Oh That’s So Nice!

People seem to think that to get to know you they need to know your family. I don’t know how much they think they can really learn about a person from a list of information, but people are like that. So you wind up listing your siblings and their vital stats to anyone who’s decided that they’re going to “get to know you.” What is considered a vital stat seems, to me, a bit arbitrary. Do they have jobs? Who cares. Are they happy? Not interested. Do they feel God’s presence in their lives? Aw c’mon. Stick to the important stuff. We just want to know if they’re married. (And if they’re married, if they have kids.) And if your siblings are not married, then friendly interrogator is going to say “Oh,” and pull a sympathetic face. If there are three of you looking for mates, the sympathetic expression becomes downright pained.

So I was rather relieved when my older sister got herself engaged. She was the old maid in the stat list (for real, at age 28), and I had come to dread the “so tell me about your siblings” because she’s number two in the list. Well, she’s spoken for now, I’m glad to say. That leaves only two of us careening toward lonely old age at the breakneck speed of one day every 24 hours. But my second brother won’t become antediluvian for another two years at least, and I probably have a similar time span before my own scalp peering through the part in my own hair becomes a target of sympathy.

But I celebrated too soon. I’ve only swapped one annoying response for a dozen others. Like “Oh that’s sooo nice,” and “So there’s nothing holding you back now,” or “That mean’s you’re next!” I’m not sure what to respond to these, so I give a tight smile and say, “Uh huh.” Is there a good response to those kind of comments? I never thought I’d say it, but I much prefer the irritating “So what color is your gown?” (Arriving, yes, the day after the official announcement.) At least to that one I can just say “stone-washed denim” and change the subject.

18 thoughts on “Oh That’s So Nice!

  1. It’s always about the gown, don’t u know that?!

    Yeah, about the sibling thing; so true.
    Although I can’t blame them sometimes with real questions; like if someone’s sibling is divorced, ill, or off the derech, that might be a cause for concern for some. Not to say don’t go out, but it’s something that people should look into.

  2. Oh that’s sooo nice,” and “So there’s nothing holding you back now,” or “That mean’s you’re next!” I’m not sure what to respond to these, so I give a tight smile and say, “Uh huh.” Is there a good response to those kind of comments?.

    OMG! I HATE THAT! I, too, have not found the appropriate response yet.

    Hey – how about: “Sorry, I don’t speak English.”?

  3. Mazal tov!

    (I think the smile and “uh huh” are about as good as it gets. Anything wittier would be antisocial, or perhaps… [whispers] B4S.)

  4. My response (in a really similar situation, except for a much smaller age gap than you and your sister) was, “I just want to enjoy this simcha that is happening right now, without looking ahead” which kinda confused people. (wait, you mean you’re not totally dying inside each day that you’re not married???)

    I did have to laugh when my mother reported that some of her (middle aged) friends wanted to know if my sister’s engagement was “hard for me.” My mother’s response to them: “What? Why?”

  5. If you think that’s bad, try having a sister, that is barely out of high school get engaged before you and then have her future mother-in-law tell you that they have to start working on you now. That is what happened to one my friends when I was standing right there. When the woman walked away, my friend told me, “what they haven’t been working me the last three years? Just what have’they’ been doing?”

  6. That leaves only two of us careening toward lonely old age at the breakneck speed of one day every 24 hours. But my second brother won’t become antediluvian for another two years at least, and I probably have a similar time span before my own scalp peering through the part in my own hair becomes a target of sympathy.

    Brilliantly written! 🙂

  7. Can’t say as I have a surefire way to put a stop to those particular comments, but…I can help anybody wishing to escape the undertow of “im yirtza Hashem by you”s. It takes a little advance work but the results are 100% effective.
    Step one–>Start saying it to those very same people at funerals
    Step two–>Repeat Step 1

  8. Mazel tov!! That is so nice! I have nothing to add other than that I feel for you…I’ve gotten much of the same and worse at my brothers recent engagement and wedding..

  9. Mazal tov!

    As for the “soon by you” lines, certain people, when they learn I was in a bombing and had cancer, tend to launch into something along the lines of “wow, you are really blessed. G-d is sending you these challenges because He loves you”.

    Now THAT is the place to respond with “Oh, thank you, ub’karov etzlech”!

    Though I suppose you could use it at weddings as well. Especially if the person is already married. That could be quite entertaining.

    Ooooh! Try it at your sister’s wedding! Report back! Oh wait-B4S, right? No problem, first opportunity I get, I will try it out. 🙂

  10. Mazal Tov! But I do have to say that it is worse when its the younger sibling that becomes taken. The pained looks become down-right constipated looks and the sighs become more pronounced. I wanted to crawl under the table at my friend’s vort, whilst watching her future sister-in-laws and mother-in-law appraise her older sister.

  11. Sometimes these yentas just irk the crap outta me.

    “Oh, so how old are you?”

    22. (I keep the “and-a-half” to myself partially because it’s too painful, and partially because I’m not 5.)

    Sympathetic look, and then perks up, “well we have to find you somebody!”

    If I EVER mention I have an older brother in Shidduchim, it’s as if I never existed. I do it sometimes, since i know they know many girls and he’s a good catch, but yeah, they forget about me.

  12. Having been The Older Unmarried Sister, I think that’s probably far worse. The sympathetic/pained looks and tactless remarks increase tenfold. Not to mention, everyone seemed to think I should be miserable and self-pitying. Um….right. Cuz being depressed because my little sis got married before me is going to make me a more attractive candidate for shidduchim. Riiiiight.

    Mazal tov to you and your family, Bad4. 🙂

  13. Pingback: Repost: My Sister is Engaged — I’m Lucky! | Bad for Shidduchim

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