Modern Miss Manners

Emily Post for the dazed + confused NYC twentysomething

Category: Reader Questions

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.)

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.

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.

Guess Who’s Coming Back to Dinner


Comment: I’m wondering how you go about telling your friend who had once kept up a very engaging blog that she’s dropped the ball for the last 2 months and needs to get her act together…in a nice, not-so-passive-agressive way.

m-a-d-n-e-5-5:In a nice way

I have returned. I’m here to help.

Let’s do this thing.

I love you. I’ve missed you. I’ll never leave you again. Kisses.

Ask MMM: Pomegranates


Name: Kim Rebetti & Bryan Davis
Comment: What is the proper etiquette for eating a pomegranate in front of a member of the opposite sex?

That shit’s sexy. Do it. Dig the seeds out with your hands. The juice will get everywhere.

JK it’s disgusting, your hands are probably filthy. Eat pomegranates at home, alone, when you can follow the YouTube tutorials required to do it properly. Or buy the seeds in bulk at Whole Foods and eat them daintily one by one, like an adorable little mouse, while staring deep into the eyes of anyone even moderately attractive nearby (this advice obviously applies only to dudes).

Ask MMM: The Art of the Serenade

Name: Andrew
Comment: Is it cool to serenade ladies on the geetar?

If it’s Prince.

Ask MMM: Subway Flirtation

Name: The socially awkward romancer
Comment: Dear Miss Manners,
When, if ever, is it appropriate to flirt with strangers on the subway? What are the rules of decorum for such an interaction?
Awkwardly yours,
L train romancer


L Train Romancer!

This is an age-old yearning, as old as the subways. How to talk to a stranger who makes you blush within .25 seconds of seeing their pretty-ass mug stroll onto the train.

I say: if you feel Immediate Public Transportation Flirtation Feelings (sexy, romantic or both), let them know before your life becomes a series of sad Craigslist Missed Connections. (Unless you’re planning on making an award-winning series of short stories based on your poetic odes to people you will never sleep with. Then pine away.)

Be overt. Say hello. Ask them what they’re listening to. What they’re reading. If they want to get married later. How many children you should have before the inevitable divorce.

There’s no time for subtlety. Write your number down and hand it to them before you walk off the train (only serious advice I’ll have to insist you stick to is to drawing a heart around your name, because there is no other way).