So I said to her, ‘wowzers, have you always been that size, or is this because you ate loads over Christmas?’
And then, just to make sure that it was actually fat and not that she was wearing a lot of clothes to give the impression of being quite big, I touched her stomach, with both hands, for good measure.
Of course I didn’t.
That would be the most OUTRAGOUS thing to do.
Not only would it make the woman feel massively self-conscious, as well as be the most fucking rude, judgemental thing you could ever say to someone.
It would also be violating someone’s personal space by touching them uninvited.
SO WHY IS IT OK TO DO IT TO A PREGNANT WOMAN?
I’m a tactile person.
I know I squash my face against other people’s when I hug them.
I kiss people on first meeting, on the cheek of course, no tongues.
And I squeeze arms a lot.
But this is, generally, to people I feel I have a connection with.
I absolutely would never touch another woman’s stomach without being asked to do so.
So why do total strangers think it’s acceptable to touch my pregnant stomach when I’m walking down the high street with a plastic bag in each hand so I don’t even have a free arm to swipe them away?
‘When’s it due?’ the woman who’d made a beeline for me outside Tesco Express asked.
‘Mid April,’ I reply, with my, ‘get your hands off me before I snap them off’ glare on.
‘Wow! You’re huge! Are you sure there’s just one in there?’
‘Yes I am. I was clinically obese before I fell pregnant so that accounts for my massive size.’
I didn’t say that.
Course I didn’t.
I kind of shook my head at her in a disapproving school teacher way. Side stepped, as she was still touching my tummy, and struggled on with the bags of comfort food and Gaviscon.
I wish I’d said that. Or something even cleverer. But I can’t remember my own age at the moment, so cutting retorts are deffo out.
I just don’t see how growing a baby makes your body up for public scrutiny.
If you saw someone come out of a plastic surgery clinic, you wouldn’t head straight for them, squeeze their tits, and tell them how real they felt, would you?
Or grab your mate’s boyfriend’s crotch to check he was as endowed as she told you in secret he was?
Course you wouldn’t.
Cos you’d end up on some kind of register if you went around doing that.
I’m half tempted to wear a T shirt that says, ‘Before you ask... It’s a boy. It’s due mid April. No I’m not having twins. Yes I look big. Touch me and I will bite you.’
But I’m not sure how well that would go down at work.
So instead, I just have to be super vigilant and on the lookout for those who seem the type to make intrusive baby talk.
And if strangers do try and touch me, maybe I will retaliate with the boob/ crotch grab.
See how that goes down.