There really is one question you should never ask a woman. Once again, dear readers, I find myself reporting a shameful moment to you all. However this time, the shame shouldn’t be mine…and yet. Let me set the scene. This past weekend in Perth (where I live) the weather was glorious and sunny for what felt like the first time in ages. My eldest son had a birthday party to go to in Fremantle. Freo is a gorgeous port city 25 mins drive from Perth city. It was built by the Victorians in the 1830’s when they settled the swan river colony.
I was happy.
Anyway, my husband and I dropped our eldest at the party and took ourselves to the pub with our youngest for lunch. It was a glorious, sunny day – nothing better than a beer or a glass of wine at lunch, right? My husband was sitting at the table with our 3 year old. I went to the bar to order food and drinks for us all. I was happy, I was smiling, it was fun – scene established. So there I am standing at the bar about to order and the man next to me says: “Well, that’s a beautiful happy smile.”. I looked at him – he would’ve been about my father’s age. He was, as they say, a little merry.
The question you should never ask.
So I say: “Yes, it’s a lovely day, I’m happy that it’s sunny” or words to that effect, smile at him and try to get back to getting the bar-tenders’ attention. Then he says “Yes, it’s nice to see someone happy and smiling”. Out of politeness and a general feeling of sympathy for a man who’s drinking alone at a bar at 1pm, I turn again towards him, smile and nod. Which is when he looks me up and down, motions to his stomach to mimic roundness and asks “When are you due?”
I am not pregnant. In that moment, I felt upset because obviously he thought I looked fat enough to be pregnant. Then I felt annoyed that this person was even demanding any of my attention in the first place! But my overriding feeling was sympathy for him and a desire to absorb what I knew would be his shame and embarrassment when he found out that actually…I’m foetus free.
I mean, am I that conditioned as a woman to be nice and take care of other people’s feelings? That when someone says something hurtful and offensive to me, my primary response is to want to save his feelings? For a split second I even contemplated saying “April” and duck walking back to my table just to spare his embarrassment. But then I realised I wouldn’t be able to order any wine. And that glass of wine had my fucking name on it. So I went bright red, put a hand on his arm and said “I’m not, and you should never ask a woman that question”. He stuttered, and again I felt sorry for him. So I said “Look, I have had 2 kids and I have a pot belly…so don’t worry about it”. And he was super relieved. But this was how I felt inside.
Just don’t do it.
So let me say this. You can’t be sure when a woman is pregnant. What if I was someone who had struggled with fertility? What if I was someone who had lost a baby, or miscarried? Or what if I am just a bit round there, because I’ve had babies? You just called me fat! FUCK YOU!!
Unless you are a mid-wife who is taking down some information after I have told you I’m pregnant, do not ask me when I am due. Unless you genuinely see a tiny foot moving inside a woman’s pregnant stomach, do not ask that question. Actually, even then, maybe she just ate a big lunch. You know what? Unless you are in the hospital room and you are watching the motherfucking head of a baby crowning out of the wizard’s sleeve DO NOT EVER ASK WHEN ARE YOU DUE. Never, not ever, never never never. Just don’t do it. Okay? Thanks very much. The end.