close
close

Carolyn Hax: Parents have clear ideas about what their children’s partners should look like

Carolyn Hax: Parents have clear ideas about what their children’s partners should look like

Dear Carolyn: Ever since we started dating, our parents have had their own opinions about what the people my brother and I should date should look like. They completely rejected my brother and his wife because they were so vocal about how she was not right for him. They wanted him to marry a petite woman because he is short, and they insisted that he “wouldn’t look good” with a tall woman. But my brother loves tall, curvy women, and he married one. They were desperate, like he married an axe murderer or something. She’s a great person. They changed, but my sister-in-law never warmed up to her.

They insist that my friends must be tall and blond with blue eyes because I am tall and blond and then we would look good together and so would our children. They hate my not so tall friend who is a Greek immigrant. We are getting engaged soon and I just know they will carry on like they did when my brother got engaged.

Other than this quirk, they aren’t bad people. Any ideas on how I can avoid them?

Anonymous: They’re interested in eugenics, but otherwise they’re nice people! Okay.

Just say it out loud to them: “I saw you scare (your brother) away from his amazing wife just because she is tall and he is short.

“Here’s your chance not to screw it up again: Please don’t choose blonde hair over a relationship with your future son-in-law and possibly olive-skinned grandchildren.

If they offer even the slightest resistance:

“I can’t save you from yourselves. But I had to try.”

On the surface, this seems like a simplistic answer: Just tell them the truth!!

But here’s the thing. There’s only one way your parents could have been “so opinionated” and “so vocal” and “so desperate” and shown all that persistence – enough for you to “just know” they’re going to “act this way” around you. They accomplished that by having you as a constant audience for their toxic superficiality.

I wish you two had discussed this issue with them years ago and sent them a clear message: “Your opinion about our dates’ bodies is unacceptable.” (Both walk away.)

But better late than never. First, say what you mean in no uncertain terms, as I’ve already advised. Then, when they start to “insist,” prove you mean it by leaving – coldly. Let them “insist” into an echoing void.

Or to put it in a new classic: get fooled and find out.

Dear Carolyn: When I ask people, “How are you?” they often answer, “Not bad.” I always answer, “I’m sorry.”

After all, they said they were doing badly – ​​but not *too* badly.

My wife is not happy that I say this to people.

Should I just accept what they say and let them get on with their “bad” life, or continue with my comment in the hope that they will realize what they are unconsciously saying and get out of their bad zone?

K: How many of the people who receive your “I’m sorry” response do you think understand what you mean? 60 percent? Twenty percent? Two?

Even if there are 100, how many do you think meant “not so bad” in a way that was taken 100 percent literally?

How many see it as your job to get them out of their “problem zone”?

Who do you help overall?

In the meantime, we know you’re annoying your wife. One hundred percent.

It’s time to put your joke aside forever. Both meanings are intended.

Alternative suggestions: “Okay, then!” “Good enough!” or other kind words that acknowledge their effort to answer an impossible question that is reflexively and kindly asked when we say “hello.”