What Should I Do When Someone Makes a Rude Quip About Me In Front of Friends?

Dear E. Jean:I was visiting a close friend of mine, and she treated me to a night out with her girls—all friends from her church. I enjoyed meeting everyone, and we were having a lovely time, but somewhere in the conversation after dinner, one of them—a woman with a sharp sense of humor—made an inconsiderate quip about me. I, of course, laughed along with everyone else, brushing it off. But I couldn’t help but wonder: The next time someone aims a poke at me, what should I do? Turn the other cheek? Or wisecrack back at them? And how do I do that? —Not The Butt

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Butt, My Butter Bean: It’s difficult. But it can be dealt with. Back in the day, when I was a writer at Saturday Night Live and the friendly badinage could kill a normal woman, whenever anyone started in on me, my head would fill with cotton, and my uvula would swell and shut off my windpipe. Not once was I able to think fast enough to come up with a witty reply. But I did stumble on a way of getting laughs. When a wag began ragging on me, I simply agreed with him more and more passionately—until he shut the hell up.

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