DEAR MISS MANNERS: On a recent evening flight, the rows were mostly empty. I busied myself with work, and kept my nose in my laptop for most of the flight.
Once my battery had died, I looked up and around me. I could not help noticing a rather telltale set of not-very-discreet-at-all motions coming from a couple barely six feet away from me, the only other occupants of my row.
While I am hardly prudish, I was truly shocked and disgusted. Even after several pass-bys of the flight attendants, even after a few clearings of my suddenly itchy throat, the "frolicking" continued (to be a little clearer: this was far beyond the enthusiastic affections one might expect of honeymooners, for instance).
I avoided any kind of contact with them in those uncomfortable moments between landing and deplaning, and gladly went my own way after that. However, their rudeness left quite a sour pall over the rest of my evening, and I found myself really wishing I'd found something cleverly tart to say (actually, the click of a camera might have been perfect, as it seemed that exposure was their goal after all).
Usually, I prefer to answer rudeness with silence, but for such extraordinary circumstances, I still wish I'd said something on behalf of the flight crew, other passengers and myself. What is your opinion? What might you have said or done?
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners always brings a book, and never looks up. Perhaps this is just as well.
What did you have in mind? Tapping them on the shoulder -- whosever shoulder happened to appear within reach -- and asking to borrow their in-flight magazine? Expressing the hope that they were having a pleasant flight?
Miss Manners doesn't make citizen's arrests, even for indecency in transit. The only people with some authority over air passenger etiquette are the flight attendants. You might have suggested that one of them approach the couple and order them to fasten their seatbelts.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I went to our local indoor pool with my two young sons, a friend and her son, my friend pointed out a lady who had just arrived whose swimsuit was rather transparent when wet.
Would it have been appropriate for me to point out this reaction to water? If so, how would I go about it?
I am, of course, assuming that she was quite oblivious to the condition. However, the way she would climb onto the floating animal in the pool did not support this idea. I was not in the pool myself and she never left it. We left shortly after spotting the condition without saying a word to her.
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners is worried about the words that were said. She sincerely hopes that your friend did not point out the Totally Visible Lady within earshot of the young boys.
Whether the lady was oblivious or showing off, there was nothing she could have done about it in the middle of the pool. In the natural course of events, she will discover this herself in the dressing room and cherish the hope that nobody noticed -- or, if your suspicion is correct, that everybody did. Miss Manners considers it tactful to allow her that choice.