It’s that time of year when we get to see our relatives again together under one roof, like your cousin Jay or Uncle Boy or even Auntie Baby. It’s sometimes great if you don’t see them most of the year, but the consequences of that are the “questions”. Your relatives love you too much, so all at once, they pour out their love to you in form of hugs, kisses, gifts, and the “questions”.
So, what is exactly are the “questions” I mention? Well, as a queer Filipina, it can be a bit tough to maneuver around the infamous Filipino parties where you get to see everybody and their mommas, but over the years, I’ve learned the types of questions they ask every year and how you can fight back and answer their questions real good without being disrespectful.
Here’s how the situation unfolds. Greetings from my family friends usually starts with “Hi! How are you? How’s everything? How’s your Mom? How’s your Dad? How’s your brother and sister?”
Then, it proceeds to go on something like this:
- Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?
- Where do you work/Do you still work there?
- I heard you’re doing ____ from ____. Is that true?
- What are you majoring in? What are you gonna do with that?
- You look fat. You need to lose weight.
- You look skinny. What do you do?
- You look thin. What’s your secret?
- Especially if you’re a nurse: What hospital do you work at? What unit do you work in? Oh, I know _____.
- Do I look skinny? I feel fat.
So many questions, yet so little time to answer. Should you even bother to answer?
- If asked about having a girlfriend/boyfriend, I say “I’m too busy living life.”
- If asked about work, I keep it plain and simple. “Yeah, it’s cool.”
- If asked about how your life is going, I say “I’m still alive and well, thank you”.
- If told that I’m fat, I say “why? are you jealous?” and smile back at them.
- If told that I’m thin, I say “I eat whatever I want” and proceed to stuff my face with lechon (roasted pork) in front of their faces.
- If asked about my job, I say “I’m in ______ department. I love it and I’m happy.”
- If asked about my their physical appearance, I say “you look good…what you talking about?”
Some of these questions can be brutal when asked on the spot, but with a slick tongue and clever words, replying in a polite manner can be a good comeback without being disrespectful. Respect the elders but do not let them make you feel like decomposted human waste. So, on your next family gathering, be ready for “the questions”.