Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Nosiness of Strangers

There's a strange phenomenon out there. I'm sure we've all been on the receiving end of it at some time or another. This phenomenon causes all sorts of weird symptoms, but first and foremost, it causes strangers to abandon their I-don't-know-you politeness and to stick their noses in something very private and personal.

The subject? Your family planning.

I can see having an interest in your own siblings or your close friends. And I don't believe you if you say you have never once had a conversation about someone else's family planning. But hopefully you have had the tact and good sense to avoid sharing your opinion with the person in question. After all, it is absolutely none of your business, no matter how close your relationship with them may be.

But I just can't understand why complete strangers seem to feel no shame in informing someone that they have too many kids/too few kids/their kids are too close together/their kids are too far apart/they are obviously selfish because they don't have any kids/they are ruining the planet by having kids, etc., etc., etc.

I hate it when strangers, however well-meaning, inform me that my son needs a sibling. Thank you for reminding me. Would you like me to share the hell I've been through trying to have another child? No? But you seemed so interested in my personal life to begin with! And then, on the rare occasion that I say something like "my son was very difficult to come by", hoping it will end the conversation, my favorite follow-up question:

"Why don't you just adopt?"

Oh, I never thought of that! I will just run down to the Baby Store and pick up a brown-haired, green-eyed mini-me! Be right back!

But first, tell me why you let your kids act like dictators. Inquiring minds want to know!


McConkie Family said...

It's so true. When I got my haircut yesterday, my stylist asked me if we were going to have more kids after this one. Um, does she really need to know? People think 4 is alot, but they should butt out and just let us make the decision. We do have brains.

Sara said...

I had someone come up to me at church days after my miscarriage and ask "So, are you ever going to have kids? You know, you aren't getting any younger."

I don't remember what ridiculously lame answer I gave, but it wasn't as good as the one Himself later suggested:

"Wow. I had no idea you were that interested in my sex life."

If only I had the guts. :)

McConkie Family said...

Marshall taught at the MTC with a friend who was having problems starting a family. One missionary kept asking said fellow when he and his wife were going to have kids. He finally responded with "Elder, we try. I tried before I came here and I'll try when I go home. Instead of Family Home Evening, we have Make a Family Home Evening." That shut up the elder. If only I had that nerve.

fiona said...

We always get the "oh, you have one of each, you're done now!" from non-LDS folks. I always wonder why the heck that means we're done now? Since we can check 'boy' AND 'girl' off the list?? I just say we're done for now, but we hope to have more in the next couple of years. Having twins seems to give a nice big cushion of time before anyone starts with the "when you gonna pop out a sibling?" questions, I'm sorry you have to deal with that.

I totally want to say something like the above suggestions, though, wouldn't the look on the asker's face be priceless?

Megan B said...

I suspect these rude questions have been asked since Adam and Eve's time. It never ever ever ever stops.

Stephanie Black said...

It does amaze me how anything related to childbearing seems to shut down some people's tact and common sense. If they took a moment to think about it, they'd realize how incredibly intrusive--and potentially hurtful--these questions can be. Sigh.