Remember how our mothers and grandmothers used to tell us that the best way to get people to like you is to first be interested in them? Don’t talk about yourself, ask questions about them and get them to talk about themselves.
Not many of us are so fascinating to others that we get asked questions about ourselves all that often. Mostly, people make assumptions about who we are and what we do. Even those who know us very well will take that knowing for granted.
There are some questions that are annoying, only because they are so predictable. “Where are you from?” or, “Did you grow up around here?” or, “Do you have kids? Are you married? What do you do for a living?” Blah, blah, blah. I often wonder how I could change up that line of questioning. For example, “Have you done much traveling?” Or, “What do you like to do when you have some free time?” Or, “When you have an out-of-town visitor, what do you like them to see while they are in town?”
I don’t mind if someone asks me questions about myself. It gives me an excuse to ask them a few questions as well. But there are three questions I get that have become tedious and I wish I didn’t have to answer them. They are in regards to my last name, Rose.
The most common one is this: “Is ‘Rose’ short for something else? Are you Jewish?” It’s a legitimate question, and I’m certainly not offended by it, but I’m tired of hearing it. Many families shortened their names for various reasons when they immigrated to the States, but my family was not one of them. What’s fascinating to me is that those who asked this question sometimes have a hard time accepting that which we call a Rose is sometimes, in fact, just a Rose. “Are you sure it’s just ‘Rose?’ Have you ever thought of doing some research?” My last name is a Scottish clan name, and a relatively common surname, especially in the UK. But, even after I go through all of that, there are those that remain skeptical.
My favorite question (if I can call it that) about my name I don’t like getting is, “Is ‘Rose’ your last name?” My first name—which I keep to “L” for my blog—and my last name sound like two first names. As a result, I am often called by both my first and last names, like “Mary Jane.” I don’t mind this at all, but it confuses some people, so they’ll ask what my last name is. When I say it’s “Rose,” I usually get an understanding nod. This one time, however, a woman gave me a funny look when I told her that Rose is my last name. “Your name is L Rose Rose?!” I wanted to smile and emphatically say yes. I didn’t, though. Instead, I politely made another effort to explain, trying my best not to sound like the Dowager Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey.
The third question I used to get often in years past, but not as much anymore is whether I’m related to Baseball legend Pete Rose. Nope. Nor am I a relation of TV host/journalist Charlie Rose. In fact, I’m not related to the vast majority of Roses living around the world; just the one small pitri dish specimen of an otherwise vast genetic pool.
Oh, and yes…a rose by any other name does smell as sweet. Thanks for asking. Any other questions?
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Plead the Fifth.”
Another of my posts about what’s in a name: Naming Rights of Passage