Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Foot in mouth disease and other innocent mistakes

After being married for a year or so, my husband and I (being in our  mid-30's) decided that we should start trying to have a baby. A year and a  half later when we were not yet pregnant, we started seeing fertility   specialists and undergoing a number of almost universally unpleasant tests and procedures. Most people around us knew that we were struggling with infertility - although we did not bring the subject up, when someone would ask,  "So, when are you going to have a baby?" we would answer (as nicely as possible), "We've been trying and are seeing a number of specialists. It's not really something we talk about much outside the family, but if you're interested we'd be happy to answer your questions."

Sometimes people would continue to ask questions (which we answered as best we could, since the cause of our infertility is undiagnosed) -- sometimes they would just change the subject. It would have been impossible for most of these people to have NOT known how we ached for a baby, however.

The problem, however, came when numerous friends started getting pregnant. I am a graduate student, and one classmate (who definitely knew we were dealing with infertility) made it a point to tell me that his wife had gotten pregnant when he "sneezed in her direction," and that now he was really looking forward to "eighteen years of legal liability." One "friend" (who also knew a number of details about the surgical diagnostic procedures I had undergone) called me after not having talked to me in several months, just to tell me that she was pregnant and "we weren't even trying! It was so easy for us!" (This same woman approached us at a sporting event later in her pregnancy to show off the team-logo onesies she'd just purchased for her baby.)

I've been invited to go shop for maternity clothes (sorry, I've got other plans), to go register for baby gifts, and to help pick out baby names. I have tried to react positively, and always buy a gift to send to baby showers although I send my regrets and do not attend (it's just too difficult emotionally). I've had a friend complain to me through her entire pregnancy because she couldn't have a glass of wine (and in this case, after about the fifth time she said this I told her I'd gladly trade her a wine celler full of Dom Perignon to be in her condition).

We recently adopted a beautiful baby boy from Central America, and he is an absolute joy. However, I'm bracing myself for the inevitable rudenesses to come (my husband and I are both very fair-skinned and our baby is quite dark). I don't consider it my place to "educate the world," and am really only concerned with the impact that rude comments may have on our baby as he grows old enough to understand what is being said. So far, however, most comments have been extremely kind and supportive. (Could that be because I have tried to avoid the people who were so insensitive regarding our infertility?)  edhooops0418-00

I'm not sure exactly what category this fits into, but my whole friendship with Mara has been a doozy. This girl has no manners.  When she got married, my friends and I threw her a huge bridal shower. The gift that I got her was a Cuisinart (thoughtful, I thought, since she likes to cook). Unfortunately, she had received one already from her sister-in-law.  Does she politely thank me, and return the gift later on  ? No. She comes right up to me at the shower and says, " Where did you get the Cuisinart from, I got one already" .  Then, she calls me the week after my birthday and anniversary, and neglects to mention either one.

The topper to all this, is she read a book on palm reading, and now claims she can read palms. In her twisted "reading", she told me I was going to have a miscarriage before I had any children. Nice reading to give a friend, huh ?!?! Who needs enemies!    edhoops1127-00

Page Last Updated May 15, 2007