Modern Manners Guy Richie Frieman shares his all-time favorite reader stories in a two-part series.
Well folks, we’re nearing the end of my run as Modern Manners Guy and although I leave you with a heavy heart, I also depart with many, many fond memories. With that, most of those memories are thanks to you—my wonderful and loyal readers—who have shared your headaches and frustration over rude people in your lives. So, to celebrate, I thought I’d look back at some of my favorite stories from readers in a two-part series, where we can all learn from our unmannerly interactions. After all, what’s the fun in having to tolerate someone’s gross behavior if you can’t share it with the world, right?
So, before you think you are the only one who had a date from hell, a Monster-In-Law from “Parts Unknown” or a coworker who didn’t just push your buttons but jumped up and down on them, check out these three favorite reader stories:
(Special Note: As always, I’ve changed the names and identities readers to protect them. With that, every story I tell, was with permission from said reader)
Tip #1: First Date Disaster
Our first tale of a romance turned nightmare starts off with Kathy from Des Moines. As a single young lady looking for love, she tried all the normal methods to meet Mr. Right: online dating, the bar scene, being set up by friends, and even applying to be on The Bachelor. You know, because nothing says “I’m the one!” like having to compete against dozens of women by making out with a complete stranger as if you’ve been in love for several months. But my feelings on reality shows aside, I understand dating is not easy and, after a while, any idea to finally escape the murky waters of the dating pool is something worth looking into. So, when she met Brandon at a singles event for young professionals, it was clear he hit all the right marks on her dating checklist. She thought her search was finally over (well, he hit all but one of her buttons that is, but I don’t want to ruin the punchline, so I’ll save that for a bit). They made plans for dinner a few days later. So excited, she told me she immediately went online and deleted her eHarmony account. A little jumping the gun here, but, hey, love was in the air. Unbeknownst to her, the air was a bit foggier than she anticipated, since the night of the date, Brandon showed up with his mom. Yup, you heard that right, a grown man brought his mommy to a first date. See, told you I wanted to save the surprise!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom and I’m happy that my wife likes her too … but let’s be real here folks: is it really proper to bring a parent on a first date? But don’t think just bringing Momma (as he called her) was the end of Brandon’s dating faux pas. Nope, our boy Brandon turned up the awkwardness to level ten, when Mother Dearest started drilling Kathy about every aspect of her life. “What do you do? How long have you been with the company? What do your parents do? Do you plan to stay in Des Moines? How many kids do you want?” Pretty rude, right? Folks, you should never surprise someone your dating (and never at the initial meeting) with an on-the-spot parent intro. It’s nerve wracking! You want to be prepared and look your best. Along with that, to all the parents out there, “getting to know” your child’s partner doesn’t involve and job interview and background check. A first time parent-dater meeting should be light in both conversation and pressure. The only caveat should be if a red flag pops up, which gives you reason to pry. Here, Brandon’s mom got right to the point.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, despite Brandon telling Kathy, “You did a great job at dinner!” she rejected the offer for a second date.
Tip #2: Travel Companions From Hell
Any fan of Modern Manners Guy knows that I love a good story about improper travels. And trust me, I’m no stranger to improper traveling experiences myself. In fact, just the other week, I wrote an episode called Here’s What Not to Do on an Airplane, where I discussed a rather torturous trip from Atlanta to Baltimore, suffering through bad smells, rough seatmates, and constant talkers. Turns out, I’m not alone when it comes to dealing with rude travelers. Case in point: Tony who had an equally as uncomfortable train ride with a band (yes a real live band) of travel companions during a two hour ride. Nursing a headache and trying to crunch out a Powerpoint for a meeting after the train ride, Tony only wanted quiet. However, now there was a live band “practicing their craft” (banjos and harmonicas) with no care in the world with a train full of riders that were too afraid to speak up. First, let me say that no one person owns the train. By that I mean, despite other improper riders, you can’t treat the train as your own property and demand that everyone bend to your needs of keeping extra quiet or whatever may tick you off at the time. However—and this is a big, gigantic however—if said passengers are so disruptive that it’s enough to wake a pack of bears during hibernation, then you are totally in the right to speak up. As I mentioned, this was a band.