Friday, August 14, 2015

The art of answering personal questions from strangers

I suppose after eight plus years of probing, personal questions from strangers, I've developed a sort of immunity to it all.  People are curious.  I get it.  I'm curious.  I don't know if I'm curious enough to ask what others have asked of me but, yeah, I understand human curiosity.  The staring and whispering is a no-no though.

With the kids older now, public outings rarely see that line of questioning that existed in the earlier years so I was a bit caught off guard when a man approached us last month.  We had stopped at a seafood take-out place on the Cape and Rich had run over to the ATM while the girls and I read through the menu posted on the outside of the building, next to the window where orders were placed.

Man: "Are any of them twins?"

I should note that I had seen him observing us so the question wasn't a complete surprise.

Me:  "No." I thought of leaving it at that and then answering 8, 8 and 8 when he asked for their ages.  I'm a smart ass by nature but that would have been kind of mean so I continued with, "They're triplets."

Man:  "Wow."

More observing.  This of the close up kind.

Man:  "They look so much alike.  Are they identical?"

Me:  "Yes, they are identical."

Man:  "All of them?"

Me:  "Yes, identical triplets."

Man:  "This one {pointing to Emily} looks a little shorter."

Me:  "No.  They're all about the same height."

I was not going to give the whole identical triplets don't have to look 100% identical speech.  Plus, Emily is taller than Anna and they are all within an inch/inch and a half of each other.  Plus, we were standing on rocky, uneven ground.

Man:  "Do you have any other kids?"

Why?  Why?  WHY?

Me:  "No."

Was not going to go there.

Man:  "Any more coming?"

Me:  "Nope."

I gave him a free pass because he thought I looked young enough to pop out more kids.

That conversation was actually run of the mill.  This one still holds the number one spot:

"Are you their mother?"  "Yes."  "You gave birth to them?"  "YES."


MCox said...

I used to be one of those people who asked those kinds of questions, since it is human nature. If I saw twins in a double stroller I would say, "are those twins?" Once receiving confirmation I would try to say something conversational like, "you must have your hands full." But since reading blogs like yours I realize how annoying those questions are and I don't make them anymore! I just make myself live with my unconfirmed suspicions!

On a related note, as the mother of an only child I often get asked when/if I am having more children. I don't understand why people feel the need to be apprised of any person's reproductive plans or lack thereof.

Jen said...

Ugh, I don't understand people! I am pregnant with twins and can't believe the questions I get already. I can just imagine how fun it will be once they're actually here. Already I have this conversation at least once a day:

"Wow, you must be due any day now!"
"Nope, still a little over a month to go!"
"Oh wow, how many are in there?"
"Two actually."
"Oh twins! Do twins run in your family/are they natural or IVF?"
"Yes, "natural"...twins run in my family."
"Are these your first?"

Followed by a million more questions and always the "Oh wow, you'll have your hands full!" when they find out they're boys and questioning how much help I'll have, etc. Then there is always the "Better you than me!"

Ugh, sir I just want to buy some fruit and be on my way, can we be done here??

Mock-Turtle said...

Oh wow, I've learned a lot from this post. I'm a chatty sort and if I saw someone with identical triplets I would be in awe! I would definitely want to ask questions and would never think it would be annoying as I don't really find questions annoying (unless they're about having more kids, I agree that question is irritating!) I must remember to perhaps not ask or make the obligatory 'you must have your hands full' remark. On the other end of the spectrum people probably think you're superwoman - I do!

Sarah said...

I really don't mind if people ask if they are triplets. I ask the twins? triplets? question here and there myself. I just did it on vacation - I had two of the girls with me. The personal questions can be awkward. Funny that I haven't heard "you must have your hands full" in years.