On the scale of most embarrassing things that could possibly happen to a woman, being matched with your coworker on e-Harmony is probably about a 6.
Having a “wardrobe malfunction” in front of millions of people, on the other hand, is a definite 10.
What happened to me fell somewhere in the middle.
My boyfriend and I were on our way to his parent’s house for dinner, and due to (yet another) subway closure, we were crammed onto a clown-car like shuttle bus with hundreds of other disgruntled passengers. All the seats were occupied, so we were forced to stand and hold onto the hand-rails.
This was particularly challenging for me, as after imbibing a bit too much at a wedding the night before, balance was not exactly my forte. I was minding my own business, trying not to topple over, when suddenly the young man sitting next to us took his headphones out of his ears, and looked up at me.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, “please, sit here”.
“Oh, no that’s ok” I said awkwardly, not wanting to leave my boyfriend to stand alone.
“No, really-I was on my phone, I’m sorry I didn’t notice before” he apologized.
I looked back at him, perplexed at his polite insistence. He must have been about 20, with a head of shaggy, unkempt hair and a complexion resembling the lunar surface. He wore ill-fitting khaki pants and a t-shirt with an anime logo; possibly Pokemon. He didn’t immediately strike me as the old-school-Southern gentleman type.
And then I noticed him gesturing towards my stomach, and a wave of understanding rolled over me like nausea.
Oh my god. I thought, Homeboy thinks I’m pregnant.
“No really, I’m fine” I stammered, struggling to hold back tears, “thank you though”.
Realizing what had just gone down; my boyfriend led me by the hand to another area of the bus, far away from my the Pokemon-sporting perpetrator.
“Are you ok, babe?” he asked tepidly. (It was clear that he was terrified.)
“I’m fine” I mumbled, “just give me a minute”.
For the remainder of the bus ride, I tried to maintain my cool as I cycled through the five stages of grief.
I looked down at my slightly protruding belly. It wasn’t impossible to see where he was coming from. In my hung-over state, I had chosen one of those long, flowy maxi-dresses often sported by pregnant ladies (or Mrs. Roper). And I had overindulged quite heartily at the wedding the night before (late-night burger bar much?)
I would have said this was the most mortifying moment of my life……….. had it been the first time this happened.
A few years ago, when I was an articling student at a law firm, I had pretty much given up on putting myself together after a particularly bad stint of late nights. It was 11pm, and I was hunched over my desk, trying to finish a memo when the night cleaning lady came by to empty my garbage.
“Oh!“ she said, smiling and pointing to my ever-expanding midsection “Congratulations! You are pregnant, no?”
If two mistaken pregnancies aren’t enough to get your ass in gear, then I really don’t know what is. In an effort to “lose the baby weight”, I’ve started a new diet and exercise regime, which includes a horrific bootcamp class featuring countless burpees, tire flipping, and smashing things with a sledgehammer (which I imagine to be Pokemon dude’s face).
So for those of you who were wondering just when IS it ok to ask a woman if she’s pregnant?
The answer, my friends, is NEVER.
Although you may be well-intentioned, it’s just not worth the risk.
Not only will it be super f*cking awkward if you get it wrong,
You could also cause some serious damage. At the very least, a slight ego bruise; but it could be much worse. You never know what that woman is going through. Maybe she can’t conceive. Maybe she just had a miscarriage. Maybe she’s just having a really hard time right now and is coping with a family-sized jar of Nutella.
I know all about that not that I know anything about that.
So mind ya bidness, ok?
All this being said, it has come to my attention that people will never, ever stop being idiots.
Which is why I have developed a few potential responses you can use if this extremely unfortunate situation were to happen to YOU.
BreezyK’s top things to say when someone asks if you are pregnant (and you’re CLEARLY not):
- Yes and your husband is the father.
- No… are you?
- Nope, just fat
- No, pregnancy would require me to stop drinking
- I’ve been possessed by an alien lifeform! *Run screaming* It’s alive!! It’s alive!!!
- Only if you count food babies
- It’s an immaculate conception. JESUS HAS RISEN!!!
Question of the Day: Have you ever been mistaken for / mistaken anyone else for being pregnant?