I got my feelings hurt today. It's been a while—I'd actually forgotten what that felt like. It turns out that the thick skin I've painstakingly developed is pretty much bullshit. You know in the latest Harry Potter, how when they get to a new place they have to cast protection charms before they can relax and know they're safe? I do something like that myself (minus the wizardry) before I go into a potentially hazardous situation, which is why I generally emerge relatively unscathed from encounters with poisonous directors and dangerous divas. Sometimes, though, someone sneaks up on me and the sting gets in before there's time to put my guard up, which is how I ended up nearly breaking my firm "no crying at work" policy today.

"Are you expecting?" he asked, eyeing my belly meaningfully.

(Spoiler Alert: I'm NOT.)

I've heard of this happening to people, but generally as hilarious foot in mouth stories from the point of view of the person asking—"Oops! I should have known better." Perhaps that's what this story will turn into for him. As for me, I'm not ready to laugh about it just yet.

Oh, I know I could chalk it up to insensitivity, or bloating, or the empire waist of my dress. But honestly, when a person who has seen you practically every day for the last 2 months asks whether you're pregnant, it's a reasonable assumption that perhaps you've put on a few pounds. This, approximately an hour after I blithely told colleagues that I don't own a scale (true), have only a general sense of what I weigh (true), and can judge just by the way my pants fit whether I need to be more careful of what I eat (possibly not as true as I had hoped).

Exactly 492 feet from my front door stands what can only be described as my downfall: Shake Shack. Delicious burgers, heavenly cheese fries, creamy shakes, all dangerously convenient. In fact, I went there for dinner last night, and used that opportunity to take my picture of the day, which I planned to include here today in an upbeat post about the culinary wonders of my NYC neighborhood.


Trust me, the irony is not lost on me.

Blergh. Does this mean I have to go on a diet?


  1. Oh, but those burgers, fries and shakes sound soooooo good! Give them up when you get to Vienna . . .

  2. Nah - you have an insensitive colleague who obviously forgot the censor between his brain and his mouth.

    I had that happened to me once, in Hawaii of all places. While on a bus, I was asked if I was expecting by one old lady and later got hit on by a young man.

    There's a funnier story to distract you from your rude colleague.

    Shake Shack sounds good, I'm going to have to investigate when I'm in town next week.

  3. Oh honey.

    I had to re-post this twice as I saw an error, an unforgivable grammatical error, heh. To begin anew:

    Ouch, indeed. I recall being on the tactless end of that question day in my twenties. I asked a woman who really truly looked incredibly pregnant when she was expecting.

    She fixed me with a stare both grim and sorrowful at once, if that is possible, and said that she was not.

    I wanted to fall through the door, as I hate hurting people under all circumstances, particularly when it might be somebody's hot spot. For most women, weight can be an incredibly touchy issue. Sane men KNOW THIS.

    It is not clear to me whether the person who asked this question of you is merely a buffoon or a sexist, insensitive buffoon. I have noted over my long life that there are men, particularly those involved in the arts, who favor a woman with an anorexic look: properly sallow skin and cheekbones hollowed by hunger.

    Don't buy it! With your will o' steel this is nothing but a temporary condition. And damn it woman, if your jeans still fit how bad can it be?

    Consider this the blathering of somebody with bad manners. Of course it can be hurtful and embarrassing. Weight has always been an issue for me -- it has taken me a lifetime to understand that we come in all sizes.

    Years ago I gained weight due to thyroid problems. Not a teeny tiny teensy little bit of weight like you may have, but an out of control 40 pounds in a year. This was an outrage to my pride, my vanity and my self-esteem.

    I recall a man pinching the tissue (ie "fat") around my ribcage, sneering and saying "what's this, then?" He is lucky to this day that he remains alive on the face of the earth. But I felt such shame - at that age I hadn't yet met Grandma and been taught what a useless emotion shame is!

    You are a raving, tearing beauty. Illegitimi non carborundum!

    Love, Julie

  4. You're beautiful, Ms. B, and there are some mean beings on the 5th floor......

  5. I would give anything for a delicious, juicy burger! I can't believe someone asked you that...you don't look like you could ever look preg. If we ever come to Vienna this year for a short trip, want to get coffee??

  6. Thank you, ladies, for all your kind words. I actually hesitated to post this, because by the time I got home I was mostly over it. I'm so glad I did, though, because it turned out the combination of writing catharsis and your support was exactly what I needed.

    And Carolyn: YES! Come soon, I'd love to meet for coffee! :)


Post a comment. Pretty please?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...