General Etiquette > Life...in general

How much weight have you gained? Update #31

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lorelai:
I'm currently in my parents-in-law's hometown attending the mother-blessing events mentioned in this post:
http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=131946.0

Last night we went to the temple for a short ceremony followed by dinner with a few family friends, and tonight will be the highly anticipated non-shower with a ton more people. Last night at the temple my bank of snappy one-liners failed me, and I was wondering if you have any advice for me if this happens again.

I first met Aunty #1 when I visited this town for the first time four years ago, and she proceeded to ask me a bunch of questions about myself and then through the phone tree spread the word on my now-DH's new girlfriend he brought home. She meant no harm by it, she's just a very curious and open person and I was too shy/overwhelmed to think about not answering each question so I just gave away my life as an open book. She's also very open about her own life and those of her children, so I happen to know that it took her DIL two weeks to lose 30 pounds of baby weight, just a few months ago.

So after the puja last night we were all chatting and they found out that I was still wearing a blouse made for my wedding, and then it went like this:

Aunty 1: So how much weight have you gained?
Me: [deer in headlights look] Ummm
Aunty 1: You look good, but maybe you've gained 30 pounds so far?
My Mom: She's still wearing her wedding blouse.
MIL: No, no, she looks like she's only gained 20 [she was actually trying to come to my defense here, but really??]
Aunty 1: No must be more than that.
Me: [still deer in headlights but I said] Let's take bets!
DH: Let's take bets on who can ask the most awkward question! [I love my DH, I really do]
Aunty 1: Is it a very private secret?
Me: Uhh.
Then, awkward silence all around, and then the subject is changed.

I couldn't think of anything else to say! I actually wanted to cry when this was happening even though I know that would have been an overreaction. I've actually gained less than either of them guessed, but I don't feel like that was any of their business, and I'm very sensitive about my weight.

That Aunty #1 was rude is no question - I know she was, even though she meant no harm by it. It's the difference between someone asking your rent vs someone thinking that's a rude question. There's no harm meant by asking, but some people think these are more private matters than others, and I fall into the private category.

But what could I have said, that could shut down that line of questioning? Something polite that doesn't make her feel bad? I feel like I'm about to go into the lion's den tonight, and that the question may come up again, and in front of even more people. It was really awkward because I didn't actually answer her, I just kind of said um, and uh.

I didn't post this in "have you tried the bean dip" because I'm wondering if there is actually a polite response related to the question that doesn't deflect, but firmly shuts it down.

doodlemor:
How wonderful that your husband has your back, lorelai!

I know people like this, too.  They mean well, but expect to know things that aren't their business and ask intrusive questions.

I think that when they ask a question that you don't want to answer it is fine to let a slight pause fall in the conversation, and then bean dip without answering the question.  You may likely have to do this more than once, because people in some groups are often accustomed to knowing a lot about each other.  When they say something like, "You're not going to answer my question, are you?" you can say "That's right," with a smile and bean dip again. 

Keep it light, and the nosy people with kindly motives won't be so likely to be offended.  If a questioner gets upset I'd distance myself from them - people who demand information that is none of their business are likely to be problem people.

I'm guessing from your post that you are expecting, OP.  Congratulations!

m2kbug:
I think "have you gained a lot of weight" is pretty common pregnant talk and "the club", and I think in a lot of cases, exact numbers really are not in question but the fact you are now in the "fat stage" (don't look pregnant yet) or shirts don't fit anymore or you hate getting on the scale at OB checks, but it is still intrusive and discussing a person's weight is usually not a polite place to go.  She's after exact pounds, and I'm really at a loss that anyone would ask that!  I think, "I would really rather not talk about my weight," would be fine.  I think I would follow up with something humorous, "I miss seeing my feet," or anything else to deflect the discomfort and bean dip.   

TurtleDove:
Oh, how awkward! I think I would make light of it while making it clear you don't want to discuss it. "How much weight have I gained? Not as much as I will by the time this pregnancy is done! But I can't imagine you would be keeping track. Anyway, did you see that blah blah blah."

coolio:
I would keep a few stock phrases for questions that are personal, such as "I would rather not discuss this." and then bean dip and just keep repeating that.

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