DEAR MISS MANNERS: Lately, I've been getting "burned up" when visiting friends and family. Until I installed central air conditioning in my own home, I was not at all bothered when hosts refrained from using the air conditioning when I was visiting. Now that I've felt the good life, I wish that my hosts would at least offer to use air conditioning when I visit, if they have it.
I must point out that I only visit when invited. I would never drop in unexpectedly. I hint politely, "Wine? No thanks, it's really too warm for wine, just some cool water for me, thanks." Or, "Should I shut this patio door so that the air conditioning won't get outside?"
What really gets me irritated is when the host walks me to my car and says, "Wow, it's hot! I think I'll shut up the house and turn the air on." This has happened three times already!
I enjoy entertaining, and I really try to have the temperature comfortable for my guests whenever it is in my control. I often try to turn the invitation around and have folks come to my house if it's going to be warm, but that doesn't always work.
Is there a polite way to ask if the host will have the air conditioning on for my visit, or is there a polite way to ask when I get there?
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners will allow you your little joke about burning up, provided that it isn't meant to imply that your hosts are deliberately making you uncomfortable, perhaps to save on their bills. People are comfortable at different temperatures, and hosts may not notice that filling a room makes it warmer. Only close friends may be asked if you can change the temperature. Otherwise, you must use the indirect method, which is to ask "Is it me, or has it gotten warmer here?" At least if this comment is answered by a chorus of "It's just you," you will have set yourself up for being excused on grounds of wooziness.