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Common Courtesies

Wednesday, June 8, 2016
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Q: To Teddy the Mutt

c/o His Master and Bosom Buddy, Lord of the Manner:


Is there such a thing as how not to walk one’s dog? I not only seem to be offending many a New Yorker, but rather than meet a nice lady friend, I’m a magnet for women with walkers. What’s a fellow to do?


The Dogged One,

Central Park West, New York


A: Dear Misguided,


Rule Number One: If you don’t enjoy the walk, they don’t enjoy the walk. And that, my injudicious friend, can lead to many a mishap.


He Himself knows of a certain incorrigible canine who constantly mistakes his owner’s Hardy Amies suit trousers each morning for the fire hydrant (and has also been known to leave a dubious pond inside his Craft Atlantic sneaker shoe). Don’t treat your dog like Tinder. Pay attention below. Or you’ll find yourself less some $1,000 after Edgar leaves his mark on some chap’s Moore & Giles leather briefcase.


Mind the basics. Let us not forget the late Mayor Koch’s greatest epitaph: the pooper scooper. Do the right thing or be the rightful recipient of the words “bad citizen!” (or, worse, a Park Avenue lynch mob). There are dubious exceptions: We know of one disgruntled artist who has artfully trained his bull mastiff to relieve his bowels each morning in front of Larry Gagosian’s Upper East Side townhouse. If compelled to smoke, it is inadvisable to ash one’s own dog. Prams are another matter, provided it isn’t some thoughtless mother clogging up Lexington Avenue with her covered buggy of artificially inseminated triplets.


Also impermissible: the service dog scam. A Chihuahua does not make for a Belgian Malinois. There are those in need of such increasingly scarce permits. Pay up: whether on a plane (Alitalia flight attendants will greet your beloved with heavenly slices of pizza. Now that’s amore) or in fine emporiums such as CVS, where Teddy the Mutt was banished after “unknowingly” toppling a towering display of tampons (pulling down an entire Christmas tree will go unmentioned). Not his finest hour, but he took the heat.


You and “your firmest friend” (said Byron) have precious time together. That is, unless you opt, like many a mogul, to take your private jet to a certain Filipino doctor who shall remain nameless (ahem, for a price), and who will clone your dearly departed for an astronomical sum. Better to bear in mind the organic words of that other great bard, Jimmy Stewart, and his sweet verse once on The Tonight Show about his deceased dog, Beau. Take the lead (figuratively and literally)—and your best beau will follow.


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Q: Dear Grand Fromage,


What makes for a good but properly written text? I seem forever out of the loop when it comes to the right lingo and symbols, especially when trying to woo a fortysomething woman of my own age.


Content-less,

SoHo, New York


A: Dear Speechless in SoHo,


The art of the text is not unlike the art of style: Less is more.


Think Hemingway. Pithy is powerful (particularly among thirtysomethings and below). Anything more than three sentences is Homeric.


(We assume you know the ABCs of, say, when not to text or when in the company of others. Or else you’d would be writing to the New York Times’ Social Q’s (snore). Suitable for humor-free simpletons only).


Onto the nitty witty: In the case of courting, you only text once. No reply means “no.” In general, best not to text when scheduling where and when to meet. It only leads to endless back and forth. Be careful with thy funniness: Suggest that you both meet in the Forbidden Books section of the Strand and run the risk of offending the illiterate. Pick up the phone: It bespeaks confidence (not the landline: it bespeaks aged). Be pleasant ly assertive. Luckily, you’re unlike the majority of divorced Upper East Side men seeking a Lolita lookalike, so a phone call won’t smack of stalking. Depending on the age, voice mails are verbose. An anachronism with the younger set.


Above all, act thy age. Would a 40-year-old man wear skinny black jeans and a skimpy crew neck picked up at Sandro? Do not resort to writing “Yeah” or “Yea.” The same applies to “Dude,” “rad,” “my brother,” “bro,” “Yo,” “Peace,” “sick,” “sir,” or “Wassup?” I’ll tell you what’s up: You’re an adult with the modern-day lexicon of Cher from Clueless. As if? Yes, “Totally.”


If you’re old enough to be reading this column, forget the emojis. It doesn’t take a Brown semiotics major to know your emoji IQ is constantly outdated (then again, Brown semi-idiotic graduates aren’t renowned for knowing


much). Don’t shy from scolding thy shrink—especially if he’s taken to sending downward smiley faces to his patients. At $400 a session, no less.


Q: To the Honorable,


What are some dos and don’ts to being a good godfather? Other than succumbing to spending a small fortune on all those Star Wars Lego sets?


Dan the Divine

Gramercy Park, New York


A: Dear Fortunate One,


It is a sacred honor that too many take for granted these days. Heed my words: A sinecure it is not.


The obligatory christening gift aside (see Asprey, Tiffany, or Harrods), your responsibility doesn’t end there. Nor does it allow you to have your assistant choose the annual birthday or Christmas gift. Being a godparent is no mere Holiday Affair.


Of course, expectations are inherently less if you don’t reside in the same city (which shouldn’t rule out the occasional phone call so they know who you are). If you do live nearby, consider it a once-in-a-lifetime chance to form a bond like no other. Do attend sporting events, plays, recitals and graduations, feeder preschool included. Don’t kid yourself: Kids know you’re there.


There’s hardly a parent today who couldn’t benefit from a little R&R from one’s flock. Take your godchild out to the ball game, the museum or the old-fashioned roller-coaster ride. No outing is too small. The simple lunch together will prove intensely gratifying. You’ll be dazzled by their knowledge, imagination and power of observation. The rewards are limitless.


There are far too many gluten-free, sugar-free four-year-olds on some insane diet these days, so have some fun. Treat ’em to a concession stand of Sour Patches or the five-foot-tall sundae (you didn’t hear it from me). You’ll be long gone by the time the midnight sugar high kicks in. But be careful in your adventurous ways. Know your boundaries. Respect the basic tenets of any parent. Surprise gifts such as a lifelike, patently obnoxious Jar Jar Binks, a drum set, or any mammal larger than a hamster are no-nos. Lose sight of your parameters and you may find yourself defrocked.


Editor’s Note: We at AVENUE take immeasurable pride on the occasion of the Queen’s 90th birthday and in her rewarding yet another title upon our esteemed, yet forever humble, columnist for his personal achievement and service to not just the United Kingdom and its British Overseas Territories, but the world.


And that he henceforth be referred to as Lord of the Manner (however much he doth protest).


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