Respecting elders who are acting Unrespectable (Bar Etiquette)
December 14, 2011 6:51 AM Subscribe
An older gentleman who comes to our local often enjoys singling me out for loud and overbearing criticism, even when he isn't part of the ongoing conversation. I need a good turn-off phrase to de-fuse his little bombs.
posted by halfbuckaroo to Human Relations (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
An older gent (75+), retired military officer comes to our local regularly for a beer after working as a concierge for a guesthouse. We're usually an hour or so ahead of him, so conversation will often have taken a turn for the absurd.
He'll say something innocuous enough, and wait for replies. Usually, I'll include him in the conversation. Ten minutes later, when we're talking and I make a general statement about some local situation, I'll hear "NOW YOU KNOW THAT THAT IS JUST NOT TRUE!," in his best very loud drill instructor tone.
I am prior military, so it always draws me up short. Even though I know better at every level, I find this extremely infuriating. He "knows" that I am not going to rebuke him, even if I should do so. My response has always been to turn to the bartender, ask for my tab, pay it and go home annoyed, even if I was having a pleasant evening before he turned up. I understand that this usually leads to a speedy mass exodus and him alone with the bartender.
I've tried looking directly at him and saying, "Can we talk about something else?" just to give him an out, but once he's on his half-a-beer high horse, it's pointless. One of the bartenders tried correcting him on it, and got reported to the boss for "backtalk and being disrespectful." The boss would rather not deal with him.
I'm 53, 6'2" and 200 pounds, so it's better for me to be gone rather than be accused of elder abuse. I'm also very good at responding instantly to anything like this from anybody else, so he's obviously got me psyched out.
So, share. How do I thwart this friendless, doddering old gasbag without doing him irreparable harm? What's the magic phrase?