The dreaded question, well for me anyway, is what do you do? It conjures loads of smart arse answers like:
'I'm doing it right now' wink, wink,
'I'm a food taster for an elite band of fussy redheads' or
'I'm a zoo keeper at the Taylor Zoo, have you heard of it? It's the one with smudgy kids faces pressed against sliding doors. It doesn't get a lot visitors.'
Answering with 'I'm an unpublished writer,' sounds like crap. So if I do brave telling the nosy person what I 'do', I usually qualify it by telling them the manuscript requests I've had and the publishing company I've had dealings with, all making it sound much more impressive than it really is. I'm sure a lot of stay at home mothers feel this way. The question 'what do you do?' implies employment and even though it may seem like a fairly innocuous, innocent question, it also implies that if you don't 'do' some sort of paid wok then you're not doing anything important.
So next time you want to start up a conversation and that's the only icebreaker you can think of, can I suggest you insert the word 'like' into the phrase? You'll get more answers. Most people like to do lot's of things.