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by Abigail Van Buren

Hot Heads at Brunch Argue About Hats on and Off Table

DEAR ABBY: I was recently out for a walk with a group of women. Our plan was to have brunch together afterward. One of the women wore a baseball cap.

After we were seated, the lady removed her baseball cap and put it on the tablecloth where the next place setting would soon be. I proceeded to tell her to remove it immediately because it was inappropriate to place it on the table. She was very irritated when I corrected her. She said my opinion was stupid, raised her voice at me, and as much as said, "Shut up!"

The other women in the group didn't want to get involved. However, I informed them that placing a cap on the table was unhygienic. I asked the offender how she'd like to be seated where someone's cap had been and said I was surprised her mother had never taught her that. She finally removed it and placed it on the floor near her chair.

Abby, was I wrong to point out that headgear does not belong on tables where people eat? Isn't this something we should be taught and should teach our children? -- HATS OFF AT THE TABLE

DEAR HATS OFF: Yes, children should be taught that hats should not be placed on the dining table. However, the scene you created was more inappropriate than any breach of etiquette that may have occurred. You could have told the woman privately. By lecturing her publicly, you embarrassed everyone present.