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At one of my old workplaces I was asked by the person next to me if I had ever fallen in love before. Not taking the question seriously I replied in a sarcastic tone “Why, of course I love God and Mohammad”. The woman replied in am equally sarcastic tone “Hahaha, very funny we all love God and Mohammad. I mean have you ever been in love with a man before?”. It was then that it occurred to me that this woman, whom I hardly know is actually asking me about my personal life. Trying not to be rude, which is sometimes very hard for me, I said ” Ya I love myself and only myself!” She then replied in a tone that expressed her offense “You obviously don’t want to tell me”. Taking off my momentary mask of friendliness I said, “No I don’t”.

Thinking that I had set the boarders as to what it is that I am willing to discuss with people I hardly know, I was shocked the next day when another colleague of mine came up to me and said “You are new here right?”, I replied “Ya I am”. He then asked “how much did they offer you as a salary”. Not understanding the question I said, “Excuse me?”. He repeated the question again. Naturally I said , again making an effort to be polite, “I really prefer not to discuss that”. Offended he said, “I make JD———- a month, I told you, now you tell me” . I repeated that I did not want to discus that with him , not knowing that I had set myself up for a reputation as the mean girl who doesn’t want to get close with her colleagues.

Although these incidents happened a long time ago, who is to say that they don’t happen even today? How many of us go to gatherings to be asked whether or not we are in a relationship. You can never find a right answer to this question because if you answer no, then all the older people will ask you why not. They will then ask you what is wrong with you. Your blank answers will then make them conclude that you are probably not trying hard enough. On the other hand, if you answer yes, then you automatically star in a Q&A session about the when, why , where, and how you met. Oh and the best question is when are you getting married?. You think that that is the only session you will be the star of regarding that subject, only to learn that every time you meet these people the first question they will ask you is, “How is so and so” claiming that they are now entitled to be informed every detail regarding your life. You might try to cut the string of questions short by saying, “It didn’t work out”, only to be asked more questions about why it didn’t work out, and you might be given a critique of what you did wrong, and how you made the great catch leave “. If you answer that things are “Fine”, then you will automatically be asked when you will be sending out wedding invitations. So, like I said this is a lose/lose situation.

This is not to say that the questions are made about relationships only. You can be asked why you gained weight, how you lost weight, if this is your natural hair color, or even how much your clothes cost. If you reply that you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, you are setting yourself up as the person who doesn’t want to share the secrets of her/ his success. If you answer honestly then some people will claim that you are making things up because you don’t want them to copy you.

Other questions may start with aren’t we friends? Wouldn’t you tell me?, or statements like “If it were me I would tell you”, or “I am older than you consider me your older sister, your mother, your friend”. These are sometimes said by women in the gathering you hardly know, so naturally you can’t imagine them as your blood relatives.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love how we are a society open to communication, but I just wish we wouldn’t ruin that by asking things we really shouldn’t ask.

Guys a piece of advice for you, never ask a girl about her weight or her age, because whatever she answers is just not true! Don’t bother. If you are lucky she would only be 1 or 2 kg off.

I love our people anyway, and regardless of our social mishaps we are still very special.

Happy Eid to You All.

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