There are so many ways to offend others, aren’t there? And once you’ve committed one of those infractions, it’s so inconvenient being overcome with that deep, all-abiding shame that drives you into the office’s one working bathroom stall, where you hide for the rest of the day clad in that cilice you keep in your cubicle for just such moments, isn’t it? Not to mention it’s just rudeness on top of rudeness, because you’re hogging the stall and possibly bleeding on the floor, directly disobeying the very clear sign that instructs you to adhere to commonly held neatness principles no matter how good peeing on the seat feels.
We at Runnin’ Scared would hate to be the source behind someone’s discomfort, unless we were doing it on purpose. That’s why we love it when important etiquette questions are just up and answered for us, eloquently and out of the blue, and we can carry on in our daily life with the politeness and grace of a well-bred blogger.
Thank you, Lyudmila Bloch, international etiquette expert, protocol consultant, and author of The Golden Rules of Etiquette at the Plaza, for answering such questions as the following in the New York Times:
Question: As a married woman in my mid-30s who has decided not to have children, it always surprises me how often I am asked: “Are you going to have children? Why not?” … Invariably my response is uncomfortable and awkward for either my husband or myself, but I can’t seem to deflect the question without seeming rude. What would be a proper response, keeping in mind that others are involuntary witnesses to this exchange? Thank you!
Answer: Unfortunately, you are not alone. Countless men and women have been confronted in social and business settings with rude and awkward questions about family, children, medical conditions, gender and more. It’s a sad fact that tactless adults in modern society are not aware that certain personal questions can never be asked… Next time you are confronted with an inappropriate question, simply reply: “Thank you for asking. I’m happily married and I don’t have children by choice!”
See, we would have just said “Fuck the hell off, asshole.” So, good to know!
Also, Bloch points out, if you do decide to have kids, don’t let them spit germily all over the birthday cake when they attempt to blow out the candles for the 47th time but because of your husband’s subpar lung capacity passed down from generations still fail to get it quite right.
And if you do make that gaffe, don’t offer your guest a piece of cake, ’cause that’s just narsty.