DEAR MISS MANNERS: While at college, I maintained contact via e-mail with a boy with whom I graduated from high school. He and I are not good friends, although we get along fairly well, and the e-mail arrangement worked quite well.
However, now that I am home for the summer, he calls every day, managing, somehow, to time the call exactly as I am getting out of bed. He wants to get together. Our conversations run something like this:
He: Do you want to hang out?
Me: No, I'm sorry.
Me: I can't.
He: Why not?
Me: I have things to do.
He: What do you have to do?
At this point, I have a problem due to the fact that the only thing I really have to do is think of an excuse why I can't see him. The way in which he questions me makes it impossible for me to simply decline. If I say that I have a prior engagement, he wants to know what, where, with whom and for how long it will last.
The basic fact of the matter is that I find him boring and don't enjoy his company, but I can't tell him that! In the past week, I have resorted to lying about my plans to avoid seeing him, but I feel guilty about this.
Is there any polite way to express my lack of interest? I can't make up excuses all summer long. I'm running out of ideas.
GENTLE READER: Here are some: Caller ID. Telling him his calls are disturbing the household. Both of those, along with the suggestion that he return to communicating with you by e-mail, allow you to delay answering and ignore impertinent questions.
But Miss Manners observes from the example of your dialogue that you are pretty good at the non-excuse reply, which is all that is needed. You just gave up on the technique too early. It should have continued:
You: Lots of things. In fact, I have to go right now.
He: When will you be finished?
You: Well, I hope by the time I have to go back to college in the fall. It's going to be a busy summer. I hope you have a nice summer, and I'm sorry that I won't have a chance to see you. 'Bye.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son, who is gay, will be visiting my wife and me for a weekend in the summer, and he is bringing his boyfriend along. They have been together for two years, but have never visited before. When my daughter visits with her boyfriend, they share the same room.
I am unsure if the boys want to share a room, or if this arrangement will be uncomfortable to my wife. I don't want to raise an issue if there isn't one, so the solution I have come up with is to make up both guest rooms and let my son decide, and let my wife know that this should be our son's decision.
GENTLE READER: No, you really don't want to raise the issue, as the example of your wife's not minding cohabitation with boyfriends is so close at hand. Even your solution goes a tad too far.
All you need do is to tell your wife that you have made up both bedrooms. Miss Manners trusts it will not be necessary to dissuade her from patrolling the halls at night.