Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Clever Responses to Awkward Questions

A Mother Life

Sometimes in life, we’re called upon to answer awkward questions. I’ve always found that the best defense against other people’s (willful?) guilelessness is sarcasm, because I’m an expert at shutting people out. (Ha ha ha, I totally mistyped that as “shitting people out,” and it was the BEST TYPO EVAR.) I have this dry sense of humor and deadpan delivery that makes lots of people wonder if I actually meant the crazy shit I just said, and makes others believe me with a blind and childlike faith. (For example, I once convinced a female friend that women aren’t allowed to pump their own gas, but that’s neither here nor there.)

I also enjoy making people feel just as awkward as they have made me feel, because I’m a bad person. So I’ve compiled some clever responses to the awkward questions we all face in life. Feel free to use them the next time some nosy old lady gets all up in your grill.

The Awkward Question: “When are YOU going to get married?”


There comes a time in your life when you can’t attend a wedding without some elderly aunt or total stranger squawking out this awkward question, and that time comes when you first attend a wedding.

The Clever Response: “My husband hasn’t been born yet.”


The beauty of this one is that it keeps getting better as you get older. BECAUSE COUGARS, AMIRITE?

"Rawr."

The Awkward Question: “Why are YOU still single?”


The inbred cousin of the first awkward question, this awkward question always turns up when you least expect it to ruin an otherwise wonderful day. It’s usually asked by a well-meaning friend or acquaintance that really ought to know better.

The Clever Response: “I failed to forward a chain letter in [year of last breakup].”


By this logic, ANYONE could find themselves alone. Which is how it really is anyway, because it’s not like you can just ride into the next village, snatch up a man, carry him home over the back of your horse, and live happily ever after.

Things sure have changed since my grandmother's day.

The Awkward Question: “Where did you get the money to pay for that!?”


I get this one a lot because, as a professional writer, no one believes that I earn any money at all and everyone just scoffs, rolls their eyes and repeats, “YEAH, BUT WHAT DO YOU DO?” at top volume like I’m deaf or don’t speak English. So when shouting back, “I EARNED IT FROM WRITING” proves fruitless, I need to take another tack.

The Clever Response:  “I won the lottery.”


This one is great because sometimes people actually do win the lottery, so now there are several dozen people walking around believing I won the lottery, and at least one of them also believes that women aren’t allowed to pump their own gas.

Despite the fact that she's been pumping her own gas without incident all this time.
Image by Aaron Lawrence

The Awkward Question: “Why don’t you ever wear makeup?”


Okay, so you probably don’t get this one if you usually wear makeup/are a manly man, but I get it all the time because I don’t wear makeup. I don’t have anything against makeup, I like makeup in theory, but it’s expensive, I always forget I own it and I don’t really know how it works. My mother wasn’t a makeup person either and she never taught me how to use it. I didn’t think there was anything odd about this until I had dental work done a few months ago and spent the whole time listening to my hygienist and my dentist chat about how their mothers MADE THEM wear makeup every day from the time they were 12 and they HATED IT, but now they’re glad because THEY ALWAYS LOOK SO NICE AND PUT TOGETHER. I wasn’t sure if I should have been offended or not.

The Clever Response: “But I AM wearing makeup!”


Try to look indignant when you say it. This will baffle them long enough to give you time to escape and go find someone who can stand the sight of your hideous bare face.


Also, it's a lot more polite than pointing out that you're prettier than them.

9 comments:

  1. Ah, Marjorie, I love you! Besides, make up would just cover up all that hotness. :)

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    1. I'm so hot makeup MELTS RIGHT OFF MY FACE.

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  2. I always get asked about my husband. Since I have a child, they just assume I am married. I never know how to respond to, "Where is your husband" or "what does your husband do", because I want to be a smart ass, but it's usually inappropriate!

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    1. "Where is your husband?" "Your guess is as good as mine!"

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    2. I said that once and it totally confused the poor dear.

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  3. You always make me laugh!

    Bizarrely, my mother always wore makeup, but I wasn't allowed to (until I finished school, and was old enough to make my own decisions). In hindsight, this may have been a good thing. While I prefer to wear it, it's for my own reasons, not for society, and I wouldn't be seen dead talking about always 'looking well put together'.

    I might, however, be heard to lament the fact that women are valued more for their appearance than their brain.

    the awkward question I get is 'What do you do for work?' The answer 'lawyer' kills the conversation everytime. 'I write' invites, as you've noted, unwanted conversation.

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    1. I've heard of mothers not letting their young daughters wear makeup (because they thought it looked slutty or something) but I'd never heard of any FORCING their daughters to wear makeup, until my hygienist. Guess we got lucky, huh?

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  4. I recently bought gas in a small Southwest VA town, where there was an attendant on hand to pump gas FOR LADIES. It was super-awkward, because I wanted to pump my own gas and not travel back in time to 1952, but he was absolutely insistent. I hope your friend stops there someday.

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