Etiquette for the Modern Human, Round 2

With your host, Amelia Post.


Perhaps one of the greatest stories ever told is the one about my friend who got spat on. She was driving down a major street in San Francisco, soaking up the sun with her left arm hanging out the window, right hand on the wheel, when a big, fat, wet something came flying at her bare appendage. It was spit. A wad of it. And it came from the one-man Tour-de-France-band next to her, wiping his his mouth with the back of a glove, staring intently at the red light as though he were a Thoroughbred horse at the starting gate.

“Excuse me,” she said, turning down the radio while pointing to the slimy evidence. “YOU JUST SPIT ON ME.”

He pretended not to hear.

“EXCUSE ME,” she repeated again, willing the light to stay stagnant. “YOU. JUST. SPIT. ON. ME.”

“Do you cycle?” Lance responded.

“I’m sorry, what?” (The appropriate reaction.)

Do you CYCLE?” he asked louder, over the hum of the city’s traffic.

“No I don’t fucking cycle,” replied my friend. “I drive a CAR, and you just SPIT ON ME.”

“Well if you cycled…” (here it comes…) “You’d know that you have to spit a lot.”

The light changed green and the camel-man took off, whizzing between cars like a stupid pedaling bee. My friend flew after him until they both came to another red light, and guess what?

She spit on him.

All of which is to say, it’s time for another round of Etiquette Lessons with me, your host, Amelia Post.

“You’re Welcome” Always Follows “Thank You”

One of you brought this up in the comments of last month’s post. Thank you for that, because “thank you” is so rarely heard these days that reciprocal protocol has been lost completely. A refresher course: “you’re welcome” always follows “thank you.” It not only completes a polite social transaction, it immediately eliminates any potential for awkwardness and alleviates the thanker of anxiety.

For example, let’s say I saved you from getting hit by a car. You thanked me. Now pretend that I didn’t respond; I just stared blankly or walked away. You’d forever be wondering, Did that person mean to save me? Did they want me to get hit? Did she know I said “thank you” instead of “wank glue”?! She totally thinks I said “wank glue!” But what is wank glue? That sounds sexual, like…you know. She must think I’m a pervert. Amelia Diamond saved me from getting hit by a car and she thinks I’m a pervert.

Whereas, if I just said “you’re welcome,” we’d all be on our merry way.

Rogue Responses in Lieu of “You’re Welcome.”

To that, it is rarely okay to get creative with your responses to “thank you” despite the best intentions. “No worries,” “No problem,” “It’s fine,” and “It’s all good” insinuate that something was wrong in the first place, or that your opening a jar of peanut butter for someone was like, the most strenuous and bravest thing ever.

Your Fingers Are Not Knives 

A very fast quiz:

1) Are you Edward Scissorhands? (Yes) (No)

Assuming that the majority of humanity will select no, it should be noted that fingers are not utensils and actually, things have been created for your convenience called forks, knives, and spoons. In certain establishments you may even come across sporks, which is the skort equivalent of the culinary world. Either way, all have been designed to help you scoop up the last bit of quinoa without using your index finger. It’s cool and I highly suggest you try it.


Walking is like driving: stay to the right and keep moving. Walk-and-stoppers are the worst kind of pedestrians as they are not only rude, they’re dangerous. The second someone abruptly slams on his human breaks in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, a pile-up of bodies is created that forces a group of strangers to touch each other. There is nothing more foul than finding someone’s scalp on my nose or khaki’d balls on my back, all because the teenager three feet ahead had to stop for a VERY URGENT TEXT MESSAGE.

Don’t Spit in Public 

I’m aware that spitting in public is socially acceptable in certain cultures, but in Game of Thrones it’s an insult and everywhere else it’s bodily TMI. If you have to spit — maybe you CYCLE — you’ll find that your remarkable human body is designed to swallow (!!!) and therefore, the act of expelling your saliva is superfluous.

Revenge-spitting, however, is at your own discretion.

Get more Humor ?
  • Beth Ferreira

    Fantastic! Some crazy sound like hum-hum has also been used instead of “you’re welcome”… And spitting is absolutely not acceptable as well as pushing food with any of your fingers… Well done! Great post!

    • hila

      I get that “uh-huh” response a lot by younger people (I’m not even that old). I can’t stand it. It’s rude and disrespectful and insinuates that I “better” thank you. How rude!

  • Morgan

    Hah! The spit story is hilarious.
    One time in High School, my friend and I were crossing a busy street, and a Jeep full of stupid guys drove past us. They rolled down the windows and screamed in our faces, “SHOW US YOUR TITTIES!”. Yeah right. My friend and I went on our way, and when we were driving home later that night, stumbled upon the same exact car full of idiots. Naturally, we rolled down our windows and screamed to them, “SHOW US YOUR TITTIES!”. Their faces were priceless.

  • Lucy

    asdjfalsdfjalahahhahaahaha… my coworker makes fun of me (in disgust) when I finish my quinoa with my index finger…. must. get. every. last. piece.

  • emmy

    hahahhahaha! This is so great!!! important things for everyone to remember!!!


  • Lisa Thomson

    Soooo well written Amelia! Loved this and thank you for the etiquette update.

  • Quinn Halman

    You need to have your own talk show!

  • Love the shots….Great one. It always a pleasure to hear from you.

  • Ruth

    omg. She spit on him. I could’ve stopped reading there, but continued and giggled just as much through the rest. lol.hahaha and all of that.

  • Aisha S

    Bahahaha. Love the spit story. “Thank you” for sharing! And, totally hate the walk-and-stoppers (some of them are my friends…[thought to self: do I hate my friends]). I love the stories you post!

  • Anna Malcolm

    Walkers-And-Stoppers! I so agree that walking is like driving: stay to the right, pass on the left. Can we seriously get lanes put in sidewalks? I think we’re at that point. Walkers-And-Strollers ( as in baby strollers) are pretty bad too-you can’t get around those babies if you’re in a hurry. And you’ve gotta love the hand-holding couples who leisurely stroll down the middle of the sidewalk as if they own it, meanwhile, five people are stuck behind them, forced to walk at a geriatric pace.

  • Sure…Pants

    I never understood why people spit in public. Brava to your friend’s revenge spit however!

    Let it be noted that in much of the world, fingers are indeed utensils (and is a far more satisfying experience) so scooping up that last delectable piece of quinoa is totally justified!

  • shnou

    *spat though

    • Neelam

      This drives me crazy!! I think it might be an American thing. In England, we all say ‘spat’.

  • The pushing food with fingers part literally made my cringe and made my stomach turn. It’s like people who lick their fingers when eating chips and go back into the bag. Bleh!

  • Ha! I have been forever wanting to express my annoyances about the impoliteness of today’s society. The “walk-and-stoppers”are right at the top of my list along with the drivers who never seem understand they have a rearview mirror and that there are actually others on the road. However, my personal all-time favorite is the “shop-and-stoppers” (no pun intended as there is actually a supermarket chain with said name). These are the patrons who routinely park their carriages in the middle of the aisle and are completely unaware that others may be trying to get by. They are in no particular hurry and seem to stare blankly at the wall of choices in front of them. It’s a lack of respect for others. A selfish tunnel vision approach to everyday existence in which the rest of us are tiny blips of radar in their orbit. And finally, I am a triathlete, Ironman distance to be exact, and I must confess that I have spit while riding (100+ miles is a long time) but I am quite sure I have never done this around pedestrians and most certainly not ON one.

  • mollie blackwood

    I’m all about the manners (raised in the South) but I think it’s antiquated to think that saying “No problem!” is not an appropriate response to “Thank you.” That one guy that rants about young people on CBS Sunday Morning talked about that a few months ago. He’s old. When I say it, I really mean it was no problem at all I was not put out in anyway.

    • pamb

      I don’t mind ‘no problem’, but I can’t get with ‘no worries’! Are we all Austrailians, now? And I wasn’t really worried in the first place, so are you putting me down, implying that I was worried? Ugh. 😉

  • Rosy

    the past-tense of “spit” is definitely “spat”.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Actually, both are correct! It’s an irregular verb.

  • Rachel

    Loved this! Absolutely hilarious.

  • alizafrabs

    Fun fact: spitting in China is illegal. However, peeing on the streets is totally fine. 🙁

    • Amelia Diamond


    • toocool

      lol have you every been to china? everyone there spits everywhere

  • Angel Andrina

    love this post. I would add to look at people when you are talking…good to remember that too. 🙂

  • Fantastic! So my husband never, NEVER says thank you. And he never expects to hear it from me! Drives me ape-shit crazy. You know why? Because “he’s my husband and he will always do things for me, it’s part of being married, so no ‘thank you’s’ are required.” I call BS.
    His mom never made him say it because she was his mother, and it was her job to take care of him. Now, I love my MIL dearly, I really do, but I flat-out told her she was wrong and that I will be forever paying the price for this.

    Also, is “sure thing” acceptable in lieu of “you’re welcome”? It’s not as ambiguous as some of your other examples. Thoughts?

    • Amelia Diamond

      I just caught myself today saying “Of course!” when someone said thank you, but in a really happy tone… What is his tone? Sure thing sounds similar. But sure thing would annoy me.

      • It’s the same as ‘Of course!’, just ‘Sure thing!’ In that chipper tone of voice.
        I’ve realized I usually say something else instead of you’re welcome. Like it’s played out or something. Umm no, that will never be played out!

  • Abby Rode

    This reminds me of the time some oblivious brat threw her half-drank coffee out her window while driving and hit the side of my car (and my windows were down). What if I had been a pedestrian OR she’d thrown her cup in my window and it struck my person?

    In the famous words of Michelle Tanner “How RUDE!”

  • Ian

    Terrific article – however: Fowl is a bird. Foul refers to unpleasantness.

  • Tinderella

    Fantastic post. If you’re curious to see how rude and dysfunctional people of this generation really are, sign into Tinder. Or keep an eye on this blog: – It’s funny because it’s true.

  • War of the Vexes

    Opening a jar of peanut butter for someone is a commendable altruistic act. Not too keen on reciprocal spitting. British equivalent of ‘You’re welcome’ is ‘Not at all’ like French ‘de rien’ or ‘It’s my pleasure’ (much more positive than ‘No problem’). Does the writer’s interest in both ettiquette and spitting signal a Colossus doing the splits? Buried refinement in a lewd world? Or lewdness buried in a refined world?

  • War of the Vexes

    Sorry, one t. Etiquette

  • Lonni

    UGH! I HATE it when people spit in public! BTW… You meant “foul” not “fowl”.

  • Elin Astrid Gjøvik Glad

    “Khaki’d balls” totally made my night!

  • Anastasia Beaverhausen

    You left out when you call a business, especially service oriented and they answer the phone, “thank yoh for calling xxx” and you say, “Hi, I’m calling to make an appointment for…How are you today?” and they respond “Fine” …. This incents me, ‘How are you?’ is the most reciprocal question in the English language, you can respond to that without even thinking or caring on autopilot which should be part of your customer service rhetoric. I’m calling to give you my money, fake it for me…Makes me livid and I walk from that rude BS

  • Enza

    See the thing is sometimes when you’re sick and you’ve got all that nice mucus in your nose and throat and you’re in public and you don’t have a tissue, I feel it’s mandatory to spit… I have no shame… I am a public spitter.

  • So guilty of replying with “no worries,” coz my colleagues often use it also. I will make an immediate and hard change to “you’re welcome” from now on!