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"I realize I was poised in a sort of half-crouch, one hand out like a wrestler. In the other hand I held my pitiful folding knife, so small it needed several runs at halving a good-sized apple. Worst of all I was only wearing one boot. I looked ridiculous: crazy as Elodin on his worst day.

My face flushed hot and I knew I must be red as a beet. “Merciful Tehlu, I feel like an idiot.” “It’s rather flattering, actually,” Denna said. “With the exception of some rather irritating posturing in bars, I don’t know if I’ve ever had anyone actually leap to my defense before.” “Yes of course.” I kept my eyes down as I tugged on my other sock and boot, too embarrassed to look her in the eye. “It’s every girl’s dream to be rescued from someone’s pet pig.”

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  • There are no non-standard usages there, and it isn't a set phrase, so you should be able to break it down. When you looked up 'posture' was there a meaning that works as doing something that might irritate someone else? – Spagirl Apr 4 '17 at 6:27
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    Does the explanation that "in bars" means "in places licensed to serve alcohol" help at all? I'm guessing that you were parsing "bar" as the meaning "rod" rather than "pub", which led to your confusion. – AndyT Apr 4 '17 at 15:25
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"It’s rather flattering, actually,”

Denna has stated that she finds the act of gallantry just committed by the speaker flattering.

“With the exception of some rather irritating posturing in bars, I don’t know if I’ve ever had anyone actually leap to my defense before.”

posturing

behaviour or speech that is intended to attract attention and interest, or to make people believe something that is not true. (Cambridge Dictionary)

With the exception of : means never before, except when...

some rather irritating posturing in bars : some people have acted in ways designed to impress Denna in a bar (i.e acting with bravado, or more colloquially trying to 'act flash' to impress), but Denna has found this irritating (because she saw that it was simply designed to impress, it was posturing behaviour).

Denna is impressed by the speakers actions to save her from this pet pig, even if it does seem a little absurd, the tone is playful "It’s every girl’s dream to be rescued from someone’s pet pig.” But Denna is clearly impressed.

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It means that her only experiences to date have been suitors whom have come to her defense (or at least have been sympathetic to her) with insincerity.

Since she mentions "in bars" we can also assume that these suitors were affected by alcohol and had ulterior motives.

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