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Miss Manners: Loud talkers rebuked in fitness class

Dear Miss Manners: My friend and I were at a high-energy fitness class with loud music, and at times during the class, we were talking. Unbeknown to us, our voices were carrying.

The instructor never yelled at us, but in the middle of the class, a disgruntled participant turned around and screamed at us, “Hey, she’s trying to teach a class up here!”

At this point, we kept quiet for most of the remainder of the class. We felt bad and were going to apologize to her and the teacher at the end of class for being disruptive. However, we were unable to do so, as we were ambushed by three other class participants.

One right after the other ranted at us as if we were second-graders, telling us how rude we were. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you this was loud and in front of several people, the instructor included, who all seemed to be embarrassed for their yelling and berating us for talking during a loud fitness class.

I know we were impolite to talk during the class, and I respect that they were entitled to address this with us, but, honestly, is it necessary to be ambushed and yelled at in front of other people over and over?

Didn’t the first person who loudly called us out for our offense do enough? Was it really necessary to have three more people pile on? Were we wrong to be taken aback?

For the record, we politely replied, “We’re sorry,” and then, “OK,” after their repeated tongue-lashings.

Gentle Reader: There is a reason that Miss Manners is not in the habit of deputizing passers-by: Too many are apt to forget their own manners when confronted with rudeness.

She appreciates that you are willing to apologize but notes that your fellow students were correct in one thing – your talking was rude not merely to the teacher, but also to the whole class. A quick, “I’m sorry,” to the room at the time would have been in order. Even if your rudeness may have prevented your classmates from getting their full exercise regimen, it does not justify them making up the difference by attacking you.

Inquiring about a rare dog

Dear Miss Manners: I own a beautiful and charming English bull terrier. Occasionally, when we are out walking, curious people ask me about the breed.

I’m a member of a breed club and am happy to answer most questions about this breed. But sometimes, I am asked how much I paid for him, or how much a dog like this costs. I am uncomfortable replying, “It’s none of your business” or “If you must ask. …”

How should I answer this?

Gentle Reader: “Bobo has become such a member of the family that I have not thought about it since he joined us. I’m sure you could find resources online.”