DEAR AMY: My wife and I live in a conservative part of the country, and our problem has to do with the rudeness of strangers in public. We are a same-gender couple and we do not make a show of affection in public. However, that doesn't stop people from scowling or sneering at us. When people are staring or glaring, I tend to smile, and my partner tends to wink. Both are vaguely effective in stopping stares. But I'm wondering if you could recommend a better way of dealing with it. It gets so old. Fed Up
DEAR FED UP: It is not your job to charm or win over doubters, haters, scowlers or sneerers. Simply going about your business with a neutral attitude should be enough.
DEAR AMY: I live in a wonderful city that people like to visit. How do I say no to people who invite themselves to my house? I have longtime "friends" with whom I have little in common who email once a year to say they're coming. This year they termed it "our annual trip to your house." They are loud and negative, and talk about people I don't know from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. without stopping; it is beyond stressful, especially considering I love my privacy. It's not about the expense, it's about the invasion and the assault to my ears. Sometimes they tell me not to worry about taking them touring, that we can just "stay home and visit." How can I tell them that the hotel is closed -- permanently?Over-visited
DEAR OVER-VISITED: The nice thing about email is that you can compose your response carefully. I'm going to try to help. Try writing, "I have many great memories from your annual visits, but honestly I'm just not up to having you stay with me anymore. I have gotten to a point that I treasure my privacy; having houseguests is too much for me. If you visit the city, I'd love to see you for an afternoon. Let me know if that would work for you."