Media Monday: Shmanners

Please mind your P’s and Q’s…

Happy Monday reader! I always have trouble transitioning back into my busy work week after a restful Sunday. One of the ways I combat stress on Mondays is by easing into the day. Some weeks that means waking up a little bit earlier and having a quiet cup of tea, tidying my work space, or listening to some podcasts during my commute.

Today I’m going to be talking about one of my favorite podcasts: Shmanners. I’ll be real with you guys: this podcast started a bit of an etiquette obsession in my house. Husband-and-wife team Travis and Teresa McElroy make learning about different social situations fun and actually useful. Each week, they pick a topic, research its history, and talk about the way to apply it in a modern, inclusive way.

Ever wondered how to exchange business cards without an ounce of awkwardness? How do you host a house guest so that they’ll want to come back, but not overstay their welcome? And what the heck is up with tipping? Shmanners has you covered.

I’ve always considered myself a polite person, but Shmanners taught me why we do what we do. (Seriously, the history of bathing suits is fascinating.) But more importantly, Travis and Teresa approach etiquette with such a refreshing perspective. Historically, some folks have used etiquette and the knowledge thereof to justify racism, sexism, classism, ableism, etc. Yes, everyone should say please and thank you, and it’s helpful to know which fork to use for your entree, but saying that there’s one acceptable dress code for flying is outdated, classist, and frankly, unmannerly. Teresa’s historical contexts create accessible guidelines for everyone, while reminding listeners that it’s always better to lead by example rather than chastise those who get it wrong.

I work at a well-known, very prestigious theater center. Recently, a friend’s mom posted an article from Time Out New York entitled “Sit down, shut up and clap: A guide to theater etiquette“. Now y’all, if you’re an usher working for that theater, please feel free to remind people to turn off their phones and refrain from speaking during the performance. But Amanda Duarte calling people out for their behavior, rather than inviting them in with grace, turns them off from attending at all! Travis and Teresa’s episode on theater etiquette, featuring Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda, approaches the topic with humor, kindness, and candor.

If you like…

The McElroy Brothers, history, husband-and-wife teams, Emily Post, killing it in social situations, or fun facts, you’ll love Shmanners!


Do you have a favorite way to boost your Monday mornings? What podcasts are you listening to? Tell me in the comments below!


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