Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I recently started playing bridge and am having a ball. Old dogs
remember tricks (sorry for the pun) they learned when they were
young. Many of the women who meet for the weekly drop-in are very
friendly and forgiving of my occasional faux pas. But one of them (not
the hostess but someone they all ask questions of) seems to have
taken a very profound dislike to me. She makes rude and cutting
remarks about virtually everything I do. I cannot avoid playing with
her, though I am sure she would also prefer it, because people sit as
they appear and rotate between tables as needed. At some point the
musical chairs stop and you are stuck in a foursome. I’ve tried to be
nice, tried not to be defensive, and generally listened to her advice.
But by now I am P*****d off at being treated like a stupid child. Is
there any etiquette, other than not going?
We’re always told to play against folks who are better than we are so
we learn. But if they lessons come cloaked in rudeness the incentives
to pay attention to anything other than restraining your first or your
mouth from lashing back at her would certainly distract from the
opportunity to improve.
Best would be to cultivate a circle of bridge players whom you enjoy
and who are at or about your level of play. But that will take time and
careful attention, as well as reaching out to other people. You should
definitely network through your social circle and social media for other
people you may already know and like who play bridge, or used to.
But note that you may get yeses and requests to be included from
people closer to your normal pals but that you do not like enough to
want to socialize with. So be careful how you frame the inquiry.
In the interim, ask the hostess if your level of play is up to par for the
drop-in group. If she awkwardly says Not really or equivalent then bow out
and take some lessons. If she says Yes ask if the hazing you are getting
is typical. Don’t name names but trust her to convey a message of enhanced
politeness to offenders.