"There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage."
--Martin Luther

Friday, 25 October 2013

Obvious Etiquette 101

This is a public service announcement.  Up until recently, I had figured that women were immune from a certain type of faux-pas.  I mean, some men are clueless and get a pass, but surely a woman knows not to ask another woman if she's pregnant, right? 

Wrong!  I witnessed this etiquette mishap last week while I was at work.  A young lady who is recently married was in the lobby, when another woman recognized her.  I watched it all go wrong quickly:  "Oh so-and-so, it's been so long!  Congrats on your wedding last summer!  Ooh, and it looks like you're expecting too, how nice!"  I wanted to cut in, pull the fire alarm, knock over a fast or something just to stop this from happening, but unfortunately, said woman had to explain that actually, she's just gained a little weight since the wedding.  I felt awful just watching this transpire.

Early this week, the same thing happened to me.  A woman asked whether I had big news.  I said no, and she, with a knowing glance, responded: "Well, it looks like you may have put on a little weight..."  And then I started crying.  Yes, it was possibly an over-reaction, but I'm sensitive about this kind of thing and being told I'm getting fat is really not the way I like to start my work day.

We shouldn't need reasons for this, but just in case you're wondering why this isn't okay, here are a couple:

1)  Women don't like being told they look fatter than before.  Even if they are fatter.  Even if they're pregnant.  Just don't do it.
2)  A woman is generally thrilled when it's time to announce a pregnancy.  If she felt like it was the right time, she'd tell you.  Since she hasn't, assume that if she is actually pregnant, she'll tell you when she feels like it, not before.  (See also Jayme's excellent post here.)
3)  Fertility issues are very sensitive to many people.  If a woman is having trouble conceiving, asking her if she is pregnant will both make her feel fat AND remind her that she's having trouble.

Bottom line:  If you see a woman, think she's expecting, and have a desire to point it out, JUST SAY NO.  :-)

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