I carry my weight in my stomach. Whenever I read those "clothing for your body type" articles in women's magazines, I flip past the pears and the apples in search of the "Boa constricter who just swallowed a basketball." Just kidding, it's more like a small rodent -- a mouse or a bat, perhaps.
I wish the Entemann's 12-pack I stopped buying because I binge-eat the whole thing went straight to a big, fat sexy ass like some women have, because as far as I know nobody is yet fetishizing full, voluptous bellies. (Can we try to make this happen for fall?)
I point this out not to body-bitch, but to help you understand why I empathized so deeply with a woman who recently said to me, "Uh-oh, I feel like this is the kind of shirt that makes people ask if I'm pregnant."
Instantly, I was hurtled back down the flowing baby-doll blouse rabbit hole to a certain empire waist tank-top that made a friend who hadn't seen me for a few months tentatively question my gestation status, eyes alight with goo-goo-ga-ga sweetness.
I thought I gave a pretty good warning glare halfway through the sentence, but the damn thing was coasting on sheer momentum by that point. Like the 2010 Denzel Washingston/Chris Pine vehicle, that shit was unstoppable.
I'm sorry to call her out like this, because we have since laughed about it (We cool, right, Sherryl?), but she remains a glaring example of someone who Should Have Known Better.
Also in this camp: The airport Chili's waitress who actually placed her hand on my sadly non-life-bearing stomach and oohed and ahed at me embarrassingly. The worst part is that I felt so awkward about the whole thing that I just pretended to be pregnant rather than cause an uncomfortable scene. How could I tell her my belly was full of only Chili's Chicken Crispers and airplane animal crackers when she was hoping for a sweet little baby?
I even passed up the cocktail I'd been planning on ordering, possibly the only time in my pre-sobriety life that ever happened. (I was almost denied a margarita by a waiter who cooed, "And of course you won't be having a drink" at my torso while I was on a freakin' date, but I set that MFer straight and promptly got housed on tequila.)
In the wrong kind of top, or after a period of excessive snack indulgence, I am a magnet for these people who apparently didn't get the (I thought) pretty widely-distributed memo that assumptions make an ass out of U and ME.
And yes, I may have exploited this body quirk for seats on the subway (a hand on the back and a weary facial expression go a long way). But just because my commute is long and I wear very exciting shoes doesn't mean it's OK. (And now when anybody gives me a seat I wonder if it's out of politeness or the misconception that I've got a baby bun in the oven that so far has housed only baked goods.)
Seriously, in 2011, this still needs to be said? Don't ask me if I'm pregnant. I'll tell you when I am. In fact, it's doubtful I'll want to talk about anything else, since it's not every day a foreign lifeform decides to live inside your freaking body!
And I definitely need to come up with a really sick retort to such inquiries and then inject the courage to use it. I've been kicking myself since post-weight-loss college, when a dressing room attendant asked me if "I had a baby to get all those stretch marks," and I missed the opportunity to tell her "Yes, and he died."
Maybe I should start telling people I have a tumor?