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We Are Family

By Margaret Hicks in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 22, 2006 4:18PM

ywtcover.jpgWe’re pretty close with mom, but we won’t lie and say it’s all hunky-dory either. Usually, the closer we get with mom, the harder it is to keep our control when one of “those comments” comes out, like when she told us recently that we look great for being middle-aged.

But Deborah Tannen, author of best selling book “You’re Wearing That?” is here to help. As a Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University, she offers a different perspective on the constant mother/daughter battle. She says that mother/daughter relationships are based mostly on communication, on talking, so it’s easy to misinterpret what the other is saying. She says it’s still a matter of both sides wanting to be closer to each other and for that reason, each little comment can mean insult to either party. Our favorite quote is this one: “Hair is one of what I call the Big Three that mothers and daughters critique (the other two are clothing and weight). Many women I talked to, on hearing the topic of my book, immediately retrieved offending remarks that they had archived, such as, "I'm so glad you're not wearing your hair in that frumpy way anymore"; another had asked, "You did that to your hair on purpose?" Yet another told her daughter, after seeing her on television at an important presidential event, "You needed a haircut."

We just have to say, this makes us feel so much better. We’ve been wondering for years now if something really was wrong with our mullett, now we know, it’s just mom.

You can see Deborah Tannen on Thursday, 7:00PM at Transitions Bookplace, 1000 W. North Ave, Chicago, phone: 312.951.READ(7323) or 800.979.READ(7323)