DEAR MISS MANNERS: At the end of a boozy company party at a fancy hotel, my wife and I found ourselves tending a co-worker who had overdosed on martinis. While my wife went to summon a janitor, another co-worker asked her (in the politest terms a drunk can muster) to spend the night with him.
Although I was in earshot, I pretended to ignore it. My wife is upset that I didn’t “defend her honor” by punching him out. What do the rules of manners dictate?
GENTLE READER: Well, not adding violence to an already volatile mix. And for many reasons, it is an especially bad idea to hit a drunk.
However, Miss Manners might have forgiven your wife if she had delivered a smart slap when the indecent proposition was made (however politely). That is the traditional response of ladies to cads.
What you might have done was to take hold of the offender to steer him away from your wife, and say insistently, “I think we’d better get you home. You can apologize to Miranda when you feel better.”