Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Things People Say

There are a couple of times in your life where you will not be at your best and yet people will feel compelled to use flattering adjectives to describe your state of being.  Knowing that you are fragile, people will very badly want to make you feel better about your awful state, but its truly so grotesque and hopeless, that they will struggle to do so.  

I’m talking about when you are pregnant and when you are old.   I’m sure you are saying to yourself “How will I know when a compliment is genuine?”  There are but four words to look for: “radiant”,“spry” and “still sharp”. They are easy to spot because they are literally NEVER used to compliment any other group of people.

Scenario #1: There you are, 8 months pregnant.  There is an entire human being in your abdomen.  You put on your best maternity wear, a little make up, maybe even a heel?  You look in the mirror and say to yourself “Gotcha world.  Not too shabby – a little fuller, but certainly passable – maybe even sexy to some?”  

Then it happens - you run into a friend and they say “Oh, pregnancy agrees with you.  You look …… radiant”.  This is the moment you realize what everyone won’t say to you: you look more like Violet Beauregard than Heidi Klum. Your only option at this point is to simply must straighten your spine, smile nicely and make a solemn vow to egg their house……….. once you can run again.

Scenario #2: Flash forward, you are 80. When you are older, people like to talk about your state in front of you – dunno why.  Now in the interest of believability all adjectives that relate to attractiveness are tabled – I mean even YOU wouldn’t buy “Wow Margaret, you are HOT”.  So generally compliments relate to your ability to get around and your grasp of reality.  

The conversations are as follows:  You are mall walking and you see a neighbor shopping with her child: “Wow Margaret, way to move.  You sure are spry” OR after a discussion of world affairs at a multigenerational gathering  “I can’t believe you are 80.  I hope I’m still so sharp when I’m your age”.  Now, given that you’ve got limited time to plot revenge, your best bet is to take advantage of the latitude given to the elderly, and hit them with an open hand.  Show ‘em how spry you truly are!  Trust me, you can get away with anything.  Remember the Comcast Grandma?  

If she was 30, people would say she was crazy – but since she was 75, she was the cuddly little Nanna with a hammer that Comcast just pushed too far!
I can’t wait to be 75!


  1. I am only 21 weeks pregnant and was just asked if I am carrying twins. FML

  2. Kate, I'm sure you look positively radiant!

  3. Scenario #3: So you go to see the one neighbor in your development that you happen to be pretty good friends with. Everyone else in the neighborhood pretty much sucks so you don't really give a shit what they think. Anyway, you go over to the neighbor's house to tell her your happy happy news that you are pregnant with your third child after giving birth to your second child just nine short months earlier. So you share the happy happy news and she looks you straight in the eyes and says "Oh wow. And you were just starting to get really skinny again."

  4. Liz, agreed, that would be pretty awful if it happened to someone I know. Worse, if it was me that said it. Even worse, if said friend had a long memory and was still sharp!

  5. what would one say if indeed the said pregnant woman looked radiant at 8 months, "wow you look like a water baloon ready to pop" because it sounds more believable ?

  6. Elle, that's a fine point you raise. The simple solution is to add "no really, I mean it" after the initial comment. But let's face it, most heavily pregnant women look more sweaty than radiant. Especially this time of year!