I am SUCH a hypocrite. Not twelve hours after I posted about just going about your day, I got in a confrontation with strangers. And I just had to be right. Not to mention, it was about darts.
The story: After work, I met Katie, Dorothee, and Steven for drinks and greasy snacks. The vibe at the bar was already a little off, because there was a flip cup competition going on. (People wore uniforms and sweats, like it was a real sport or something. Organized drinking games and booze-centric leagues depress me, it makes me think the younger generation is so hyper-scheduled they can't even binge drink in peace.)
There were no tables open, but one of the waiters was kind enough to pull a table out of a side room and set it up for us in an unused corner. We settled in, watched the flip-cuppers perform, ordered savory food and bad American beer, and told stories.
Until. A lady in a tight yellow top asked us to move our table smack into the flip-cuppers, so she and her guy could play darts. Well, on the plus side, she was nice about it. On the minus side, making four people move so two people can throw sharp objects in a crowded bar seems like a little much. And, just because you ask nicely doesn't mean you'll always get your way.
As Steven pointed out, it's not rude to ask people to not throw sharp things at your head. Even if we moved our table to the point we were on top of the flip-cuppers, we'd still be in range to get brained by darts. So we politely declined.
That should have been the end of it. They made a polite request, we politely declined. But in the world of beer logic, we were the biggest jerks in the universe. The girl approached us again, then began to dispatch her guy to harass us. The whole thing was obvious enough to be funny: girl would pout in our direction, rub herself against the guy, and a moment later he'd be in our faces to harass us.
It put a bit of a damper on the evening. Finally, we decided to settle up the bill, which we didn't do fast enough for the Couple of the Year. So the guy, I kid you not, started standing right over us, aiming darts over our heads as if he were about to throw them.
After a few rounds of this, I called him over, told him he was not seriously going to try that, and it wouldn't kill him to just chill until we settled our check. Since when did anyone have an urgent dart situation?
Boy, he got mad. He said we could have just moved our table by two feet, one foot, six inches, three inches (the amount got smaller the madder he got). He said he could have just thrown the darts over our heads without checking, and what would we do about it? My response was that it's a bit messed up to threaten a woman half your size, just so you can play a bar game. The confrontation droned on, until his friend dragged him off (the friend was the only person who came out of this with any dignity).
We finally settled up and got our coats on. And then there's the part I'm not proud of. On the way out, I poked my head into their circle, and told the guy he messed up our evening and should apologize (he didn't, but the girl, source of all the original trouble, did). Then I thanked the friend for having been raised proper.
Why did I do that? Oh, I know the answer. Because I was right, and therefore entitled to the last word. Ugh.
So, could I have handled this better? What would you have done?