Wednesday, April 02, 2008

File Under: He Won't Notice Those Extra Few Pounds

A coworker of mine is pregnant. She recently approached me in a hushed tone, "I have news!" she said.

"I know," I replied with a smile. "I've been waiting for you to tell me!"

She says she started showing early because of bloat. I think she's growing the next Yao Ming. She's three months in (though looks about five), and I've been suspicious half this time. But, did I say anything? Of course not. . . I wouldn't want to be wrong and (the horror) imply she looked fat. Moreover, I'm sensitive to pregnant women not wanting to share their news until they're ready.

A funny thing happened yesterday when this coworker informed our entire team. A 50-something male colleague seemed shocked. "You didn't know?" I asked, in disbelief. When he shook his head, I laughed and said, "But she's out to here!" (gesturing)

"I think it's a male thing. We just don't notice these things."

"At what point do you think you would notice? When she showed up at work one day with a 12-year-old kid?"


azusmom said...

How much do you want to bet he'd notice right away if she'd come in with breast implants? (That's a guy thing, too!)

Eva said...

yeah, but if he did notice a little more 'out there' and she wasn't pregnant, he'd then be slammed with comments about how rude for noticing a woman gaining a bit of weight.
It's too often that this is the case, that the woman isn't pregnant, and the person that notices either is humiliated or the woman herself if something is said. It's a topic that is quite sensitive (like 'oh when are you due?' with the response of 'i'm not pregnant!') and we just oft don't think much about it, especially if you are a man and don't really analyze whether it's added extra weight or the roundness of a new baby bump.

tori_927 said...

Omg, I'm seriously so paranoid about that happening that I dont even say anything to the mother-to-be until she says something first about her baby! Obvious as it may be, I just feel uncomfortable bringing up her baby unless it's actually relevant to the conversation...Idk, maybe it's just a weird babyphobia thing I have, lol...

Fauve said...

Well, I don't know what the lady looks like, but I have this horrible feeling that she is rather small and that she still looks rather small, even though pregnant. That's why the guy didn't notice. He was being honest. But women, trained to evaluate each other constantly (even if not always consciously) will note with unnerving accuracy the accumulation of even a small amount of weight. My question is: why is this man's reaction important to blog about? And I can only conclude that it is because many women have learned to police their own (and other women's) bodies so successfully that we don't even *need* the fear of being judged by men to do it for us. Other women are the ones to fear, actually, perhaps even *more* than men, when it comes to being judged on our looks. Of course, this can also be that women are just much more sensitive and aware of bodily changes caused by pregnancy. Or, most likely, all of the above.

Palmtreechick said...

(Most) Men don't notice anything. You can go from having bleached blonde hair to jet black and they would say "you look different." Men are funny. It's nice that he didn't notice the extra lbs.

Rachel said...

I find it ironic that Dr. Stacey, a woman, noticed her weight gain early on and her male colleague was oblivious. This just reinforces my belief in how women collectively seek to tear down and destroy other women, when we should be banding together in the name of feminism. Not that Dr. Stacey is tearing her down, but she has been conditioned to instinctively notice when another women gains weight.

It's also ironic that for all the talk about how men like thinner women, many are really quite clueless even when a woman they work with and see every day gains weight.

Weighting Game said...

azusmom - you're so right!

I remember a coworker of mine a few years back brought in a big chocolate cake one day and, written in frosting, in said, "I'm not fat...I'm pregnant!" That was her way of announcing to the world that it was a bump, not a gut.

I didn't think she had either, but it just goes to show how changes in our own body always seem like a bigger deal to ourselves than they do to other people (hello, zit in middle of forehead?)

Anonymous said...

"It's nice that he didn't notice the extra lbs."


Rachel said...

Anon: Maybe the commenter meant that it was nice he didn't notice the extra pounds because it shows he really doesn't look for or care about weight gain?

Scarlett. said...

I firmly agree with Fauve and Rachel... maybe not ALL women pick up on tiny changes but I know the first thing I notice about any woman (or man) I know is weight loss or weight gain, and I'm talking tiny amounts and specific areas. I always thought that was a by-product of an eating disorder but I guess it's more common than I thought.
And then I turn to my boyfriend... and I'll say wow she looks thinner. Or god she's gained a few. And either way he doesn't notice and is amazed I can tell she's lost like a pound from her upper arms.
I've noticed as well the only time he ever notices if I've gained or lost weight is if it's from my boobs. And if I have lost weight he never sees it... he'll be hugging me or something and say you FEEL smaller.
Obviously he can spot a difference between pictures of me currently and me at the peak of my ED, but it seems to be that gradual fluctuations just go unnoticed. I wonder if it's the same for most men?

Anonymous said...

*getting on soapbox*

Could it be that the male worker who didn't notice the pregnancy because he had other things on his mind

If he's 50, then he's probably a lot more preoccupied about things like retirement planning, health issues, his kids, his marriage. Why should he notice if a co-worker is pregnant? Why? Is it neccessary for him to know in order to do his job?

You know, there are some people left in the world who don't have an obsessive need to monitor and speculate about people's weight and/or pregnancy status, people who are a heckuva lot more worried about their jobs than they are about other people's bodies.

*gets off soapbox*