Getting prepped for The Question

Yesterday Spitfire and I went to a local restaurant for a tasting because I'm booking the wedding luncheon there. We can both tell you this now: If someone asks you if you'd like to have a tasting? Say yes.

They fed us three different kinds of salad and four different entrees. The salads were an attempt to sway me from my genius "ditch the salad which nobody cares about and put that money towards the appetizers, which are beautiful and delicious and make excellent camera fodder" plan. The salads, while lovely and tasty, didn't sway me. We also had teriyaki chicken, a fabulous chicken cordon bleu with raspberry sauce and asparagus, macadamia-encrusted halibut with fresh blueberries, raspberries, & mango, and a Parmesan-encrusted halibut with crab, hollandaise, and sliced avocado on top.

Yeah. Tastings rule.

So we were talking about the menu and about desserts and fruit tarts and things. And then the owner turns to me and says, "So are you having kids?"

And I swear I almost answered, "Well, not right away but eventually, yeah."

Only then I realized he was probably talking about whether we were having kids at the luncheon. Which made more sense. And was less of an impertinent question. It's just that everyone has been warning me that this is the question which comes next. That it will always be the Question People Ask. And I think I've pretty much figured out what I'm going to say.

My first idea is to tell askers that Gentleman Friend has sperm motility issues. So then they'd feel really bad for bringing it up. And once I did get pregnant it would be like this Medical Miracle and I'd probably score tons of awesome presents.

But really? What are people even looking for when they ask that? Do they want to hear all about how you're trying to get your endometriosis under control first? Or do they want to know that your spouse isn't actually excited about the idea of kids ever since you two got stuck in that nursery calling where you get vomited on every week? Maybe they just want to hear, "Yes, we're trying actively! In fact, that's where we were during the break between Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School--trying actively in the custodial closet. Cross fingers that today's the day, Sister!"

So my response to such questions will be to respond, "Gosh, when do you think we should have kids?" Or, if I'm feeling more charitable, I'll just turn the conversation back to them and ask how they went about their family planning. Not that it's any of my business, and not that I care, but clearly they want to chat about reproduction in some way. Which is fine as long as it's not about my reproduction.

Has anyone else hit on any good responses?


Maggie said... [reply]

Surprisingly I never got asked that question. That's one of the perks of living in Eastern Oregon.

Maggie said... [reply]

And by Eastern, I really meant Western. My mind is totally gone today.

Ronnie & KaLee said... [reply]

When asked when we were going to start our family, my husband was a big fan of "9 months from tonight!" I never quite got the courage up to say it myself, but loved watching the reactions after he said it. Note: not best to use on people over 60.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Bwah hahah! Ronnie & Kalee, that is my new favorite.

Cicada said... [reply]

My friends are trying to get pregnant and will probably have to go with in vitro fertilization. They have a large, comfortable house. Apparently people have made comments like, "This is a pretty big house for only two people." It makes me soooo mad to even think about what stupid people say.

When people ask me why Murray and I don't have children, I like to tell them that we've been married only seven months, so we actually think it's an accomplishment to be proud of to not have any children right now.

I heard of people (older ladies, even) asking how the first time having sex was, shortly after you were married. I was really really prepared for this one. I had my response ready for years and sadly no one ever asked me. If you have opportunity, please feel free to read it. It is, "Oh my GOSH. The man is HUNG like a HORSE!!" And then, when I see the shocked expression on their face, to say, "Oh... did you really want to talk about this?"

Feel free to delete my comment....

Cicada said... [reply]

I mean, feel free to *use* it. Sorry.

jeri said... [reply]

Sadly, people never quit asking that question either. When Parker hit the magic age of 2, everyone started asking when we were having another. Also when we moved we get the "enough bedrooms for a few more!" comment. Usually I offer to loan one of the kids to the asker for several days hoping they'll understand why we don't want more but it never works. I don't know how many kids you're required to have before you're exempt from "the question" but 2 is not the answer.

Nemesis said... [reply]

BWAH HAH HAHAHAH! Cicada, have I mentioned that I love you? I think another good one would be, "Well, the saddle and bridle were kind of a surprise, but we eventually figured it all out!"

lilcis said... [reply]

Surprisingly we've been married for almost two years and no one at church has bugged us about kids yet. Our families are pretty much the only ones who ask us, and we just tell them we're not having kids. Ever. Truthfully, we just haven't decided yet. And we're not going to until I'm done with my MBA program, which is still a year away. Some of our family members are very offended by the thought that we may not have kids, and one recently chastised us by saying "I guess some people just aren't willing to follow the Lord's plan." HELLO!

Liz Johnson said... [reply]

I got this question from old ladies ALL THE TIME when I was first married, and finally my husband piped in one time and explained that I was born without a uterus. And how dare you be so insensitive to ask. I had to leave the conversation because I was cracking up.

People stopped asking pretty quickly after that.

Jenny said... [reply]

Nemesis, you thought of a great response to these impertinent questions. I wonder where you got the idea from. I wonder which person was lying in bed close to midnight on the phone with you giving you idea after idea of what to tell people. Someone awesome, I'm pretty positive.

Also, I so want that crab halibut for my entree.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Crap, sorry Jen. I should have credited you--everyone, my sister Jenny fine-tuned these responses, WHILE lying in bed late at night because even THEN all her ideas are best.

GF's mom wants the crab halibut too. So I'm pretty sure that'll be on there.

Shauna said... [reply]

After trying for a baby for five years, I stopped being nice about that question (okay, let's be honest, I was never all that nice about it). I thought mentioning my crippling infertility in response would make them feel ridiculous enough to shut up, but usually they would share some charming little antedote about how I just needed to relax, adopt, qut my job, etc.

The bottom line is, people who are stupid enough to ask these nosey questions are also usually too stupid to feel any shame for having asked them.

Eh, whatever though. They didn't get invites to my totally kickin' baby shower.

JackJen said... [reply]

Alright.....so, as people who ADOPTED their child, I've got a whole ARSENAL of responses.

Have a few hours? =)

Our personal favorite:

"We've chosen to have a celibate marriage."

Followed closely by:

"We're actually saving up for a boat instead."

Then, the ever popular:

"We're not quite sure HOW."

I have used ALL of those in real life situations.

To my glee.


T & J & V said... [reply]

that question never ends. people started asking us when we were going to try for number 2 within weeks of our son being born! then we were went to buy a new car we were told to buy a minivan for all the kids to have room! um we only have one now, how many did YOU(car salesman we have never met) plan on US having?! somewhere though it hits its limit and the how many are you planning turns into when are you going to stop. my sister hit that limit b/w 4 and 5 kids, and even more so now with 6! why does anyone think it is their business when and how many kids a couple has? btw, reading the beginning of your post while eating a measly pb&j sandwich was utterly depressing.

Lindsay said... [reply]

Wow. There's some pretty good responses here. I'll have to tuck some of these away. Because, really, what are you supposed to say to all that extended family who go out of their way at your wedding dinner to tell you that they'll give you a year before they start bugging you about kids. Um, thanks?

Honestly, though, the only person who really bugged us was my mom, and most of the time it didn't bother me because she wanted a grandchild as much as I wanted to give her one. Let's face it: I was baby hungry. But seeing as I'm not one to bring forth life without insurance, it was best to wait.

Can't wait for the stories you'll share when you do actually have to answer The Question!

.::still blinking::. said... [reply]

We practice making babies all the time.

That usually shuts people up.

Sherry said... [reply]

This is one of my favorite topics! I've been married three years, and we still don't have kids! ::gasp:: Honestly, living in Utah, we only ever had one person ask us directly when we were going to have them, and she was in her late eighties. I tend to think of that as a pretty good excuse for pretty much anything.

One time in sacrament meeting a woman with 10 or 11 kids gave a talk using quotes from Brigham Young about how couples should have all the children they possibly could and not use birth control. It actually made pretty livid. I darn near walked out!

We have encountered more people in New Zealand who just ask outright than anywhere else. It usually goes sort of like this: "So, how long have you been married." "Three years." "Really? That long? I thought you had been married less time than that." "Oh, no. We got married in 2005, had two years left of uni, and now we're here." AND then comes, "So you must be thinking about having kids pretty soon then."

My husband handles it pretty well with things like, "Oh, we'd like to have kids some time."

I usually want to say, "I'm broken" and then run away in fake-tears.

That would show them.

Also, for the record, I don't mind when close friends ask. It really, really doesn't bother me when it's from somebody I know well. But when a non-close person asks, it's very intrusive.

Maybe since folks ask that question they really don't know that it isn't their place to ask, and we should just tell them instead of making it awkward for them? Perhaps saying really weird things doesn't really get through to them as much as saying, "You know, I really don't feel like that is an appropriate question for you to ask me. It's very personal." And then those people would realize that, in fact, those types of questions are very personal.

BEFore said... [reply]

I think it's one of those things that in their minds sounds like a nice, interested conversational question -- and they never really think about it. Kind of like... "You're 30? Why AREN'T you married yet? You're so nice."

If it's the nice elderly neighbor who is just a bit eccentric; they're probably past worrying about trivialities like etiquette and are just curious. Just go for the easy "dunno" answer and laugh.

On the other hand, if it's people who really should know better, go for any random thing you can think of. (And there are some good ones here!)

If it's people you don't care about AND should know better, I'd definitely go for the "none of your business" approach. Probably politely.

AND (on a more random note) your opening paragraph reminded me of Brian Regan and his "SAY EIGHT!" story.

Nells-Bells said... [reply]

I loved telling people how much we love "trying" for kids. We would then rattle on about all the different times and places we were "trying" for kids. Being a little graphic is always the kicker. People usually wouldn't ask again after that. We waited 4 years before having a child. Timing is everything, I believe.

Rynell said... [reply]

My husband likes to answer the "when are trying for another child?" question with "in five minutes, tonight, tomorrow, and pretty much all the time." And then he proceeds to ask then to come over and babysit the other kids while we try.

Gretchen said... [reply]

Though I've never actually been asked, I always wanted to use the hushed whisper in "confidence" of "We don't know how... can you tell us?"

My favorite is my friend who has triplets. People ask her all the time "How'd that happen?" and stuff like that. Sure they were having fertility issues and that's how and people want her to tell them all about it, but since it's none of their business, she answers, "We did it 3 times in one night!"

cooldad said... [reply]

After the last two years, at least, of reading your blog posts fretting of your dusty ovaries and imminent potential of having to get your eggs harvested, I'd have thought the attempt at kids was coming sooner rather than later.

C. said... [reply]

In the past 2.5 years of marriage sans children, our favorite has become, "we're just practicing for now." My hubby even used it in the middle of elder's quorum once!

Azúcar said... [reply]

"We're just practicing right now."

Or, if you want to be inappropriate, "He's firing blanks!"

I never got asked the question either, and I live in Utah County.

Anonymous said... [reply]

Now had it been ME at that tasting, it would have gone a little something like this:

Owner: "Are you having kids?"

Me: "Hmmm, we hadn't actually thought about that. I suppose it all depends on how you were thinking of preparing them."

And that is why I would remain The Legend.

PS I don't think I've had a chance to congratulate you on your wonderful news, so, um...

(in Pee Wee Herman yell)


If marriage brings you even a fraction of the joy and awesomeness that it's given me, you will be a most blessed woman indeed. Congrats again!

AmandaStretch said... [reply]

I don't know if you read xkcd.com, but you should. I thought the latest one was especially pertinent.


before, I love getting the "How are you still single?" from single men. Oh, and by love, I mean hate.

a fan said... [reply]

I say stay super vague (though everyone's answers are hilarious). If you were having fertility struggles, it would be very tempting to give them the what-for, but then from then on forever more they will see you as Nemesis: Girl with Fertility Struggles, and that sucks pretty bad too.

Kelly said... [reply]

Bonus about being in an urban, "mission-field" ward: that question has never crossed anyone's lips toward me or Jason (as far as I know). I feel very much like everyone is minding their own business on that one. Or they just don't care. Yeah, probably the latter.

Anonymous said... [reply]

Seems like a number of people here are over-sensitive on the issue.

I have four married children, and I've never asked any of them when they plan to have children. I'd like to know, but I figure they will tell me when they want to without my asking.

On the other hand, I never took offense when someone asked me.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Anon, you said you didn't take offense when people asked you--I'd like to know how you answered them, though. Did you really get into the details of your family planning or did you just give a vague sort of "one of these days" answer?

Heidi said... [reply]

Maybe they just want to hear, "Yes, we're trying actively! In fact, that's where we were during the break between Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School--trying actively in the custodial closet. Cross fingers that today's the day, Sister!"

That was the most awesome line, ever. I laughed for a whole minute. Just the image. Oh, Sister, PLEASE use that line!

Just Stopping By said... [reply]

I've had infertility issues (and multiples) and so I have had my fair share of great questions. I usually say, "To me, conception is private." I'm not sure why that is such a shocking statement, but it is. It's one of my personal missions to remind people.

I did have a well-meaning woman tell me that a lot of people were wondering if the multiples were fertility-treatment related, so she was calling me to get right to the source (which I appreciated). I told her it was private, and then said, "Just so you can know where I'm coming from, I am guessing that no one has ever asked you where or how your children were conceived. Just because there are more than one doesn't mean I don't want that same courtesy."

One more thing, the first question is usually merely inappropriate, but it's the follow-up questions that will get you. From experience, the fourth question is always downright offensive. That's why I've learned to lead with the privacy statement. I can't handle question number 4.

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