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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

once upon a faux pas

In April, I went to New York to attend my sister's bridal shower and bachelorette party. After the shower (but before the party), I went to visit my friend Matthew. Matthew and I went to high school together, and he now lives in Los Angeles (Santa Monica, methinks). He just happened to be in town, visiting his mom, at the same time I was in town, and he had his beautiful bride and darling daughter, only one and a half months old at the time, with him. I had my baby with me, too, and we had a great time visiting, reminiscing, speculating about how we got to where we were and where we'd go next. It was very refreshing and a tad surreal to sit there, where we had as teenagers with all our angst and bitterness and teen spirit, now with our children, both supremely happy in our current lives.

Since I had just come from the shower, I was wearing a dress.

(this, but a different pattern, and I don't look like that, and I hardly ever stand like that)

I happen to love the dress, but it fits in such a way that I might be able to pull it off for a good portion of a pregnancy. Because of this, Matthew said, when introducing my son to his mother, "This is little Bubby...and [pointing to my midsection] am I right in saying that another is on the way?"

Now, before all you lady-folk get all jumpy and take my side over this, please realize that Matthew and I have the kind of relationship wherein he can comfortably say something like this and I can comfortably receive it. It is for this reason that I chuckled and replied, "No, I'm afraid this is residual."

And that was the end of it. I was gratified at this sampling of our friendship.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago: in New York with my entire family for the occasion of Seester's wedding. The day after the wedding was Sunday, so we, as we are wont to do, went to church. I wore a new dress, similar style to the one above, but a solid eggplant color and a great big satin tie that wraps around the entire body and ties in the front. The first hour of church went as usual, and as we dismissed for Sunday School, I was approached by a familiar face: a woman who, for my entire lifelong, has always been 300 years old. She continues to shrink physically, and will likely soon require someone to carry her in their pocket. For now, though, she still walks, and she approached me this certain, fateful Sabbath to greet me and mine.

"Hi, Jenny! So nice to see you!"

"Thanks, it's nice to see you, too."

"Wow, your family sure is growing. Is this your little one?"

"Yes, this is Bubby. He's eight months old."

"Oh, how sweet. And when are you expecting?"

*COUGH!!!* "I'm sorry?"

"I said, when are you expecting?"

Now, do I need to go into this? I think not.

But I will.

As if in slow motion, we had this exchange which in reality lasted approximately six seconds. She asked when I am expecting, and the reaction in my mind was, "I cannot BELIEVE you just said that to me. As a favor to you, I will let you get out of it by pretending I didn't hear you, and then you can just make something up." And that's what I did.

But she didn't bite. She asked again.

At this point, I started legitimately coughing and said, "I'm sorry *cough*, I have bronchitis [truth], I *cough* have to go get a drink [lie]."

I ran down the hall and did get a drink, and then hid from this lady. I told my brother of the exchange, and he said, "It's the style of the dress. You look fine." My mom was wishy-washy but said I didn't look pregnant (an opinion she later retracted).

When the Sunday School hour was almost finished, I made the executive decision to leave church and get on with our family reunion-type meetings. As I was rounding up the herd, I followed two of my kids into the chapel where they were running laps between the pews.

Guess who was sitting in there.

As I led my girls out of the chapel, she said to me, "They sure are cute. How many do you have?"


"So...[pointing to my belly -- that's right, pointing to my belly] will this be number five or number six?"

You have got to be kidding me.

My reaction this time was just as mature as the previous: I acted like my children were physically pulling me out of the chapel, and then diverted her attention with, "Well, remember, we had the one son who passed away? Yeah, so we have five. 'Bye!"

She gave me an earnest smile and a wave.

And I, AGAIN, avoided her question.

Look, I know I'm out of shape, particularly in my midsection. In fact, I was wearing a girdle-thingey with this very dress. But, COME ON!!! Incase you don't already know this, you NEVER ask a woman if she's pregnant. Not even if she looks like she's hiding a basketball under her shirt and is talking about mucous plugs and episiotomies. You let her bring it up. But if you insist, you'd better have a fine excuse for yourself when she smacks you in the face.

Which I would never do.

I should have just answered, "October."


Anonymous said...

i would've said, "how come you're not dead yet? you're like, a million."

{natalie} said...

how awkward! those old people think they can say anything! where did you get that hip dress? i love it.

La Yen said...

But really, aren't you having twins?
And aren't they gong to weight 40 pounds each?
And you look really tired.
And remember when you were skinny?
And it must be really hard to choose to have a career instead of a family.
And isn't it so empowering to be so secure that you can just let yourself go?
And when you went on that bell tower, wasn't it just freeing?

Anonymous said...

Once while caring for my friend Melanie's children, I had #4 on my lap. She asked if I was going to have a baby and when I replied no, her response was "Your tummy feels like my mommy's when there's a baby in it" I think Tio was 4---not months years. I think my tummy still feels like that.

This is me said...

I have totally had this happen to me! Luckily, the (5 kids and still a size 0) lady who said to me, "Oh, how cute, you're pregnant!" just kept walking down the hall, so I didn't have to respond. That was a year ago and I still stress about looking pregnant. And I don't think I ever wore that dress again!

QueenScarlett said...

I am so loving your daily posts.

And... I feel ya... when I was preggers with melia... some a dealership... not a sales guy...a guy just looking at cars - WAITS 7 minutes until my husband and I finish talking to the sales guy to ask - "Are you having twins?" I wish I had said: BITE ME. ;-)

Anonymous said...

And "Your husband is such a great guy. How did you land someone like that?"

Carina said...

"You haven’t had that baby yet?"

I responded to one guy who asked me that by raising both my hands and then extending both middle fingers. He didn’t ask me anymore. No one else at work did either. Perhaps hand gestures is the answer for all of the above?

Cari said...

Oh, I HATE when that happens! It's happened to me more times than I would like to remember. It totally sucks! I always respond, "No, I'm just fat. Thanks for asking." Then they feel stupid AS THEY SHOULD!

By the way, I love the dress and I'm sure you look great in it. Some people are just stupid!

QueenScarlett said...

I should of done what AZ did to my CEO when he sneered with disgust seeing me pregnant a second time. Instead I just said, "nope, just fat." AND... I should've known - twice position eliminated. Nice...

C. Jane Kendrick said...

I've seen you in that dress and you are smoking.

sue-donym said...

Is that Berta?

Geo said...

I like Azucar's response—silent but deadly.

This happened to me too recently, twice in a day I was wearing one of those apron-esque deals, a Gap sale item, something I really like(d). It was actually the day I debuted it, at church. First, an old lady in my ward approached me in all sweetness and aksed if I was pregnant again, then made it much worse when she expressed her great disappointment at my negatory answer (me too). Rob spent the afternoon doing damage control with me—"Honest, you don't look pregnant! That tp looks good on you," etc. As we were walking home from dinner at the in-laws' that night, I got the same pregnancy quiz from one of the neighborhood boys, a kid who's just moved in. Then he got his rub-it-ins in by telling us how awful it is we don't have kids, how sad, how terrible, etc., and asking "Why not? Why not? Why not?" Said white eyelet apron top is now gathering dust in the long-term parking end of my closet. It's too dangerous.

~j. said...

nat - I got the dress at Nordstrom.

this is me - I don't know that i'll be wearing that dress anytime again soon, either...which is sad, because I really like it.

queen - OH NO THEY DIDN'T!! Elimiated the position? Grrrrrr...

ceej - you're fly.

sue - It absolutely could be. That right there is, hands down, the best lookin' family in the ward.

geo - ew. It's so sad when we're compelled by others to retire our favorites to those dark corners. But, as you said, sometimes it's just too dangerous.

Jennifer B. said...

Unbelievable. Why must people be so clueless? I hated it when one girl rubbed my empty, post-partum belly and asked when I was due. It's bad enough to have someone reach out and touch you without permission when you're pregnant; but please, do NOT mess with my after baby flab. Ugh.

LuckyRedHen said...

Guy at hubby's work asked when I was due.

"Due? What do you mean?"

"When are you going to have the baby?"

"What baby? Do I look PREGNANT? Oh my gosh, you think I'm pregnant!"

"But, I thought... um... Ben... ah..."

Ben couldn't take it anymore and told me to cut it out. I was visibly pregnant and about 6 months along. Ben had already told the office that we were expecting but I couldn't resist. You just don't ask that... no matter what. So I had to apologize and the guy about fell over with chest pains it hurt so bad.

But it gets better.

I had my mom with me. So when she was introduced to everyone she said hello-nice-to-meet-you until she got to THE guy. To him she said, "Just so you know... I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat."

Christi said...

Okay, so I know these posts are a month old but I haven't read your blog in a long time... sorry.
Right after Carl and I got married and I was working in the ASB, I was standing in front of the Financial Aid window downstairs and a girl from my freshman ward (so I hadn't seen her for... about 5 years) said, "When are you due?" I said, "I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat." She said, "No really, when are you due?" Can you believe that? At least I was married. I had someone ask me a few months after the mission (when I was a beautifully trim 145 lbs-which is about right for me) when I was due. Catch is I was sitting behind the tuition office window which came all the way up past my chest. She could only see my shoulders and head. Was she high? I didn't even know her. I just held up my ring finger and said, "I'm not even married." Like that helped.