Every Friday I do my best to answer your most pressing questions about how you should do things in the summer, whether those "things" pertain to etiquette, fashion, life, dating, or something else entirely. (Ask me anything!) Today in questions of #Sweatiquette, we take on guests who expect lodging; the ethics of outdoor boozing; hot, wet hugs; and how to tell a friend you're interested in some summer lovin'.
Of fish and guests.
How do you tell a friend/family member visiting your city they can't stay at your house or apartment? —Tim Carmody, senior features writer, The Verge
There really needs to be a public service announcement made about this nationally. Unless you happen to live in a mansion with a separate guest wing, guests are really not welcome for more than a night or three at max. Even if you do invite them to stay for as long as they like, because of course that's what you do, everyone should know that that's not really what's meant and act accordingly. But in the city, where lodgings are small, very small indeed, friends and family planning to visit loved ones should be particularly aware that their loved ones will love them that much more if they find places to stay that are not in their city-dwelling relatives' very small homes. It is summer. It is hot. If you can afford to go visit someone, you should be able to afford a hotel room. Or do what my parents, blessed creatures that they are, do, and find an apartment for rent offered up by some lovely person who might be going away for that week, and stay there. It's better for everyone. How do you tell someone they can't stay at your house or apartment when they come and visit? Blame it on whoever else you live with, and/or on those who came before: "Ever since Todd and Beavis puked on the verandah, Angela has insisted that we can't have guests stay overnight. It's one of the keys to keeping our relationship intact. But I know of a lovely apartment just down the street that's rentable by the weekend!"
None of this applies, however, if you are a full-grown child and your parents have a pool, or live on or near any coastline. Then, absolutely, you should stay with them. They require it, in fact.
On the ethics of drinking al fresco...
Is it so wrong to bring a bottle of wine or a couple beers and drink surreptitiously in the out of doors, if you don't have your own backyard (and who does, in the city)? And even if it is wrong, or not legal ... what's the right way to drink in public? —Paperbag Pete
There is indeed a right and a wrong way to drink in public. We don't suggest doing anything illegal, of course, but if you're the risk-taking type, here's what you do. You fill your sports bottles with whatever you like to consume, and you take them to the park, and you casually drink from them while enjoying a nice breeze on a blanket underneath some leafy trees. Or, you bring a bottle of wine, or a few beers, or maybe a bottle of gin and some mixers and a bag of ice and those adorable little drink parasols, and you keep those items in your bag and, with the adept clandestine skills you learned in high school, you dole them out in plastic cups and pass them out to all of your friends. Don't do anything stupid like set up a full bar in plain view. That's just asking for trouble. But if you can be equal parts mature and sneaky about it, the joys of outdoor drinking can be yours. Key note: Hide everything and feign sleep if you see cops. But the most important rule of all outdoor drinking is that if someone comes over to your blanket and asks to borrow a wine key or bottle opener, let them, always. It's just good karma.
Hugging it out, damply.
Is it rude to greet someone with a hug when your T-shirt is damp with sweat? —Annie Hipson; Tampa, Florida
I am glad you asked this, Annie, even though you provided your own answer, because I have in the last few weeks been forced to do that strange shimmying faux-kiss hello where I lean in to peck someone on the cheek while at the same time pulling back and announcing, "My face is so sweaty, you probably don't want to touch me." Annie's response to her own question, for the record, was "God, God, yes, it is rude and please get away from me NOW!"—which is probably why people like me have implemented such strange habits when greeting one another in the summer months. Even though I'm not going in for a full-body sweat-hug, however, my tactics are not very good either, because they leave all sorts of potential for failure. A kiss might land on your cheek and slide right off, given your excessive perspiration! So, what to do? Don't worry, there's no need to revert back to a handshake, which makes you seem like you're a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman. And air-kisses are so Real Housewives. Instead what you should do is this:
Upon the approach, gauge your level of friendship. Acquaintances don't really need hugs in the first place, or bodily contact at all. Enemies do, because it's one of the rare chances you have to keep tabs on whether or not they have a concealed weapon. If it's an enemy, hug, and hug long, sweat or not. If it's an acquaintance, do that thing where you check your watch and walk by pretending not to see them, and if they do catch your eye, shout something about how you're on a deadline and run away. If it's a friend, you really can do whatever you want, because you know them better than we do. And speaking of outdoor drinking, no one will remember your sweaty hug as long as you top off their beverage with that bottle of whatever you're carrying around with you.
Sandy wants a Danny.
With the summer in full swing, how do I ask that good friend if he just wants to have a summer fling? —This Name Has Been Changed to Protect the Innocent
The challenge with any sort of relationship, short-term or long, physical or otherwise, is managing fear of rejection against getting what you want. To get what you want, you should be direct. But what if you get rejected? That this person is a good friend makes it a little more difficult, because presumably, you want to maintain that friendship. That said, if you know he is interested in the type of person you are (man or woman, blonde or brunette, with central air or without) and he's not otherwise affiliated, and you actually like him, why not just go for it? It's a cliche, of course, but what do you really have to lose? Your dignity, maybe; your friendship, perhaps, but if you're confident enough that neither of those losses will crush you, and you are going in with the full knowledge of what you want to get from this situation and being up front about it, godspeed. Find a situation in which it's just the two of your together, lean in close, blink your little eyelashes a bit, purse your lips, and see what happens. From what I hear, men do tend to appreciate when a woman is direct without being terrifyingly so. So, give him enough clues that you might be interested in this that he figures it out. If he still doesn't get it, you could say, "How do you feel about good friends having summer flings?" "How do you feel about having a summer fling with me?" or even, "Let's make out." Or print this post out, break into his apartment, and leave it attached to his refrigerator with a heart-shaped magnet and your name scrawled across the bottom in blood-red lipstick along with "THIS: Or ELSE!!!!" Dudes love an ultimatum.