DEAR MISS MANNERS: We are supposed to go to a relative's house for Thanksgiving, and I am tired of people making derogatory remarks to me about us vegetarians. Since when is it all right for someone to impose his/her views and lifestyle on others? Some of them even go so far as to dump meat on my plate in order to make me eat it. What should I do and say?
GENTLE READER: What you should say is "No, thank you," and what you should do is not eat it. And you should steadfastly continue doing both, until New Year's, if necessary.
Miss Manners realizes that she is serving you a bitter portion, and apologizes for it. It is extremely difficult, not to mention unfair, for the victim of blatant rudeness to have to be the one who calmly refuses to react. And it is rude, not hospitable or funny, to attempt to force people to eat or drink after they politely refuse. (Note to minors: This rule cannot be invoked when your parents tell you to eat your vegetables or drink your milk. Miss Manners is sorry about that, but don't even try.) Retaliatory rudeness will only get you into that debate that you politely and sensibly wish to avoid.