Dear Miss Manners: What is the proper etiquette for an individual on the receiving end of a standing ovation?
The case in point was not a performance, but rather a time of recognition for an individual at a board meeting of about 30 people. All participants were seated, while the individual was recognized for lengthy service to the organization. At the end of the spoken recognition, the individual was given a standing ovation.
The recipient of the ovation remained seated while all others present stood and applauded, then, while still seated, thanked the group, at which point the rest of the group sat down.
Should the recipient have stood at some point to acknowledge the ovation, or was it proper to remain seated until the ovation ended and the rest of the group took their seats?
Gentle Reader: The recipient’s job is to look bashfully pleased. This can be done from a sitting position, by first raising the head to show a huge smile, and then dropping it to the chin to show humility. (Note: Miss Manners does not advise declaring that one has been humbled by all that honor. Everyone does say that, but no one seems capable of doing so without a smirk.)
Standing up and spreading one’s arms while murmuring “Thank you, thank you” can be charming, but it requires some drama to bring it off without looking as if one has won the Triple Crown. For the truly bashful, remaining seated may be the wiser choice.
Skip the reunion
Dear Miss Manners: My husband’s high school class is having its 40-year reunion this summer. We have gone twice in the past, mainly because it gave him a chance to reconnect with an old girlfriend with whom he remained close.
I had no problems with the friendship – she was lovely – but I generally got stuck trying to hold a conversation with her drug-addled husband while the two of them reminisced.
Sadly, his friend passed away a few years ago, so I thought this issue would go away, but he wants to attend this year. I know no one from the group, and I find myself not liking the person that Hubby becomes when we go. He tends to exaggerate his accomplishments to the point where I hardly recognize the life he describes as one I have shared for 38 years.
I have asked if he’d mind if I didn’t attend and he said no, but am I being a terrible person and a bad wife by not wanting to spend most of a weekend being bored and irritated at this event?
Gentle Reader: Your husband doesn’t mind, the reunion committee doesn’t care, so why are you asking Miss Manners? Stay home and have a good time.