DEAR MISS MANNERS: Whenever my husband and I go out to dinner, whether it's just us or with friends, he will find a woman and stare. Literally every couple of minutes, he will look over and stare until he gets her attention, and then they both stare at each other.
I'm a pretty lady (so I've been told), and have a fun personality. When I ask him what he's looking at, which I already know, he turns to me and says, "What's your problem? I'm not looking at anything."
Our friends act like they don't really care. This makes me feel like I'm nothing, and it's just simply embarrassing.
If I bring up the subject later, like when we're driving home, he thinks I'm being jealous and ridiculous. Then he'll tell me we've been married for X number of years (it's now going on 37) and I need to stop.
Years ago, a guy got in his face and told him to quit staring at his girlfriend. That only happened once. Secretly, I was hoping the guy would punch him.
But he still won't stop staring. It drives me crazy. I try to ignore it, but it eats at me. Please, Miss Manners, am I wrong and should I let him stare?
GENTLE READER: That would not be Miss Manners' choice. Although she is not an opponent of restraint, registering your complaint later -- and, perhaps, in a less than forceful way -- is not restraint. It is standing in the middle of the road, a place known to be frequented by oncoming traffic.
If, upon reflection, the behavior is not as aggressive as you describe it, you are free to overlook it. But as you object, then let us be decisive in describing the problem to him and to yourself:
It is not that you are afraid he is looking at someone prettier; it is that he is embarrassing himself by harassing some other woman. If it is not going to stop, then either he or you will not be in attendance at the next dinner.
To show that this is not about you, add that your concern is whether the next boyfriend may do more than just yell.