Should you ever consider moving to Germany, you might want to take a moment to ponder it. Germans do not beat about the bush. They can be brutally direct and expect the same in return.
I have heard this question asked and can confirm that it is not meant as an affront, merely a civil enquiry. There is even a German proverb "Honesty lasts longest". Get used to it is the best advice for the more sensitive ex-pats here. Personally I find it, for the most part, quite refreshing being a fairly straight talker myself.
One frequently asked question however, is beginning to vex.
"Are you having more children?"
I wouldn't dream of asking. Don't get me wrong, I have childless friends of whom I'm very curious to know if they intent to procreate, but it's all so personal. Nevertheless, I get asked all the time. Not, as might conceivably be forgivable, from close friends or even acquaintances but perfect strangers. I've been asked on the bus, in the park, on the train and even in the swimming pool. When confronted with it, I, as a mother medically ill-advised to have more children, consider my options. I could tell the person that I find the question inappropriate but this would only result in a befuddled German as "inappropriate" frankly doesn't register on their radar. I could simply say no, which would be honest but inadequate and only lead to the next question, "Why?" I could answer by asking about their family intentions, but they would happily tell me and repeat the question.
So what do I do despite repeated promises to myself not to? I offer sordid details of why I can't/shouldn't have any more children and how dismayed I am about it. Justifying myself to a stranger!
Why? Well it was inevitable I suppose. I wear Birkenstocks, sometimes I forget to shave my armpits and go sleeveless anyway, I occasionally drive too fast on the Autobahn, I bat not an eye at nudity on TV, I stop and wait for the green man when there are no cars in sight, I separate rubbish into five different bins......the list goes on. Put simply: I'm turning German!
So am I being über-sensitive? How would you deal with that question?