DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a senior in high school and also in theatre production class. When a cast list is posted, I don't always get the role I wanted.
What is the proper way to deal with this? Should I congratulate the person who got the role instead of me? Should I storm off angry or make it known that I am not pleased with this?
As I plan to pursue theatre in the future, it's important to know how to deal with this unpleasant event.
GENTLE READER: Are you under the impression that being rude is an asset in the theater?
Miss Manners suspects that you have been reading too many celebrity magazines. What you may have missed is that the actors first become stars and then indulge in bad behavior, which may be tolerated for the sake of the money they bring in. But even then, they run into problems if their fans get bored with their antics or they are considered difficult to work with.
The proper reaction, as you well know, is to congratulate the winner and cheerfully accept any part you may be assigned. If you cannot manage that, regardless of how you really feel, please see your career counselor; you are no actress.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: While at a $100-per-plate fund-raiser last night, a woman with whom I am acquainted kept touching me. Throughout the course of the dinner, she stroked my long hair repeatedly, tried to hug me a couple times and firmly whacked my back multiple times after I coughed while sipping wine.
Each time (except for our initial "hello" hug in the lobby), I responded with "Please stop" or "Please don't" and pulled away. Finally, in a flat tone, I said "Boy, Jane, you're pretty touchy-feely tonight" to which she responded "But you're my friend."
I then said "Yes, but I am also a fan of personal space. Please stop."
The other women at the table heard this exchange. Although the nine of us at the table have known each other for more than 20 years, I wonder if I could have handled this better?
I also suspect I may have offended the woman, because for the rest of the evening, she complained somewhat loudly about the amount of rosemary in the food, and the perceived affluence of the night's auction winners based on their address, among other things. Is a note of apology in order?
GENTLE READER: Why? Did you sneak more rosemary in her food? Or fix the lottery to give your neighbors all the prizes?
Or did you merely indicate, even making it sound like a mere personal preference of yours, that she should keep her hands off you?
It is not uncommon for rude people to act offended when their rudeness is not tolerated. Miss Manners assures you that this does not make it rude to refuse to tolerate rudeness, as long as this is not done with retaliatory rudeness.