DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have divergent interests, and I often attend events such as the ballet on my own. I enjoy getting to know people during the intermissions, but occasionally the conversation has taken a bad turn.
Occasionally, if I am speaking with a married couple, one or the other will intone, when they find out that I am married, that I should have taken my husband hostage and forced him to attend the event with me.
I need to know if I was the one in the wrong the last time, when the couple I was talking to said outright, “Why didn’t you force your husband to come with you?” I replied, “Because it’s just not his thing.”
The wife responded, “He must not love you like my husband loves me. George hates the ballet, but here he is!”
I was insulted, and I simply begged off by saying, “It was very nice to meet you. I must get a drink before intermission ends. Have a good time.” I didn’t acknowledge the wife’s comment. As I walked away, I overheard the wife say, “Well, that was rude!” (It certainly was – on her end!) I was taken aback.
Should I have handled the situation differently? Was I being rude? I felt I was being gracious by not engaging in debate or defending my husband’s honor over such a rude comment. Your thoughts?
GENTLE READER: That you must love your husband more than this lady loves George. And that you showed admirable restraint in not saying so.
Furthermore, Miss Manners assures you that the etiquette judgment of someone who accuses strangers of being unloved is not worth considering.