Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I Need New Clothes. Or Something.

"You must be enjoying this weather!" one of my students greeted me this morning. It’s a cool, sunny day today – a relief from last week’s humidity – but I was taken aback by her emphasis.

I shrugged. "I can’t figure out what to wear from one day to the next. Yesterday I was too cold and today I’m too hot."

Maura looked concerned. "Is the heat bothering you yet?" she asked sympathetically. Yet? What did she mean by that? My uneasiness grew.

This was not our first conversation about the weather. Last week, I was complaining about the heat. Teaching is hot work at the best of times, and the air conditioning in my classroom is sub-par. Maura had actually switched seats to be nearer the window, so we were sharing our dissatisfaction with the sauna-like atmosphere. "This isn’t so bad," I said at one point. "Usually when I’m teaching this course, I’m pregnant."

We agreed that the only thing worse than teaching in a hot classroom in the summer is teaching in a hot classroom while pregnant. Maura has three children of her own, the two youngest of whom are the same age as my children, so she knows all about the lethal combination of hormones and high temperatures. "So how far along …" she began, and then changed tacks, "I guess you’ve got the whole summer to get through!" she exclaimed.

"I’ve got July and August off," I replied. "That’s better than last year, when I was teaching during the summer instead of the spring." I was concerned, at this point, that there may have been some misapprehension on her part, so I added, for clarity’s sake, "I definitely prefer it this way – teaching while not pregnant is really the way to go."

I came away from that conversation not entirely sure of what had just happened. Had Maura been about to ask me how far along I was? I couldn’t tell – but since that conversation, I’ve found myself thinking twice about the cookies I usually snack on in the afternoon. (That policy does not extend to the white chocolate raspberry dessert that was served at the barbecue on the weekend, or to the chocolate marble cake I ate at a wedding shower on Sunday. Cutting back here and there is one thing, but I draw the line at pastries topped with a thick layer of melted white chocolate.)

Cut to this morning. After inquiring so sympathetically about my reaction to the heat, Maura went on, "When I was pregnant, I couldn’t stand the hot weather!"

I blinked a couple of times, and considered my possible responses:

(a) Explain I’m not pregnant.
(b) Pretend to be about 12 weeks along so as to justify the liberal use I’m making this summer of my old maternity outfits.
(c) Blush furiously and mutter something about hating the cold.

Being a coward who’s unable to think fast on her feet, I went with (c).

The thing is, Maura is a warm, gregarious woman who likes to chat. She’s not going to let this go – before long she’ll be wanting to know my due date and major symptoms. She also sits at the back of the class, so it seems quite likely that sometime before the end of the week I’m going to have to clarify, in front of thirty other students, that her belief that I am pregnant is wholly mistaken. The only mystery, really, is which of the two of us will be more embarrassed.

Sigh. What do I do now?

*****

Edited to add: In fairness to Maura, here's what I was wearing today:


I believe, in retrospect, that the black sweater was an error in judgement.

43 comments:

krista said...

I can't help you with any technical questions, but in regard to this, I say, just start wearing bigger clothes, maybe even putting a small pillow in your pants. maybe you'll get some presents out of it? Ok, maybe not.
I am a fairly new regular reader, although I have dropped in now and then over the past few months. I can't recall whether I ever commented before or not, but I'm learning that we bloggers love comments, so I'm not being so shy anymore.

Anonymous said...

Say, "Oh, Maura dear, I'm not pregnant, I just eat too many cookies". You'll feel better coming clean with the truth. Oh, and note to self, NEVER assume a woman is with child; that is a slippery slope indeed. Good luck.

Jenn said...

Egads.

I'm with anonymous. The cookie route will add a little humor to what is about to be a mortifying moment for Maura.

bubandpie said...

Krista - Hey you! Thanks for stopping by. ;)

Karen said...

Yep, this is definitely her bad, not yours, roll with the cookie statement, it's hysterical and it will put an end to the drama. Your only other option may be play along, but that won't last,if at any point you star considering a real pregnancy to help make Maura feel better, I will begin to worry about you. She's clearly fishing, but most people would have picked up by now that you haven't announced anything about a new baby, maternity leave, morning sickness, swollen ankles or pregnancy...she sounds sweet but clueless, or maybe like she wants to be pregnant.

Mary-LUE said...

Now, if this were a sitcom, the possibilities would be endless. . . Since it is not, maybe the next time she mentions when she was pregnant, go back to the emphatic "Yes. I. Am. So. Glad. I'm. Not. Pregnant. This. Year."

Good luck!

bren j. said...

I'm with anonymous...but you could always bring some cookies to share. ;)

slouching mom said...

Mary-LUE got me thinking that what I hate most about sitcoms are misunderstandings that snowball. Sometimes I am so stressed by all the confusion that I switch the channel.

So yeah, I'd say nip it in the bud. Bud. Get it?

Jenifer said...

Straigtforward is the way to go, work it in somehow to the conversation and say something. I was complaining about my dress fitting not going well and the dress not being able to zip up despite the fact that I was measured.

Then I realized my anger and frustration were a little misplaced...the clothes are not really the problem...

Patois said...

I guess you can't really light up a cigarette or drink a beer in front of the class? Well, with subtlety out, you'll have to go with the cookies.

Lawyer Mama said...

She'll be more embarassed. Trust me.

My husband says a good rule of thumb is to never assume a woman is pregnant unless you see a baby coming out of her.

flutter said...

I'm with anonymous. Of course you could say, "I'm not pregnant, but this weather sure makes me TESTY!"

Beck said...

How about telling her a funny anecdote about "someone" you ran into who - you think - thought you were pregnant? That should do the trick.

Karen said...

Just be honest, for pete's sake! The teacher at my daughter's Montessori school looked like she was 8 months pregnant...really - not big anywhere but her belly, right up under the breastages. I asked her when she was due and without blinking, she attempted to put me at ease for the misunderstanding by telling me that "Oh! I'm not pregnant...this is just where I gain weight! Dont' feel badly, either - EVERYONE asks me that!" Needless to say, I was simply horrified and mumbled some lame excuse about needing to go because I had to spend a few hours digging out that foot before it was fully digested. But we had a laugh about it.

Mad Hatter said...

No help here but I must say that all my adult life people have thought I was pregnant--even in my less cookie-ish days. Seriously, I get this all the time: while apartment hunting and being told "this is an adult-only building" (as the landlord glared at my belly), while sipping wine at faculty retirement parties, on the street, you name it. I am a lightening rod for this most obvious of social faux pas. When it happens to me, I just glare, say "I'm not pregnant," walk away, and bear a life-long grudge. Tit for tact, I say. Sadly, you do not have this luxury.

Veronica Mitchell said...

I say wait nine months or so, then declare it was a hysterical pregnancy. You will be the most fascinating person on campus. Students will take your class just to gawk. Who needs tenure? Sounds like permanent employment to me.

Omaha Mama said...

Oh. What to do. I'm horrible at such situations. HORRIBLE. I will let people call me the wrong name for weeks, months, years, before I would ever correct them.

My suggestion. Wear something TIGHT to your next class. Perhaps baring your midriff. And offer to anyone in class who would like to join their prof for drinks. Big, alcoholic drinks.

But that's just me.

theflyingmum said...

I don't know, if she didn't pick up on your previous comments, it may be a waste of time. On the other hand, you don't want her pursuing this further. My sister-in-law was asked once when she was due. When she answered - dead pan - that she was NOT preg, I'm not sure which one of them felt worse.

Christine said...

I'm with Veronica! The hysterical pregnancy thing sounds like a riot.

Magpie said...

Yeah, what Veronica said!

nomotherearth said...

I'm no help. A teacher at the Boy's daycare asked me if I was pregnant a couple weeks ago, and I was horrified because we hadn't told anyone and I didn't think I was showing that much. And even if I am, in the very early stages, you're taking a chance by asking someone if they're pregnant, in my opinion. She was lucky -- this time.

Luisa Perkins said...

This has happened to me a couple of times. It is indeed demoralizing. You've got lots of great ideas here, though!

Suz said...

So many good ideas - let us know which one you go with.

mamatulip said...

I'd be honest about it. Make a joke, like others have suggested, but I wouldn't want her thinking I was pregnant if I wasn't.

nowheymama said...

This has happened to a friend of mine, who cheerfully replies, "I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat!"

I'm afraid I'd be more of a blusher/mutterer, myself.

Omaha Mama said...

Okay - that picture made me laugh. You don't look fat or pregnant. You just have the mommy pooch. If you were a celebrity, you'd be on the cover of US with a headline - PREGANANT AGAIN?

But yeah - ditch the black sweater. :-)

ali said...

i guarantee you that she will be more embarrassed that you.

best to set her straight early on. :)

Bon said...

thanks, B & P. i needed a giggle this morning. and it wasn't at YOU, either, just at the misunderstanding.

there's something very short-storyish about this whole situation, i think...thus my attraction to suggestions like Veronica's to announce, months from now, that it was an hysterical pregnancy...or Krista's, where you could get some presents.

in real life...maybe just ditch the sweater. which reminds me, i should look at my own closet...

mcewen said...

Go to shop - buy new garment - wear to work.
Cheers

theflyingmum said...

You know what they say about retail therapy? It works. Shopping=happy!

Mimi said...

The photo: you need to photoshop this to put a circle around the 'bump' and magnify it, like in the gossip maps, and then an arrow, and the 'Number 3?'

Honest like anonymous sounds good, but I like Beck's sneaky strategy too.

I have been catching horrified glimpses of myself in the mirror, and I could pass for 4 or 5 months along on most days. But it's not worth giving up cake for, really.

Tye Anderson said...

can you say...menopause.....probably can...most people can...but i don't think you have it...just wondering if you can say it.

kgirl said...

ha ha! It is, perhaps time to put the maternity clothes in a bin, though I would never advocate the cessation of cookie-eating.

Sometimes, for kicks, when someone new inquires about my pregnancy, I respond with an enthusiastic, "I'm not pregnant!" It's kind of mean, but the looks are priceless. Plus, who's gonna punch out a pregnant woman?

DaniGirl said...

I have in fact thrown out entire outfits when that has happened to me. I'm so relieved to finally be pg again so I can be righteously entitled to my sad, saggy belly...

kittenpie said...

Yeah, my policy is not to suggest that might be the case until someone is so far along that you can see right through their shirt that their bellybutton has popped.

And I think that perhaps that sweater was a smidge short for such a snug and very red shirt, you're right. (Though I do love a nice red, so go on you, there!)

Redneck Mommy said...

I'd offer a suggestion, but I think your other commenters have pretty much covered it all...

So I'm going to sit back and snicker and be thankful that I'm not the only woman out there who makes wardrobe gaffes!

Wink, wink.

Catherine said...

*sigh*

I feel bad for both B&P and Maura. There's just no good way to end this

I was feeling fairly good about my summer clothes until I caught a glimpse of myself walking by a mirror the other day. I looked entirely 4 months along. What's a hot mommy to do?

cheesefairy said...

I have been silently enjoying so much of your writing over the past few months and now seems as reasonable a time as any to delurk and say so. Like Krista, I'm trying to be less shy.

Ditto Catherine. I recently caught a sideways glimpse of myself at the grocery store and a whole lot of recent conversations with strangers about my 11 month-old's new sibling? suddenly made sense. A horrible, awkward kind of sense. This spurred me to fantasize about wearing (and marketing to those poor celebs!) a t-shirt that reads:
Old baby fat, not new baby bump.

I do like the cookie idea. Actually I like most ideas having to do with cookies.

Pieces said...

Veronica's idea is THE BEST! I say go with it for now. Occasionally put your hand at the small of your back and heave heavy sighs.

ewe are here said...

Ouch. I thought women were supposed to know better than to EVER to comment on another's woman's pregnancy if they weren't 110% positive there was a pregnancy.

Reminds me I really must quit my junk-food-binging and lose that last 8-10 pounds.

Em said...

LOL!

This has happened to my cousin(someone made a "when's it due?" comment) but she has been trying to have a baby for six years... I've learnt LONG ago never to make such a comment...

Susanne said...

Like Mad I have been asked if I'm pregnant since forever. Even when I was really thin. It's just that my tummy and butt are sticking out.

Working out has helped a little...

I'd say be honest. I always go for the, "I'm not pregnant, I only have been eating too much."-answer. Maybe combined with my piercing glare.

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