DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was shopping at a local grocery store, looking for Italian breadcrumbs. Searching the aisles, I couldn't find them. I came upon a lady also obviously looking for something, and I innocently asked her if she'd seen the breadcrumbs.
Her response floored me. She said, "Why -- because I'm a woman?"
My response was, "No, because I'm making meatloaf."
I took a boys' cooking class in ninth grade, and I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen during my 29-year career as a professional firefighter.
GENTLE READER: It doesn't take much to insult people nowadays, does it?
This one doesn't even make sense. Did your restrained reply show the lady how ridiculous she was being?
An unfortunate side effect of the current emphasis on "identity" is that people commonly assume that theirs is under attack, even in obviously benign situations such as this one. But while you were not insulting her gender, Miss Manners will take the opportunity to insult her manners.