I am all for communication and getting to know people, but some questions are forever off the table. The headline of this post thrones on top of the list of eternally banned things to ask people, as this brings back one of the most embarrassing memories of my life.
I was around 20 and was going to see a friend studying music performing an intimate little concert for some people she knew. I had not seen her in a while and rumour had it she had become engaged in the meantime. When I saw her I noticed that she looked slightly more, how should i put it, nourished than the last time we met. She was also wearing a dress that was not exactly helping. My brain had then drawn the obvious conclusion that she was expecting and that I was happy for her.
The concert was wonderful and afterwards I went up to thank her, as you do. She was pleased with her performance and was smiling, laughing and glowing like a true artiste knowing she had done good work. So I congratulated her on the concert, her engagement and then point towards her stomach and ask her when she is due. Her wonderfully smiling face changed from pure joy to shock and then utter despair within the blink of an eye. Bless her, she took it as graciously as anyone could and excused herself with it being that time of the month and so on. I think. I was really not in any state to register a lot of what was going on. Once I had realized that disaster had struck, I was fully engaged in looking for a hole to crawl into and stay in. Forever.
Had I found a hole in the ground I would probably still be there, because more than ten years later this still makes me cringe. It is actually only a couple of years ago that I stopped blushing when thinking about it. Oh, the shame!
You live, you learn. And this was a huge learning experience for me. Now, even if the pregnancy is so obvious that she looks as if she is about to explode any minute I will never ever ask when she is due. She will have to tell me clearly and unambiguously that she is expecting little ones before I will signal that I assume anything.
Why am I sharing this? Well, maybe I will spare someone else from the utter embarrassment of asking a woman if she is pregnant when she in fact is not. One of the most efficient ways to make someone feel really, really bad in an instant is an honest remark on their weight. Experience has taught me that it is not always obvious what is a compliment and what is an offense to someone. Does someone want to lose weight? Or are they maybe trying to put on a bit?
You never know, so instead of gambling with people’s feelings there are luckily lots of other things to talk about. If you want to talk about your weight to me that’s fine. But I will not promise I will be honest.