DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a young woman finishing up her degree at a local community college. I must admit to being very fond of my cellphone; I read the news on it when I wake up, play games while waiting for the bus, listen to music during my ride and so on.
However, even I’m surprised by the number of people who pull out their phones in (what I believe to be) wholly inappropriate situations.
Not only do people take out their phones in class (distracting me and other students who are trying to pay attention to the lecture), but worse, there seems to be NO place they won’t take out their phone.
For example, I was in the locker room after my aqua yoga class, changing back into regular clothes. All of a sudden, I heard a camera shutter go off. Frightened, I pulled my towel around myself tightly and turned around to locate the noise.
As it turned out, it was simply another young woman (fully clothed, thankfully) taking a selfie in the large locker room mirror. After getting my wits about me, I managed a pointed “Do you mind?”, which she seemed baffled by.
Leaving alone my fear at the sound that someone was specifically taking pictures of women in the locker room, Miss Manners, what if she had gotten me in the background of her shot? What if she had not cropped it out? I would be horrified that such a picture of me existed.
Was I wrong to call her out? Was there something else I should have said, either initially or after she didn’t seem to understand my upset? And finally, could I please implore other Gentle Readers not to take photos (or do other public business, such as phone or video calls) in such a private environment?
GENTLE READER: If common sense is not prevailing, you might ask the establishment to post a sign: “No cameras in the locker room -- without a warrant.”
Miss Manners sees nothing wrong with your quite understandable reaction. If you felt the need to explain --and potentially avoid a repeat experience -- you could have said, “I am sorry for my reaction, but I was startled. I do not think that people want their pictures taken when they are in various states of undress. At least not without signing a waiver first.”