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Politely Tell Someone Their Zipper Is Down

How to handle the situation of the acrophobic fly is a timeless one. Remember kids asking one another, "Is your fly afraid of heights?" or simply saying, "XYZ-PDQ" or some other quick phrase?

 

By
Adam Lowe
2-minute read
Episode #18

Lisa asks:

I was riding the subway, when I noticed a man who had his fly unzipped. I didn't know if it was better to tell him or just ignore the issue. I also wonder if your advice would be the same for men and women, on both sides of the open fly. Thanks very much and enjoy the show.

Sincerely,
Lisa

Thanks to Lisa for listening and taking the time to write in with a question. How to handle the situation of the acrophobic fly is a timeless one. Remember kids asking one another, "Is your fly afraid of heights?" or simply saying, "XYZ-PDQ" or some other quick phrase? When we said these things as children, we did it both to alert a friend about a situation in need of attention, but also to call attention and poke a little harmless fun at the wayward fly. The first intention, alerting someone to a situation that could be embarrassing so as to give the person a chance to fix it, is a good motivation that's worth considering.

Use Discretion

Think for a moment if it were you. Would you rather someone tell you, or just pretend nothing was awry? Probably, we would all like for someone to alert us in a way that was discreet and didn't make us feel like it was a major focus of attention. So if you feel comfortable about it and can alert someone without causing him or her additional embarrassment, then it's worth letting the person know about the situation. You can do so very subtlety, with a small zipping gesture, or with a whispered comment as brief as, "check your fly," or the old standby, "XYZ-PDQ" (short for "zip your zipper pretty darn quick").

It may feel more awkward letting a stranger know about the situation, but my guess is that if you can do it discreetly, most people will be appreciative that you let them know. It may feel more uncomfortable doing this across gender lines, so you'll have to judge the situation as well as your own personal comfort. If you are with a person of the opposite gender, then you might consider enlisting the help of your companion if you feel an alert coming from someone of the same gender might be more comfortable.

So here's hoping all your zippers are right where you want them, and thank you for listening to quick and dirty tips for a more polite life.

Send your question and comments to manners@quickanddirtytips.com. The Modern Manners Guy is part of the quick and dirty tips network. Check out the other great shows at QuickAndDirtyTips.com.

Zipper image courtesy of Shutterstock