I work in a retail store where sometimes I am placed in the Jewelry department. One of the many services we offer is changing watch batteries. It’s terribly exciting stuff. Well, I had an older man come in to get a battery for his pocket watch. While I was still ringing up another customer before him, he had already began beguiling me and anyone in ear shot with random stories of no particular relation to the events at hand. By the time I was helping him, I knew that he was born in the 1930s, put to work when he was 4, had his oldest son in 1955 and more.
When I got to him, I was polite and made general comments to his endless stories. I listened, smiled and did not even question when he presented such questionable concepts like a 4 year old working. I want to establish this, because I need you to know that I was really nice to him. I even tried extra hard to fix his pocket watch – which was not ticking no matter what I did to it.
Ten minutes into this procress, a woman walked up to ask me about ordering a ring. She was really, really pregnant. Like, probably about to have a baby next month pregnant. She was also that really flattering kind which lets you be only big in your baby bump and still perfectly thin everywhere else. The old man looks at her, and says something along the lines of, “I’m sorry if this might seem rude, but I’m old and I don’t mean anything by it, but are you pregnant?” She replies cheerily, “Yes!” And then he looks at me and says, “And are YOU pregnant?”
Now, truthfully, I get this a lot. I’m not sure what it is about me that looks so pregnant. I’m not a thin girl for sure (size 10 in most places), but I don’t think I look particularly like I am shopping in the maternity section. So, given my past experience, I replied, “No, I’m not” in a still very polite voice. His next comment floored me. “Oh okay, you’re just overweight then.” Shockingly, I still kept my composure and merely stated, “Yep. Sure am.” Still nice, but paired with my best “You’re dead to me” eyes.
He then laughed and tried to excuse himself by again explaining that he was old. First off, here’s the thing, old man, even in 1930 you couldn’t blatantly call a woman fat to her face and not be considered rude. Seriously, no excuse. Secondly, I don’t understand why the second comment was necessary. I’m definitely overweight. I already felt overweight enough when you assumed I was pregnant — OBVIOUSLY that’s what that comment implies every time it is misplaced on someone.
So the moral of this little rant is – don’t assume someone is pregnant just because they’re heavy. I mean, if they’re really obviously pregnant and maybe wearing a “FUTURE MOM” or “FETUS IN PROGRESS” shirt, have at it. Otherwise, maybe just let your curiosity go. Whether I was pregnant or not was not going to effect that man’s day, but it certainly effected mine. Anyone who you really need to know the status of her uterus will actually invite you into that knowledge of her life without you questioning.
Especially don’t say it to someone who is working on your pocket watch. I didn’t properly latch it on the inside. I hope!
By Jessica Day