What She Wants

Etiquette Rules The Modern World Is Slowly Forgetting, According to the Truly Rich Lady

"Never be late. Time, not money, is the ultimate luxury. I want my lunch companion to know that I am grateful for her time, that I respect her."

There are times when I feel like a stranger in this world. I do not feel at ease in the clunky flow of daily interactions. I do not recognize the language being spoken. I do not feel the warm glimmer of being human, because people have become robots with coarse habits. In favor of speed or a perceived coolness (or maybe they are just lazy), the everyday rules of etiquette have been thrown out the window.

Saying “Yes”

Let's start with something very simple. Many have forgotten how to say the word “yes.” Instead, they use “K.” This is usually uttered with a tone of indifference and a gaze that is not set upon you. There is the same number of syllables in the word “yes.” One. What is happening to the world?

Shaking hands

The purpose of a handshake is to not only reveal that you possess lovely manicured fingers that have never ever done the dishes (what are those?). It is also to show a stranger that you come in peace as, in the age of antiquity, when the practice started, showing an open hand says that you are not holding, perhaps, a deadly spear. It's a gesture that says my soft skin and I are here to meet you peacefully. Please do it.

Formal introductions

I am appalled that no one knows how to do this anymore. Yesterday, someone said, “Si-si, these are my friends,” and ended the introductions right there. What does that mean? How can I carry proper conversation with your many nameless friends? Shall I call them by descriptors? Loud Shirt, Bad Hair, and Wannabe?


Remember, too, the nuances. The more important person (Si-si!) is mentioned first, as in “Si-si, I would like you to meet, Bad Hair Wannabe in Loud Shirt.” Make eye contact, smile, and shake hands. No limp squeezes nor death grips.

Being on time

Time, not money, is the ultimate luxury. Agreeing to meet a Truly Rich Friend for something as mundane as lunch means she is giving a block of her time to you—instead of making money or spending money on herself.

And it's not just one hour of lunch that has been reserved. Consider, too, that your friend woke up two hours earlier (she has a complicated hair routine) as well as moved down other appointments so you can sit down together and pretend to eat leaves.

This is the reason why being just one minute late sends me into fits of worry. I want my lunch companion to know that I am grateful for her time, that I respect her. Also, I am very competitive. I want to be there first.

Not being present during conversations

Stop fumbling with your phone. I cannot count the number of times when the pause between question and reply seemed like an indefinite chasm, because my partner in conversation was too busy taking a snapshot of her food, editing a caption on social media, or swiping through a sea of faces on a tiny screen. I’m right here! Hello! Talk to me!

'Thank You' notes

I love handwritten letters because they possess the warmth of being human. A handwritten note means someone has spent a little bit more time and thought toward making me feel happy. It's even better when the sender is a masterful writer who can spin a simple thank you into a dreamy ode.

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Seeing “Thx (Winkey Face Emoji)” on a little speech bubble simply does not compare to nun-perfected cursive in jet-black ink from a fountain pen.

And on that note, I would like to thank you very much for giving me, Si-si, your precious time to read this. May the rest of your day be filled only with frictionless social interactions and happiness.

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C.C. Coo
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