On Seinfeld

Everything I Know About My Social Life I Learned From Seinfeld — or, reasons why I didn’t eat half a pastry out of the trash can yesterday.


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.

Get more Humor ?
  • never let a dominican do a cuban’s job, coffee cakes should always be drake’s, and there’s no limit to how far you should go for a schnitzer’s marble rye.


  • Lindsey R.

    Never double-dip a chip or piss off Raquel Welch.

    • Guest


  • Ash

    All things come at a cost. You can’t just bake muffin tops and sell them like they’re real muffin tops. You have to bake the WHOLE MUFFIN in order to enjoy the best part. In addition, you can’t just discard the stumps and act like it never happened. The cost of enjoying the muffin top is eating the stump.

    • Cat

      Your comment made me go out and get a muffin.

  • brunetteletters

    haha i only double-dip with my family…and I have a hard time saying what I feel…

    Brunette Letters Blog

  • So happy you did this post. I watch an episode of Seinfeld every night before bed even though I’ve seen them all a million times. I never get sick of them.


  • CC’s

    Always use protection, because you don’t get gonorrhea from a tractor.

  • gp

    take soup seriously

    • Kay sealedwithakay

      My thoughts exactly.

  • the (un?)social butterfly

    Nobody should do their chores naked. In spite of what Don Draper tried to make us believe in one particular episode of Mad Men, I`m pretty sure Seinfeld was the one who was right about this one: there is a very, very small number of things you can do while naked in front of other people, and all of them are related to taking a shower or a bath or having sex.


  • I found Seinfeld to be too small a school, so I went for the larger more liberal arts education of Friends

    • Leandra Medine

      Bard vs NYU?

  • dandy

    double dip like no one’s watching!


  • Liz

    Always know that it’s okay to drape yourself in velvet. Make the decision to either wait for the long haul for a table or leave immediately. Cereal is a balanced meal. And drink plenty of water whilst eating pretzels because they, in fact, make you very THIRSTY!!

  • Lotus Blossom

    Haaa Love this and how real and spectacular you always are!

  • My mother claims she went into labor with me due to laughing so hard at an episode of Seinfeld back in ’96. I feel a special kinship for this show given the above circumstances and also given that it has been one of the few shows they (my parents) can’t refuse to let us watch during the school week. Re-runs upon re-runs upon re-runs and they only get better with age. For every life moment, there’s a Seinfeld quote or dialogue that perfectly fits the scenario. Thanks for this piece, Carlye! And thanks Leandra for ever-expanding your content to make this site the best on the web. Everything is so damn comprehensive!

  • María Belén Acosta Meana

    Ohh! I discovered the existence of Seinfeld way too late in my life, I was more of a friends kind of kid. But those life lessons are great!

    By the way, I just posted a picture of you in my blog, is that ok? I took it from pinterest to illustrate the statement necklace+casual outfit trend. Here’s the link to the blog… sorry, it’s in Spanish! I should start writting in both languages! Nonetheless, I say I love you and you appear next to Mira Duma, so that must be good, right?


  • I think I am the only person in this world who really hates Seinfeld! Nonetheless, I am glad you gleaned so much insight from it! HAHA.
    Visit us at http://www.thesobremesa.com

  • Demi

    Don’t make out during Schindler’s list….the black and white cookie is sign of our times be careful who your around before you insult ponies.

  • Jennifer
  • allie

    the shmoopy voice is not meant for public or ever

  • LOVE IT!

  • katie

    Never date someone exactly like yourself, and know how to execute a perfect chat-and-cut to use anywhere from night clubs to wedding buffets.

  • Linden Wilcock

    A masterpiece.

  • FKxoxo

    I love this show… even though something it makes me go crazy!

  • SC

    hahaa festivus for the restovus!

  • ssam

    breasts: real until proven fake

  • abby davis

    when having a conversation in a group of three people and you tell a story only to ask at the end “can you repeat that”

  • I am sorry – I know this is totally not the point of the post but whats the deal with Need Supply? Was just going to put in an order – its adorable (I followed all your sale buying rules and its passed all the tests)! Its all clear, right?