Why do people ask such bizarre questions?
When you get to a certain age (especially as a female), people decide its socially acceptable to ask highly personal questions. It starts with ‘when are you getting a boy/girl friend’, then progresses to ‘when are you getting married’ (perhaps, Joyce, I don’t agree with your view on the sanctity of marriage) then once that hurdle is over it becomes ‘when are you having kids’.
It’s the last one that riled me the most (though I’m sure for others, the other two questions are equally irritating) and it isn’t socially acceptable to say ‘mind your own business Aunty Denise’ (unsure why). For a while, I answered something inane but then, when we realised that getting pregnant wasn’t actually as easy as the nurses hat came into school and showed you how to put a condom on a banana promised, I started to dread being in social situations where someone might ask me.
It actually made me anxious and I started avoiding people I thought were likely to ask. I find it quite a bizarre question really, there’s no other element of life people would so brazenly question. If I were to say, ‘so Aunty Denise, what’s the rationale for having to remortgage’ or, ‘heard you’ve decided to leave your husband of 23 years, why’s that’ people would look over in horror but it’s totally fine to enquire as to whether people have made the huge life decision to start a family and are having unprotected sex. Bizarre.
I’m also unsure that people think it through. Like will you actually get a straight answer? There are basically six potential scenarios:
- The person in question hasn’t decided yet, and probably doesn’t want a philosophical debate with their sisters, neighbours Aunty over their trifle
- They have decided and they don’t want kids, which they equally may not want to discuss
- They’re already pregnant and haven’t told you, so they don’t want you to know
- They have just started trying and don’t want to talk about it
- They’re trying but its not happening, in which case your question has reminded them of that when they’re actually trying to have a good time and not think about it
- The least likely – they’re totally open to discussing it with you. In which case they’d have started the conversation themselves
So anyway, I toyed with how to answer this for some time and to be honest, I haven’t really got the answer. I tried ‘ask my ovaries’ which got an awkward silence, ‘I don’t want to discuss it’ which was met with a raised eyebrow and then defaulted to ‘we’re having issues’ which lets face it, no one wants to admit but actually, I found the most liberating because then, they stopped asking me shit.