DEAR MISS MANNERS: My wife is a very sweet and most charming social worker who works at an in-patient ward in a psychological treatment facility. She's stunningly gorgeous and has a beautiful figure.
Since there are certain male patients who are bigger and stronger than many of the female employees, and they tend to grow unstable at times, she teaches these gals wrestling holds and other techniques for self-defense. She wears a pink leotard in her classes. Since she wiggles quite visibly, a lot of her male co-workers whistle flirtatiously and woo loudly at her.
Sometimes she just laughs along with them, but too often it annoys her. She's told me a lot of times when it has occurred that she would have liked to have told them to cut it out, but since she was rather busy teaching, she didn't want to interrupt her program. What do you recommend she could do to iron it out?
GENTLE READER: Do you realize that you have phrased this question rather salaciously?
In objecting to this sort of harassment, people generally stress the dignity and professional demeanor of the person being targeted. Your question is all about wiggles and gorgeousness and that pink leotard.
Miss Manners points this out only because if you and your wife are having a good time with this situation, she does not want to spoil it. If your wife is annoyed, she should make a serious request to her employers for privacy in which to teach the women's classes and the protection from harassment from her co-workers that they are legally obligated to provide.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Several years ago, I was asked by my professional colleagues to give a speech at our annual convention. To my great surprise, at the end of my talk the assembly rose and stood for a prolonged ovation. I had no idea whether I should remain at the podium, take my seat, wave, bow or perhaps mumble "Thank you, thank you" into the microphone.
While I have no reason to believe that I will ever again be invited to speak at another convention (having presumably used up my allotted time already), and only dreaming that any remarks I would make would be so well received again, I am nonetheless still wondering, if the speaker's remarks are honored with a standing ovation, what ought one do?
GENTLE READER: You are so charmingly modest about what must have been a splendid speech that Miss Manners feels certain that you will have this problem again. When you do, she has every confidence that you will do the correct thing.
That is because the correct thing is to appear surprised, grateful and modest, and you actually were. Murmuring your thanks at the podium for a moment, bowing slightly and then retreating to your seat is exactly the way to express this.