DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am long married to a wonderful, brilliant, kind and adventurous gentleman who uses a wheelchair. I happily push him on our many adventures.
Regularly, people interrupt us to tell me how special I am. Frankly, he is a great deal more than special -- he's spectacular, and I am lucky to have been in love for these many years. I've had people touch my back "looking for angel wings," ask me questions about his condition, compliment me on "how you treat him," and generally ignore him, as if he neither can hear these comments nor speak. When we are talking, they interrupt us with these "compliments."
I often say, "I'm the lucky one to be married to such a fantastic man," and move on.
Additionally, staff ask me what he wants to eat in restaurants. I reply, "Ask him -- he's an applied mathematician. I'm sure he can handle a dinner order."
I find these compliments intrusive and disrespectful both of our privacy and our space. I sometimes wish I had a snappy one-size-fits-all response. Can you suggest one?
GENTLE READER: This is such an appalling -- but common -- form of ignorant rudeness that Miss Manners is going to allow you to illustrate what it is like to ignore someone.
Stop responding. Why should you speak for your husband, when he is there to speak for himself? The waiters should be given, at most, a shrug while you turn to him to give his order.
As for those treacly complimenters, Miss Manners recommends locking eyes with your husband and sharing a sexy laugh to demonstrate how little they know about your relationship -- and how far from their business it is to comment.