Miss Manners

Miss Manners: Titillating talk creeps out party guest

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My friend’s father is a bit of a creep — or at least makes me feel like he is. I have met him twice, once at my friend’s post-wedding brunch and again at her home for a barbecue.

Both times, he asked me where I went to college, and both times his first response was to tell me about the “naked posture pictures” taken at Wellesley years ago. He then asks me if I knew about them, and then goes on to talk about the “naked coeds.”

I find it appalling that he would even bring it up, let alone think that I would want to talk about naked pictures of young women. What kind of creep meets his daughter’s friend and starts talking about naked pictures of women like her? There are so many other things he could say that would be polite!

This man is a professor and does like to try to impress others with how much more he thinks he knows than them, so I know that is part of it, but the sexual nature of his conversations (never mind his comments about his “coed” students, who he claims never know the answers and don’t want to do the work) makes me very upset, to the point where I would love to smack him and leave the event.

The only reason I haven’t said anything to him is that he is my friend’s father and she adores him, seeming completely oblivious to his remarks.

What can I say or do the next time I see this man and he brings up naked pictures again, or makes some sexist comment about his students?

I would simply turn down invitations to my friend’s home, but I don’t always know who is on the guest list, and I don’t want to offend her by saying the reason for skipping her parties is that her dear father is a sexist, dirty-minded jerk!

GENTLE READER: No, you don’t want to do that. Nor do you want to find yourself in conversation with the father. If you cannot avoid him, at least draw another person into the conversation.

However, Miss Manners can supply you with responses if you are stuck.

To the “naked coed” remarks (and by the way, outrageous as the posture pictures were, the Wellesley subjects were neither actually naked nor coeds), you say, in a pleasantly interested tone of voice, “Wow! That was at least half a century ago, and you’re still obsessed by it!”

He will reply indignantly that he is not obsessed, to which you can say, “But you talk about it every time you see me.”

To the remarks about his students, you say, adding a smile to that same conversational tone, “Do they know how you feel about them? Your school must have some sort of rate-your-professor forum. I wonder whom I know there.”

Miss Manners promises that this will make him stop bothering you — but not because any of this will worry him. It will be that you have taken the excitement out of this by showing him that you, far from being intrigued or disturbed, simply dismiss him as an old creep.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What do boys wear to a blackout party?

GENTLE READER: Why should it matter?

Visit Miss Manners at her Web site,www.missmanners.com, where you can send her your questions.

2011, by Judith Martin

Distributed by Universal Uclick for UFS

 
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