“The ceiling must be leaking.”
That’s what my orthodontist once said to me when I was in the seventh grade because I was crying in his chair. I forget what exactly he was doing to my mouth at that exact moment but I promise it was whack. He was just horrible. At the end of the whole experience I went to a different orthodontist and he looked in my mouth with shame and sadness. “Who worked on your teeth before me?” my new orthodontist said, but I could hear what he really wanted to ask,
“Did you get your orthodontal work done in prison in exchange for a carton of smokes? Seriously? Did a really big guy inexplicably named ‘Slim Jim’ try to straighten your teeth out on the yard with perhaps a sharpened shiv of some variety?”
My mouth was a mess and so was Dr. S. which is why he’s on my “people I don’t want to be stuck in an elevator with” list. It’s a short list compromised of people who challenge my ability to “love my neighbor.” And recently I thought of one more person that needs to be on there.
The Christian Stranger who asks you inappropriately intimate questions.
If you’re not familiar with this person, then congratulations, you my friend are very fortunate. But if you’re like me, you’ve got at least one person in your life who asks way too intimate questions out of nowhere. This is the friend who sees you in a group of people in the church lobby and walks up to say, “How’s that thigh rash, and did you work out the issues with your father, the father wounds if you will?” But because I believe we’re supposed to ask each other big real questions as Christians, it’s important to detail exactly what qualifies as a “Weirdly Awkward Question.” Or WAQ as it were.
1. If we’re practically strangers and have only spoken once, please don’t ask me deeply intimate questions. Ask me about how my job is going or if I like Salt & Vinegar chips. (I do, oh I do!)
2. If we don’t know each other well, please don’t ask about my lovemaking with my wife. (You got a little awkward just reading that sentence. Admit it.)
3. Please don’t close talk me or lean in with serious, DNA test reveled Maury Povich eyes when you ask your question. No need. Honestly.
4. Please don’t ask me ridiculously large questions that have no possible quick answer right before church starts, like “Who are you when the lights are out and no one’s looking?”
5. Don’t tell me, “You seem different.” We don’t know each other. You have no precedent to operate against in your analysis that I’m different. And if you ask if we can spend some time together “alone” I’m going to think you’re trying to make out with me. Sorry, that’s an old 7th grade knee jerk reaction. The 7th grader in me is convinced that people are always making out. Mostly in closets. It’s a problem.
Maybe you’ve never experienced this and if that’s the case, please know that I am jealous of you. But I have and if you have any stories or techniques to avoid this person, I’d love to hear them.
Has this ever happened to you? Has someone at church or elsewhere ever asked you a weirdly awkward question?