Now, I know what you're thinking -- "Patent, how are you in any way qualified to instruct a charm school? You have the table manners and social graces of a feral mental asylum escapee. What could you possibly teach the likes of us?!"
My answer is this: You are correct! But, I have been working really hard in past years to learn what sorts of things are and are not considered appropriate by the more well-heeled among us. I have studied them, and learned their ways, and would now like to impart some of this wisdom on to you, so that together, we can all hide the fact that we escaped from a mental asylum as children and were raised by wolves and monkeys in the deepest darkest wood.
Even though this is the first OFFICIAL installment of Patent's Charm School, I think that my old favorite post "Dear Men: No, I am not pregnant. Sincerely, Women" also falls under the umbrella. So this is sort of lesson 2. Now that you've learned not to ask women about their childbearing plans, what comes next? What happens after you've patiently waited until they told you their news, and now you're filled with comments, questions and advice?
If you follow these guidelines, I'm sure you can learn how to avoid some of the most common causes of "pregnant rage," which is a real thing and can be quite frightening for those on the receiving end. Also, it's rude to make pregnant women upset, because then they worry that their anger and upset-ness will hurt the baby, and that will make them even MORE upset, and so you see the whole thing is just plain madness and you're much better off not upsetting her in the first place.
DO: Ask her how she's doing.
Is your friend, neighbor or coworker pregnant? It's totally okay to ask her how she's doing! She may appreciate the attention, and if you are honestly willing to help her out if she needs something, then that's even better!
DON'T: Ask her very specifically how she's doing.
If she's feeling gassy, swollen, nauseous, or her hemorrhoids are acting up, odds are good that she doesn't want to tell you that unless you are BFFs. So don't ask. That's really weird and creepy. I mean seriously -- that is so weird and creepy. What the f**k is the matter with you? Good grief. Do you often ask your friends, neighbors and coworkers about their hemorrhoids? No? You don't? Because that would be insane? Yeah.
DO: Compliment her appearance.
There are very polite ways to do this, and many pregnant women appreciate being told that they don't look fat at all, no way, they look pregnant and FANTASTIC! This is especially true during the first two trimesters, when women may feel discouraged that they just look bloated and gross and their pants don't fit anymore.
DON'T: Tell her she's getting SO BIG!!!
I have zero personal experience with this as I am still early in my pregnancy, but I have heard this complaint from so many pregnant women that I gather it's universal, especially in the final months.
Don't ever tell a woman she's huge. Ever. For any reason. I can't believe you don't already know this. I mean, even the wolves and the monkeys that raised you in the woods should have taught you this one. "You're so big!" = you're fat. "Your belly is getting huge!" = you're fat. "My goodness! You must be due TOMORROW!" = you're fat. "Are you sure there's only one baby in there??" = you're fat.
Don't call a woman fat.
I mean, unless you hate her and she really deserves it, because then it's the most gratifying thing in the world.
ALSO DON'T: Compliment her boobs.
Dear god. It's rude to stare at a woman's boobs. It is 10,000 times more rude to then TELL HER you were staring at her boobs. Now add to that the fact that you're staring at the boobs of a married woman who is pregnant with another man's baby, and you are proudly admitting that you were checking them out, and you just wanted her to know that you approve. Does this seem wise? No. No, it is not wise.
DO: Share words of encouragement.
DON'T: Share things like this:
Don't be a sociopath, guys.
DO: Ask polite, not-too-personal questions.
DON'T: DON'T TALK ABOUT HER VAGINA YOU F**KING MENTALLY DEFECTIVE WILDEBEEST.
Goddamn right you won't.
And for the record, a vast majority of women report that their vaginas completely return to normal within a few months after giving birth. So you don't even have to wonder anymore. You can really just shut the f**k up about it.
Well, that's all we have time for today! I know we didn't get to "are you sure you're supposed to be drinking coffee?" and a bunch of other topics, but those will just have to wait!
I hope you all learned a few things here. Armed with this knowledge, you can navigate the treacherous minefield of talking to a pregnant woman without pissing her off. I wish you all the best of luck. I can't wait for the next issue of Patent's Charm School -- we'll talk about weddings and how to not make a complete ass of yourself!
And seriously, if you ever, EVER, try to talk to me about my vagina, I will f**king cut you. It's so rude it makes me blind with fury, which, as we all know, is bad for the baaaaaaaaaby.
Ha ha! A fetus just brandished a knife at you. Boy, Patent's Charm School is a laugh riot!!!