THE WORST HAS HAPPENED.
OK, so it’s not the ACTUAL worst in terms of serious life stuff. But it wouldn’t sound quite so catchy if I’d started with ‘the two hundredth worst thing has happened!’
But in girl terms, it truly is the worst, with second place going to when you’re feeling smug in the pub as you catch a table of men staring at you only to have one of them tell you that you have your skirt tucked into your knickers, third place going to falling flat on your face in a busy shopping centre while on your own and fourth place being snapped up by when you sneeze and a little trump pops out and someone notices. (Not that that ever happens, obviously.)
And the winner is…
A man asked me if I’m pregnant.
And I am not.
Yep, he broke the number one most important rule of interaction between men and women – never ask a woman if she’s pregnant just in case she’s not.
Which I am not.
I glared at him in horror then checked down at my stomach. I was aware that I’d put on a little travelling weight over the months, but I didn’t realise it was enough for someone to assume I had a small human growing inside of me.
“No I’m not!” I replied hastily, not knowing whether to laugh or to cry. (Naturally I opted for the latter.)
“I’m so sorry,” his eyes grew wide as he realised he’d offended me.
And weirder still, he continued:
“I didn’t mean to offend you, it’s just, I’ve been watching you (SORRY, WHAT NOW?!) and I noticed that you always have your hand on your stomach.”
So now I was a fatty with a stalker.
Once the man had finished apologising profusely, and I’d given him a heads up never to ask a woman that ever again, I decided to put it down to being a big offensive misunderstanding. I mean, it was that or crying myself into an oblivion of starvation, and I was really looking forward to whole load of ice cream.
But it did get me asking a lotta questions. And a lotta questions about the questions it got me asking.
Like, what business was it of his to ask? What difference would it have made to him even if my answer had been yes? Why had a stranger recognised the way I hold myself? What if I’m one of those people that thinks they’re really thin when in reality they’re absolutely not?
He’d asked me one single question to which had left me questioning my weight, my posture, my image, his social skills, why his mother hadn’t advised him of things never to say, of how my reaction reflected my personal body insecurities, of any time it’s ever OK to tell someone you’ve been watching them, on whether he was weird, or perhaps I was weird, or maybe we were just from two completely different worlds.
Just three little words caused all of these thoughts and feelings to shoot through me. These words were so innocently uttered but so powerful and affecting and irretrievable.
This man was never to know what thoughts his innocent question would provoke in my mind, and if he did he’d probably be shocked and apologise, again.
In a life where “I love you” can mean so much, that “I’m sorry” can bring such relief, that “I’ll miss you” can be so warming and that “I hate you” can hurt like hell, our words should always be spoken carefully, and made certain that they are fully meant before they leave our dangerous lips.
But, if there’s one thing that should never pass, whether you’ve thought about it carefully or not, and that’s to ask a woman if she’s pregnant, just in case she isn’t.
Which, to confirm, I am not.