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12 July 2008

"Aurez-vous un petit garçon ou une petite fille?" [More:]
So... I just got asked if I'm having a boy or a girl.

I'm not pregnant.

I'm not even really fat. I wear size 12 (US) on the bottom. I have a bit of a round belly and I'm chestacular (36 FF). I'm fit because I bike everywhere.

When I'm upset it's difficult for me to speak French, so I said very loudly, "OH, I'M JUST FAT." Which could sound a little tiny bit like "je ne sais pas" if it's said quickly and misheard. He accepted this and I walked away.

I've been asked this twice before, when I was wearing a winter coat. But never in summer, in a dress.

I'm not really mad -- although I do think it's rude to ask someone this if you're not 100% certain that they're pregnant. I just never want to go outside ever again. Ever. Again.

I hate that my body image (already flexible, to put it nicely) is so easily toppled by this. Some days I feel pretty decent and all it takes is an offhand, even friendly remark like this and I feel like a gross blob. Not that pregnant women are gross blobs, etc. I just know that my self-scrutiny is going to ramp up exponentially.

At least inside there are fans, and cats, and books and pens, and computer. I should be okay here for the next 40 years or so.


That's all I wanted to get off my chest (or gut, as it were.)
although I do think it's rude to ask someone this if you're not 100% certain that they're pregnant.


I have a friend. She's thin. People (mostly the elderly) ask her if she's pregnant because she wears those smock-y empire shirts that are in so in-style at the moment. I suggested that she stop wearing those tops and wear something more fitted. She doesn't and continues to be depressed that people ask if she's pregnant.

I'm guessing that sometimes the older crowd doesn't understand that these tops and empire looks are all the range. They just remember that's what pregnant people wore when they were young.

I'm not sure if you were wearing this type of dress. Regardless, I can sympathize. It's never pleasant to be asked this question. We don't want to look pregnant if we're not pregnant.
posted by LoriFLA 12 July | 15:02
The dress I had on was, I dunno, a sundress I guess you could call it. Not exactly tight but not a sack either. I really liked it because it's the perfect length and colour and it shows no bra/straps, but regardless it's going back to the closet permanently.
posted by loiseau 12 July | 15:12
I was just reading a blog entry about the same thing. What's up with people lately?
posted by occhiblu 12 July | 15:41
Pregnant women harbor one or more parasites that are known to listen to music that you find grating, cause societal problems, and damage your lawn, so people are probably just being cautious and making sure you aren't contagious. Personally, I ask as a matter of course when interacting with sales representatives, people asking for directions, and good citizens trying to get me to sign petitions. One can never be too careful in this day and age.
posted by cmonkey 12 July | 15:57
I really liked it because it's the perfect length and colour and it shows no bra/straps, but regardless it's going back to the closet permanently.

I'm so sorry, but I understand. I've had beloved garments ruined for me by other people's comments.
posted by essexjan 12 July | 16:47
Eh, laugh it off, don't take it seriously, I'm sure you're attractive. You even SOUND attractive.

And I feel your pain. Unless you were wearing a moo-moo, in which case, ya know... Or worse, one of these new dresses that looks like a moo-moo that sinches tight with elastic just below the bust, leaving everything below to billow tent-like in the wind... Should be found in the maternity section but for some reason is sold in Young Women's Wear. If that's the case, I have only so much sympathy.
posted by shane 12 July | 17:19
Oh, kudos for the answer, too. "I'm just fat is" worlds better than what most people, including me and my terrible French, would have said, which might have been (sp?:) "Baise toi!"

Wait, I'm a guy, people don't ask me if I'm preggers.
posted by shane 12 July | 17:27
Oh, loiseau, how rude. I like your answer too.

I once offered my seat to a woman on the tube and got punched hard on the arm and "I'm not fucking pregnant you bitch" screamed in my face. So, all pregnant women should wear an identifying badge to stop violence against commuters and hurtful comments towards the not-pregnant.
posted by goo 12 July | 17:31
I wear baby doll dresses and tops all the time. I think they're comfortable and cute. one has ever asked me if I'm pregnant. Maybe I look too old? Great, now I have something else to agonize over. Before it was looking too fat or pregnant, now it's looking too old to be pregnant... ;)
posted by iconomy 12 July | 17:31
Oh. And this one time? I wanted to fucking kill.

I had just had my second baby. I was probably about 20 pounds overweight and still had a bit of a belly. Feeling fug...just not very attractive. We were on vacation and were taking my 4 year old daughter to an amusement park. She wanted to ride some thing and I had to get on with her. The stupid ass teenager running the ride comes up to me and says something like "Oh, like, you like shouldn't be getting on this if you're like, pregnant."

I gave her a look that could kill and told her that I wasn't pregnant. She was immediately sorry and then went on and on and on and on and on and fucking ON, apologizing and making a HUGE federal case out of it, drawing the attention of everyone in the tri-state area by yelling, "OMG OMG!!! I am SO SORRY!!! I THOUGHT YOU WERE PREGNANT OMG!!! SO SO SO SORRY!!! I AM SO EMBARRRRRAAAASSSSED!!!". She was yelling it. Everyone was staring at my stomach. I hated her and wanted her dead. Just shut UP!

So I go on the ride with my kid. It was a ride that went around in circles. Every single time I passed her, she was telling someone about what had happened. I am not lying. I wanted her dead.

So the ride ended, and my husband, who had taken our new baby for a spin in the stroller and had no idea what had happened, walked over. I get out of the ride and she comes up to me again and starts screamingly apologizing. My husband asks what's up, and again, she screams, "I THOUGHT SHE WAS PREGNANT...HER STOMACH IS REALLY BIG!! OMG I AM SO EMBARRRRRAAASSSSED!!!"

YOU'RE embarrassed? Ok. Yeah, I can see that. Sucks to be you.

So what I'm basically saying here is wear the dress that you love and fuck the comments.
posted by iconomy 12 July | 17:43
I am a size 10, and with an occasional intolerance to lactose which leads to occasional swelled belly. Also, I like these baby-doll things that everyone is wearing. I was in teaching in Northern Ontario and about to take a commuter flight back to the city. Since there are not many flights in and out, this particular one on a Sunday night was packed. I was in line at security, when one of security guard/baggage handlers waved me forward. I was like WTF, what did I do? The handler says to me, "Would you like go through now?" I guess I paused because then she added, "Is that your husband I saw with you earlier? You two must be very happy about the little one. When are you due?" I didn't know what to say, so I just patted my belly and said, "Not soon enough!" She laughed and I went through the metal detector ahead of the huge line!

The best part is that my 'husband', actually another artist, is truly the most urban hipster in the world. And anyone with even in an inkling of experience could tell that this is a man that would not be husband to anyone except another man. We were a highly unlikely hetero baby-making couple.

Anyway, that's my mistaken pregnancy story.
posted by typewriter 12 July | 19:01
To those of you who feel like this is a reflection on your shape or your figure or your attractiveness: it is not. It's irrelevant to you; it's a reflection of the dim-wittedness of the person talking, and nothing more.

The first time someone asked me "How many months?" (coincidentally, I told this story not an hour ago over dinner, though with far more cursing, to my sister's amusement), I was about 19 and as slim as a blade of grass, but with a big rack. And it still happened, because some fool only noticed how my sheath dress was hanging oddly for the split second I was bent over.

(My sister's hypothetical response, 20 years too late: "Are you kidding? This is the thinnest I've ever been! Fuck off!")

I agree that the time to congratulate someone on their pregnancy is the instant after they've announced it.
posted by Elsa 12 July | 20:50
Ugh, thanks guys. I do think that being breastastic is part of the illusion of pregnancy -- some things hang straight down off the chest. And then there are unfortunate wind gusts and weird positions and all kinds of random angles that can make me look preggers. It was so much easier to brush off when I was wearing a winter coat, though.

I do like the baby-doll look, sort of; I avoid that in dresses both because I worry about looking pregnant and because they're usually too short (I have psoriasis on my legs and it's worse on my thighs so I hide them). I do like tops like that though -- it's nice to feel I don't have to suck anything in or adjust anything; it's pretty amazing, the contrast between always feeling a little self-conscious and weird in your clothes and then suddenly wearing a blousy top and being able to just relax and not think about it.

Maybe I should try to find a belt that works with this dress. Or see about tailoring it a bit.

In any case, I did some completely off-budget retail therapy:

dress (bunnies!)
I wanted this coat but had to draw the line somewhere.
posted by loiseau 13 July | 02:21
Yep, it's the breastastic thing. I've been slim as all get-out but quite top-heavy at times and I'd either get the "are those real?" or "are you pregnant?" . I don't know which one was more annoying.

Except now, when I get neither which I interpret to mean that my breastastic has been nursed down to flat-tastic. Damn!

There's a lady in our building who is rather rotund. She's a small girl, and very very rounded, as in heavy, with a massive chest and round butt and quite a bit of belly to go with it. She's gotten heavier and I didn't pay much attention to it since, well, she was always quite round and I just thought that the summer brought out tighter tops, but one day my neighbour yelled out to her "so, when are you due?" and she snipped, seemingly sarcastically "August." I still haven't dared ask if she is actually pregnant and I'm not going to until I see a baby in her arms. Here we are talking a belly that's getting bigger than mine was though, which is quite a feat if there's no baby in there.

posted by dabitch 13 July | 03:36
I love the back of that Dutch jersey dress! Nice!
posted by dabitch 13 July | 03:40
Okay, thank you for that picture -- now that I have had a reminder of how a fully pregnant woman looks, I can be sure that no, my oven does not look like it's got a bun in it. After the remark I began to feel like a hot-air balloon that's slowwwwly being inflated.

That tattoo is sooo heavy. It's such a great contrast -- natural, fecund, earth mother the circle of life and all that and then BIOHAZARDDDD. I hope the babe doesn't take it personal later in life!
posted by loiseau 13 July | 16:34
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