Cameron Esposito’s Go-to Advice: Hug-Shakes and Spaghetti

After talking to Rico and Brendan about her new stand-up special, the comedian shares some etiquette tips that work for the bleachers or the cheese aisle.

Rico Gagliano: Each week you send in your questions about how to behave and here to answer them is, once again, Cameron Esposito. We talked to her earlier in the show about her new comedy special “Marriage Material.”

Cameron, you ready to take on these questions?

Cameron Esposito: Yes I am.

Going in for a hug and getting a handshake instead

Brendan Francis Newnam: All right. This is from Kay in Brooklyn, New York. She writes: How do you recover from going in for a hug and getting a handshake in return? Or vice versa?

Cameron Esposito: OK, you go in for a hug, you get a handshake. What you do is… OK, obviously, I’m great at handshakes because I’m a comic. That’s, like, 90 percent of this job is being able to shake a person’s hand after they introduce you, “Ladies and gentleman, Cameron Esposito.” Nail the shake and then go into your jokes.

What you do is you do the handshake, and then the left hand comes around… back-slap! You know what I mean? But, like, a sweet one. So it really is like a half-handshake, half-hug.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Graceful.

Cameron Esposito: You can never be wrong.

Rico Gagliano: You’re doing a little bit of everything.

Cameron Esposito: Mm-hmm.

Rico Gagliano: It’s a hodgepodge of greetings.

Cameron Esposito: And it’s professional. And it’s like, “I see you as an equal…”

Brendan Francis Newnam: Wait, so do you prefer a back-slap over a hug? Is that what you’re saying?

Cameron Esposito: Well, it kind of depends. I’m a little bit short. So sometimes when a person is very tall, then I like to hug them. Because it is very funny to just be a human belt for a little while.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Feel their belt buckle on your face?

Cameron Esposito: Yeah [laughs]. Like, if I know it’s a really tall dude comic that I’m introducing, I’ll hug that person because it makes me laugh. But I do think like, as a woman –and this is a real thing – if you want to really impress a lady? Shake her hand.

Rico Gagliano: Really?

Cameron Esposito: Oh, yeah. That is, like, the coolest thing you could do to a woman.

Rico Gagliano: I think I kind of do that, anyway.

Cameron Esposito: Yeah.

Rico Gagliano: Although here’s something — Brendan and I were talking about this recently because we’re writing a book about dinner parties — you shake everyone’s hand at the beginning of a party for just meeting them, but at the end of the party, it’s–

Cameron Esposito: Hug everyone. That’s right.

Rico Gagliano: Hugs all around, right?

Brendan Francis Newnam: You should be hugging.

Cameron Esposito: Yeah. Everyone handshakes in, everyone hugs out. Absolutely.

Rico Gagliano: Yeah, but there you go, Kay.

Cameron Esposito: You’re welcome!

Rico Gagliano: So, the solution, Kay, is the handshake and back-slap move. Simultaneous.

Cameron Esposito: Mm-hmm. Perfect. Solve.

What to do when your conversation is louder than the crowd at a college basketball stadium

Rico Gagliano: And here is something from Ambivalent Sports Fan in North Carolina. Ambivalent Sports Fan writes: “I recently went to a basketball game with a dear friend who I don’t see too often. We spent the game catching up. A few minutes into it, a woman two rows ahead of us turned around and said we’d been talking constantly, and could we please stop? A college basketball stadium is not a quiet place, so we continued talking. Were we in the wrong?”

Cameron Esposito: I hate this person, I have to say.

Rico Gagliano: Really?

Cameron Esposito: Well, yes. OK, we have to look at the actual question.

Rico Gagliano: The talker.

Cameron Esposito: They sat two rows in front of them?

Rico Gagliano: Yeah.

Cameron Esposito: At a basketball game.

Rico Gagliano: So, they were being pretty loud.

Cameron Esposito: They were being… just loud in a way… I think, like, when you’re having a full conversation, like, catching up, I just think, don’t go to that thing! There are other places to go.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Go to Starbucks.

Cameron Esposito: Yeah, go to Starbucks. Go to a restaurant. Go to a house. Go to a house that you own or apartment that you rent. Rent a hotel room.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Rent a…Airbnb a place.

Cameron Esposito: Yeah, just – a car…

Rico Gagliano: Anywhere.

Cameron Esposito: Get in an Uber.

Rico Gagliano: An alleyway.

Cameron Esposito: Like, there’s so many places.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Get a talking apartment for a night.

Cameron Esposito: Just walk down the street. You know, walk down the street next to each other. But I think that you really… you are a problem. And I think you made bad choices.

Rico Gagliano: This also happens, by the way – and this is terrible – at rock shows sometimes. It’s a rock show! They’re loud musical events. You feel bad telling somebody to keep their voice down. But there are people that will be right over your shoulder, like, yelling conversations. Over rock music!

Cameron Esposito: I had this experience, and I actually did ask that person to please… first of all, we were seeing Hall and Oates because we’ve got great taste in music…

Brendan Francis Newnam: Woo!

Rico Gagliano: I’m with you.

Cameron Esposito: …At the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. And it’s built into a very steep mountain. It’s built into a mountainside. So, the people sitting directly behind us, their mouths were just exactly…

Rico Gagliano: Where your ears are.

Cameron Esposito: At our ears. Like, I don’t even know. It was… I can’t even explain the closeness of their mouths to our ears. And they were being full-on conversation right when I was trying to figure out if she was “a rich girl.” And she was!

Rico Gagliano: Or if she’s “gone too far.”

Cameron Esposito: Yeah. And so, I had to turn around and be like, “Please stop talking!”

Brendan Francis Newnam: “I did not pay to hear you talk about where you parked your Audi. I paid to find out about this ‘Maneater’ this guy’s been talking about.”

Cameron Esposito: [Laughing] It was so much more than where they parked their Audi. It was full on, like, “How are everybody’s jobs going…”

Rico Gagliano: Did they obey you?

Cameron Esposito: They did. This is actually what they said. They said, “We are talking so loud because the people behind us are talking so loud.”

Rico Gagliano: “How about you all stop talking?!”

Cameron Esposito: “So you are inflicting upon me what you’ve experienced in your own life! To be terrible?!”

Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah. That’s horrible.

Cameron Esposito: It’s an awful way of dealing with the problem!

Rico Gagliano: No.

Brendan Francis Newnam: So, Ambivalent Sports Fan, please…

Rico Gagliano: Stop.

Brendan Francis Newnam: What Cameron said: just walk next to each other outside.

Rico Gagliano: Please.

Brendan Francis Newnam: And talk there.

Rico Gagliano: It’s an easy solution.

Cameron Esposito: Well, I mean, come on!

How to react to getting the digital cold shoulder

Rico Gagliano: All right, here’s one more from Tess in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Tess writes: “I noticed a friend/colleague not responding to an email. A few days later, I texted her to see if everything was OK: no reply. Same thing a week later. Meanwhile, I notice she’s posting peppy things on Facebook. After one more attempt, I unfriended her and didn’t pursue it further. A year later” – this is an epic – “in a store, I hear the words, ‘Hi, Tess!’ and there she is. So, what do you say to someone who ignores you, and then later wants to engage you in conversation?”

Cameron Esposito: Aww, this is a stressful question. Once the follow-up texts have happened… I think this Tess has to just realize, like, that friendship was over. Why did that person say hi to them in the grocery store? Because you can’t ignore someone in the universe.

Rico Gagliano: Yeah, yeah. They’re right there in front of you.

Cameron Esposito: What is she going to do? Hide in the cheese? Like, she’s in the grocery store. But you just have a “not-friend conversation.”

Brendan Francis Newnam: What’s a “not-friend conversation” though?

Cameron Esposito: This is what it is: “Hi, Tess. Oh, spaghetti for dinner?” “Yep, spaghetti for dinner again.” “Well, OK. Bye.”

I wouldn’t ask any questions about the things that are not in the cart. Because you’re in a grocery store, I wouldn’t ask, like, “How’s the job, how’s…?” Anything.

Do not engage. Just keep it to just, like, “Oh. Oh, you’re vegetarian now?” “Yeah. Well, no, actually, I’m not, but I just eat vegetarian food sometimes.” “Oh, OK. Cool. I did that for a while. I was a vegan.” “OK. Well, see you later!”

Brendan Francis Newnam: You’re like, “Hey, I stopped eating meat and being your friend. See you later!”

Rico Gagliano: Wow, I quit a lot of things, including you.

Cameron Esposito: Yeah. That’s how you do it. And also, this woman’s revenge tactic of going on Facebook and unfriending and all this stuff… I think what social media has done to us is that it has made us… everything is so heightened all the time.

Rico Gagliano: Oh, yeah.

Cameron Esposito: Right? Because it’s like, if you send an email, and then that’s not responded to, then you try with a text. Everything is a 15-second time or “I’m going and I’m unfriending you. I’m blocking you!”

But when you see a person in the real world, I just think we’ve got to remember: what did you used to do when you saw someone that you didn’t like? Just use that same tactic. We all know how to do this.

Brendan Francis Newnam: You’re like, “Spaghetti again?”

Cameron Esposito: “Spaghetti again.”

Rico Gagliano: All right, powerful words from Cameron Esposito. Cameron, thank you very much for telling our audience how to behave.

Cameron Esposito: Yes, you bet.



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