In a novel move, I actually wrote a piece on today's Figment Fiction prompt...today. I know, crazy. But here it is, since my mom can't read it all on their site. :)
The prompt encouraged writers to write about a character living through an embarrassing situation. I took this and ran with it. The first part is fiction, the second part is 100% true. Enjoy.
Open Mouth, Insert Foot
I love babies.
Therefore, I also love pregnant women. I seem to gravitate toward them, hoping to start up a conversation, eager to share advice or compare notes, as the situation would allow.
That's why, when I saw a pretty young woman across the produce aisle, a t-shirt stretched over her rounded midsection, I made a beeline for her to introduce myself.
"Hello, I'm Carol. I haven't seen you here before, are you new in town?"
"Hi, I'm Amber. Yes, we just moved here a few weeks ago." Amber deposited a bunch of bananas into her cart.
"That's wonderful, welcome to the neighborhood! Are you liking it so far?"
"Yes, everyone is so friendly here, I'm very happy." Amber smiled shyly.
"So, when are you due?"
Amber's smile faded as the color drained from her face. "I'm not...I'm not pregnant," she said.
"Oh..." I wanted to sink into the floor and disappear. "I'm so sorry..." I allowed her to make a graceful exit while I pretended to inspect some peaches, blinking back tears of anger at myself for making such a boneheaded mistake.
What made this whole situation worse was that I have had the same thing happen to me, in reverse. The first time, I was in college, browsing jewelry at the mall, minding my own business. The sales girl came up and blurted, "Are you pregnant?" Um, lady, I'm 20 years old and not sporting a wedding ring...even if I was pregnant, I may not want to discuss it with strangers. And since when has it not been common knowledge NOT to assume that of women? Now I just felt fat, when earlier that day I had felt like I was looking pretty good. Thanks a lot.
Even after having my two kids, I have literally run my butt off, racing in several half, then a full marathon, getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight. However, I can't seem to get rid of a slight roundness to my midsection, an unfortunate casualty of having two large boys reside in my short torso for nine months apiece. It is really a slap in the face to have a woman come up and tell me that my baby will be a runner since I'm taking him/her along with me for my marathon. I'M NOT PREGNANT!!!
So, what have I learned from this? Assume nothing. We all know what happens when we assume. The only time it's acceptable to make such an assumption is if the woman is a patient in Labor and Delivery at the hospital, in the obstetrician's office looking at her sonogram pictures, or the guest of honor at a baby shower. Otherwise, keep my mouth shut!
How about you, dear readers? Have you been on either side of one of these awkward exchanges? What did you do/ what did you WANT to do? Spill it. :)