DEAR MISS MANNERS: I recently called a friend of mine cute. She replied, in a very angry tone, "Women are not called cute. I am a grown woman."
I was shocked. Am I wrong?
GENTLE READER: Apparently, since her irate response must have rendered her decidedly less cute.
Compliments are subjective, but should not be subjected to such scrutiny if they are kindly intended. If it happens again, Miss Manners advises you to look abashed and say, "I am so sorry. I meant it as a compliment," and refrain from any further ones until your friend learns how to accept them graciously.