DEAR MISS MANNERS: A co-worker invited me to her home for a potluck dinner and a pay-per-view fight. I've never been interested in ultimate fighting, but I happily engaged with the hosts and other guests before and after the fight.
During the fight itself, I sat quietly on a lounge chair and read a book on my e-reader. I'm not sure whether anyone noticed, or if anyone else was engaged in anything beyond eating and spectating.
My husband says it was rude to read during the fight. I say that I was sitting in the back using a non-lighted screen (so screen brightness wouldn't have distracted others) and so therefore my behavior was fine. What do you think?
GENTLE READER: That your husband was correct. Whether or not you were caught, Miss Manners assures you that pulling out your own entertainment communicates to your hosts that you find theirs boring.
If you were invited to dinner and found the conversation not to your liking, would you do the same? You were invited to watch the fight and, as you accepted, it would have been polite at least to make the pretense of being interested in it. Or you could have found other ways to occupy yourself, perhaps freeing the hosts to watch by asking to help replenish drinks and snacks. The effect should be of looking after other people's entertainment, not exclusively your own.