Modern Miss Manners

Emily Post for the dazed + confused NYC twentysomething

Category: Etiquette

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.




You have three options.

1) Leave the city. Don’t look back. Hide in a woodland cabin with all of your friends. Get drunk, cook elaborate meals, make snow angels, dance around the living room, sleep in, whatever. It’s gonna be great. Your parents will be proud. (This option is most appealing to those already in cozy-ass relationships and therefore down for an NYE sock party. Don’t let them talk you into running away with them if you’ll be sad that there aren’t any equally-drunk strangers’ faces to lick at midnight. You’ll be a pouty mess and ruin the vibes.)

2) Lock yourself and all of your friends (and friends of friends and crushes and whoever else you can drum up) into someone’s apartment and don’t leave for any reason that doesn’t involve cigarette breaks or PDA. Nothing else is romantic enough to warrant stepping out into that madness before approximately 6am January 1st.

3) Go full-on douche. Buy too-expensive tickets to an all-night affair at a hotel or a shitty warehouse, blow even more cash on a fancy dress or suit you just know you’ll ruin (when else can one pull off looking classy as fuck during a shitty warehouse rave?), do all the drugs, drink all the drinks, kiss everyone, make new friends, cry in a corner, get it together, kiss everyone else, stumble home well after dawn… then recover alone in your bed with nothing but pizza and Gatorade for the next 48 hours. If you haven’t done this at least once, you’re just fucking everything up.

To be clear, none of these options include hanging in your apartment alone with three bottles of wine and a fully charged iPhone. Do you hear me? Goddammit. Go make out with some strangers, or your friends, or whoever. It’s good luck for the new year. Now get the fuck outside before I call your mother.

2014 or bust.



Christmas has arrived. Deliver us from evil, amen.

You’re probably still on a plane, train or automobile rocketing you toward holiday cheer. It feels lovely before you arrive: the holidays are for family, right?… RIGHT? The decorations, the food, the quality time… this year’s gonna be different! Your relatives are totally gonna treat you like an adult with a job and interests they’d like to discuss in casual conversation!

They’re not. They’re really not. Your parents are probably cool by now (you’re becoming less of an idiot) and your siblings get you. It’s the rest of your family that causes such general confusion and blind rage on the day we trot out fancy-yet-church-appropriate outfits to celebrate. Somehow they always ask the questions that are both inappropriately familiar and yet generally disinterested – all followed up by some horrifying relic of a memory from your tweens. (I was TEN when I spilled gravy on my new holiday pants and cried about it in the bathroom, not THIRTEEN. OKAY AUNT ELLEN? OKAY? JESUS GOD.)

My only advice is this: keep your goddamn mouth shut. This isn’t a verbal sparring match. This is survival mode. Smile and nod. No matter how clever your retort to any number of mortifying questions, you’ll sound like a petulant child. The sooner you accept the fact that they’ll see you as a gravy and tear-stained tween til the end of time, the better.

Now go refill your wine glass, all the way to the tippy top. Shh… it’s gonna be okay. Go take a nap with your cousin’s ancient poodle, or pet someone’s baby. They can’t judge you.

Happy holidaze, y’all! x MMM

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: 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: 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.

Ask MMM: Baby Showers


Name: Nina

Who should throw a baby shower?

– Mother
– Mother-In-Law
– Friends
– Friends of the Mother
– Friends of the Mother-In-Law

Let me tell you, Nina: I have no fucking clue. You’ve come to the wrong Miss Manners. I’m too young to give a shit quite yet. Hallelujah.

Please feel free to shoot me once I care who has earned the very expensive, very boring right to throw a baby shower. Or if I’m ever pissed because five different groups of women are fighting over the right to celebrate my ability to procreate.

On the real, though: it’s quite lovely that so many women want to celebrate one pregnant lady’s happiness. Why can’t all of ’em throw the party together? Splitsies? The more presents and advice from fellow moms in the trenches available at the baby soiree, the better. Personally, I’d want them all – especially if I were growing a tiny human inside of me while simultaneously unable to drink any alcohols. Nightmare city. Mom-to-be’s gonna need all the hostesses she can get.

Now I’m about to kumbaya your ass, Nina (and this doesn’t happen often, so don’t be surprised if you’re moved to tears) – the best gift would be if all y’all stick around to support momma bear once she pops that kid out. It takes a village, or whatever. Babysitting IOUs must be god’s work.

Ask MMM: Our Parents’ Sex Lives


Name: Silent Observer


Ms. Manners,
What is the best way to know whether your parent’s sex life is going okay with out seeing it yourself or asking them?
Kind regards,

My dear little weirdo, there isn’t a best way. Because there’s no way. At all.

Short answer? It’s none of your fucking business.

Longer answer: asking your parents vague, probing questions about their overall happiness is a much less jarring method of checking in on them. If you think one (or both) of your parents are unhappy, help them examine their day-to-day experiences by asking them – really asking them – how they’re doing. Often.

Then see how long it takes them to unfriend you on Facebook because they “need their space.”

They were adults before you. Cool your jets.

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.)

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 7.12.06 PM