Monday, August 27, 2007

"You Look Like You've Gained a Little Weight"

I didn't blog about this the first time it happened, but since this weekend was the second time, I think I'm now pissed off enough to do a post on it. I've now been mistaken for being pregnant twice this month.

Let me preface this by saying I have gained a little weight over the past year or two, but at 143 lbs. and 5'5", I'm not exactly a hulking giant, either. Unfortunately, though, I do tend to carry extra weight in my abdomen, and I also love fashion, which is tending toward a lot of flowing tunics and empire-waist tops and dresses these days.

So earlier this month, I was at a barbecue at the home of a partner in my firm. It was pouring rain, but my husband and I politely attended anyway since we had said that we would. We brought the partner and his wife a bottle of wine, and as we presented it to them upon our arrival, he reminded his wife that she'd met me at a similar function last year. We were just shaking hands when he added:

"Kristin's a little bigger than the last time you saw her."

I was still trying to process that comment when his wife said: "Congratulations! When's the blessed event?"

My husband replied with an absolutely straight face:

"What blessed event?"

Needless to say, all parties were mortified. But I chalked it up to their tactlessness and laughed it off.

That wasn't so easy this time, since it was the second time in three weeks.

On Saturday night, I was at a going-away party for two friends of ours (we'll call them Brian and Kelly) who are moving to North Carolina. I greeted their parents, who'd come out to see them off along with everyone else, and Brian's father said to me:

"You look like you've gained a little weight."

This time, I was wearing a black silk empire-waist top, so as I spluttered and stammered, my quick-thinking husband gave him an out: "It's just the shirt."

"Oh! So it's not..."


What bothers me most about both of these incidents is not the fact that I have gained a little weight and that it is clearly becoming visible to others (although I certainly will be working out a bit harder this week.) Rather, it's the audacity, the absolute boldness of the assumption that because I was married about a year ago, and because I am at around the age when I probably would be having children if I planned to, any extra weight gain around the middle, or a flowy top, or a drink that looks anything like water (I was actually drinking Grey Goose and tonic on Saturday, but switched to martinis for the rest of the evening after that incident) -- is automatically interpreted as a pregnancy. So definitely, so certainly, that both of these men felt justified not only in pointing it out, but in doing so in what would be the most offensive possible manner if they were wrong.

Which, of course, they were.

Moral of the story: For the love of God, childed or childfree though you may be, please do not ever, EVER ask a woman about her pregnancy unless you are absolutely sure that she is pregnant. And by "absolutely sure," I mean either she has told you herself that she is, or she is going into labor and is about to give birth right in front of you, and you are approaching her to see whether you might be of any assistance in getting her immediately to the nearest hospital.


Mel said...

Yeah, I try to stay away from those empire-waisted tops just for that reason. I'm nowhere near overweight, but I just don't want to give anyone ideas. I was actually standing in line at the bank the other day in a nice, fitted suit, and the teller asked me when I was due. Um...what? She then started backtracking claiming she had no idea why she asked me that. Well, darling, if you don't know why you're asking something, maybe you shouldn't be asking it...

Feh23 said...

Does no one believe in MANNERS any more? There used to be a time when it was considered the height of rudeness to bring up a person's weight gain, hair loss or whatever. I guess this was probably around the same time it was impolite to delve into a couple's private sex life with questions about "when are you having children?"

I also carry my weight in the stomach area, and while I think I do look better in an empire waist, I rarely wear the shirts I feel most confident and attractive in, because I will get a question about my pregnancy status. Generally when I do, though, I take great joy in humiliating the asker, or at least questioning their social skills.

Childfree in NYC said...

I agree that people need to learn some manners. I'd rather have a little extra flab than be as rude as they are.

In nicer news, my husband just sent me a huge bouquet of sunny yellow flowers. The card read: "Congrats on NOT being pregnant."

Mel said...

Awww...that was so sweet of your hubby. Looks like you've got a good one.

Shelley said...

A few days ago I wore a flowy empire-waisted shirt to work, and a co-worker asked if I was "expecting." When I replied, "expecting what?" he was extremely embarrassed. He said I didn't really look pregnant, and that he spoke without thinking. He said he just automatically equated that style of shirt with maternity clothes. I guess I can kind of understand/buy that. But regardless of whether or not he was sincere, it was a nice out!

akh098 said...

Great Blog...I am a childfree by choice male from India and i love reading this blog !

I hope you are making sure that no unwanted/unplanned pregnancies takes place. 58 million pregnancies in world are unwanted/unplanned- thats half of them.


Childfree in NYC said...

Akh908- no worries on that front, believe me.

Wow... I'm so glad to see some men are showing up here lately! For some reason, the childfree community seems so female-heavy. Not that that's a bad thing, but I love the diverse readership. Makes for some fresh points of view :-)

Diya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diya said...

Andy (akh098) here. I am from a country (India) where it is very difficult to find a girl who wants to be childfree. They expect atleast one kid. My game plan is to find a career minded woman and then convince her with a childfree option. I will go for vasectomy before marriage. In case, if i am not able to find a girl who wants to be childfree, i will be single. Marriage is a wonderful relationship (without kids):

Woman emotional strength + Man Physical power + Good careers (Both working in top jobs)+ Vacations/beach home - No kids = Life's good !!!

Your blog is wonderful because you are educated (lawyer) and your posts are intellectual. You write logically with reasoning power.

The'urge' to reproduce is very strong. The goal to be childfree in fertile years is very tough goal since we dont get full support from society. Everyone who is close to you like your neighbours or work friends are waiting for good news !!! They are hoping it will come this year or next year.

I talked to a girl. She says the feeling to hold a new life and the early years are best specially when kid says mum and dad for the first time or the newborn walks. I think the couples who decides to start a family go for this feeling- The early feeling. After that there is no feeling and all trouble !!

3000 new borns every 20 minutes. 30,000 kids under 5 die every day due to malnutrition and hunger. As i wrote earlier, half of the world pregnancies are unwanted/unplanned- Teen pregnancy. Pure mess driven by sexual pleasure.

Life is so good if we adopt addition process. We two our one- So we are adding to human population in controlled way with everyone having only one kid and feeling motherhood and fatherhood life.

Here we are multiplying like a virus which is bad. India and China with 41% of worlds population are leaders in multiplication !!

Lot of space, jobs, money for everyone. So we childfree people and couples with kid will co-exist. However, the quality of life of childfree couple will be better provided childfree couples have good top careers by the time they reach 35 (senior management careers)- Independent living with husband/wife- Limitless love with good income and no kids !

Childfree Chick said...


How rude to tell someone they've gained weight.

This is why I like animals better than people.