Written by Carlye Wisel
Four years of high school will make sense of the Gettysburg Address (and maybe, if you’re lucky, you may even come out with an indispensable understanding of SOH-CAH-TOA) and a college course on literature will prepare you for subscribing to The Atlantic and but sorry mom and dad, though I appreciate your steadfast support in my pursuit of academia, all the lessons I have learned about being a functional member of society (which, frankly, are the only lessons that matter, right?) came courtesy of Professor Larry David and the meager white hair to his otherwise bald head, Jerry Seinfeld, at the School Of Neurotic Dinnertime Sitcoms.
Below, ten of the reasons outlining why everything I know about socializing, I learned from Seinfeld.
1. Food Is To Be Eaten On Plates. Not off kitchen counters because it’s a flat surface next to the fridge, not in the bathroom while rushing to apply on eyeliner before leaving for work, and as we’ve learned from Sir Costanza, never, ever out of trashcans. You can be a proud proponent of the five-second rule, but if that surface is above the rim of a garbage receptacle, back away. It won’t matter if it’s one bite out of an eclair, a package of barely-touched Chipotle chips or a scone you yourself put in the wastebasket that’s floating atop a sea of paper — it’s a slippery cream-filled slope others will never understand nor forgive you for.
2. Give Credit Where Credit is Due. Because really, he who bought Elaine the dinner should get recognition for the dinner. Same goes for reposting others’ tweets without credit or pretending you cooked the roast chicken for two that Seamless just delivered.
3. If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is. Just like the gang’s beloved non-fat froyo spot that was decidedly packed with nutritional fallacies, the questionable low-calorie world is choc full of lies. Even now, when I wait in line at Pinkberry to spend $7 on a swirlpile of “healthy” yogurt, a small serving of their peanut buttah fro-yo is nearly tantamount in calories to eating directly out of a Ben & Jerry’s carton. That’s some straight up Nancy Drew shit right there, and it didn’t even take 129 pages worth of super-slow sleuthing to uncover. Straight up: don’t believe the hype. This theory also applies to shady gym memberships, men with distinguishable cheekbones, and all the clothing you may find yourself wanting to order from Need Supply.
4. Bigger Is Better. In terms of hair, personality, hilarious anxiety-ridden attacks and most importantly, salads; but never when it comes to man hands. Though, if you throw enough Kiehls at anything, you can solve most of life’s epidermal issues. (Except for it showing. Yar har har.)
5. Always Be True To Yourself. Fly that fuckin’ freak flag high, even if it means dancing like a thumb-throwin’ doofus in the midst of some gape-jawed friends. And hey, while you’re sticking to your selfie guns, don’t dive in to any trend that’s not your jam. Jerry should have never dabbled in pirate regalia by way of that puffy shirt had he felt at all uncomfortable, let alone in need of dressing room reassurance. It’s like that old Dickens saying goes, kids: if you’re not feeling the short-a-rall vibe, just wear a pair of regular jorts instead.
6. You Can’t Have It All. And ah-no, we’re not talking about the work-breastfeeding, Sheryl Sandberg-wants-me-to-work-on-my-ab-strength balance. Methinks it’s perfectly fine to have three obsessive interests — namely George’s power trifecta consisting of food, sex and television — but you need to understand that you, sadly, can’t indulge all three simultaneously. I agree that coital interaction would be ages better with the addition of some smoked meats (and perhaps even a hall pass on having to crouch down and shave my ghastly pins), but there’s a balance that needs to be met. Mine? Mostly food (juice fasts notwithstanding), a bit less of the sex (requires showering, natch) and if there’s time left over, as much The Mindy Project as I can get my eyes on. (That Morgan’s a gem, ain’t he?)
7. Casual Sex Never Works. Oh, the backslide. There are countless hours of text message rant-versations and passive aggressive phone checking rituals that could have been saved by learning from Jerry and Elaine’s ill-fated “deal.” Bottom line: friends or lovers, never an in-between. It’s true that friendships with exes can sometimes work, but being naked around your friends as infrequently as possible is a solid fail-safe rule to live by. A dose of Patti Stanger wisdom by way of Upper West Side dramatics, perhaps, but if it means spending a night at a bar without running the gamut of emotions as projected by the glow of an iPhone screen, it’s worth it.
8. Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover. Or its job, or its face shape, or, ahem, its size if it has just been in a chilly body of water.
9. Tell People How You Feel. (Sometimes.) It’s perfectly fine to be overtly honest and let others know what you think, but err between two boundaries: the leftmost, being that of Festivus irateness by way of grievance airing, and on the right, of anything similar to or inclusive of calling a life partner a pet name, a la “schmoopy.” No one needs to know you despise their idiosyncratic behavioral patterns nor what you call your lover behind locked bedroom doors. Anything in between, though? Probably fair game.
10. Overthink everything. Envelope glue, the meaning of black-and-white cookies, the correct way to order soup, passing a stranger toilet paper, the politics of regifting, if shaved heads can grow hair, getting your boss the correct white socks, better ways coffee table books could be created, dry cleaner ethics, the after-effects of poppy seed bagels, yada yada yada.
Did we leave anything off? In spirit of it not being Throwback Thursday, let’s talk Seinfeld for hours.