This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of 425 Business.
I’m sure I’m not the only one, but this isn’t exactly my favorite time of year. It’s dark, it’s rainy, and it’s colder — but almost always still too warm to snow. I’m either too hot or too cold. I can’t decide if I want an iced drink at Starbucks (because I really hate hot lattes), or if I should get a hot latte because of, well, the weather.
Then there are the parties that started around Halloween. I feel like I’m getting too old for all these holiday parties. When you get to be around 30, the idea of getting dressed up is no longer as fun. I’d rather be at home in my sweats watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Or sleeping. Because it’s dark, and rainy, and cold outside, and nowhere is more cozy than my bed this time of year.
But back to these parties. The questions started in early October: “What are you going to be for Halloween night?”
Oh, I don’t know. Tired?
This year, the Internet suggested I be a sexy pizza rat. Or a sexy Gandalf. Or a sexy nurse. Or a sexy hunter. Or, really, anything sexy. There’s a great quote about Halloween and women in Mean Girls if you care to look it up.
As a 30-year-old woman, I’ve been there. In college. Now, I want to be at home, in my yoga pants.
Halloween’s passed, but I’m getting ready for more holiday questions. “What are you wearing to your husband’s holiday party?”
Can I wear my yoga pants?
It doesn’t matter what I wear, because the questions won’t stop. Unfortunately, most are offensive and become more unintentionally hostile as the booze flows.
Since some people just don’t know when to put the wine down, here are three questions you should not ask this year:
1. When are you having kids?
The biggest problem with this question is that it seems so innocent. Everyone has kids! Actually, nearly half of women ages 15 to 44 are childless, according to the Census Bureau. And sometimes, having kids isn’t possible or is a challenging endeavor. Take celebrity couple Chrissy Teigen, who lived in Snohomish County, and John Legend. The couple struggled to have a baby for years, experienced several miscarriages, and now Teigen’s finally pregnant.
If you don’t want to make someone cry at a holiday party, don’t ask them this question.
2. When are you getting married?
I love being married. I love having a gorgeous diamond ring on my finger. I love having two incomes to pay the bills, and I love that in the middle of the night I wake up to someone hogging all the blankets. I love that someone loves me. I love that I’m dedicated to sharing my life — all that is good, bad, and super ugly — with someone else who feels the same way.
I also love that getting married was a decision we made for ourselves. We eloped. My parents weren’t happy. I actually don’t think anyone was happy, but we didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding, because a ceremony didn’t mean anything to us. Being together was what mattered.
In other words: Someone else’s marriage has nothing to do with you. And if you’re asking if it’s because they’re pregnant or already have kids or want kids, drink more wine and keep reading.
3. Are you pregnant?
On that note, this is probably the most offensive question anyone could ask ever, but at a holiday party it’s just plain mean. It’s the holidays, and during the holidays, we women like to eat.
We like to eat cookies and candy and cheesecake — and a lot of chocolate. And it’s really hard to exercise when it’s rainy, cold, and dark outside. So we might gain a little weight. For most women, it goes straight to our stomachs. And wine? Well yeah, we’re going to look a little bloated. Especially in that tight cocktail dress that fit back in October when we were trying on sexy pizza rat costumes.
And if we aren’t drinking, that doesn’t make the question fair game.
Avoid those questions this year, and you might make fewer enemies at your holiday parties this season. In the meantime, I’ll be making excuses to avoid them entirely so I can sit at home in my yoga pants and watch Gilmore Girls.