Modern Miss Manners

Emily Post for the dazed + confused NYC twentysomething

Category: Dating

Surviving NYE


NYE in NYC: it ain’t for the faint of heart. Here’s what you’ll need to survive.

1. Some sensible motherfucking shoes. LADIES. Ladies. Unless you’ll be parked in VIP all night, nobody wants to carry your teetering, whimpering ass back wherever ya came from… and guess what? There won’t be any cabs. All the cabs are taken. 99% chance you’ll be riding the subway home when you have to duck out early cause you can’t stand up anymore. (None of this applies to the known Beyonces of this world, of course. You dance in those heels all night, girl. Do you. You wouldn’t even let on if your shoes were filling with blood.)

2. An outfit you can stand losing forever. Preferably all black. Reduce spillage, runs, rips and (almost) all stains to nothing. Regardless: if you don’t mind wrecking that shit, wear it. My girls, this is a prime night to wear that all-too-cut-up bodycon with some combat boots and call it a damn night. Get sexed the hell up. Tis the season. Dudes, same party destruction rules apply. If you’re that guy who insists on wearing a suit to someone’s shitty party, you’d better a) rethink your life and your choices and b) be prepared to toss it in the trash the second you get home.

3. Your shittiest, warmest coat. I’ve lost some good coats to NYE debauchery over the years. Whether wrecked or accidentally worn out by another drunk girl who couldn’t tell her black peacoat from my black peacoat… I’m hoping, for your sake, that you’re headed somewhere with a coat check. There’s no chance it’s a good idea to layer over the aforementioned next-to-nothing party getup (say bye bye to whatever you stuff in the arms of your coat, you’ll never see that scarf or cardigan again), so “warmest yet least beloved” outerwear is the way to go. It’s gonna be a chilly commute to fun tonight, folks. Them’s the breaks. Thank god there’s still time to embroider your name in the lining of your coat.

4. Cash for cabs and drinks. Mostly cabs. Hopefully you’re already kinda trashed by the time you arrive wherever you’re headed (“pacing yourself for the long haul” is for sissies who leave at 1am) and not about to blow the bank, but whatever you do: reserve cab cash. Hide it from yourself in your bra if need be. Do not fuck yourself over for a final round of vodka sodas.

5. Sunglasses and a phone charger. Always come prepared for adult sleepovers. It shouldn’t make or break an entirely overhyped night for ya, but I’ll be damned if it can’t hurt to plan ahead. The morning sun is especially harsh (and judgmental) on the first day of the new year.

Everything else you can figure out for your damn self. This is gonna be a disaster – but I’m rootin’ for ya. Godspeed.


Halloween of Horrors


This is the best holiday of the year, provided you don’t fuck it up.

The math is simple.

(Low Party Expectations + High Costume Enthusiasm) x Friends + Making Out In Public With Strangers (Also In Costume) = Best Holiday of the Year

Let’s break it down even further. I know you have questions.

Low Party Expectations: Don’t spend a million doll hairs on “this party has EVERYTHING”… it will not have everything. You can’t rely on the party to make your dreams come true (see: NYE). You will absolutely be disappointed, be it by the jams, the singles, the venue… you name it. Your night will end only with pizza and dashed dreams (so nothing new there).

High Costume Enthusiasm: Your whole heart’s gotta be in this. Do not pull any of that “but I haaaaate dressing up” crap with me, kiddo. There’s something you love and could dress up as down to the last perfect detail, and a stranger out there just waiting to love you for loving it. Go niche. Go flashy. Go bloody. The dead version of whatever you’re thinking of dressing up as is always a good idea. The sexy version of it very likely is not (see: “sexy pizza”… actually, I’m kinda into that, nevermind). Anything that comes out of a bag and involves garters makes me feel sad for you. Unless a dude is wearing it.

Friends: The more weirdos you love that you can wrangle into one place, the merrier. Get dressed together, start drinking immediately then help each other paint weird stuff on your faces (coed, dudes, ladies, whatever… we all need a bit of help squirming into latex bodysuits and painting our faces blue). A crowd will always encourage you to take your costume way too far, which is precisely where it should be. There is no shame on Halloween, unless you’re actin’ ashamed.

Making Out In Public With Strangers (Also In Costume): If you’re acting totally cool with your face full of goth makeup or your giant banana costume, a cute human is eventually gonna tap you on the shoulder and make a sassy comment, or just grab your face and slobber all over it. There’s hope for whatever you’re into. As usual, confidence is key. THERE ARE NO APOLOGIES ON HALLOWEEN. Seriously. Make one lame, self-deprecating excuse for how weird you feel in costume and you’re toast. You get to be someone else for an entire night, a version of you hidden behind a very literal mask– hopefully a version of you that approaches strangers and enters costume contests and gives zero fucks. Do that. Halloween is basically therapy. Now stop weeping and put on that Freudian slip. It’s good for you.

Ask MMM: Presidential Fetishes

Name: To be truthful..
Comment: Who would you rather sleep with: Michelle Obama or Barack Obama, GO!

If I had to guess, Michelle probably works harder in the sack.

But honestly, the answer is neither. I don’t like imagining myself sleeping with the “parents” of my country. It feels gross. You’re gross. (And I don’t hate that about you.)

Ask MMM: Wanna Watch a Movie?

Name: Daisy
Question: So i ruled out dating in NYC all together, it’s like a fucking “jungle.” anyways the question is, Is it appropriate to say yes to “seeing a movie” in someone’s house on the first date?


“Wanna watch a movie?” Dude, that is a timeless line. Classic, highly successful and nostalgia-inducing all at once. I’m into it.

As with most questions that make you feel all fluttery and weird inside, the relative “appropriateness” of heading to your new piece’s house for a “movie” on the first “date” is up to you. And the approximate movie watching to sexing ratio is also up to you. The thing that ruins all of this, of course, is deciding beforehand exactly how the night is gonna go down. That is Anxietyland, population you. Whatever bonkers expectations you put on this night before actually experiencing it can only lead to dashed dreams. How DARE things not go down exactly as you imagined them? What do you MEAN your new boo didn’t turn out to be exactly the way you’d idealized them in your head beforehand?

My only hard rule for “watching a movie” is a two-parter: 1) GO if you wanna go, and 2) Do whatever feels right in your heart and your downtown mixup once you get there.

Don’t overthink this. If you get there and you want to spend two hours watching your pinkies inch slowly toward each others’ in an awesome, agonizing dance of teen longing, do it. If you wanna watch the first two minutes of the movie as a precursor to near-immediate nudity, do that instead. If you wanna do some combination of the above because that’s what usually happens when you don’t know someone all that well but it’s fun and funny to joke around and make out with a new human in the dark, then fucking do that, too. You’re the boss.

There’s no wrong answer, and anyone who tells you that there’s only one way to “play” these dating games is a pussy. And a judgmental psychopath who hates fun. Obviously.

(Of course, if you’re not into any of this and would feel more comfortable meeting on common ground like an “adult,” then head to a bar like the rest of us idiots and disregard all of my advice. Just don’t rule out dating altogether. The war stories alone are worth it.)

Attractive Roommates


Stop living with people you’re attracted to. It will only end in sex and tears. Likely simultaneously.

There are two options:

1. You fall in love and get married and have a ton of pets and babies and live in the same apartment for the rest of your lives in a cloud of domestic bliss.

2. One of you has to move out.

Do you really want to move? Moving is the worst. You hate moving. (Clearly, you also hate going outside and meeting other attractive humans, but I hope one’s a much simpler fix than the other.)

Don’t sleep with your roommate. Sleep with literally anyone else in the whole wide… city of New York.

Ask MMM: Gingers

Name: Pot Stirrer
Question: How come men don’t like red heads or vice versa?


Oh, you want to discuss the apparently polarizing sexuality of gingers both male and female? Your question makes little to no sense, so I’m flying blind here, but let’s go.

Redheads are crazy, and definitely more interesting than the rest of us peons. Dudes who go for ginger ladies are seeking out some strange in their lives. I love a ginger obsession – it means you’re open to weirdness.

Ladies who go for ginger dudes? Even more into them. They give no fucks. Plus, an especially attractive male ginger is, in essence, a unicorn. Nothing polarizing about that, it’s incredible. GET ON BOARD.

In summation: gingers are doing it better than the rest of us. I’m relatively certain that they have better love lives than everyone else. It’s just a hunch, but I’m sticking to it. Something about the stereotype of fiery tempers and sharp tongues is sexual. Run with it. Everyone chase the redheads. They’re an endangered species. Sleep with ’em while you have the chance.

Ask MMM: A/S/L?

Name: Mr. M. Manners
Comment: First time question asker, long time reader. Do you like men?


Two possible questions being asked here. I’ll answer both. 

1. I date men, with something resembling success – but mostly to spectacular failure. I am still young and stupid, which by default makes me an expert on the young and stupid, which led us to this blog and your question and this lovely day, so here we are. 

2. If the question is actually: do I enjoy the existence of men, in general, on this planet, in this lifetime? The answer is also yes. I am a big fan of all sexes of humans. None are exempt from the aforementioned stupidity. All require etiquette assistance. We’re doin’ great, thanks for asking.

Voicemail Veto

Let’s talk about the general travesty of leaving a message on the person you’ve been dating’s voicemail – regardless of whether you’re doing so with good or bad intentions.

No, wait, let’s not. Let’s listen to an example of a message left with terrible intentions!


I’ll be honest: leaving the world’s most disastrously embarrassing breakup voicemail is a more effective, oddly heartwarming and generally hilarious option than a slow fade into obscurity any day of the week. Not to mention that leaving a breakup message is basically handing the final debris of your failed relationship to your ex-whatever, thereby granting them the ability to play it publicly, on repeat, at their leisure. That’s a pretty delightful goodbye gift.

However, if you’re not actually planning on breakin’ it off with someone in the pussiest of ways: do not, I repeat, do not call the object of your affections on the phone.

I’m not sure why I have to tell you this, but I just know that I do.

When someone other than one of my parents actually calls my cell, my first and only instinct is to pick up immediately and scream “WHO’S DEAD?” Not great.

I know you miss your superboo. I know you want to impress them with your roguish and/or carefree attitude. I know that calling a romantic interest on the phone and then leaving a voicemail when they inevitably don’t answer feels like something adults in a 90s romcom would do – because it was definitely something adults in 90s romcoms did. When they didn’t have cell phones.

Text or die.

Unless your mom calls. Always pick up when your mom calls.


(Special thx to Robbie Rines for calling this #relevant #dating #dilemma to my attention. Gem of a gent.)

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A Man Discusses Beards

My pal Peter Kelly is a real cool dude. V together. V chill. V smart. Wearer of a spectacular beard.

With that in mind, I asked Peter to help me on my quest to tell every boy in the world how best to wear their face hairs – and every lady how to convince their manfriends to grow a perfectly-crafted set of whiskers – by writing a Beard Tutorial guest post. Take notes.


I have female friends. These female friends, they say to me, “Peter, we’re attracted to men.”

To which I respond: “Why?”

To which they respond: “Moving on: We’re attracted to men, but they let us down. They don’t seem to care about their appearance, mostly, collectively.”

And I guess I then concede that yeah, though it’s a damn near given that salary-aged females give fair quantities of thought to their outward appearance, the same can’t really be said of their masculine peers. This is like one of those things, that’s understood to be a social truth. And yet, it’s not like you ever meet the theoretical guy at the bar who’s all, “Oh yeah I definitely don’t care about my appearance.” Especially not in urban areas, where our nation’s self-mythologizing tend to wind up. The tragedy is that most guys you’ll meet genuinely think they are cool. Or passable, at the very least.

Deluded people are deluded because other people are letting them be (deluded). But the whole issue puts my aforementioned female friends in a pickle: how to get your scrubby, crappy-looking dude to do his whole look better, without hurting his precious sense of coolness.

My recommendation is simple: talk around it. Like facial hair: you don’t say, “Jesus, get rid of that ridiculous neck beard immediately.” You say, “I was thinking about if you had your neck clean, and you kept the beard shorter – you’d look really handsome.” And you’re touching to demonstrate, of course. And then there’s your guy like, “Yeah I AM completely irresistible and I WILL do that thing she said.”

Technically there’s a rational element you can toss in here, if you’re feeling cocky: beards work best as a mode of framing a face – the best ones tend to end at the nexus between the trachea and jaw because that area appears covered when you face a person directly, therefore pointing your attention to the face as opposed to the weird base thing holding it up. And this is why neck beards look like a mess, just a damn mess.

Though it is telling, that your boyfriend thought a neck beard was acceptable to begin with. Your rhetorical boyfriend, in this imagined scenario. You and I, we know there’s no such thing as an acceptable chinstrap, goatee or, let’s just be real here, mustache, either. But if you’re not willing to do the mature, responsible thing and dump your boyfriend post haste, then I’d recommend taking baby steps towards change. As ugly as it is, if you meet a guy who’s had a handlebar for years, you can’t just ask him to shave it. But expanding to a beard (a well kept beard), that’s not so hard. And from there, what’s a thin beard, or even a full shave?  You’ve opened the door to change: your boy is in the water now, he has found that it’s fine.

Because here’s a secret: men, like other human beings, are really sensitive. And egotistical. So how do you get sensitive, egotistical people to change? You don’t. You get them to enhance their preexisting, well known coolness. At least, that’s what you tell them.

Follow Peter’s sage advice on Twitter here.

Kiss Everyone


I am dead serious. Kiss everyone.