I was recently reminded of two cases in which I was the topic of another person’s rude remarks, which led me to wonder — what does etiquette have to say about these instances?
In the first situation, I attended a visitation for the family member of a close friend. I was heavily pregnant at the time, about a week away from giving birth. As I visited with a few members the family, another guest arrived and approached the family. Very loudly and in almost a disgusted tone, she said “Oh my gosh, is she (meaning me) going to have a baby right here in the aisle?” I think I probably laughed awkwardly, then chose not to hear and chalked it up to people saying strange things when they’re mourning.
In the second story, I was in the waiting to get my hair cut while another stylist was consulting with a new client about five feet away. Evidently the client had requested a perm or something similar, because the stylist was trying to talk her out of it. It only caught my attention when the stylist said “After all, you don’t want to end up looking like a shaggy sheep dog, like her.” At this point the stylist actually looked and gestured directly toward me.
Now, I have natural curls that admittedly had gotten a bit overgrown — hence the haircut! — but I was embarrassed to be so obviously made into another client’s cautionary tale. I’m not a confrontational person and again said nothing, but looking back in this case, I do wish I had calmly said something either to the stylist or to the salon owner about her remarks.
Which brings me to my original question: in what circumstances does etiquette excuse eavesdropping, or addressing what you’ve unintentionally overheard? 0522-18
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