Top 3 Etiquette Horror Stories of Summer

With Labor Day behind us, we bid farewell to summer, but that doesn't mean we can't discuss all the reader horrror stories I heard over the past few months.

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #402

With Labor Day behind us, we bid farewell to summer. No more weekends at pool, or days a camp; now it’s deliciously cool weather, and even tastier autumn treats like Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Yet even though we’re entering fall (my favorite season) that doesn’t mean we have to put the summer behind us for good. So let's celebrate summer the only way we know how: sharing email received from readers, detailing some insanely rude people.

Ah, can you feel the mannerly magic in the air? I can! But don’t worry, all of these horror stories are PG. Plus, the emailers gave me permission and I’ve changed their names and likeness to cover up any finger pointing. But don’t worry, these stories are factual and truly unmannerly.  Grab a thick blanket and some wool socks as we kick off fall in style by mocking those who made your summers terrible .

Tip #1: Bob the Griever

In my article, How to Be Supportive of Unusual Grief, I touched on some situations where it’s hard to connect with friends/family who grieve over a less than conventional topic. You know, like how one person locks themselves in a room for weeks on end because their favorite celebrity has passed away. Or the daunting task of having to console someone who is beside themselves over a goldfish who’s swam their last lap in life. If you feel my pain, Modern Manners Guy Facebook friend Bob had a rather interesting experience with a woman he just started dating. After a fantastic first date and even better second, Bob planned a romantic evening at an expensive restaurant. The restaurant was one of those places where you need to know the owner just to get a table this year. Fortunately, he was able to pull some strings and make it happen. However, an hour before he was supposed to pick up his girlfriend, she called balling over a loss in her family. Yes, Mannerly Nation let’s all take a moment of silence for Bob’s girlfriend’s pet cow. In case you breezed over that sentence and thought you read it as a cat, please make sure you understand, I said a cow! Worst part was, it wasn’t even her cow, but her parent’s cow.

First, for all the cow lovers out there, please don’t turn on me by not exactly empathizing with Bob's girlfriend’s beloved pet. See, my issue is how to properly balance the level of grief (which, let’s be honest, is debatable in this case) and the plans that Bob had put together. Again, let me just say, I’m not being insensitive (insensitive would be if Bob took her to a steak house that night) or saying, “What? It’s just a cow!” Which we all are thinking); I'm just using this example to illustrate the levels of priority here. First, it’s a cow. Sorry, folks. Secondly, it’s a pet that is not currently in her presence. What is right here is a caring boyfriend who bent over backwards to impress her. That should not be forgotten. So, to make both sides happy, Bob should have reached out and said (while trying to hold back laughter), “I understand you’re hurt right now, but maybe a night out would make you feel better and take your mind off the loss.” And she should have obliged. Here, both sides are saying, “I have invested energy into something but I can put that aside.” Bob wins by being a stellar boyfriend and his girlfriend gets a couple hours—thanks to Bob—to let her mind drift as far away from the farm as possible.

Tip #2: Stage Four Clinger

Who doesn’t like a psycho-ex marching into your office and ruining your day? Regardless of where we come from, we’re all in agreement that a rude lover scorned is one part of romance that seems to be left out of the manual. Turns out Modern Manners Guy Twitter follower Charlotte had her own war story about an ex (they only went out on one date!) who burst into her restaurant to profess his love to her. Sweet, right? I mean, who doesn’t like a little spontaneity? “Thinking with his heart,” he walked in dressed in a tuxedo, carrying two dozen roses, and sat down at the piano in the bar then started belting out some John Legend. Despite thinking this was a smooth move, let’s break this down to see where he went wrong. First, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he did get a couple things right: brought flowers, dressed nice, and poured his heart out. All things that show class. However, where he flubbed up to the extreme was the fact that he wasn’t her boyfriend. See, he wasn’t in love—he was obsessed, or some would call it possessed. No matter how you look at it, bursting into someone’s office to prove your love isn’t romantic.