For most of my adult life people—some I am acquainted with and some who are complete strangers—have occasionally asked me if I was pregnant when I haven’t been. Actually, they didn’t really ask; they just assumed. And believe me, when you assume, you really do make an ass out of everyone involved.
Once at my daughter’s pre-school fall festival, a mom came up to me, pointed to my stomach, and exclaimed, “Looks like someone has been busy!” I wanted to say, “Busy eating cupcakes!” but instead I just pretended I didn’t understand what she meant, silently fuming at her presumptuousness and her inquiry into my sex life (we were at a pre-school event for chrissakes!). A few years later when my son was in pre-school another mom (who never uttered a single word to me, not even “hi,” before or since) asked me when I was due. I pretended I didn’t hear her and walked away. Back when I was working at a college a co-worker I barely knew said to me in front of a group of other co-workers and students, “You’re expecting!” It wasn’t a question, more like a statement of fact. When I said that I wasn’t, she tried to argue with me. Another co-worker I barely knew at that same college once poked my stomach repeatedly and started making all manner of happy sounds. This was at a baby shower for another co-worker, who was actually pregnant. (Note to self: Avoid pre-schools and colleges). A cashier at Whole Foods whom I saw every single week when I did my grocery shopping once declared, “You look like you’re going to pop that baby out any day now!” I could go on, but you get the idea.
I’ll admit it–I do look pregnant. I know that and I don’t need other women (and it’s always women) to draw attention to this fact. If you are curious about what’s going on in my uterus, you could just sit back and wait and all would be revealed in due time (no pun intended). I’ve always had a pot belly, even when I was a scrawny teenager begging my mom to order me some weight gain powder I’d seen in a magazine. Even though my gut is much bigger now, thanks to two real pregnancies, lots of red wine, and lack of exercise, my belly has always been out of proportion with the rest of my body. Basically, I have the female equivalent of a dicky-doo.
Yesterday morning I put on a shirt that felt a little tight and wondered if it would generate pregnancy speculation. Then it occurred to me that it’s been a long time since this has happened. As I walked my son to school, I was feeling pretty good about that, thinking that I must be looking pretty fine these days. But then the hard truth dawned on me: No one thinks I’m pregnant because I look too damned old to be pregnant. So now I don’t know which is worse–looking pregnant, looking fat, or looking old.
Maybe I should get this shirt