Author Topic: What will she ask next?  (Read 13116 times)

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iambe

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What will she ask next?
« on: July 29, 2008, 03:50:52 AM »
Last November I threw a birthday party for my boyfriend. We've been together on and off for 8 years. We are both in our very late 30's. We had the party at the home of some very dear friends of ours, and the guest list was fairly fluid. No one was invited that my BF didn't like, of course, but the upstairs neighbors are sort-of friends so they showed up.

During the party, I was talking with a small group that included both my BF and the female half of the couple (I'll call her Bernadette), as well as a few other people. Completely unrelated to anything being discussed anywhere in the room, Bernadette looked at me and asked "So, when are you two going to have children?" This is something that NO ONE has ever asked me before. I know, I've been lucky. But I was completely blindsided. I think I gaped at her for a few moments, then I turned and walked out of the room. I just couldn't think of anything at all to say or do. I avoided her for the rest of the party and no one else brought it up. Later, I asked someone about it and they said "Well, Bernadette can be like that. Just ignore it." I've been to gatherings that included her since and she's always behaved herself so I thought she'd gotten the message. Until last night.

Another get together. The group of us were sitting in the backyard grouped around two tables. The way the tables were set up, I would have my back to one table or the other. After eating, I turned my chair a bit so that I could talk with the group at the other table, where Bernadette was sitting. As soon as I did she asked "When are you two getting married?"

My BF and I are not engaged. We have not even discussed marriage except in the broadest terms, and we certainly have not discussed it with other people. Once again, I turned my back to her and re-engaged in the discussion with the other table.

What I did was probably rude, but when she does this I really do not know what to say. I know all of the classic phrases, but they fly right out of my head in the heat of the moment and I am completely empty headed. And while if I'd known she was like this at the beginning I might have anticipated the children question (as she has a child and is very pro-children), the marriage question took me by surprise because she lives with the father of her child but is not married herself, apparently by her own choice. So it's not her own world view she's encouraging.

I'm sure something like this will happen again, but I can't imagine what else there is to ask.

I guess what I'm asking is if you could help me think of things she might ask next. Perhaps if I treat it like a play I can be prepared so that when I hear my cue I can deliver my memorized lines.

FoxPaws

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2008, 06:45:25 AM »
I think you should continue to do what you're doing. It's at least as effective as a clever comeback for making it clear you're offended and has the added advantage of not engaging her in any way.

As for her next question - my guess is, "Why do you always ignore me when I talk to you?" For that one, you can tell her the truth, "Because you always blindside me with something that's none of your business!"
I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

MineralDiva

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2008, 01:01:53 PM »
My typical response to such questions is to pause, smile and say to the offending idiot, "Why do you ask?"  When they "explain" themselves, which many are more than happy to do, I simply respond with, "Hmm...interesting.  Well thank you for sharing."  And then turn right back to whatever conversation I was having before being so rudely interrupted.

Sometimes I leave out the "thank you for sharing" part, but the result is the same.  As I always say:  Just because someone asks a question, does not mean they are entitled to an answer! (Especially when it's none of their bloody business!)

WildChild@Heart

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2008, 02:16:55 PM »
I'm afraid my response to questions like that is PA and probably not ehell approved, I say "When we make a decision about that, we'll be sure to let you know". And then I immediately direct my attention to someone else.
“Don't outsmart your common sense."

sisbam

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2008, 02:24:35 PM »
"Do you guys live together? 'Cause it seems kinda funny that you aren't thinking of marriage or kids yet."
"Why do you ask?"
"Well, because _______"
"Oh, I see" *turn to other guest*
or
"Oh, I see. How about you?"
"Well, I ___________"
*you turn to other guests while she rattles away, enamored in her story*

Or...

"I don't remember; did you ever answer my question about marriage/kids?"
"No, I didn't."
*turn to other guests*

Bibliophile

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2008, 02:24:43 PM »
"I know we don't see you often, but I'm sure we would've let our friends know if we decided to make any big decisions they should about..."

"Wow, that's a question that doesn't get asked often." then change the subject.

"Interesting question - but that's a bit personal."

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G'sMom

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2008, 08:18:27 AM »
Wow.  You totally hit a nerve with me. I can't tell you how aggressive some people are with these questions (I left a church over it). I have NO idea why people become so fixated on the reproductive details (and marital aspirations) of other people. I mean, I can see the ONE time inquiring, maybe among close friends, if it were relevant to the conversation. Like talking about, say, getting married and a friend asking "do you want to have children some day?"  But notice this is asking "do YOU *want". THe way you mention (and what I take offense to) is an accusation, like you've been lying around on "the job" and haven't procreated yet, when you are required to. How do people know you WANT to? and how do they know whether or not you might want them but can't have them? (yeah, way to rub salt in a wound) It's just so rude on so many levels. Same with "when are you getting married?"              

I think there are a couple ways to handle this, either with the Miss Manners approved "icy stare" and saying "how kind of you to take an interest" and walk away.  Maybe just walk away saying nothing (as you did) or the sarcastic ones "are you applying for the job?" ..etc

I think the only ehell approved methods are variations of the first two suggestions.  I would continue ignoring her questions.

I wish you luck dealing with this. I'm so sorry you had to go through that, I can really really relate and I know what it feels like, and it doesn't feel good at all.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 08:22:40 AM by G'sMom »

iambe

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2008, 06:30:25 PM »
I haven't been around her lately, which is nice. It's hard to be polite to her so I usually just avoid her when we are at the same gathering. Thanks for the reassurance that I wasn't rude. We are a really verbal family so I've always been taught that every question deserves SOME response and I was afraid that this might not be enough.

I found out later that she's been harassing my boyfriend about it when I'm not around as well. He said that he just ignores her. I guess that's why she had to resort to asking me.  ::)

Actually, he gets these questions a lot more often than I do. He's a teacher so everyone automatically assumes that his life goal is to get married and have kids and they seem to feel free to ask him why he hasn't done so yet.

MurPl1

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2008, 12:34:25 AM »
"We like to have sex all over the house and kids would mess that up.  And really you dont have to be married to have sex on the kitchen table, right?"

VorFemme

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2008, 01:02:16 AM »
I forget where I read it, but the response "I will forgive you for ASKING such a personal question if you will forgive me for not ANSWERING it" tickled my fancy when I read it.

It was either Ann Landers, Dear Abby, or Miss Manners..............but it was more than twenty years ago and the details are a little hard to dredge up.........
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

G'sMom

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2008, 08:27:24 AM »
I forget where I read it, but the response "I will forgive you for ASKING such a personal question if you will forgive me for not ANSWERING it" tickled my fancy when I read it.

It was either Ann Landers, Dear Abby, or Miss Manners..............but it was more than twenty years ago and the details are a little hard to dredge up.........

WOW. Perfect!!!  ;D

K12144

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2008, 10:36:19 PM »
"I don't know.  I (or we) haven't thought about it."  I mean, I'm sure there are probably comebacks to that, but...what, that would make any sense?  It's not like they have something to argue with, really.

A lot of the time, though, people think asking this sort of thing is "friendly" (and some do it just to be jerks).  It's just that, they may not realize that it's too personal to you, or a sore spot for you, or whatever it is that makes you not want to answer it--because those sort of questions are the sort of thing some people would take and run with, and prattle on for an hour about how many kids they want and what their names will be, or every detail of the wedding they want to have, or whatever.  It's just a question about someone, much like "what do you do?" or whatever.  My mom tried to impress that on me when I was expressing worries that at my partner's sister's wedding, we would get a bunch of "so, are you guys next?" questions from his relatives.  (Luckily, no one asked.  MY relatives would've asked.  His didn't.  Though in my case, all of my cousins my age are either married or engaged, so I guess it's not too far off-base that my relatives will expect I will be soon too.  Doesn't mean I really want to go into the "no, we're just living together" or "I dont' know that I want to get married ever" can of worms, though.)
« Last Edit: October 18, 2008, 10:40:48 PM by K12144 »

Breezygirl

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2008, 10:55:57 PM »
"I don't know.  I (or we) haven't thought about it."  I mean, I'm sure there are probably comebacks to that, but...what, that would make any sense?  It's not like they have something to argue with, really.

A lot of the time, though, people think asking this sort of thing is "friendly" (and some do it just to be jerks).  It's just that, they may not realize that it's too personal to you, or a sore spot for you, or whatever it is that makes you not want to answer it--because those sort of questions are the sort of thing some people would take and run with, and prattle on for an hour about how many kids they want and what their names will be, or every detail of the wedding they want to have, or whatever.  It's just a question about someone, much like "what do you do?" or whatever.  My mom tried to impress that on me when I was expressing worries that at my partner's sister's wedding, we would get a bunch of "so, are you guys next?" questions from his relatives.  (Luckily, no one asked.  MY relatives would've asked.  His didn't.  Though in my case, all of my cousins my age are either married or engaged, so I guess it's not too far off-base that my relatives will expect I will be soon too.  Doesn't mean I really want to go into the "no, we're just living together" or "I dont' know that I want to get married ever" can of worms, though.)

I agree, to many this is just friendly conversation. Might not be appropriate to all but maybe they do not mean to be rude (not saying it's right though either).
Someday, somehow, somewhere.....

holly firestorm

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2008, 12:43:09 PM »

  As I always say:  Just because someone asks a question, does not mean they are entitled to an answer! (Especially when it's none of their bloody business!)

It took me years to realize how true that is!  I used to feel obliged to answer questions like this and honestly and to strangers, even.  I used to live right outside New York and take the commuter train every day.  People would strike up conversations with each other all the time, but I can't tell you how many inappropriate (not necessarily of a sexual nature) questions older people would ask young women, especially men.  I don't think many young women would still let them get away with what amounts to borderline predatory behavior now'a'days.

Maryann

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Re: What will she ask next?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2008, 09:33:35 AM »
I agree with FoxPaws. Sometimes bluntness is best when someone is totally oblivious, especially if subtlety has failed. In your case, you were blunt once and it failed, which is really remarkably oblivious.

I tend to be blunt. Such as, "I'd rather not answer so personal a question, and I'd also prefer if you did not ask any more such questions of me, please."

The irony of that is that it only too often brings a backlash of defensiveness. Which gets one thing from me... my iciest stare. And I don't give up my icy stares, either. I stare in silence until they look away.

Perfected, the effect is total and permanent. My grandmother was brilliant at it.