Responses To Invasive Questions You’re Welcome To Use This Holiday Season

Zip it Aunt Bernice.

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I am not going home for the holidays. I am having them where I live, with friends, because plane tickets are expensive and here I know the nearest wine shop. The holidays, for all their football and side dishes, generate stress and anxiety because they place you in proximity to relatives you don’t see often, who know very little about your day-to-day life, and who also feel absolutely no shame in invading your self worth with offensive questions because you share components of DNA. How nice. How nice for us all.

You’re not defenseless in these situations, quite the opposite. You have the ability to quell these questions now, and in all future holidays that come to pass, simply by answering them properly. You’ve done a lifetime of smiling, shrugging, and drinking your way through questions that cause you embarrassment and pain. Are you ready to put an end to this? If so, put on your big girl pants and let’s clean house.

Since I have no need of effective clapbacks this season, I’ve decided to pass all of mine along to those who can benefit from them the most. The items below are specifically written for the benefit of single people, if you are a coupled person just adjust all language to assume someone’s asking you about a salary or a baby, and go with god.

Question 1: So, Are You Seeeeeeing Anybodyyyyyyy?

  • Yes, I’ve actually been dating someone for the last three months but haven’t heard from them in the last ten days because that’s how dating works now. Do you think they’re dead? I think they’re dead. Let’s call the police.
  • Tell me how happy your marriage is first. Pass the mac-n-cheese please it’s really good.
  • Actually I’ve been seeing lots of people for the last decade of my life, hundreds if you’d like an actual tally, but not one of them has turned out to be a long term partner so essentially I’ve just been on a treadmill of mediocrity since Thanksgiving of ’09 and am so exhausted with “seeing people” that I’m one bad date away from joining a research program in the jungle changing my name and developing an addiction to Carmex so unless you’re hiding my goddamned spouse in your back pocket Cousin Steve and if you are for fucks sake GET HIM OUT HERE whether or not I’m seeing anybody is both none of your business and a really painful topic for me to discuss over your husband’s unfortunate green bean dish so how about we talk about something safe like when you’re going to get that forehead freckle looked at, cool?

Question 2: Go On Any Good Dates Recently?

  • No, and if you’d like to know why you’re welcome to read the conversations currently taking up phone memory space in my Tinder app. Keep it away from the kids’ table though, you don’t want to pay for that much therapy.
  • Have you and your spouse? When’s the last time you left the house together voluntarily and without your offspring? When’s the last time you held hands? Kissed without feeling obligated to by the Big Screen at an NBA game? Or have we both just been basically going back and forth to Trader Joe’s all year, I dunno?
  • Tell me what you think a good date is and I’ll tell you if those exist or if you’ve been watching too much goddamned pandering Christmas Netflix.

Question 3: Can I Swipe For You?

  • Can I sleep with your spouse? Can I ask them to pick me up from the airport? Do our Christmas pajamas match? Then no, you can’t dabble in my romantic life if I can’t dabble in yours.

Question 4: Why Do You Think You’re Single?

  • Not sure, really. Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that dating has been digitized into bot-laden apps that pray on the hope of single women using our own optimism and desire for happiness against us in order to feed us advertisements and boast user counts to potential investors. Who’s to say, really?
  • Well let’s think about this logically. I’m single at a point at which it stands out to you as something that’s wrong such that you’ve posed this question in an accusatory tone. That suggests that I’m somehow responsible for being so unsavory as to repel all potential partners. But what’s attractive to partners? Physical appearance? Personality? Ethics and values? Huh. Aren’t those all the things I inherited from everyone in this room? No, Dad, I think the real question, given the logic of me being single and therefore undesirable while simultaneously being blood related to all of you is, how are all of you married?

Question 5: When Are You Getting Married?

  • When the divorce rate drops low enough to ensure that more than half the couples in this very room will still be together by next Thanksgiving.
  • When any one of the men I’ve been naked with in the last year actually acknowledges my existence after the point at which he’s entered a Lyft home from my apartment. It’s possible that they’ve all been driven to New Jersey and left for dead but I tend to doubt it.
  • What’s the rush? Oh no, I’m sorry, are you ill? Have you been given a terrible diagnosis and you’re afraid you won’t still be here for my wedding? My apologies, I’ll make it happen within the next six months. Will that work? Do you have that long?? MOM, GRANDMA’S DYING!

Happy Holidays to you and everyone you love no matter what they ask you or when. xo

Written by

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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