July 09, 2007

Don't f*cking ask

Profanity alert!

My dear friend wRitErsbLock wrote something this morning that struck a nerve with me. She writes:

Do not ask people "when are you going to start having children?"

It might just be a very, very sore subject for the couple.

Maybe one wants children while the other does not. Maybe you asking that question will cause the couple to have yet another fight about it later on.

Maybe the couple is unable to conceive and has been trying without success for quite some time. If so, you just helped plunge them back into despair.

Maybe the couple hates children and never plan to have any.

No matter where the couple is at, you are stepping into dangerous water when you ask the question. It's none of your business. And you are running a risk of either angering the couple or upsetting them. So just don't ask.

Very succinct. About the only thing she didn't mention is maybe the couple has medical issues that must be resolved first.....

People really fuck me off when they ask this kind of shit. It may take a village to raise a child, but does the entire village need to know the details of the conception and whether or not the child was wanted, planned, or a complete surprise? Does the whole village need to know why?

It's amazing to me how the most private and significant moments in our lives, and their accordant choices seem to be public fodder: who we marry (or not, as the case may be), whether we parent, and how we parent. People pop out of the woodwork with advice and questions better for weddings and babies than any other event I've ever seen. Every new mom or mom-to-be that I know has been made to feel pathetic for one choice or another with regard to her baby.

And you know what else fucks me over? A lot of these nosy nellies are the same bitches who go around screaming, 'My Body, My Choice" but then they want to censor your right to do the SAME FUCKING THING if your choices don't agree with their holy-anointed-best-for-the-child-best-for-the-world-happy-shiny BS.

AUUUGH. Get over yourselves, people

With regard to WB's post, the real answer is this: You shouldn't have to ask. If you know me well enough to PRESUME to ask such questions, you should already know the answer. So if you're even considering asking those kinds of questions, that should serve as your notice that I don't want you to know.

Posted by caltechgirl at July 9, 2007 01:12 PM | TrackBack

hugs to you, my dear

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at July 9, 2007 01:17 PM


And even if they already have kids, STILL don't ask. When my son was 18 months, we started on trying to have another (It ended up taking over a year....) Anyway, everyone started asking when we were going to have another RIGHT after I had a miscarriage when we finally got pregnant after 8 months of trying. While we were on vacation. For our anniversary.

Let's just say it did NOT HELP AT ALL. Blah.

People ask too many personal questions.

Posted by: silvermine at July 9, 2007 02:58 PM
It may take a village to raise a child, but does the entire village need to know the details of the conception and whether or not the child was wanted, planned, or a complete surprise?

No, but I'm sure if you name the kid "Oops" they'll figure it out.

Posted by: Xrlq at July 9, 2007 04:09 PM

How true... and since it's been a sore subject for what seems like my entire life I never, ever ask anyone else that sort of question, no matter how well I know them.

Unfortunately, many people aren't as sensitive. Or maybe they're just rude. :/

Posted by: pam at July 9, 2007 06:07 PM

I, too, have been harangued quite a bit with these inappropriate you-don't-know-me-well-enough-to-ask sorts of questions.

I have always tried to answer them with the non-answer: the shrug, wink, nod. It means nothing, they get nothing from it, and I get to avoid calling them pushy or nosy or things of that sort.

No sooner had Bunny Boop arrived than people starting asking about the next one. Now, it is one thing for my OB/GYN and I to discuss it. I'll even allow it as a topic from my mother, albeit grudgingly. But my boss? I don't think so.

You are correct that it is a can of worms. It is far better to just be a good friend, polite, and be happy for the couple whatever choices they make or situations that are forced upon them.

For the record, I am firmly of the opinion that it damn well doesn't "take a village" to raise a child. It only "takes a village" if you suck as a parent and are abdicating your responsibilities and "the village" has to take up the slack.

But that's a whole other angry screed and this is neither the time nor the place.

Posted by: Phoenix at July 10, 2007 06:59 AM

Medical - I'm allergic to children.

Posted by: DirtCrashr at July 10, 2007 02:27 PM

Oh, amen to all of that.

Two thoughts:

1. I've been accused of "not caring" just because I didn't care to join in on the speculation or drumbeat of "when are you going to have kids" to couples I know. No, I DO care, but I figure that if they want to tell me, they will.

Don't try to goad me into being a blasted gossip or a nosy Nellie.

2. I've threatened in the past to begin asking married couples, "So...you two still having sex?" when people asked me when I was going to "settle down" and get married.

Hey - you ask an intrusive question, I get to ask one. Isn't that how the game goes?

(People have stopped asking. I don't know whether to take that as a relief, or as an ominous sign.)

3. I wonder how much of the "celebutante" culture (where every hangover, every bad haircut is shown all over the media) is contributing to people getting the idea that no one's private life is really private any more.

Posted by: ricki at July 17, 2007 10:59 AM