DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a football game, I was standing in a tunnel with a group of people waiting to go to our seats while the National Anthem played. There was a woman who looked to be battling some kind of cancer that kept her hat on during the song. A man behind her tapped her on the shoulder and told her she needed to show respect for the country and remove her hat.
A few people came to her defense, but he was adamant, so the woman complied. After she removed her hat, it was definitely obvious that she had just gone through chemotherapy.
The woman was upset by all of this, but to her credit, she stood tall and stared the man in the eye while the song played. I thought this guy was out of line and nobody should have to be humiliated in that manner. What would you do in that situation?
GENTLE READER: Rescue the hapless lady, of course. In this case, it would be particularly easy, because the rudeness was compounded by ignorance.
"I beg your pardon, sir," Miss Manners would have said to he who had given her an opening by broaching the topic in public. "I am afraid you are unfamiliar with correct behavior. It is not proper for ladies to remove their hats to show respect for the flag; that rule applies only to gentlemen. And gentlemen are supposed to show respect to ladies."
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm in a quandary regarding how to deal with my very sensitive, very patronizing yet very loving and generous father. We have had times of estrangement in our relationship, both by choice and by circumstance, but have finally come to a place in both our lives where we would rather agree to disagree on certain topics than not have the other person in our lives.
My father is overseas for years at a time due to his work, and when he is, he insists (and I do mean *insists*) that he contribute to my economy since he cannot be here in person to provide day-to-day interpersonal support.
I expressed my gratitude at his generosity and have tried to reciprocate in ways that I can afford, i.e., run errands for him in the States, buy and ship things to him he cannot get overseas, interact with my grandparents (his parents) on his behalf during the inevitable crises that come with the elderly.
Generally, we have a good relationship now, but he is constantly throwing in my face comments about how I've finally become an adult, "Welcome to the adult world," "Isn't being an adult fun?", etc. If I were 20 or even 23, I could see his need to comment so frequently (maybe).
I am, however, 34 and have been supporting myself (with occasional help) since I was 21. I have owned and sold my own home. I have purchased all three of my cars on my own. Etc, etc, etc. His comments are beginning to grate on me, but I know if I say anything, it will turn into a verbal fistfight.
GENTLE READER: Patronizing? But he is your pater!
You make an impressive case for being mature, accepting family responsibility as well as financial responsibility. You say your relationship with your father is good.
So why, Miss Manners wonders, are you bristling? Part of maturity is the ability to understand that parents are ever amazed that their children grow up -- and to let trivial things pass for the sake of family harmony.