If you’re speaking to two people, or to two groups of people, ask yourself: if I switch the subject and object of the sentence I’m about to utter, would the result be a horrifying gaffe?
For example, from the pulpit: “The Valentine’s Sweetheart Dance will be held at 7:00 on February 10 at the Stake Center. Brethren, consider yourselves warned. Wives, you have my permission to beat up your husbands if they’re not ready to go at the right hour.”
Bonus: A Quick and Easy Way to Tell if You’re Being Oversensitive to Paternalism
If a failed attempt at humor worked in as a tagged-on patronizing comment provokes much more than a subtle roll of the eyes, a stifled sigh, and a throwaway blog post.