The Easy Place

The Quest for Self Awareness One Moment at a Time

How Much Do You Weigh Now, Mindy?

It never failed, we’d be sitting at Thanksgiving dinner, twenty people around the table, and my grandfather, Pop, would yell down the table, “How much do you weigh now, Mindy?”

Yeah, just the conversation every teenage girl wants to have in front of all her relatives. 

Holiday gatherings seem to bristle with awkward questions as we spend time with the people who are most likely to invade our privacy – our families.  We’re asked about subjects that make us the most uncomfortable: when  are we going to get married, have children, find a job, lose weight, finish college?  What makes it worse is that these questions are often put about as gracefully as Pop’s question to me – sensitivity can be seriously lacking when we’re with people who have known us all our lives. 

Somehow I’d find the grace to deflect Pop’s question.  “I weight 105, Pop,” I’d answer, even though I was invariably in a plump phase when he asked.  But it isn’t always easy to sidestep such well-meaning invasions.  We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or start one of those never-ending conversations that family networks can keep alive for decades.  

We tend to forget, when faced with Aunt Sally’s probing into our love life, that we really don’t have to share any information we don’t want to.  It’s up to us to decide what we will and won’t tell others, even when it’s our family.  Our relatives don’t have any more right to our personal information than the general public, no matter what they (or we) might think. 

It’s in your power to avoid the pitfalls of these well-meaning probes.  With a little pre-planning you can decide ahead of time what information you’re willing to share and think of some light-hearted deflections for those questions that are over the line.   

Ok, I can almost hear you from here, “Light hearted!?  I’m supposed to be light hearted when my father asks me, for the hundredth time, if I’m ever going to get promoted?”  Yes, I’m asking you to be kind.  Because the truth is that all this prying comes from love.  These folks care about us and only want the best.  Pop was concerned about my weight, he wanted me to be healthy.  Aunt Sally wants to see you happily married.  Your father wants you to be successful. 

So the next time a family member asks you about your sex life in front of a dozen people, take a breath, give them a hug and say “I plead the fifth!”

***

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2 responses to “How Much Do You Weigh Now, Mindy?

  1. Dawnika December 18, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    That’s cute! I plead the fifth too!

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