Unwritten Rules


I was in a conversation the other day when my significant other informed me that I was violating what she called an “unwritten rule.” This got me to thinking, which is usually a bad thing, and certainly wasn’t her intention. Usually when someone tells me about an “unwritten” rule I pull out a pad and pencil and write it down. What can I say? I feel sorry for them. They must have a tough time at parties. Can you imagine the stigma they must feel? After all, people have deemed them too unimportant to take ten seconds to write down. To do my part, I’ve decided to share some of the rules that I’ve run across over the last forty three years.


1. Red wine goes with red meat; white wine goes with white meat. The interesting thing is that people who tell you this haven’t tested it themselves. Just the other day I had a nice steak with a glass of white wine. Contrary to what some would lead you to believe, I didn’t contract the plague.


 2. Applauding at a sporting event for an injured player as he leaves the field. This is a good rule. It incorporates elements of compassion and respect. Of course what you’re really clapping for is that the game is about to re-start.


3. Don’t wear white after Labor Day. I have no idea who came up with this little gem, but it was almost certainly someone who: a) manufactured non-white clothes, b) was clinically insane or c) both of the above.


4. If a woman asks you if an outfit makes her look fat don’t pause before you answer. You have to be careful with this one. The timing is very tricky. At some point as this question is being asked, there is a tear in the fabric of the space-time continuum. All of a sudden, each second has divided itself into one thousand equal parts. Pausing for a second thus equates to 16.66 minutes. This is bad. Look at those last three numbers again. It’s that bad. You have to have the ‘N’ in NO, I pray to God that’s your answer, on the tip of your tongue. As soon as she finishes enunciating the ‘t’ in fat you have to answer. You can’t answer before that. Then she wants to know what you are saying “no” to. Under no circumstances should you answer her in that situation. Instead, pretend to faint. You might want to practice this when she’s not around. She can tell the difference.


If someone tells you about an unwritten rule, please, do your part and write it down. Save them the shame and embarrassment.