DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I are academics. Every year, we spend the summer in Maine in a small community that has a wonderful nonprofit theater. We have been coming here for years, and our children have grown up attending and volunteering for shows and events.
There is a particular board member we meet every year. We have attended parties with her; we meet her at the farmers market a number of times over the season; we have had pleasant conservations with her and her husband.
And yet, each year when we first encounter her, and sometimes multiple times during the summer, she acts as if she has never seen us or met us before. She is not an elderly woman, so I don’t think this is simply a memory issue. Rather, it seems to be a kind of social positioning amongst a very small group of people. I have tried greeting her by name and reminding her of my name to assist, but to no avail.
My husband and I now joke about how unmemorable we are. But, to be honest, I find these experiences a little insulting, especially given that we are active participants and regular donors at this particular theater, and we know and enjoy the company of other regular theater supporters. For me, and perhaps I need thicker skin, it adds an unpleasantness to social events that seems unnecessary. I am wondering if there is a polite way for me to effectively respond to or correct this behavior. What do you recommend?
GENTLE READER: Saying to her, the next time you are introduced and she feigns ignorance, “Oh Marzipan, how funny. We have met many times. You must not recognize me in my party clothes.” This, Miss Manners notes, has the added sly benefit of leaving others to wonder why she might recognize you without them.