24 FEBRUARY 2001, Page 63

Q. At a recent weekend party I was introduced to

one of the other guests and had a short conversation with her before dinner. The next morning at breakfast she asked our hostess to introduce us, declaring that 'We haven't met yet'. I tried to play down the meeting of the previous evening by saying, 'Well, we did just shake hands', but she was clearly embarrassed about having completely forgotten me. Mary, should I have spared her feelings by pretending that I, too, had forgotten?

E.G., Fosbury, Wiltshire A. You could have sidestepped this difficulty by saying in rueful tones, 'Oh dear, you probably think I was too drunk last night to be able to remember the very brief encounter we had before dinner, but I assure you I wasn't!'