In the words of Winston Churchill: “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." The woman who emanates this quality cuts her opponents with a sharp tongue. The graceful delivery of her retort is unexpected and understated. She disarms her opponent of his pride and makes him grovel for forgiveness at her feet.
I recall the scene between a tactful queen and her subject at the New York AFINGO conference in 2011. The rain fell unrelenting upon the concrete of Manhattan that April day. The seating in the Fashion Institute of Technology amphitheater filled as the stylish attendees claimed their seats. The center of the first row was prime territory, the royal box, and I stationed myself there.
The sixty-year-old woman, who wore sneakers and ill-fitting jeans, to my right had built a mountain of rain-related items in the chair between us. The queen of tact, dressed in powerful black, made her entrance from the staircase on the left. The trench-clad woman in her twenties arrived at the foot of her throne to find it occupied by clutter. The royal wore her hair pulled up into a slick ponytail, and she approached her unruly subject with perfect posture and poise, requesting the items' removal from the blood-red upholstery. The bitter, old woman sighed and moaned incessantly at the decree's delivery. The young queen exuded maturity, attempting to rectify the situation by offering her hand in assistance. The witch's scowl lines deepened with dissatisfaction. "I don't like anybody touching my things," she hissed.
The tactful ruler responded: "I don't appreciate being spoken to that way. I'm sorry I was only trying to help." The witch immediately hung her head, ashamed of her dreadful behavior, which seemed exponentially ridiculous when contrasted to the queen's regal manners. The royal took her rightful place in the auditorium, the diamonds in her invisible crown glittering as the immature woman pelted her with pleas for forgiveness.