The primarily aristocratic practice lasted as long as it did because there were very few people that duelists regarded as their equals. If they thought you beneath them, they wouldn't duel with you. It was, perhaps, not particularly fun to be considered the lower class in this case, but it acts as protection; those with enough leisure to train for duels would, as a general rule, be able to destroy anyone who could not.
A similar situation occurs when one opens a discussion with the express purpose of improving relations or perhaps even reconciling with someone. There are some with whom that discussion will be fruitful; others will simply use the occasion to further the unpleasantries. Whether we like it or not, many people will declare themselves unequal to us.
In my case, I sometimes get this intelligence/authority flak. Some people get offended at how much I either want to learn, or how much I know, or how much I will happily share with them. The last part is the authority issue. Some folks can't differentiate between a person willing to share knowledge and an authoritative person. Needless to say, the last thing I need to do with such people is have a conversation. Me speaking merely increases their unhappiness. So beyond indicating my knowledge of their existence by saying hello or something, there's not much I can do.
And I was probably getting a lot of 'you're fat' flak, too...
What can I say about that? I'm sure some of it's that I feel better, but I do notice more acceptance now.