:

What is the proper amout of baby showers one should be given? Is it just for the first baby? I do not want to impose on people since my daughter’s last baby was only two years ago.

Oh baby!


This question might as well be about String Theory. If there’s one thing I know less about than theoretical physics, it’s babies.

As I’ve been getting older I’ve noticed that my friends have started making these little copies of themselves, called babies. Apparently they grow up into actual people. Consider my surprise when my previously held belief that humans are spawned in little vats like in The Matrix was shattered. I actually said, “Woah.”

My complete novice-ness in this particular area may actually be of some help to you as it may translate into a bit of objectivity. Did you know that objectivity and babies are considered antonyms in the Oxford English Dictionary? Apparently, when you have a baby, or, if you’ve got a vagina, you lose all ability for rational objective thought when one is in proximity. So it’s either baby or objectivity. Fortunately for you, I’ve got a diaper full of the latter.

Now, according to my extensive research, the whole point of a baby shower is for the friends and family of a mother to be to “shower” her with gifts that will help her raise the child. I’ve got a pretty well documented stance on parties created solely for gift giving. In general they’re just exercises in equating emotion with monetary value.

However, in this case, I’m much more lenient as the gifts are intended to help raise the child. What more noble deed is there than picking up a Baby Einstein mobile for the expected son of two mildly stupid parents in hopes that it will be your gift that wrests him from a child of mediocrity. Surely he’ll call you after he gets his Laureate and thank you for instilling black and white patterns on him at such a young age.

To sum up, baby showers = good.

But, multiple baby showers?

This is usually where it gets a little tricky and it can definitely seem a little like you’re asking for baby tribute, “All hail our fertility. We demand plush toys!”

If you look at it logically, there really isn’t any need for a second child baby shower. The whole point of the first one was to help you get all the tools that you need to raise a child. Which you’ve already got, because the first baby is already being raised. Therefore, you really should not need anything else because you could probably just use that same genius making mobile for Kid #2.

Now don’t start crying about middle child syndrome or trying to create an equal atmosphere of love for all your children. I’m the second child in my family and I spent my first 18 years wearing my big brother’s clothes and using his toys. Did it mean I was less loved because my mom and dad didn’t have a tea party to shill for new baby stuff? Nope. It’s just stuff.

I’m not saying that you should absolutely not have one. You’ve also got to gauge your audience. Most likely if your daughters friends are other mothers with their own kids to worry about, they’ll probably see the multiple baby shower as being slightly self important.

But if she rolls with a big crowd of single, unwed ladies, or a gaggle of bridge playing grandmas, hop on that baby toy gravy train. The only thing that single girls and grandmas love more than babies, are babies that aren’t their responsibility. They’ll do anything to quell that thundering biological clock, or that pang of nostalgia. So why not make that anything equate directly into a dope set of DUPLO building blocks?

Cash in, I say.

September 26, 2007

Bathroom Etiquette, Part 4,789

Filed under: Humor — missedmanners @ 4:24 pm

You know what’s creepy?

Taking a leak next to someone in a cramped bathroom at a wedding and then saying, “Big wedding, huh?”

That breaks like eighty rules of proper bathroom etiquette.

I felt a little like that undercover cop who busted Larry Craig. Please, no innuendo or anything that could possibly be misconstrued as innuendo when I’m having a slash. In fact, please obey rule #1 of urinal etiquette: Don’t fucking talk.

I’m still grossed out by that.


September 24, 2007

Ask Dave! Vol. 13

Filed under: Ask Dave — missedmanners @ 11:19 am

Dear Dave,

One of my co-workers constantly chomps while eating, even candy. How do I politely bring to her attention she sounds like a pig? I have tried talking about getting on to my children for this same thing, thinking maybe she would take a hint, but no, she just keeps chomping along.

Stressed in Ohio

Among the proudest moments of my life are the following:

1) Receiving my D.A.R.E. certificate in Middle School and then being photographed for the local newspaper receiving said certificate and then stealing said newspaper clipping from my parents then hanging it on my wall and then doing some drugs in front of said stolen photograph of said received certificate.

2) Making it through a four hour high school graduation after drinking two huge bottles of water and NOT wetting myself when I got my diploma. The bladder damage I caused myself is not on this list.

3) Living out a sexual fantasy and having it be way cooler than it was in my head, causing me to develop new, more intricate and nearly physically impossible sexual fantasies. Most involve zero gravity.

and finally:

4) When I realized that people are as trainable as small pets.

It’s so true. In fact, the only difference between training humans and animals is the snacks you offer for a reward. Stressed, you can do one of two things to bone up on your training skills: Either read all of Pavlov’s collected works on positive reinforcement or 2) Start watching The Dog Whisperer.

The only thing keeping you from modifying the behavior of all those around you is your level of interest and how much effort you’re willing to put in. The main idea here is consistency. If you come up with some sort of punishment for your noisy mouthed co-worker and enact it every time she chows down in your audible range I guarantee you will start to see a change in her behavior. The trick here, is of course to do it subtly, so she doesn’t know she’s being trained. That’s always the trick.

For example: Say every time she smacks her horse-sized gums together over a piece of gum you set off a remote noisemaker that you’ve taped to the bottom of her desk. You can get these at any Walmart… like a key finder or something. It’s got to be loud enough that she notices it, but not loud enough that she goes searching for it. This will interrupt the behavior. Obviously this would work a billion times better if you could shock her every time she chews loudly, but unfortunately, that’s kind of illegal. Stupid, I know.

Combine that with positive reinforcement like, for example, complimenting her whenever she chews quietly. Nothing over the top, just something nice like, “you’re looking a lot less bloated today!”

The change won’t be instant, but it will be permanent, only if you’re consistent. Remember, negative reaction for negative  behavior, reward for positive behavior.

Some people might call this line of action immoral, and they would be absolutely right. But isn’t it also immoral to chew so loudly that you distract all those around you? Time to do some rationalizing and get yourself okay with tampering with this chick’s mind. On top of bettering your own surroundings, the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when you’ve successfully altered her subconscious behavior is immense.

Now, if you’re not comfortable with this line of action, and you very well might not be, you’re in a pickle. There’s no way to politely ask her to stop. Loud chewing is, as I said before, a subconscious behavior. Something you do without thinking about because your parents never berated you for it as a child, so you’re not trained not to do it. If you bring it up directly, she’ll probably resent you for it. There’s simply no easy way to do this.

The only other possible effective form of addressing this issue is call her out on it publicly. There is no greater agent of change than social embarrassment. People will do all sorts of things to fit in, from tight rolling their jeans to sleeping with every member of the opposite sex in a particular group of friends… we all just want to be loved, am I right? If you call her out in front of everyone else in your office for being a cud-chewer, she’ll be so embarrassed that she will stop, immediately, no work required.

Though she will hate you forever and ever and you’ll probably never get an invite to Thanksgiving dinner. Though, with what we know about her eating habits, I don’t think you’d be missing much.

Way Behind

Filed under: Humor — missedmanners @ 10:30 am

Despite spending all week last week answering letters, I’m still way behind. Looks like this will again be an entire week of Ask Dave!

Oh also… one of you sent me this hilarious letter regarding a painfully smelly defecater… somehow I lost that one… no idea how. Anyway, if you could be so kind as to resend it, I’ve got a great answer to the question.

Or I’ll just paraphrase and add in some fake names, locations and completely inappropriate language.

September 20, 2007

Ask Dave! Vol. 12

Filed under: Ask Dave — missedmanners @ 11:38 am

Dear Dave-

I’ve had this thing going on with this guy for the past year. In the last three months we actually broke through to doing more than drunkenly making out at the bar. We started dating. Dating in the usual sense, like movies and dinner, hanging out at home, actually seeing each other in the daytime, going to target to buy underwear (weird?). Anyway, we never really talked about what it is that we’re doing so he’s not my boyfriend, I’m not his girlfriend, and it’s fine. I actually preferred this as there was no pressure.

Well, my non-boyfriend writes a weekly music column for a newspaper. This week he took a different route and wrote about his love life. The basic idea was that he’s been hurt in the past, he’s not sure he has the capacity to love again, maybe he’s waiting for the right girl to come along and knock him on his ass. I automatically thought “Well Carrie Bradshaw, it would be nice to have heard these feelings from you rather than having to read them.”

The second thought was “Well if he’s waiting around for this dream girl, than what am I?”. Then after having more than a few beers and some whiskey with my friends to drown my sorrows I realized that perhaps I shouldn’t assume anything and talk to him. I sent him a couple texts, no response. Then drunken logic set in. I’ll write him an e-mail! This e-mail, though surprisingly well-written, is making me feel more than uneasy. I divulged a lot of information about my uncertain feelings for him as far as a serious relationship goes, but how I also really enjoy spending time with him. Other things of this nature were mentioned; all were true but it’s still got me worried that I jumped the gun. I mean, everything I wrote was honest, and needed to be said at some point. Was this a bad idea? He never responded but I know he read it (myspace message). It’s been a couple days. What kind of damage control should I do, if any?

Miss Big

Ooooh! Dating advice!

You know how people who give the best advice never listen to their own? Well you’re in luck because I’m complete fucking disaster when it comes to dating. I’ve participated in every horrible male dating ritual from the “fear of commitment river-dance” to the “just run away and never call again mambo.” However, I give awesome advice when it comes to affairs of the heart and even more so, affairs of the loin parts.

What you’ve got here is the classic indirect communication scheme. He most likely knows that you read his column, therefore he’s putting a message in there to you because he’s too chicken shit to say it himself. Remember when men used to hunt saber toothed tigers to feed and clothe their families of cave dwellers? Well the modern man is almost always paralyzed with fear when it comes to talking to women who, in most cases, lack saber teeth. Oh, how far we have fallen.

I won’t apologize for the guy, even though this is a fairly common practice. Short answer to your question is that he wants out of whatever you guys had going on and he created a clumsily written indirect communique in hopes that you’d read it and he would be able to move on without having to talk about his feelings.

Truth to be told, there might not even be feelings involved. He may just be indifferent, guys can be total dicks like that. That could be the case here and I’ll tell you why. He writes a music column right? He takes a week off to write about how he might not have the capacity to love again. Total bullshit. No matter how badly a guy’s been hurt in the past it will 99 times out of 100 not stop him from getting out there to try again. The male desire for sex is way stronger than his desire not to get “hurt” again. In fact, almost always that line, “I don’t want to get hurt again,” is either bullshit itself or a thinly veiled attempt at garnering pity sex.

So you wrote him a drunken email? Ut oh.

I don’t know if you’ll ever hear back from him. What you did was in effect counter a male maneuver created for the express purpose of avoiding a serious exchange about feelings with a serious exchange about feelings. That’s like poking Superman in the ass with a kryptonite dildo.

Now, the great thing about guys is that there are billions of them, quite literally, and they’re all willing to do the most ridiculous things to spend time with you. Not all of them are like this (afraid of being open and honest), but unfortunately, I’d say a rough majority are.

My advice to you here? Move on, with the quickness. The problem with reconciling this situation is that it’s going to require all that talking, which if you do get him to do, you’ll most likely get stock bullshit male answers which will be disingenuous, at best. You’ve already seen everything that you need to see here, he’s not ready, not into it, is being an immature little prick, whatever, pick your reason. Battling to get back to something that was great while it lasted is only going to wreck everything that would come after it by precedent.

PS: Does he have silly looking hair? I bet he has silly looking hair and wears tee shirts with obscure band names on them, all local music columnist do. You can do much better, I’m positive.

September 19, 2007

Ask Dave! Vol. 11

Filed under: Ask Dave — missedmanners @ 12:06 pm

Dave, why do bad things happen to good people?

-Petered Out in Punxsutawney

I love questions like this.  I could totally wax philosophic for a couple thousand words about how our teeny little human grasp of morality is so tenuous in the galactic sense that you could slip right off the mortal thought train for good with just one too many hits of acid or an extra bottle of absinthe if you ever wanted to just sit, get high and think about it. But that really wouldn’t be funny would it?

Where’s the humor in realizing that bad things happen at an equally high rate to both bad people AND good people? Instead, let’s grab a little fuzzy logic and take a look at this bad boy.

If bad things happen to good people, then the real question you should be asking yourself is, “why do good things happen to bad people?”

Because the law of entropy favors the chaotic? Because there is a God and he’s a total dick? Because being good means not doing a whole lot, since almost everything is considered bad these days, so there are just more bad people than good and the law of averages dictates that they’d have more good things happen to them than the four good people left in the world?

Also, who decides who’s good and who’s bad? I’ve spent large portions of my life being incredibly unwholesome, horribly immoral, a liar, a cheat and even sometimes a thief… but I’d still consider myself a good person. I like dogs, children and the elderly that qualifies me for Goodness, right?

Or maybe you want to take the Catholic look at things and just say everyone’s bad, bad, naughty little boys and girls from the start and the only way to be good is to battle an oppressive guilt and your own nature until you’re so sexually repressed you have to masturbate in a pitch black room, but you’re still good.

What we need, and I’m showing some serious geek colors here, in this world is an alignment chart, ala Dungeons and Dragons. I ripped the following links from Wikipedia:

Lawful Good Neutral Good Chaotic Good
Lawful Neutral Neutral Chaotic Neutral
Lawful Evil Neutral Evil Chaotic Evil

If everyone walked around carrying a card with their alignment on it, then it would make answering this question SO much easier, as we’d have empirical facts on bad things happening to Good people.

Until then, we’re kinda fucked, as far as this questions goes anyway. Might as well re-roll that Paladin.

September 18, 2007

Ask Dave! Vol. 10

Filed under: Ask Dave,Humor — missedmanners @ 12:52 pm

Dear Dave…
My husband and step-daughters have come up with the wild plan of coming to your fair city for the next New Year, and spending quite some time shopping.
Can your small island entertain us for a fortnight?
Where should we stay?
How can we cope with not being able to bring moisturizer on the plane?
Is it mandatory to be fingerprinted and take our clothes off at customs?
I know this isn’t one of your profound life issues, but it could be life-changing if you get the answer(s) wrong and we get mugged, sold to white slavers, or end up holidaying at Guantanamo.
Any hot tips for us hicks from down under?
– Dazed Aussie, Melbourne

Holy crap.

Someone actually did the (Adjective: Location)!

Fucking sweet. I’m going to advise the shit out of this question.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of New York during New Year’s Eve. It’s a week long tourist trap. It’s cold, expensive and just played out. A much better way to spend your night of drunkenness morphing into eventual self loathing and pity as you promise yourself you’ll finally lose those twelve extra pounds would be to do it in the privacy of your own home with some close friends who can hold you as you cry aloud under the crushing weight of realizing that this year will be no different from the last, none of them are, and it’s all pointless. Cursing Sartre for opening your eyes to this also goes over better at home than in Times Square.

But if you’re dead set on coming for the experience of four hundred dollar hotel rooms, massive crowds and urban legends about AIDS needle prickings (NOT TRUE!), then let me drop the following wisdom on ya.

1) Can your small island entertain us for a fortnight?

Hell fucking yes it can. There’s more variety of things to do here than a brothel on the island of Dr. Moreau.

2) Where should we stay?

Well, I would definitely suggest finding the cheapest accommodations possible. This can be rather hard, as most people jack the shit out of their room prices around that time. Get online, get searching and book the rooms two weeks ago. Quality is completely irrelevant here in New York. If you spend more than four hours a day in your room, then you are wasting your vacation. Brothel. Island of Dr. Moreau. Remember?

3) How can we cope with not being able to bring moisturizer on the plane?
Is it mandatory to be fingerprinted and take our clothes off at customs?

You can actually bring moisturizer on planes, just buy one of those smaller travel containers (must be under three ounces in size) and then transfer some of the moisturizer into it. Now, I believe you can only have three ounces of gels or liquids total, so I would actually suggest you save those precious few for something important, like jam, or KY Warming Jelly, which I endorse whole heartedly, if they were ever asking for endorsements.

I really wouldn’t worry about security as you’re an Australian. Americans only fear Australians when they’ve been drinking, or when they’re Russel Crowe. As long as you’re not either of those when you get to customs you ought to be fine. Unless you’re like uber hot, then you might get the old finger in the butt treatment (which I’ve still never received despite all my requests).

4) I know this isn’t one of your profound life issues, but it could be life-changing if you get the answer(s) wrong and we get mugged, sold to white slavers, or end up holidaying at Guantanamo.

No question is too small, and kudos to you for using my favorite comedy saying, “white slavery.” I love throwing that one into any joke like when you add “in bed” to the end of a fortune cookie.


Celine Dion walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Why the long face?” And then he sells her into white slavery.


5) Any hot tips for us hicks from down under?

Yes. Hundreds, actually. But I’m only going to give you one. I know this sounds cliche, but really don’t walk around with an unfolded map. New York is filled with people who aren’t from here, all trying to act like just since they’ve spent a couple years here they’re natives, myself included. Just pretend you know what you’re doing and you’ll be more than fine.

That’s what we all do anyway.

Woo, Back.

Filed under: Humor — missedmanners @ 10:14 am

Egads, that was one hell of a vacation.

I am officially SO fucking behind on all your Ask Dave! letters that I’ve decided to devote this entire week to answering all of your deepest, darkest and sometimes scatological questions.

Also, I’m putting together a recap of our drive through the desert. It was exactly what I’d been looking for. I’m beyond sad that summer is passing, but with a cap off like that, I can’t really be all that upset. Especially with changing leaves, hot cider and cold nights coming around (cold cider and hot nights would actually be welcome as well).

Thanks for all your notes of encouragement, I’ll be responding as soon as work and my famously horrible work ethic allow.


September 9, 2007

On My Way

Filed under: Humor — missedmanners @ 12:56 pm

At the airport right now, about to begin another road trip. This year I’m flying to Las Vegas, grabbing a Mustang convertible and heading out to the desert for a couple days of soul searching. I can’t really think of a better way to cap off what has been the most amazing summer of my life. The things I’ve done, seen and felt have no paralell, and perhaps some time among desolate beauty will help me put it all in perspective.

September 6, 2007

All Kinds of Crazy

Filed under: Humor — missedmanners @ 4:36 pm

This September is officially the craziest month I’ve ever lived through. I’ve got three weddings, two vacations, two events, and a mild aneurism planned for the last week. Good lord, the damage to my adrenal gland is catching up to all that liver damage.

Anyway, I just got back from Montreal (yes, they did finally see fit to grant me a passport). What a fucking amazing city! The people there are so relaxed, chilled out, friendly and the women are beyond beautiful. I know I’ve mentioned the amazing disparity between the physical beauty of the women and men in New York… but it pales in comparison to Montreal. You’ve got this whole population of coquettish full lipped party girls who look like they spend the entire day in the gym and who also apparently have no qualms with people who are admittedly “handsy” after a few drinks. Then you’ve got an entire city full of little French guys. Not to toot my own horn, but I was fairly well received.

I was up there for a bachelor party. Unfortunately I signed a contract that prohibits me from discussing any of our actions, but I will say this: I was drunk and or high the entire time. Good lord what a time. I even lost my phone.

I NEVER lose my phone or wallet. Ever. So I must have been having a blast.

Oh here’s me having said blast:


You can tell I’m having an awesome time because I’m biting my lower lip. I bite my lower lip only when I’m getting a great blow job or listening to great music. This could have been both, because like I said, I was completely hammered the entire time.

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