Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Coffee, foot care and fending off unsolicited advice

A visibly pregnant friend told me that an older woman tried to prevent her from getting a coffee at Starbucks this morning. As in, the complete stranger physically tried to block her path to the counter while holding forth on how she might as well start her day with a martini.

Before I had walked in my friend's flip flops, I would have accused her of lying. Or at least exaggerating.

But I've learned there's something about pregnancy. It makes a significant number of people believe it's alright to suspend the rules of social interaction.

So I asked my friend if she had the presence of mind to tell the woman that most of the functional adults living in the western world gestated on coffee and came out just fine. She said she was too tired to engage a crazy person, so she went to the Starbucks across the street. I'm happy to report that she was able to complete her transaction without further audience interference.

Nothing surprises me after my last pre-baby pedicure. At nine months, I was exhausted, sick all the time and feeling more than a little unhinged as a result. For some reason, I decided that I needed beautiful feet in order to face my c section.

So I was sitting in Lauren's Nails with my toes (which I hadn't seen in four months) in the tub, and my nose in a fashion magazine. A well-dressed woman slightly younger than my mother sat in the next chair and asked, "Is this your first?"

Me: Yes. (My nose went back in Glamour. I was tired, uncomfortable and wanted to be left alone.)

Stranger: Boy or girl?

Me: Boy. (I stuck my face back in the magazine and feigned fascination with the fall's new lipstick colors. On airplanes, this tactic usually works.)

Stranger: Have you taken any classes?

Me: No. (I was utterly mesmerized by the make up article.)

Busy Body Old Bat: Why not?

Me: (I forced a smile with shrug and pretended the conversation was over. I flipped to article about shoes and gazed longingly at stilettos rendered impossible by my condition.)

BBOB: I've taught Lamaze for 17 years. You really have to take a class.

Me: I'm having a c section. (Not that it's any of your business, but this should end the conversation.)

No such luck.

BBOB: You should get a second opinion.

Seriously. What is wrong with people? Remember: She doesn't know me. Or the first thing about my medical history. And even if she did, it's still none of her business. I put Glamour on my lap and turn to look at BBOB. She's gazing into my face with the earnestness of a misguided evangelist who smells a prospective convert.

Me: You know, you look like you're over fifty. You should probably go get a colonoscopy.

Pedicurists stifle laughter. BBOB evidently decides she cannot sit next to me for another minute and rushes out with her toes unpainted. I return my attention to Glamour, which is offering sex tips that a person in my condition would try at the risk of landing in traction.

Many childless friends told me that the colon health quip was horrid. My mother said she wished I'd stuck with my standby, "I have an OB. I don't need any advice. Thank you." She'd encouraged me to rehearse this line so I could deploy it as needed. (Note to Mom: It failed to scare off the paisley-clad, wild haired woman in Ben and Jerry's who pushed aside other patrons, grasped my hands and pleaded with me to stop eating ice cream and meditate on childbirth.)

Pregnant girlfriend just sent me a text from work. Some man her father's age tried to feel up her belly. Without asking.

I'm not about to launch into a whole separate rant. So I'll end with a request: If anyone guilty of belly grabbing is reading this, can you please promise to refrain from this vile practice? It is NOT okay to grope strangers' children. Whether they are internal or external. Thank you.


  1. Your comment just made me laugh out loud... love it!

  2. Yay! My first comment. Love that!

  3. Somehow I can hear you ask BBOB that!

  4. people are nuts.

    carry around a fly swatter or a spray bottle to MAKE them go away.

  5. Great! This is just the kind of snappy comeback that usually springs to mind way too late - excellent timing!