DEAR MISS MANNERS: As the recipient of an emergency surgery that involved certain reproductive issues, I have been trying not to be too forthcoming with particulars. I consider them private and somewhat embarrassing.
However, I discovered my significant other revealing every gory detail to a woman whom he had dated in the past -- someone I do not consider to be my friend, and definitely someone that I would rather not know any more than, "There was an operation, and everything is going to be fine. The details are personal."
Now that the damage is done, I am unsure as to how to discuss this with my significant other, because he is touchy about the fact that I don't want this woman involved in our private matters.
GENTLE READER: Not to mention your private parts.
Which is the point you are trying to make, Miss Manners surmises. It is not that you want to keep secrets from one particular person, but that you want your medical history -- which is your private matter, not yours-and-his -- to be protected from being made a topic of conversation.
This ought to be obvious, but it no longer is. There are some mighty peculiar ideas floating around nowadays about privacy, topped by the bizarre notion that it is emotionally unhealthy to have any. There are people who would seize on your citing embarrassment to lecture you that since illness is not shameful, you ought to be content, if not delighted, with the, ah, exposure.
Your misguided beau may simply not have known that there is such a classification as private information to which he is privy only because of the closeness of your relationship. It is time to tell him.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I received a "save the date" card today for a wedding for a cousin. Unfortunately, we were already asked to "save the date" for the same date! That wedding is for a close friend.
Our question is whether we go to the wedding we were notified about first or if we should attend the latter invite, since it is family.
GENTLE READER: Pre-inviting guests by asking them to save the date is a relatively new custom, not unrelated, Miss Manners suspects, to bargain airfares. And it happens that the rules concerning them are similar to airline rules, although we certainly hope the food will be better.
A "save the date" card is merely a notice, rather like making a reservation for you, with no penalty for changing reservations before making a final commitment. No response is required, but when the actual invitation arrives, you must immediately accept or decline it, and then an acceptance is binding.
You seem to have left yourselves free to choose, in which case, yes, family does generally take precedence over friends.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is a polite means by which to refuse a request of giving out one's telephone number to a classmate who is extremely sensitive to rejection?
GENTLE READER: By saying, "Oh, it's easier to reach me by e-mail." Miss Manners realizes that you will hear from the classmate just as fast by that means. But you will lessen the risk of accepting invitations on the spot, and give yourself the opportunity of writing minimal responses to discourage ongoing correspondence. Who says technology need be a detriment to manners?