Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Post In Which I Reveal What a Jerk I Can Be

In the last eight days, four people have asked me when H and I are going to start a family.

The first was a guy in H's class that I met for the first time at H's reunion. Within two minutes of meeting him, he asked H and me when we are going to start having babies. Is this the new way to start conversations? Do guys you've just met normally ask questions like this? Was this a pickup line and I just didn't get it?

One of H's aunt asked us the same question about 30 minutes later. I just smiled and gave some non-committal answer.

Then H's brother's girlfriend asked me the next day. I said, "You know, some guy asked me the same thing last night, and I thought it was so rude." I really said that. Because I have no filter between my brain and my mouth. To appear less of a horrible person, I told her that the reason I thought it was rude is that I didn't even know the guy. I think she bought it.

And then yesterday we saw another one of H's aunts, and she asked us when we're going to start a family. H said, "We're still settling into our new jobs," or something along those lines.

I told H that these questions surprise and annoy me. H took my annoyance as an attack on his family. I think the questions are rude because really, people are asking about your sex life and contraceptives and other very personal things. And what if there were personal medical issues involved? Or what if we don't want to have kids at all? But maybe I am just overly sensitive or perhaps I am picking on H's family.

What is your response to personal questions like this?


Yez said...

I sidestepped this issue, but traded it for the "when are you going to get married?" one :>

In your situation, I'd be so tempted to say, "Oh - well, H and I are just holding hands, so far." Would it work if you softened it with a wink?

Sarah said...

Depending on the person I have different responses.

Sometimes I say, "Babies? I doubt we'll be able to squeeze them in before the divorce."
"We have a non-touching relationship"
or I just go for the low blow with
"I hate you. Shut up."
As you can see, I am SOOOOO sick of that question.

Stinkypaw said...

I simply answer that we don't want children, then it starts another serie of questions, which in the end, I always say "It's our business and our decision". Read my post about parenthood, you will see how much I like those questions...

If people would mind their own business, this wouldn't be ackward or annoying for anybody, but for some strange reason, people (family especially!) can't seem to keep their stupid questions for themselves! Oh well!

BTW, I have no filter whatsoever between mouth and brain. ;-D

3carnations said...

I usually say (honestly) "We are just focusing our energy on enjoying this one right now". Of course, that only applies when you already have a child.

Before our son was born we said "We have our pets right now"

Then before we got married, it was "When are you getting married?"

Funniest thing - A gift from my matron of honor at my pseudo-bridal shower: A Parenting magazine. It was very funny, because she had been one of the biggest pushers for us to get married, then to push for children right before we got married...Funny.

Guinness_Girl said...

Right now (since we've not even been married 3 months), I find these questions odd and mildly amusing and at the same time appalling. I have a feeling this will get real old, real fast. It's nobody's business!

So, um, when ARE y'all going to have babies? (Snicker.)

liz said...

It is one of the world's rudest questions. Preceded only by, "When's the baby due?" Especially if one is NOT. Pregnant.

When asked when we're going to have another, I always answer, "If it's supposed to happen, it will." Which makes them think we're trying and having trouble. Which embarrasses them and shuts them up.

I also like, "If that were for public consumption, I'd have told you already."

don't call me MA'AM said...

I have to go back to all the 'old time' etiquette and manners advice columnists... who ADAMANTLY replied that these questions are of a personal nature... which, of course, then makes them INAPPROPRIATE to ask in casual conversation.

Most of the advice about replies were along the lines of coyly stating, "My! That's a very personal question, now isn't it!" And then walking away.

I know it seems old-fashioned, but I really miss MANNERS and people behaving appropriately. I think your reply was very appropriate.

schneids said...

grr. Frustrating for you. I love that you told that girl it was rude!

I usually say "it is a decision we will make as a couple and we will let you know if and when there is news".

Note: this also applies if they know you are trying to have a baby and ask you every flipping time they see you if you are pregnant yet. (sensitive subject for me--sorry)

stefanie said...

I have the no-brain-filter problem, too. I don't, however, have the problem with people asking when I'm going to have babies. Everyone who knows me knows I'm single, and encouraging a single lady to get knocked up is not something people generally do (as far as I know).

I do have an aunt who loves to ask me if there's "someone special" in my life, though. Thankfully she lives far away and I see her rarely.

-R- said...

Thanks everyone, I love the tips! Hopefully I will not have to use any of these lines soon, but we will be seeing another of H's aunts next week...

Stefanie, my mom used to ask me questions about "someone special" all the freaking time.

princess slea said...

I have two children and when people ask me if "I'm done having kids", I say "I was done after the first one."
The pastor at my church recently told me I had to have three to build the population. He said two only replaces my husband and I. I said "but we aren't dead yet."

desiree said...

I started an internet pact with some fellow bloggers. I explain when someone asks that question, an angel dies. You heard me nosey people, You are killing angels.

I'm not even married but because of issues with girls parts and surgeries people think it is okay to ask. Bah. As soon as I find some guy to knock me up.

Sorry, I'm just a tad touchy.

Thank you for the post. I'm new and shall have to swing by again.

Libragirl said...

People ask me this all the time. Which is odd because
1. I am single
2. It's a well known fact I don't want/can't have kids
3. Did I mention I am single

It's one thing when my grandmother gave me permission to have a child out of wedlock because she wanted to be a great grandmother before she died, but not really ok for anyone else.

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