We love answering our mailbag. It validates our presence in this world knowing that some people actually send in their questions for some enlightened answers from us. These are the times that we unleash our inner spiritual guru and try to give people benevolent, albeit borderline insolent answers – the only type of answer we have to offer.
In our little heads and to our readers, they probably make sense because questions still keep coming in. We love it and we thank you!
So let’s proceed to this week’s questions!
Is there still such a things as proper etiquette between two people who are already in a relationship? And to what extent? – (Celia, Muntinlupa)
Zee: Proper etiquette covers a lot of things. The more common relationship concerns would be hygiene, dining, privacy and of course, the should-I-fart-poop-pee-burp-or-show-my-partner-that-I’m-human concern.
The latter will always be mind-boggling. Like everything else in the relationship, Trust and Respect will be the best anchors for concerns such as these. After letting go of an odiferous blast of air because you stuffed yourself with sweet potato to fulfill some weird organic diet, ask yourself “Will he still respect me?” More importantly, “Can I trust that this man would not tweet that a petite little package like me can actually stink up 100 square meters of space with gas?”
MDJ and I have been together for a little over 2 years and I think we have proven time and again that we not only trust, but have the utmost, infallible respect for each other.
We have been through more than the burp, fart, poop, pee incidents and because we trust each other, we have pinky sworn that nothing will come out. We also didn’t start off the relationship trying to impress each other and that just democratized everything from the very beginning.
I don’t believe that women don’t fart, or that our sweat smells like rose-water and our burps sound like robins chirping. I do believe that if a man loves you that much, it will seem that way. If he loves you, don’t fear, and let it all out. I think the bigger challenge would not be “proper etiquette” but keeping the mystique in a relationship wherein farting and burping is normal.
MDJ: There are different standards that people keep when it comes to what sort of etiquette to maintain, but the general consensus is that love should liberate. What isn’t considered proper when dealing with passing acquaintances should, by all logic, be perfectly fine in a relationship with someone in whom you invest intimacy, trust, and honesty.
There are minor grievances that shouldn’t be an issue. Burping, for one, is fine. Farting, while awkward at first, is something that can be dismissed with a polite “excuse me.” My basic principle is that if something is going to leave some particularly aromatic collateral damage, i.e. a fart after a healthy double bean burrito at your favorite Mexican restaurant, then you are obliged to give a proper warning, and make sure to take steps to minimize potential casualties, i.e. rolling down the car windows, providing a clean handkerchief that can be held over one’s nose until the smoke clears, conducting periodic spot-checks to ensure that it’s safe to come out.
But these things shouldn’t be a dealbreaker in a relationship. No matter how awkward it may seem at first, an unchecked fart can be worth a good laugh and fond memories later on. And ultimately, isn’t that what we all want in a relationship anyway?
There’s no excuse however for the dude to ever act like less than a gentleman. Open doors for your lady, pull up a seat, treat her like a princess even if she insists she can do things on her own. God made us men macho and brawny for a reason, and it’s to show women that around us, they’re safe, protected, and secure.
How do you tell your yaya that she’s “amoy lupa”? – (Joy, Pasig)
Zee: Well, first of all we don’t call anyone “amoy lupa”. We just call it what it is and say they have body odor, BO or bromhidrosis. Yaya most likely does not know she walks around with odor pungent enough to bring down a horse.
- Just tell her. Practice in front of the mirror if you have to “Yaya, alam ko naman na naliligo ka pero baka kailangan twice a day kasi napapawisan ka masyado sa pag-alala at maselan rin si baby. Kailangan hindi maraming germs sa kanya,” or something like that. Channel Sharon Cuneta and NOT Cherry Gil when you say this.
- Help her. Buy her toiletries and teach her how to use them. Check on the food she eats, because it makes a big difference. Does she eat the same food as you do? Get her a new set of towels, as BO lingers. Give her a twice-a-day bath schedule and give her time to do this. She may feel that she has to spend her time taking care of the baby, that she either can’t shower, or have to rush through showering.
- Set an example. Use alcohol everytime you touch your baby and tell her the importance.
Those are 3 simple steps you can do. Yayas are part of the family, and take care of our loved ones. We talk to them and treat them the way we do with the rest of our family members. She might just appreciate all of it and your house will smell mountain-breeze fresh.
MDJ: First of all, we don’t believe in talking down to Yaya, or to any househelp in general – they generally come from humble, provincial roots, and pretty much only have their dignity, so we try to respect that. “Amoy lupa” isn’t a term we’d use; “an earthy, aromatic bouquet with undertones of coffee and cumin” is probably a nicer way to put it.
It’s a problem telling anyone they smell bad, but the first thing to remember is that they probably only aren’t aware of their smells. I once knew a dude with the worst case of halitosis I’d ever smelled – I kid you not, he’d burp once, and the entire boardroom would instantly smell of a used bathroom, but he’d be blissfully clueless about himself being the cause. Taking them aside and letting them know is probably the kindest thing you can do.
Also, make sure you don’t direct criticism (however constructive) at her as a person per se, but on her actions and habits. People respond not too well to a direct assault like “Yaya, ambaho mo,” as opposed to “Yaya, siguro di pa kayo naliligo ngayon, ano?” Always make sure to distinguish between the person and the act. That will also help you drill down to specific causes, and not just make it sound like insults or chastisement.
But as Zee said, the best thing to do is to just provide Yaya with the personal care products that she needs – make sure she’s always well-stocked with a good shampoo, soap, feminine care products, toothpaste, alcohol, and deodorant. A nice, cheap alcohol-based perfume is a subtle way to appeal to her vanity – she’ll feel like a princess when she’s wearing it, and will apply it as often as she can, which is good.
Take ownership of the problem. Yaya might be there to provide service to you, but it’s your job to make sure she’s taken care of as well.
How do you guys write together? Do you plan and plot what you say? – (Voltaire)
MDJ: Truth be told, it’s a bit of a hit-or-miss when it comes to writing as a couple. It’s easy to agree in broad strokes what we want to write about, but the execution can be a bit tricky.
Generally, we try to have an overall content plan in mind – while we don’t have a specific focus interest for this blog, we do like to make sure our entries aren’t redundant, so planning the overall topics 4-5 articles in advance helps us keep our subject matter balanced and varied.
We then assign a “lead” writer, depending on who’s more passionate about a certain topic. Zee likes to write about politics, current events, makeup, and food, for example. MDJ likes writing on social media, sports, technology, and fashion. The lead writer then drafts out a more-or-less complete blog entry, indicating spots where the other one should jump in – either via a lead-in question, or an abrupt change in direction.
The other one then jumps in, filling in their own thoughts or responses to what’s been laid out, throwing in segues where they’re needed, or inserting suggestions on what the originator should say in a specific point.
The lead writer then takes the article back, checks the overall flow to make sure that the banter connects smoothly, and perhaps throws in one or two responses to what the other has written to make the dialogue more fluid.
All of this is done either on a collaborative writing platform like Google Docs, or on a “live” draft within our shared WordPress dashboard. We each write at odd hours, and just shoot out a text message to each other (usually “Tag! You’re it!”) to let them know it’s their turn to write. We don’t always have our laptops on hand, so the first draft and final editing is usually done on our matching Samsung GALAXY Notes, which come in handy for the random doodle that we’d like to throw in.
Normally, we like to have 3-5 different articles on queue, and auto-schedule them to come out on a regular daily basis. We both take ownership of publicizing each entry on our Facebook and Twitter accounts – social media schedulers like HootSuite are extremely handy in this regard.
So there you go. It isn’t as easy as it looks, but we love the results, and that’s how we’ll keep things going.
Zee: MDJ has a very organized view about working on this blog. I basically just write, write, write, and tag you’re it! We are very different in approach and a compromise is really needed or else, it won’t be as fun as we want it to be and that really just defeats the purpose of writing.
Our work schedules derail us from writing more. Our smartphones allow us to work on the go but I don’t think our bosses would appreciate us writing about farts in the middle of a meeting. We do wish we could write more.
We opted to just each say our piece about every topic since we really can’t agree on some things. We have very different views about certain things. Every time I open the shared file, it’s like opening a box of chocolates, and his opinion and how he writes just surprise me and make me laugh. I love how MDJ writes, I’m his greatest fan and I think I do this blog so that I’ll have a preview of it every time we write an entry. All in all, we love working together. We have the usual disagreement here and there, but basically we know we’re both working towards just having fun together as a couple.
And that’s the end to another world-famous He Says Zee Says mailbag! Keep your questions coming, either in the comments section, our Facebook page, Twitter, or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org!