Addicted to novelty since 2001

Open Mouth, Insert Lower Body

From time to time, I’ve written about the difficulties I have with small talk. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in the world of verbal gaffes. Witness Heather’s recent lapse:

We had almost made it back to the house safely when we ran into a neighbor whom we rarely see. She has a two and a half year old daughter, and looking as if she was going to give birth in less than a month I asked her when the next one was due. WITNESS EXAMPLE A: How to make your really shitty day a total disaster on par with nuclear detonation.

You can guess what happens next–it’s a classic. Of course, she’s got the excuse of being medicated. What have I got?

7 Responses to “Open Mouth, Insert Lower Body”

  1. gillian

    That happened with a teacher at my high school once (read: 10+ years ago). Everyone thought she was pregnant. One girl went up to her and asked when she was due, and the teacher said she wasn’t, and asked why the girl had thought so.

    The girl made a good recovery, though, to her credit: she said that it was because the teacher had such a glow about her. It seemed to work.

  2. donna

    oh dear god. that’s rule number one: Unless you can see a baby COMING OUT OF HER VAGINA, you never, ever, assume that she’s pregnant.

    Of course, if she IS pregnant, and you don’t say something about it, they also get offended. But this is a better sort of offended than the “You think I’m PREGNANT?” sort of offended.

    Like, my mother, at a full 9 months pregnant, at the kids clothing store, buying newborn outfits… was asked “Is this your first grandchild?”

    Granted, Mom had (and still has) gray hair, and it’s not all that usual to see gray haired old ladies having babies. Still, it was funny as hell. To us. Not to her. :)

  3. Mel

    I mistook a woman for pregnant when I was 17, waitressing at White Spot. The woman and her family came in and as I greeted them I made the mistake of asking when she was due. Needless to say, I didn’t seat them in my section.

  4. Travis Smith

    Someone asked me once if my cat was pregnant.

    I was offended by proxy. I mean, she just liked to eat!

  5. Anonymous

    OK, I’ll admit it: I look pregnant, but I’m not. Part of this is because if I gain any weight at all, it goes to my tummy, front and centre. I hate that. Then there’s the fact that I WAS pregnant but I had a stillbirth, and still haven’t managed to lose the extra weight I put on during pregnancy. As if that isn’t enough, I also have a big fibroid (harmless uterine tumour) that makes my profile even worse.

    I never know how to react now when people ask if I’m pregnant. I used to try to spare their feelings, but I’ve had enough of that. I think next time it happens I’ll just burst into tears on the spot, and then maybe the word will get out that “when are you due?” is a really, really bad thing to say.

  6. Andrea

    I’m always worried that will happen. I tend to say, “So, what are you up to in the next few months?” or “What’s new with you?” Most women will inevitably mention the pregnancy, baby or mat leave. When it comes to strangers, I avoid any mention.

    If’s any consolation to Heather, at least she didn’t start rubbing the woman’s tummy. I don’t know what makes people think pregnant bellies and infants are public property.

  7. shamer

    Actually, small talk is very easy Darren. How can you possibly find it difficult?

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