DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm in a same-sex marriage with a man who is half my age. I consider myself very lucky and -- for whatever reasons -- our marriage works well. We've been happily together for five years and counting.
I've found that others, particularly in the service industry, often ask if we are father and son or other familial connection. I usually simply respond "no" to the question, but if they persist, I admit to taking a fair amount of joy in their discomfort as their awkward guesses continue until I tell them that we're a married couple.
My husband tolerates my foible, usually with a smile, but friends say that I'm being rude and should simply tell them from the start. I feel that, while it may be uncomfortable, it certainly isn't rude or mean, and that I have no obligation to volunteer information.
Perhaps I don't have the right to the joy of their discomfort, but I consider it a small price to pay. Am I indeed being rude?
GENTLE READER: Do you believe that encouraging strangers to discuss your relationship status helps to open their naive or sheltered minds? Isn't it, rather, laying a trap for them to continue the rudeness of making more assumptions?
Miss Manners would understand your correcting people whom you would be likely to encounter again. But whether you simply say no, or explain that you are married, she hopes that you will not allow the foolish speculations of service people to upset you.