I’ve been reading along with the Mama’s Losin’ It writing exercises and one this week really caught my eye. It’s to write your own FAQ page about yourself. It says you can make up the questions, but really, doesn’t everyone have questions that they get asked all too often? Or is that just me?  I seriously get most of these, like, every week.  And it’s not like I meet all that many people.

While I try not to lie, in real life I do occasionally gloss over the fully truthful answers to some questions, because quite frankly, I can’t be arsed with the inevitable follow-ups.

1) Where do you come from?


(note: Paisley is in Scotland. I live in Scotland. The people asking me normally live in Scotland.)

2) No, where do you really come from? It’s obvious from your voice that you don’t just come from Paisley.

Paisley. First 18 years of my life.

3) No, I’m sure I hear some American/Canadian/Irish/English in there

Er, well, I’ve moved around a bit.

Please stop making me feel so self-conscious. I have no idea how I ended up with this accent. My sisters have it too, if that helps, and they’ve never lived outside Scotland.

4) What do you do?

I’m a physicist.

(Actually, at the moment, I’m an unemployed physicist.)

5) I was terrible at physics at school. 

Oh well, I always liked it.

6) There aren’t many girls in physics, are there?


Gives threatening look. The chances of them starting to imply that either I must be not adequately feminine or not a good physicist are remarkably high at this point.

7) Why did you study physics?

I thought that being smart meant that you were morally compelled to study the hardest thing you could find. I am only just in recovery from this weird masochism. Luckily, I found out that I did actually like physics.

I don’t actually say this. I witter on about being good at maths and the mysteries of the universe and all that stuff.

8) Why didn’t you change your name when you got married?

I’m a feminist and I don’t think anyone should change their names on marriage. Yes, that includes you. No, I’m not wasting breath judging you for changing your name, but still, if I ruled the world, no name changes. If your name sucks, go get a good one by deed poll rather than hanging around waiting for a man.

Yeah, I never actually say that either. I have discovered that there are two socially acceptable answers to this question.

I already published in this name.

I like being at the start of the alphabet.

These basically never kick off. Every other answer does. Weird.

9) When are you having children?

We’re not.

10) But why are you not having children?

I don’t want to.

11) But your husband obviously loves children. Why won’t you have them?

Yes, he would like to have children and I wouldn’t. We’re OK with that.

Amazingly, this is considered a reasonable topic of conversation in front of both of us, with people we hardly know. Why, thank you for loudly airing what could have been a difficult fault line in our marriage! (It’s not, thankfully.)  The fact that it could also relate to details of our fertility is an added bonus!

Now I’m really looking forward to seeing other people’s FAQs.  More here along with a really funny photo-blog about flying.

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9 Responses to My FAQ

  1. Jenners says:

    Love it! And as a smart person who avoided math like the plague, I applaud your decision to pursue a challenging field like physics, which just gives me a headache. Heck, I couldn’t even handle astronomy!

    Visiting from Mama Kats.

  2. Love your honesty…that will be coming through in my about me page on my new site as well. I didn’t always want to have children…still don’t know what I’m doing, but doing what I can. That is part of my journey.
    Thought I might add that I LOVED Scotland when I visited. Beautiful.

  3. I’m rarely asked why I don’t want children, which surprises me though I’m relieved its not a question I have to think up an answer to, too often….

    I agree about not changing your name. I have one acquaintance who lived with her partner and they both had the same surname, so people always assumed they were married, though they weren’t. If i were in that situation, I’d be tempted to change my surname when i married, just to make the point!

  4. I have kids, changed my named, and never took physics, mainly due to conflicts in schedule, however based off the wit and tone I inferred from your FAQs, I actually think we’d get a long. I’ve never been to Paisley (never been to Scotland) so I wouldn’t harrass you over your speech as long as you’d give me a break for my Philadelphia speak!

    • Thank you Jackie! Anyone who doesn’t hassle me about my accent gets special bonus points :) And of course most of my friends have made different life choices from me, we have some wonderful kids in our life even though we are not having them ourselves. I’ve just been to your blog and your kids look gorgeous!

  5. Grubby Grrrl says:

    Love this post! I also have relative strangers ask about children & I am surprised since I agree it’s a really personal question & rather rude. I really don’t want to share with most people that I’m infertile. Gotta work on a better answer. And I wish I kept my name unchanged when I married (I hyphenate.) But I think it would be a great idea to merge names when people marry. Like if Smith married Jones, you could be the Smones’s now or the Jith’s! No one else seems to think this is a good idea although I love it :). FWIW I looooved physics and math in school. Ended up in the biology field tho. Love this post!

  6. I know of some people who used a smooshed-together name for their kids! Also, we have some friends who both hyphenated their names and that works pretty well – although, lots of hassle in the name change. I have been known to say that I am just too lazy to change my name :)
    Sorry that people harass you too about kids. I’m always aware that we’re lucky to have the choice. I don’t think that “do you have kids” is a bad conversational gambit in itself, it’s the people who push on to the detailed inquisition that are the problem! And my neighbour who tells me every time I see her that I owe it to my husband to have either a kid or a cat (he loves cats but is allergic so that one’s not going anywhere either!)

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