Wednesday, March 12, 2008

They say you can pick your friends but you can't pick your family. The corollary to that, though, is that you've got no say in your friends' families. Or in your friends' families' friends. In that wider circle are always some people that we would never choose to spend time with, but that one is the sister-in-law of that one's boyfriend's cousin... (Picture Kristy Swanson in Ferris) So we can try our best to surround ourselves with good friends, we will still inevitably occasionally be forced to spend time with the circle of people that come with our friends.

I am gearing up to see one of those people this weekend at my SO's sister's birthday party. The sister has a friend that I don't care for. I can't stand her. She's awful. I've only met her two or three times, but that woman has seriously pissed me off every time. For purposes of this vent, I will call her Blah (in a nod to HIMYM).

Blah and I have nothing in common. She has always lived in a small town. I am a suburban to small city gal. I read a lot of books; I don't think she reads much. I think we also have different ideas about what the ultimate goal of life (especially a woman's life) is. And I'll just be honest here: her personality is really unappealing to me. She's loud and obnoxious and inserts herself into everything. I really hate it when people don't know their place so don't know that they should step back from something rather than trying to be in charge yet again. Oh, and she's like 6 years younger than me but talks down to me like she's the voice of wisdom and experience that I must learn from. So I really don't appreciate getting unsolicited advice from her. But she gives it all the time.

This is all to set up for explaining my big issue with Blah. Last summer, I saw her at another family function. She took it upon herself to ask me (a woman she had only met once before) when my SO and I were going to have a kid. (Never mind that we're not even engaged. Marriage is not the goal. Kids are. They are the only thing that can bring fulfillment to a woman.) She asked this loudly. In front of SO's entire immediate family, his grandparents, and at least two cousins. I think an aunt was there, too. Naturally, I was less than pleased with her. This kind of question requires delicacy and tact when it is asked by a very close friend or family member. It is totally out of line from a virtual stranger. Especially in that circumstance. And since it's a question that everyone in both of our families is secretly dying to ask!

Answering the question the way I wanted to (along the lines of "Step off, bitch! That's none of your damn business.") would probably only have made his family more interested in pursuing the inappropriate topic. So I just tried to make a joke of it. I said something like, "I work too hard on my body to spoil it with a pregnancy." I hoped this would be just outrageous enough that she wouldn't broach that subject with me again.

But she did. Turns out, she took me very seriously. I think she really thinks my life is sad and empty and will remain so until I have a child. It matters not that I have a successful career and own my own home. I must procreate or I will have failed as a woman! (Are you seeing why I don't much care for this woman? Cattiness alert: it's not my fault she has no identity outside of her kids.) So the next time we were at another family function, she pursued the subject with me. She told me I have the body of a goddess. Umm... thank you? I just thought that remark was kind of creepy. But her point was that I should not worry about wrecking my body with a pregnancy. Sigh. Here we go again. I really don't remember how I got out of the conversation that time, but I do think I made SO act as my buffer.

I was really mad at myself both times. I wish I'd just told her to butt out. I don't think it's rude to tell people I think their question is rude, inappropriate, and far too personal. In principle. But I just couldn't seem to put that into practice. My goal for this Saturday is to do a better job of sticking up for myself. If she tries to broach that subject with me again, I'm gonna tell her off! I have to. I don't think I can tolerate any more of these family functions with her until I do. If I'm stuck being in this same extended circle with her, I have to find some way to make that tolerable. Telling her off after I've got a couple of margaritas in me should do it. I just hope I don't dump a margarita on her...

3 comments:

Meryl said...

Good luck! I often think with people like that it doesn't matter what answer you give--no matter what you say you'll still be that poor, sad childless woman. But I'm sure *YOU* will feel better having told her off, so that's certainly something.

And don't forget, there's cake this afternoon...which makes everything better!

Woman in Black said...

As the mother of a teenage girl, let me assure you that your nonfriend is someday going to look at her children and scream, "I got stretch marks for this????" Karma.

Erin said...

You passed up my party for this? ;-) Don't worry I had a SO friend act entirely inappropriately Saturday and create drama where there was none. It was awful. So yes, let's celebrate St. Patrick's day together next year.

 
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