Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

The Art (and Benefits) of Lying November 28, 2011

Dorothy sent me this article recently (thanks Dorothy) from a woman asking “Dear Coquette” for advice on what to say when people ask if she has children. Dear Coquette’s answer? Lie.

 

I had to laugh out loud when I read this, because it has never occurred to me before to lie about not having children. It’s brilliant!

 

Now, granted, if you’re talking to someone you’re likely to see again or who might otherwise find out the truth, then it gets tricky, but if you’re at a cocktail party or some social situation where you’re basically making small talk with strangers, then why not make something up? I mean really, you could actually have some fun with this,

 

I envision clipping photos of kids from magazines and putting them in one of those fold-out wallets, then when someone asks if I have kids, I’ll whip out the pictures and say, “Why, yes! I have five. This is Mai, Uri, Owen, Bea, Senise.” (Say it fast; extra points if you get it.) Then I can start in on what a horrible time I’m having because the baby has a very delicate digestive system. I really think this could work.

 

What do you think? Could you lie to a stranger? More to the point, would you?

 

Oh, and I must just say that while I think this suggestion is inspired, I happen not to agree with her suggestion that saying, “I can’t have children” will shut the person up. In my experience, it’s more likely to open a whole conversation about adoption. I think it’s much more fun just to lie.

 

Dealing With: Do You Have Kids? July 27, 2010

Last weekend I was invited to a dinner party along with some people I’d never met before. There were five couples, including us, four of whom had children, so I knew that at some point in the evening, someone would ask the question: Do you have kids?

In the past I would have squirmed and mumbled something apologetic, such as, “Um, no, unfortunately not,” and been given the “ah, poor thing” look. But thanks to you, dear readers, I was armed and dangerous this time.

When the woman asked me, I smiled and said, “I have a cat and a fish.”

She did give me a look, but not the sympathy look. She was utterly bewildered for a moment, repeated “a cat and a fish” with no question mark, and when I didn’t elaborate, she promptly changed the subject.

It was great!! So great that I’m seriously considering keeping photos of both my cat and my goldfish in my wallet so that I can whip them out and proudly show them off next time anyone asks.

So, thank you for all the ideas about how to handle this sticky situation. If you have more suggestions of how to answer the dreaded question, please keep them coming.