When my son was 6 weeks old, I took a quick trip to the grocery store without him. The checkout clerk, noting my squishy midsection (in fairness, all my sections are squishy), asked me, “When is your baby due?” Instead of telling her he was currently out-of-utero and probably screaming himself blue in the face over my absence at this very moment, I did what anyone in my position would do: I threw six AERO bars onto the conveyer belt and replied “Oh, in a few months!”
Why'd I lie? Because I was so embarrassed for her at the error that I felt it was my job to make her comfortable despite her being the one who was wrong. This is because at that point in my life I still operated under the long-held conditioning that a woman should be “polite.” Upon hearing I was indeed “pregnant,” the clerk then put her hand on my stomach and declared the fat rolls contained within the confines of my velour maternity leisure suit were in fact a "future daughter" and that “she was never wrong.”
This clerk was well-intentioned, so I cut her some slack: rather than burn her garage down, I simply never went back to that store, because the thought of having to concoct some tragic story about why I wasn’t getting bigger was so stressful that I was willing to pay $2 more per pound for butter across town for the rest of my life.
It’s often hard to tell if a woman is in fact pregnant, and sometimes, maybe all the times, you just shouldn’t say anything. My own personal rule is that unless there is a large, suspicious puddle of fluid on the floor and a woman is screaming something about “the head,” or “crowning,” or “dear God, someone please call Jason!” then I just keep my eyes upward and talk about the weather.
Pregnant women are sensitive and hungry - hungry for specific foods. I was a pregnant woman twice so I know this to be true. I once ordered two Boston Creme donuts at a donut shop drive-thru when I was pregnant with my daughter, but as I drove away I soon discovered – TO MY HORROR – that neither of said donuts contained any cream at all - Boston, or otherwise.
This was not good.
This was not good at all.
These were the days before cellular telephone technology became commonplace, so I drove around until I found a pay phone with a phone book, and then I called the donut shop and blasted them through heaving tears, “NO CREAM! NO CREAM!” and then I hung up and cried in a parking lot for several minutes before returning to work.
When I returned to work I relayed the story of my terrible, horrible, no-good day., complete with the whole sordid donut tale - angry phone call to the shop and all. While my female peers commiserated about pregnancy cravings and just wanting a goddamn donut, one kind co-worker, an older gentleman, said "You're pregnant? I never noticed."
I guess he figured I just really, really liked donuts.