Can anyone explain to me why so many people’s relatives seem to think that the holidays are the perfect time to badger others about their relationship status? I mean, there’s catching up with someone because you haven’t seen them for a while… and then there’s putting your nose where it doesn’t belong and saying rude and frankly offensive things to someone because you think being related to them permits you to say whatever the hell you want. Not cool, and not at all in the holiday spirit. Am I right, or am I right?
But hey, I suppose at least everyone suffering from awful family members can commiserate together. Online dating site PlentyOfFish recently asked its users to share the most WTF things their relatives have said to them about being single for the holidays, and you guys? The results as seen here are truly mind-blogging. Seriously. Many of them clearly reflect a generational gap (or chasm, as the case may be) — but generational gap or no, the bottom line is that absolutely none of these things are OK to say to another human being. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known them for their entire life; it doesn’t matter if you think your age allows you to say whatever you want; it doesn’t matter if you’re “just looking out for them.” It’s unacceptable behavior. Period.
Jennifer Peepas over at Captain Awkward has loads of excellent advice about dealing with difficult people, much of which is focused on setting boundaries. I suggest perusing her site for some practical tips and tricks, including scripts you can deploy in the event of that a Relative Saying Something Inappropriate incident occurs; or, you can use the somewhat less politic responses I’ve come up with here.
And for anyone reading this who’s planning on asking their niece or granddaughter or nephew or whatever why they’re single right now? Don’t. Just don't. There is nothing wrong with being single, and it's none of your damn business, anyway. You don’t want to be that person, do you?
1. “So, I hear even Charles Manson won’t be single for the holidays…”
Gasp! Did you get me a psychopath for Christmas? You shouldn’t have! That’s so thoughtful!
2. “Merry Christmas. Have you got a new boyfriend yet?”
Merry Christmas. Have you got a new personality yet?
3. “Are there cobwebs up there yet?”
Yes. It’s full of spiders. Want to see?
4. “You are the last of the family tree.”
And hopefully you are the last of the family idiots.
5. “If you were a better cook you could catch a husband.”
If my future husband were a better cook, he could catch me, if I even felt like being caught at all.
6. “I told you, too many children is a turn off.”
Tell that to the Duggars.
7. “When I saw this ‘Grow Your Own Boyfriend’ toy, I just knew I had to get it for you for Christmas.”
No, thank you; I’m already putting the finishing touches on the Frankenstein’s Boyfriend experiment I’ve been working on in the basement, so this “grow your own” nonsense will not be required.
8. “If you were a better housekeeper you could probably keep a husband.”
If you were less of a jerk, you could probably keep some friends.
9. “Luckily you have your dog to keep you company.”
You’re right. My dog is better company than anyone else. Including you.
10. “Hope you have shares in a battery company.”
…I don’t even know what this one is supposed to mean. Perhaps the best response in this case would be simply to give the speaker a disparaging look and walk away without saying a word? Because seriously. WTF.
11. “You need to wear sexier clothes. Show some cleavage.”
12. “I know why you’re single… you need a breast reduction. I can recommend a surgeon.”
Why, thank you. You can take that recommendation and shove it right up your arse.
13. “How’s the wrist?”
Fine. How are your palms? Covered in hair? I hear they have creams for that.
14. “If you lose some weight all your problems will be gone.”
Except that you’ll still be an asshole, soooo… no. No, no they will not.
15. “Don’t wear such fancy clothes. Certainly don’t wear heels. Makes you too tall.”
You do realize that I dress for myself, not for some random person I haven’t even met yet who may or may not exist, right?
16. “You’re probably single because you talk too much.”
Said the pot to the kettle.
17. “I pity your parents. No grandchildren.”
I’m sorry to hear that you think someone else’s desire to have a child available to play with once a month without having any of the responsibility of raising it trumps my desire not to spend nine months carrying a watermelon in my uterus before ejecting it from my vagina and spending the next 18 years catering to its every whim.