How I Finesse My Way Out of Answering Those Damn ‘Where Are You From’ Questions

“Sir, I came from my mother’s womb”

Photo on left by author; photo on right by Maria Orlova from Pexels

As someone who looks Asian, I get those questions often. The dreaded where are you from? The even more cringe-inducing My friends and I have a bet going on regarding your nationality, so WHAT are you? The direct-to-the-point, but usually off-target Are you [insert any ethnicity here]? I stopped answering these questions, because I learned how to finesse these situations.


It’s nobody’s business, but I’ll let you in on a secret — I came from my mother’s womb. I don’t remember being in there, but I most certainly began my life in the confines of that warm pocket of an organ. Most of you came from your mother’s wombs, as well. So why the fascination? It beats me. I grew weary of the barrage of questions and started following these steps.


Follow along if you, too, want to liberate yourself from the stress of strangers interrogating your origins.


The Steps

  1. Do a switcheroo on ’em and ask, “No — where are YOU from?” This will immediately disarm them. When they finally answer after a bit of flustering, shake your head in dissatisfaction. You meant, “Where are they really from?” so clarify your question for them. As they ponder on their response, quietly slip away into the shadows never to be seen again.

  2. Completely ignore the question and moonwalk out of the interaction. It’s fine if you don’t know how to moonwalk. It’s actually better if you don’t know how to moonwalk. They’ll be so confuddled by your lack of moonwalking skills that they’ll forget what the heck they were talking about in the first place.

  3. Just start bleeding from your eyes. This is a good one, because it has a horror element to it. It took me years of practice to nail this technique, but if you focus on channeling the blood from your nosebleed into your eye sockets, you can totally do this. You also have to learn how to nosebleed on command, but again — practice, baby!

  4. Pull out a Slim Jim from your pocket and hand it to them. Everyone loves a Slim Jim, except for vegans. If they happen to be a vegan, no worries — pull out a celery stick from your other pocket. This distraction of foodstuff will provide you with enough time to slink away, as before, into the night. I already hear you complaining about having to carry Slim Jims and celery sticks in your pockets at all times. To that I say, maybe you’re just not cut out for this kind of “never answering ‘where are you from’ questions” lifestyle. Sucks to be you.

If that all fails, my ethnically ambiguously comrades, you might also consider telling them the complete history of your family, beginning with your great great great great uncle Hanzo Hasashi who is not quite from the Netherrealm, but spent some time there. When you finally complete the beautiful tale of how you came to be, you might notice that the inquirer has passed peacefully in their sleep as they listened to you drone on for an entire day.


Their ghost will float up out of their body like a tiny cloud. They may be confused as to their whereabouts. Help jog their memory by asking them some questions. Simple stuff like “What’s your name?” or “Are you going to heaven now?” or “Where are you from?”


Oh, look at that! Their little ghost is moonwalking out of here. Congratulations. The circle is now complete. Happy finessing!



Originally published on Muddyum.

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