That time I asked a woman the thing you should never ask

That time I asked a woman the thing you should never ask | Such the Spot

Let’s say you’re on Family Feud and the $10,000 question goes something like this: Name three things you should never ask a woman. Everybody knows what the top three answers would be, right?

  1. How old are you?
  2. Are those things real?
  3. _____________________________________________?

Go ahead and shout out your answer. Not that I’ll hear you, but you’ll feel smart when I confirm that indeed you were right in answering the third thing you should never–under any circumstances–ask a woman. That is:

Are you pregnant?

Oh, but friends, I, apparently need both a refresher course on this very topic as well as a hefty helping of shut-the-heck-up because just this past weekend I committed an obscenely ginormous social faux pas. It was mortifying. But rather than move on, for some reason I’m choosing the more torturous option of reliving this moment here on the blog so that

a) maybe you won’t make my same mistake

and

b) I can drill into my head the importance of keeping my big mouth shut no matter how convinced I am that I am right.

We were at Target. It was quickly approaching 9 P.M. and we were there with the kids choosing items for the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes we had to turn in the following morning at church. Also worth noting (and please forgive the long sidenote but this is especially relevant to the story): earlier in the day I discovered that I had accidentally left my eyeglasses at home. It was an especially problematic predicament because we were going to the movies later that evening and I have trouble making out detail without my glasses. We live too far out of town for it to have been feasible to swing home and pick them up, so I had to make due with using my prescription sunglasses in the theater. After the movie, I used the restroom and mistakenly left my very pricey, designer prescription sunglasses in the ladies restroom. When I realized my mistake and returned for them less than two minutes later, they were gone. Can you believe that? What kind of lowlife scuzzbucket finds a pair of sunglasses in the ladies restroom and pockets them? I’ll tell you what kind. A thieving swine who has yet to outgrow the “finders keepers losers weepers” kindergarten mentality. Ahem. Anyway, all of that to illustrate that I was a bit thrown off my game, not to mention left without the means to see properly.

So there I was at Target, just about to enter the checkout line when someone calls my name. I look up and–through slightly squinty eyes–realize that it is the wife of one of my husband’s coworkers. She is more of an acquaintance than a friend; I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve been in the same room.  Still, I quickly made my way across the aisle to her and said a friendly hello. Oh, and then the very next words out of my mouth: “you’re pregnant again?!” I wish, friends, that those three silly words were the worst of it. But alas, there’s more. I reached out my hand and gestured towards what I  presumed was a baby bump.

Yes, I did.

And no, it wasn’t.

“No,” she answered, “this is just me.”  And then she smiled and so kindly accepted my deepest apology.

It was at that moment that I died a little bit, inside.

Thankfully, she is a very laid back, gracious woman and she didn’t appear to give it a second thought. I only wish I could say the same for myself. I felt–still feel–awful. I hate to be responsible for words that hurt. I know that if it were me, those words would have stung.

Jeff scolded me in the car: You are never, ever, ever supposed to ask that.

Well, duh. I realize that now. And–honestly–I’ve heard it before. I’ve even been in situations before where I’ve held my tongue with a woman who really was pregnant because I just couldn’t be positive. This time? I was positive.

Positively wrong, that is. Positively rude. Positively obnoxious.

Lesson learned. Sometimes, you have to learn the hard way, I guess.

9 Replies to “That time I asked a woman the thing you should never ask”

  1. Oh ouch. As soon as I read the title I knew exactly what you’d said. I’m so sorry. That’s painful for both of you.

  2. I have done the exact thing you did. I KNEW that you aren’t supposed to ask, but I was SO SURE that I said it anyway. That was alst ten years ago and I’m still embarrassed every time I see that woman.

    And now my new story…

    Two nights ago was our big annual church fundraiser – a dinner/auction thing. I’m at a table chatting with friends when the minister and his wife sit down at our table. Everyone is eating. He remarks to his wife that he thinks it’s odd that no one asked him to give a blessing for the meal this year. I’m not even in the conversation, but I immediately decide to pipe up, “Well, last year your blessing was super depressing.” And then I laughed.

    Who am I? If my kids sassed the minister like that they wouldn’t see the light of day for at least a week. Oy.

    1. Oh, Erin, I can always count on you for a good story. And you gotta know that I *love* a girl who speaks her mind. Your depressing blessing comment sounds exactly like something I would have said–and then, of course, instantly regretted it. We’re going to make quite the pair on our cruise next summer :)

  3. I’ve made the he/she mistake before with someone who was — um, I’m not even sure what to say — gender challenged? Looking rather neutral? But it was a situation where I couldn’t carefully sidestep; I had to pick one and own it, and I chose incorrectly. I kind of wanted to let the earth swallow me up right there. You can’t unsay it. I feel your pain, girl.

    1. It’s not often that I quite literally laugh out loud when reading through comments, Erica. But today, you allowed me that. Thank you! Also, just a few weeks ago I made that same he/she mistake at Halloween Happenings. Cassidy was talking to a former classmate–I’d guess “it” was in 7th or 8th grade. I said something about “she” doesn’t know…and then Cassidy very loudly declares, “it’s not a she, Mom, it’s a he!”. Oops. In my defense, there were definitely some moobs going on and his hair was in a ponytail that reached halfway down his back. Oy. Open mouth, insert foot.

  4. This has happened to me (where someone asked ME) and you know, I think I felt worse for the woman who asked! I also was wearing a loose fitting baby doll-cut top so it was misleading, I am sure.

  5. Oh dear! I also knew what it was as soon as I read the title too. I was wearing a particular top of mine on a crowded train one day and clearly it must have made me look pregnant, maybe I had one hand near my stomach I don’t know because a lady stood up and gave me her seat. I didn’t want to take advantage of the well meaning stranger but I also didn’t want to embarrass her so I accepted the seat. I can imagine what you must feel, we have all been there at some point, and I really didn’t want the lady to feel that way either. I suppose I also got a seat out of it too so I wasn’t exactly complaining ;)

    1. Confession: if I lived in a location where public transit was necessary, I’d probably wear maternity clothes on purpose just so that I could get a seat! Just kidding. Sort of ;)

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