Sunday, January 13, 2013


A friend told me that a mutual acquaintance had asked her an intrusive question and she answered, "WHY DO YOU ASK?" I said, "That's a perfect rejoinder; I'll bet that stopped her!" My friend said that the other person did not pursue the question. I told her about the perfect rejoinder by Dear Abby. (See the Dear Abby column below.)

Shortly after I was married, and for years afterward, people would ask, in various forms, why I didn't have children. My mother, a devoted Dear Abby follower, suggested, "You should do what Abby says and ask WHY DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?"

The next time someone asked the question, I used Abby's advice and it was wonder-working! After that, I used the retort each time someone would ask any kind of inappropriate question. It was delightful to see people flummoxed, speechless, and taken aback!

Only ONCE did anyone pursue the questioning. A person asked, "How did you get all your houses paid for?" When I answered, "Why do you want to know?" the person said, "I checked the Auditor's site and it showed all your properties paid for; I just wondered how you did it!" Nearly speechless, I answered, "It's none of your business."

Later, when I told Les that the Abby comment didn't work, he said, "NUNYA always works well!"

"Dear Abby: I think it's rude to ask someone how much he or she paid for something. However, I come from a family that asks that question whenever I wear something new. If I don't tell them, they think I'm a snob. Also, I am constantly being asked where I bought this or that. Please give me a good answer. If I try to get out of answering, they get mad. - Sick of Questions

Dear Sick: My standard answer to "How much did you pay for that?" is, "Why do you want to know?" If the questioner persists, I follow up with, "If you will forgive me for not answering, I'll forgive you for asking."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've heard you ask "Why do you want to know?"! ML