{the life} Better Left Unsaid

by Rachel on July 3, 2012

So, I’ve been avoiding my waxer ever since I got engaged.

Eyebrow maintenance ranks pretty high in my list of priorities; when I’m in need of a wax, it totally changes how I feel about my appearance. I notice a couple errant hairs in the morning and later that day, I’m calling the salon for their earliest appointment. It takes a lot for me to put off having it done. But apparently, for me, hiding my engagement from my waxer trumps looking like a beast.

Let me be clear: I really, really like the woman who waxes my eyebrows. She does a fantastic job and she’s super, super nice. I really don’t mind making small talk with her, even when I’d rather just sit there quietly. But…she’s also the only person who’s ever asked me when Eric and I are getting engaged. Or, more specifically, when he’s going to propose.

I think we can all agree that there are a lot of things wrong with that question and it’s just not a question you should ever ask people. I know other people deal with it a lot, so I consider myself very lucky. I was somehow able to avoid that question the entire time Eric and I were dating and living together…except when it came to my waxer. It’s not that I couldn’t have explained to her that I didn’t even want him to propose or that I found that question overly-personal and rather sexist. It’s just that I didn’t feel like it.

A conversation about being engaged shouldn’t cause that much anxiety, but I had a feeling that if someone was already making me uncomfortable by asking me when Eric was going to propose, the conversation that took place after we got actually engaged was going to be pretty painful. A lot of people expect you to follow a specific script once you’re engaged — you better have a partner of the opposite sex, a proposal story, a big-but-not-too-big ring, a wedding date, a wedding venue, and wedding colors ready to share within five minutes of getting engaged — and I know that I am a massive disappointment when it comes to fulfilling my part in that script. It’s not that I’m not happy about getting engaged…it’s just that there’s not a lot to say about it at this point. And as comfortable as I am with the decisions Eric and I have made regarding engagement, I don’t enjoy watching people’s faces fall when I don’t live up to their expectations of how a woman should act when she’s engaged.

Soooo I decided to take the mature route and just avoid my waxer! There was a time when I went every two weeks, but after Eric and I got engaged, I extended it to a full month. As I drove to the salon for the first post-engagement appointment, I was mentally preparing myself for the conversation. I braced myself for her excitement and her ensuing her rapid disappointment when I told her I didn’t know where or when we’d be getting married. But when I pulled into the salon I decided to just…not tell her. I thought that maybe if I hid my hands then she wouldn’t notice. I’d tell her if she asked…but until then, I wasn’t going to volunteer the information. Brilliant plan, right?

And somehow, you guys, it actually was a brilliant plan because she didn’t notice. I walked out of the salon feeling great about my eyebrows…and rather satisfied over the trick I had just pulled.

I kept this up for three months. I would wait as long as possible to go in for the appointment, and then once I did, I’d just be really discreet about where I put my hands during the wax. I was aware that each time I went in and didn’t tell her could make it more awkward when I did, but I ignored that thought and stuck to my plan. I never took my ring off completely. If I did that, what would I tell her if she asked me when he was going to propose? That we were already engaged and my ring was…in my pocket? No. I had to leave the ring on. It felt like this huge secret; I’d walk in there feeling jittery — could I pull it off again?! — and then I’d walk out and let out a huge sigh of relief. Every time my eyebrows started to grow in, I’d consider finding a new salon, but my vanity and bank account prevented me from doing that. My eyebrows looked great and cost very little; I wasn’t willing to give that up. But I knew it wasn’t going to last forever. Eventually I’d have to come clean about this thing that was absolutely ridiculous to keep hiding.

Today was the day it all came to an end. I had just come from yoga so I actually had a perfect reason to just take my engagement ring off completely. It seemed like a sure thing. But when I sat down, and I saw her glance at my left hand, I knew my little game was all over.

She had just spread wax on my first eyebrow when she cut to the chase. “So…any idea when your boyfriend is going to propose?”


“Oh,” I said, my voice rising about ten octaves. “We got engaged back in April.”

All I could think was, Please don’t get so angry with me that you take off my whole brow! 

There was surprise. There were some squeals. There was at least one “Why didn’t you tell me?!” But honestly, once I confessed, it really wasn’t that bad. She asked when the date was and when I told her there wasn’t one yet, she opted not to go down the fantasy wedding route. I don’t know if the fact that I didn’t tell her for three months made it apparent that I didn’t want to talk about it or if the lack of a date was such a wedding bonerkiller that she just gave up on me.

I left the salon feeling awesome about my eyebrows but feeling kind of shitty about my lie of omission. I consider myself a very honest person, so why did I go to such lengths to avoid telling her I’d gotten engaged? Was that conversation really that much worse than the overgrown eyebrows I’ve been experiencing ever since the engagement? But I don’t know that my behavior was that unusual. I’ve read a couple of great articles recently — “The Next Adventure” on A Practical Wedding and “On Pregnancy and Privacy and Fear” on The Rumpus — that talk about really similar experiences during pregnancy, and I’ve been relieved to find out, through blogs and blog comments, that I’m not the only engaged woman who feels uncomfortable about telling people about the change in her relationship status, who avoids sharing it with strangers or even acquaintances. (And it’s not just women who feel this way. A couple months ago, Eric got a phone call and, after listening for a minute or two, told the person on the end of the line he’d have to talk to his wife about it. When he hung up, I said, “And who, may I ask, is this wife you mentioned?” And he said that he didn’t feel like saying fiancée because it’s a silly word that invites a lot of questions, so he just said wife to avoid the conversation. And, ya know…I got it.)

After thinking about it some more, I realized that I avoided telling my waxer I’m engaged for the exact same reasons I often avoid telling people I’ve lost a ton of weight or talking about my dad. It’s not that I’m uncomfortable or embarrassed by the situations…it’s just that I don’t feel like managing the other person’s reaction to this new information. I know people mean well, and are genuinely interested, so I want to be up front with them, even if it means dealing with questions that make me uncomfortable. So I often find myself in that moment when I know it would make a lot of sense to just say, “Oh hey BTDUBS while we’re on the topic of [gay parents/dead parents/parents/daddy issues/Father’s Day/etc.] just FYI my dad was gay and he died of AIDS.” But I know if I do that, they inevitably end up apologizing for not knowing, or for calling something gay like five years ago, and they just feel like such an asshole that somehow I end up apologizing, and then they have a million questions, and, well, it’s a pretty fast way to ruin everyone’s lunch, I’ll tell you that much. And not planning a wedding right now is, oddly enough, a lunch ruiner for a lot of people. I don’t mind writing about my feelings, decisions, and experiences — I get to do that when I’m ready, on my terms — but talking about it? With a near-stranger? Never going to be my first choice.

So I often just let people believe that I have two living parents, one of whom is a straight father who is going to walk me down the aisle at the dream wedding they want me to be excited about planning. I’m not proud of this, and I know I should say something, but sometimes I just don’t feel like having certain conversations. Sometimes I just don’t want to drag out my soapbox or my tiny violin. Sometimes I just want to finish my burger or get my eyebrows waxed without getting into the things I have a lot of feelings about, and so I just keep telling myself I’ll tell them everything…the next time it comes up.

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachael July 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

“… I don’t feel like managing the other person’s reaction to this new information …” EXACTLY.

So long story short, my husband’s little bro OD’d on Xanax and at his funeral, his 46 year old mom had a massive heart attack and died. I’d love to keep this from entering everyday conversation or when meeting new people but it’s the leading factor in what brought us to OKC and so it sorta comes up. I have this new appreciation for the look of shock on people’s faces when I nonchalantly through that out there. I have a way of telling it now that doesn’t offer many questions. Obviously it’s sort of a lunch-ruining subject. Often I just tell the person, it’s a long sory with lots of drama and heartbreak and I promise to tell it to you one day over cookies and milk.


2 Rachel July 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm

That is a really good response! Though I’d really hope no one ever took me up on the offer. Do they usually make a date for it?

I’ve actually said to people, “It’s a long story…I’ll send you the blog post I wrote about it when I get back to my desk.” It feels shady but I’ve learned it’s easier for everyone if they can process the information on their own and then think about what they say next, you know? And personally, I’d rather someone gave me some warning before they dropped something like that on me…I’d take the cookies + milk + story time any day!


3 Anna July 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I can relate (not 100%, but a little). Both my parents are still living, but my husband lost his Mom the year before we got married and I was surprised about how much it came up, like when I was arranging for flowers or when it came time to hash out the “schedule” of the reception (no mother/son dance). Not because they were being nosy but because the questions are so typical, I guess! But in the end I found most vendors would just politely say, “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that,” and then we’d move on to working it out so it was comfortable for everyone. Of course, this wasn’t with friends (although that happened, too) so it’s different. But navigating all those different privacy issues can be dicey sometimes, totally.


4 Rachel July 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm

That’s really good that they responded so politely! I’m sure they have experience with it. I always appreciate when people collect more info about a situation without making assumptions, but I also understand why it’s easy to just kinda slip up.

For me, the worst is when you don’t want to correct them but they just KEEP going on about it. Like, not only do they assume everyone is living, but they just keep pushing it with their comments about this other person/the relationship/the typical traditions or whatever. Those conversations legit have me looking around the room for an escape route.


5 Anna July 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Seriously! What’s so wrong with a polite one-liner and letting it drop? Nothing, I say.


6 Anna July 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm

That said, I’m really not above just plain avoiding people when I know things are going to be awkward. Sometimes that’s the best way.


7 Rachel July 3, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I actually just laughed out loud because YES! I’m so glad I’m not the only one!


8 Anna July 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm

No, not at all! Plus, I really feel it cultivates an air of mystery. That’s always advantageous. Haha!


9 nikkiana July 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Avoiding the waxer sounds like something I’d do. Except for I’d probably go off and find a new waxer so I didn’t ever have to tell her about it because I like to go to extremes to avoid those conversations about personal life decisions with people that it’s not really need to know info. And I agree that it’s the whole just not wanting to deal with other people’s reactions to whatever the news is. Major life decisions like engagements, weddings, babies, etc. just bring up so many emotions, and you know never know whether someone’s going to say something that triggers you into being upset… and I dunno about you, I try to avoid being upset as much as possible.


10 Samantha M. July 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I come from both sides – one side is that I am the moron who asks those questions because I assume everyone loves talking about that crap like I do. I loved planning my wedding because it was planning a great party for my family and friends, so I happily talk about it and ask about it upon learning someone’s engaged. (I like to think I catch up on subtle clues if it’s an unwelcome topic and stop quickly, but when I get excited I can’t be sure.)

The other side is that our circles of friends are in the baby-making stages, and of course they invite The Hubs and myself to the events. People who know us ranging to people who have just met us inevitably ask the “When are you having kids” question, and we usually just reply “We’re working on it”, because we honestly are, but the “working on it” hurts because we’re actually trying to get my body to a point where we can legitimately try to conceive (and even then, it’s going to be tricky). It’s getting to the point where I dread going to these baby-centric functions because I don’t want to answer that question, period. But, like with weddings, everyone assumes one wants the “traditional” wedding, or one can easily get pregnant or even wants kids in the first place.

TL;DR, point is your posting articles like this makes me feel bad for being “THAT girl” while also getting my “karmic retribution” in that I’m now on the other side of it. Human behavior, what can you do. ;)


11 Samantha M. July 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Clarification that YOU are not making me feel bad by posting this, I feel bad because I recognize that I do that same undesirable behavior when I read the post. Self-awareness hurts sometimes!


12 Rachel July 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I feel like baby questions are the MOST off-limits and it still kinda blows my mind that people ask them! First of all, you’re basically asking people if they are having sex, and, um, WHAT? Second, you’re not just asking about babies…you’re kinda asking for a life plan and explanation of really personal goals, beliefs, etc. Third, have they seriously not known anyone who is struggling with infertility who would advise them on why that question sucks? (Or anyone who just doesn’t want kids?!) Sigh…I’m so sorry you have to deal with that.


13 Aj July 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I completely get you. I have such such such mixed emotions about wearing my engagement ring and band. With my fairly feminine appearance, most people assume I’m married to a man when the real story is much more complicated than that. On the one hand, I would never ever consider not wearing my rings because they hold such significance for me and for R…in moments that were very private and personal we have agreed to be together forever (or until I’m 88 and she’s 90, at which point we are re-evaluating our relationship). On the other hand, comments about my ring/husband/wedding become awkward because there is an assumption that the rings signify all of those. On this magical body on which there are three hands, I will not allow others to assume incorrectly because the assumptions made are so damn maddening. There’s no way it doesn’t become a political discussion, even for those who support same-sex marriage! I’ve had numerous coworkers beg to help plan our wedding who a) simply do not understand that until my *marriage* is recognizned by my state, I’m not having any sort of celebration and b) even then? I don’t know if I want a damn wedding. There’s such disappointment! Why?!? They had their weddings…why can’t I want to at the very least remain ambivalent about subject at least as long as it’s politically not possible and even then for as long as I damn please.

I am so glad to see you and Eric thinking about what this means for you two and what exactly you want rather than blindly following tradition. I see the majority of straight couples do that and sadly many same-sex couples do that too…I think to make the argument for same-sex marraige that our relationships, weddings, and marriages are “just like yours!” Different does not have to be bad or wrong…it can just be, different.


14 Rachel July 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Oh gosh, I didn’t even think about how people would be super excited to show you how they support same-sex marriage! I can only imagine how annoying and tiring that must get.

And I’m all about thinking through traditions! I don’t have a problem sticking with some traditions and I don’t want to do things differently just to prove that we’re special snowflakes…for me, it’s so about figuring out what this stuff means to you and then going from there! And I don’t know, I just find that really fun in a way. Learning which traditions matter to ourselves and each other and determining when we’re willing to let go of our preconceived notions has been one of the more special parts of this whole process.

PS Here I am bitching about how I hate getting on my soapbox or correcting people, and yet YOU were willing to do that a couple years ago in a blog comment and it led to 1. a really great friendship and 2. me being aware that — duh! — not everyone I’m writing to is straight! I guess I should stop complaining, assume people want to get it right, and pay it forward. :)


15 Erin July 4, 2012 at 9:08 am

What Aj said above about how different doesn’t have to be bad or wrong, it’s just different — that really resonates with me. It’s so easy to forget that “different” is a neutral term.

I also have a hard time talking about my engagement with people because I have non-traditional feelings about marriage and being engaged. I love my fiance, but marriage as an institution freaks me out. Being engaged has stirred up so much unanticipated internal drama. It’s made me rethink my goals, my passions, my religion of birth and my own self-perception, all of which are super personal, emotionally grueling things to grapple with. I haven’t had many giddy, “I’m getting married!!!” moments (though I have had plenty of “Holy f*%& I’m getting married….” ones, and lots of “Is this how I’m supposed to feel? Why am I not more pumped?” ones). For a while, I thought this meant something was wrong with my relationship with my fiance, but I’ve learned that how I feel about a wedding is just different… not bad, not wrong, but different. And just as valid.

So, I have a hard time talking about my engagement because being engaged has been such a personal and emotional upheaval for me. But I think that it’s so important to be honest about this stuff, and to push through those moments of intense discomfort. It’s important to have voices like Rachel’s saying, “I’m not setting a date without some serious introspection,” and to have voices like Aj’s saying, “I’m not having a celebration until my marriage is recognized by this state.” I think if we say this stuff we feel frankly, kindly and openly, even if it’s uncomfortable, it’ll slowly make it way less uncomfortable for everyone to express their own different views. And then maybe people will stop automatically saying presumptive stuff like, “OMG! You have an engagement ring! How did *he* propose? What does your dress look like? What are your colors?” and start saying, “Oh wow, that’s great. Congrats!”


16 Sara July 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm

i actually completely get where you’re coming from… my dad was also gay and died of AIDS when I was 10 so it totally is awkward when it somehow comes up in conversation. At some moments I’m reluctant to share, but I’ve found the more I share it the easier it becomes. I can usually present the information in a way that most people gather that I’ve made my peace with the life circumstance and they don’t need to clam up and feel like I’m reliving it.

And as for having the straight father to walk you down the aisle… I actually am blessed enough to have a stepfather who is like a father to me, and my sister had my dad’s brothers walk her down… so many non-traditional options that are still meaningful :)


17 Rachel July 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Ya know, reading this made me think…maybe it’s because I don’t share it often that I haven’t been able to master the right way to do it. Because I feel like the more I try to show people that I’m OK with it, the more their brows furrow and they want to hug me. I got into a legit argument with a friend — a good friend! — who kept telling me I needed to go to therapy based on how I talk (and don’t talk) about it. I clearly have not mastered the right way to tell people. The good news is, aside from my waxer, I feel like I’m doing pretty well telling people about the engagement and setting clear boundaries. Most everyone has been AWESOME in their reactions. I probably need to figure out how to talk about my dad in a similar way.

And not to be too touchy-feely, but this comment kinda made my day just because I’m like, Gosh, one of the first 10 people to read this post also had a gay dad who died of AIDS?! I know from a logical POV that I’m not the only one (and it wouldn’t matter if I was) but I still appreciate the reminder.


18 Sara July 3, 2012 at 10:34 pm

be as touch- feely as you want :) because honestly I was so shocked when I read about your story and thought… oh my goodness someone else like me!! especially when I know I’m not the only one, but he died in 1996 when the topic of AIDS and homosexuality weren’t quite as common knowledge topics so it definitely felt isolating at the time!


19 Katrina July 3, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I have the EXACT same experience when I go to get my nails done! Except because I’m already married, I get the fifth degree about when I’m going to have kids. Literally, the last time I went in, the sweet little lady who does my nails said “I think your husband give you baby tonight!” Yes…those were her exact words. AWKWARD!


20 Hannah July 3, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I’m sorry, but, hahahahahahaha!!!!!!!


21 Mel July 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I don’t think you’re giving people enough credit. I have some family situations that I don’t feel like discussing with people I am not close to- dead father, mother’s relapsing alcoholic partner, a mentally ill brother who refuses institutionalization or treatment, but I have never avoided people who might ask me about them. My hair stylist asked me about my brother last month and all I said was, “He’s doing about the same. He’s thinking about going to school again.” Does she know he’s mentally ill? I don’t know, but I have never told her. Does she know that something might not be right with him? Maybe because she answered, “I can tell by the tone of your voice that you wish he was a better student.” And I shrugged my shoulders and she let the subject drop. Most people, once they’ve seen your body language or listened to your brief answer, won’t keep asking questions.


22 Breck July 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I hate when people say, “I know how you feel,” so I’ll just tell you that I’m familiar with the predicament you’re facing. My dad was sick for a long time and we became estranged before he died a couple years ago. As a result of some related issues, I’m also (by choice) out of contact with his side of the family. My mom hasn’t spoken with her family in twenty-odd years, so my immediate and extended family consists of her and my little brother. Just typing that took a few minutes, 100-ish characters, and probably brightened no one’s day (including my own). I go out of my way to avoid divulging this information like it’s my job for a lot of the reasons you mentioned: it is a giant hassle to tell people about, it feels strange to have people apologize/offer sympathy when I’m pretty at peace with the way things are, and it is just not super fun to discuss. My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting engaged in the next year or so, and I am SO not looking forward to having to explain the situation to, well, anyone.


23 Rachel July 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Oh gosh, this. Talking to Eric about my dad’s death was stressful for me for all the reasons it’s stressful to talk to anyone about it, but I was doubly worried about talking to his family about it. (Or worse, having them unknowingly bring it up in front of the whole fam at Thanksgiving or something.) He and I never talked about my sharing it with others but I am pretty sure he understood my position and just told them in the right way at the right time. That’s exactly how I wanted it to play out…sometimes it is SO helpful to have others to share the tough stuff with people you don’t know very well.


24 Chelsea July 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Ugh, people and their overly personal questions kill me. Not that my experience is as personal as yours, I do understand the frustration about people thinking they are your BFF and have the right to know your most personal life choices.
My now husband and I dated for 8 years before getting engaged so we got our fair shar of “when are you finally getting married” questions. Every time I would need to decide if I was going to give them the short version and say “maybe one day” or the long version and explain that we are very happy living together in sin while we save for a ring, and wedding, and honeymoon, which we will be paying for 100% by our selves. (because we both believe that it seems a bit silly and out dated to have someone else pay for our wedding) to which I almost always got the reply, “well money isn’t everything, if you love each other, you should just do it” to this day, hat response blows my mind! They are basically saying, “why be responsible and save up, when you can throw a really expensive 5 hour party”. I would usually reply by telling them that if they would like to pay for it, I would get married tomorrow. Luckily it never had any takers because then I would have to give in on my whole, pay for it our selves attitude.
Our wedding was small, not all that traditional, and planned around only what my husband and I wanted it to be. That’s when I got better about saying, “because it’s not what we want” when someone would ask why we were or we’re not doing certain wedding related things.
Now that we are married and have been together for almost 10 years (crazy) we constantly get the baby questions, and this one bothers me the most! If you are not my parents or maybe grandparent or very best friends, you should never ask this question. There is so much more behind that question then people think. What if people are facing infertility, or if it is a sensitive issue. For me, i would have kids tomorrow, but my husband isnt ready, and I respect that. Should I tell a stranger, or my dad even, that this is why we dont have kids yet, NO… Its none of their danm business and im not going to make my hubs look like the bad guy. I still haven’t come up with a way of answering this in a ‘polite but you just crossed the line’ kind of way. I usually just say “we want to travel and enjoy our time as a young married couple before having kids” but I need a new line, this leads to more badgering. My friend had the absolute best response that I’m going to use next time someone asks… She says to say “as soon as he stops putting it in my ass, we may get pregnant”. I don’t think I’ll get any more questions after that! :)


25 Rachel July 3, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I was reading this and thinking “PREACH” the whole time and then you just went ahead damn near killed me with that last line!!!! Laughing out loud over here.

Also, that moment of “should I give them the short version or the long version?” — YES. You nailed it.


26 Laura July 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm

I am going through a similar situation now having recently gotten engaged after 6 years of happily living in sin. We got so many “finally” and “it’s about time” remarks that I have seriously developed a desire for slapping people straight up in the face. I even got a “Well you better hurry up and get married before I need to get a face lift” or “Hurry up before your grandmother dies”. SERIOUSLY?!

Even in a situation like ours where we’re a straight couple, parents are alive and still married, no apparent tragedies or traumas; there are still financial and emotional situations to account for here! Their snide remarks of “hurry up” and “finally” completely dismiss how hard we’ve worked to get where we are and continue to work to get where we want to be! We simply can’t afford to get married till 2014, so we get “Oh, well… can’t you just have the reception at a banquet hall? Who needs dinner? Just served hors d’oeuvres!” Shame on us for not being able to afford a $250/person party for 150 people in 9 months… how dare we!

I can only hope that people are just peeing themselves in anticipation of our wedding because they love us so much, but I do believe weddings can bring out the “ugly” in people. I don’t want our wedding to become a symbol of our financial status, but of how I feel about my husband-to-be and he about me in a way that is significant to us.

I’ve also avoided conversations about the engagement to where I have turned the ring around so the stone is facing inside my hand (I’m not proud of this). Also, has anyone gotten any semi-aggressive comments of “Why didn’t you tell me?!” like you owe people a status report of your life?

Sorry for the excessively long comment. I’m glad I’m among others who feel the same way!


27 Rachel July 9, 2012 at 7:19 am

Preach it!

I got a lot of “Why didn’t you tell me?” and it was really obnoxious. We are allowed to share news when we’re ready!

And hate how people argue with couples when they say they aren’t married yet for financial reasons. Yeah weddings don’t HAVE to be expensive, but if you have a big family, they can very quickly add up. The people who are often pressuring couples in this way aren’t the ones who are paying, so it seems like they should keep quiet. Ugh. UGH!


28 Caity @ Moi Contre La Vie July 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm

I couldn’t agree with/relate to this more! First it was all the “when are you getting married? “when are you having kids?” too personal questions, and now that my BF and I just got engaged (three weeks ago) it’s a constant barrage of “when? where? details! details! details!”

And to make it even more impossible/irritating to explain, we’re not going to have a traditional wedding, but aside from our close family & friends we’ve both completed given up trying to set people straight. It’s not worth the effort when, for the most part, it doesn’t really matter what they think!

Stay strong!


29 H July 3, 2012 at 9:05 pm

The thing is, my Dad died when I was 16. Not that he was gay, in fact my family fell out of Leave it to Beaver in all aspects. He was very sick, and it was very horrible, and I honestly do not like to talk about it. I usually let comments regarding “my parents” slide, until someone asks something really pointed like “What is your dad like?” I have found the one-two punch to be most successful.

1. My dad passed away when I was 16. He had ALS.
2. What is your dad like/ I love that dress/ Where do you want to get lunch/ I just read the best book…

Obviously ignore the shocked faces.


30 Ariel July 4, 2012 at 2:23 am

I think you may be reading a little too far into it. You pay her for a service and she feels like if she builds a repertoire with you that you will continue you to pay for her services. Part of this repertoire building is learning some small details of your life that you can chat about harmlessly for the 10-20 minutes that you visit. I don’t think she could give two sh*ts about whether you got engaged or when as long as you think she cares you will come back and pay her to wax you. Except the opposite happened. So either move on or deal with it. Otherwise it just seems like you can’t handle normal daily interaction with borderline strangers. I say this with the utmost love and respect.


31 Dori July 5, 2012 at 6:28 am

I do this all the time, about everything. I actually hate talking and making conversation, so I relate to this really well.


32 Rain July 5, 2012 at 8:45 am

I am under the belief that not everything is everyone’s business if that makes sense.
I think sometimes it’s better to “lie” than to get in to some long drawn out conversation that you really don’t want to have.


33 Suzanne July 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

When I was engaged, I often referred to my fiance as “husband” to people I didn’t know/would never see again for the same reasons Eric referred to you as “wife”. It’s just easier, and it didn’t invite conversations that I didn’t really want to have with people I’m not friends with.

Similarly, since we just had our one-year anniversary, I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about when we’re going to have kids. So rude, and awkward. First, it just seems sexist to me. It implies that I have to make that choice, that something is wrong with me if I’m not just dying to have children. But secondly, it is something my husband and I have talked about a lot, and I’m just not in the place I want to be emotionally or professionally yet, and I don’t think I will be for a few years. But that’s certainly not the road I want to go down with people. The couple times I have sort of explained it away that way, I see the subtle judgement that comes since it seems like I’m putting career over family, even though I don’t view it that way, and then I just end up digging that hole deeper and deeper…


34 Erin July 5, 2012 at 9:18 am

Wow, I related to this post BIG TIME! I am married now, but my husband and I had been together for six years when we got married and people constantly asked, “Why haven’t you two gotten married yet?” and I would always respond with, “I don’t know and I don’t care,” which usually stopped further questioning.

After getting engaged, even though I had my wedding planned rather quickly, I was so annoyed with all of the questions people ask and how invasive some of them are. I was excited about getting married, but it was also a huge transition and honestly, I was scared/anxious about it too, so talking about it was hard sometimes. People just have this perception that it’s supposed to be the “happiest time in your entire life” and really, that is just crazy.

Now that we’re married, people always want to know when we’re having children. Well, since we’re not 100% sure we’re even going to have kids, we generally just say something along the lines of, “We’re not really sure if we’re going to have to kids or not. Just enjoying being married for now,” Most people drop it, but I’ve had several people argue with me about why I’ll love being a mom and how kids are the best things that ever happened to them.

I don’t understand how and why some people can get so easily wrapped up in the decisions of others. It makes absolutely no sense and it drives me crazy.


35 Rachel July 5, 2012 at 11:33 am

Ugh, I do not understand how people feel entitled to argue with people (especially women) about their feelings and life choices!!! When someone tells you something with conviction, why is it that people feel the need to say, “Oh you’ll change your mind”? Like, why the need to be RIGHT about my future and know more about it than I do?! It’s just SO damn condescending. And so what if someone does change her mind…like, congrats, now that person who told her she would is a psychic??! Who CARES?!?


36 emily hassman July 6, 2012 at 9:04 am

To the smug parents who say, “You’ll change your mind,” I want to say: “Let’s just hope you don’t change yours!” Having kids is such a PERMANENT and HUGE decision, and trying to pressure someone into it is ridiculous.


37 Jordan July 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm

It seems like people (who mean well) ask very nosy questions just to make small talk, or because they are very sociable. As a single gal, I am CONSTANTLY asked whether I have a boyfriend or not. When I answer that I do not, they ask why. Um… It’s complicated. And also, if I knew ALL the reasons why, maybe I wouldn’t be single! Or they say “Oh, you’re so cute! You’ll find one soon!” Or they give unwanted advice: “Well, you’re young. You should take time for you.” or “You should try online dating! My friend’s dog’s cousin’s owner met their husband that way!” I really liked this post and the accompanying articles because I myself am a very private person who just wants to be me, whether I’m single, expecting, married, etc. I think the bottom line is that we should all be aware that many people’s privacy levels are different, and we shouldn’t expect all the answers to personal questions (even if we ask with good intentions!).


38 Rachel July 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

I HATE when people would ask why I was single!! What a ridiculous question. Even worse was when I got it from guys who were attempting to hit on me. Like…thanks for making me feel like a freak. When did small talk get SO personal!?


39 emily hassman July 6, 2012 at 8:50 am

Girl. GIRL. The whole time I was reading this (and all the comments), I was thinking, “Oooo oooo ooo me too me too!”

Our one-year anniversary is in 10 days. We handled it by telling less than 20 people that we were getting married. 1 year later, I’m STILL getting shit from people about it. Clearly, I hurt some feelings. It was the best option for us, though. I didn’t want to explain our personal lives to near-strangers at work, so I simply… didn’t tell anyone. When I returned from our beach wedding (with a few family members and close friends), people noticed the simple ring on my left hand. At that point, I told them we’d gotten married, and then got back to work fixing their computers. (sometimes, if I was feeling snarky, I added, “And, NO, I’m not pregnant.”)

I don’t really recommend that route for most people, but it was right for us. Our wedding and our marriage are non-traditional in a lot of ways. I didn’t owe an explanation to anyone, and I didn’t want to let anyone put a damper on my own happiness and excitement. Plus, we had fun keeping our great big secret :)


40 Rachel July 6, 2012 at 9:43 am

LOL at “And NO I’m not pregnant.”

That’s a totally unique approach though, and I find it kind of badass! PS Congrats on the one-year!


41 Eszter July 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Though I think the natural need for privacy is first and foremost a human thing, I also believe it has a lot to do with culture. The famous American “how are you doin”’ is more like a greeting, not really a question. You either use it so say hi, or to inititate smalltalk – but in 99 percent of the cases, it is not the question to start a proper, in-depth conversation… thus people are not really prepared for one either. Not that you would actually *want to* get into an in-depth convesation with your waxer, hairdresser or yoga-instructor, but it is also awakward to shrug and move on after having heard of a dead relative, divorce or fatal illness. You just NEED TO say something to express your concern/sympathy, without being too intrusive, or touching personal matters.. so that you can actually move on. So what you often get is an unprepared, shocked, awkward and not too considerate reaction, something like this: “Oh dear, so your mother died, I had no idea! How terrible that must be, I’m sooooo sorry, dear!”, and if I say “It’s okay, it happened many years ago when I was 13”, the person just goes on: “Oh, no, losing a parent so young, in the most sensitive age… oh dear…”, and neddless to mention, it is really, really awkward. Like you said, you feel like you need to be the one who gives consolation for the person asking.

In most other cultures though, the small-talk culture is not that refined, actually most Hungarians, for example, simply start complaining about random stuff when they meet :DDD, so they are ready to move on with something like “oh, I see”, without a particular need to express sympathy/shock… OR they are truly prepared get into the dopic deeper if the time is right. (Yeah, people here love talking about depressive shit with complete strangers, hehe.)

Anyway, I get the point, and I think it’s quite rude to ask about personal stuff like relationship status or family-issues… Of course, the worst thing is to get into this type of shit when something went wrong… like after a break-up, divorce, or if somebody lives a non-traditional lifestyle. Like what if your are gay, and your waxer asks you about a wedding with your loved one in a state/country where there is no chance for same-sex couples getting married… or asks about having kids when you have fertility-problems…. So what I always do is avoid these questions, and wait until I see if the person WANTS to talk about it and initiates the conversation themselves. The funny thing is that people often think I’m rude because of this approach: like thanks to Facebook, everybody in my yoga class knew that the instructor was getting married in Egypt, so everybody kept asking for details about the wedding, the culture-shock and Egypt, except for me… and I could see people were kinda thinking I was weird to keep my mouth shut and concentrate on my next asana.


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