Sondra Gotlieb, "wife of . . . " the Canadian ambassador, spoke before the Democratic Women's Club yesterday and the audience was well behaved. No one asked an impertinent question. Gotlieb, who canceled a previously scheduled session at the National Press Club for yesterday evening, told club members how she met her husband Allan and how she started to write.

And during the question-and-answer session, with questions politely sent forward on little cards, there were no inquiries about "the slap heard round the world." There was a question she handled adeptly about "What are your children doing?" But she carefully sidestepped one of the tougher ones: "What is your favorite restaurant in Washington?" The four television crews and print reporters had slim pickings.

At the end of the session Gotlieb joked, "I feel devastated, ladies and gentlemen, and you know what I'm talking about. You were kind enough not to ask that question. I feel just devastated." They all enjoyed that and applauded heartily. Later, Peatsy Hollings, wife of Sen. Fritz Hollings, said she had discussed the upcoming talk with Gotlieb and said, "I told her this was a good group to appear before. They're well-mannered, well-educated Democratic women. It's all blown over," she added. "Crises are like Baskin-Robbins' flavor of the day." John Denver: 'That Was My Flight'

Singer John Denver told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee this week that he should have been aboard the doomed Challenger flight. At a session where he played a recording of his new song honoring the seven astronauts who died Jan. 28, the singer said, "I feel responsible for the whole civilian-in-space program getting started. I believe that that was my flight."

Denver is a longtime promoter of the space program and a recipient of NASA's Distinguished Service Medal. He told the senators that three years ago he had proposed the civilian-in-space program. He also contended he would have been the first participant in that program if President Reagan had not decided to send a teacher into space. He told reporters later that he is having discussions with producers about holding a John Denver concert in space. It's frightening to realize that's where technology could take us. The Lyubimov Luncheon

Soviet exile Yuri Lyubimov, the former head of Moscow's famous Taganka Theater who will make his American directorial debut this fall at Arena Stage, was the guest of honor at a luncheon Wednesday at New York University. Lyubimov, who had been in Washington last week to visit the Arena and attend a performance of "The Wild Duck," will direct a new translation of Dostoevski's "Crime and Punishment." Among the guests at the luncheon hosted by former U.S. representative John Brademas, now president of New York University, were Zelda Fichandler, Arena Stage producing director; actress Colleen Dewhurst, president of Actors Equity Association; Lloyd Richards, artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre; actor John Houseman, producing artistic director of the Acting Company in New York; and South African playwright Athol Fugard. End Notes

Victoria Sellers, daughter of Britt Ekland and the late Peter Sellers, pleaded innocent Wednesday to federal charges she was involved in an international cocaine ring that allegedly used violent means to obtain drugs. The 23-year-old model, whose nude photographs are in the April issue of Playboy, remains free on $100,000 bail . . .

The day after the Washington Redskins said goodbye to their well-loved powerhouse John Riggins, several bottles of champagne were delivered to the Redskins' offices, enough for each employe. The champagne was a gift from Riggins. In addition, he sent along T-shirts with the message "Thanks, I Needed That." The message has made many of them nervous. They're not quite certain what it means . .