I am back in the “office” and rather gratifyingly my clients seemed to have missed me. The week started well largely because Monday signalled the end of half term and a return to sanity. I muddled through the week until Thursday when my sense of humour was tested to its full.
Let me explain. Thursday started innocuously enough. I did some exercise – yes, I know what you’re thinking…that doesn’t sound that innocuous considering that I am the girl who dresses for exercise when I have absolutely no intention of exercising in order to appear as though I have been exercising. Confused? So am I a lot of the time. Anyway, that morning I had actually been exercising and in order to maximise my post-exercise smugness, I wore my exercise kit for the rest of the day.
That afternoon I went to a meeting with a friend as part of my class rep duties. At the start of this meeting, I was introduced to someone who is helping us with a class party. I was still attired in my exercise clothes (arguably not that suited to a meeting). The man to whom I was introduced seemed rather fascinated with my stomach – or at least that was where his eyes were focused (makes a change, I guess, from another part of one’s anatomy!) and he said hello and then said something on the lines of “Who’s been eating lots of chocolate then?” – yes, I kid you not, this was his opener. Those who know me well will attest to the fact that I am very rarely lost for words…on this occasion I was literally struck dumb.
First reaction: what the…? Second reaction: I must be wrong, he must mean something completely different. Third reaction: surely not…he can’t mean that…perhaps he does mean that. No worries, he soon clarified what he actually meant by digging himself into the most extraordinarily large hole with the immortal words “Oh sorry, I thought you were pregnant!”. Yes, you read that right, he did say that and not for the first time in that few minutes, I was once more left entirely speechless.
Let’s face it, you wouldn’t really take the pregnancy option with a complete stranger unless you were fairly confident that they were well into the gestation period, would you? It’s not the kind of thing you want to get wrong, is it? By my reckoning, that would make me at least 5-6 months pregnant…I don’t know who was more mortified - me or him when the error of his judgement was pointed out to him.
Suffice to say, the best thing to do in such circumstances is laugh and hold your stomach in ad infinitum – both of which I have been doing since Thursday last week. It must be said that this little incident could not have had worse timing as Friday signalled the start of a weekend in France for me, my husband and some friends and that weekend clearly meant swimwear horror. I didn’t let it put me off and in fact I just milked it all weekend…”eating for two”, “need to put my feet up in my condition” etc.
However, every cloud has a silver lining and mine came on Friday evening at 3.30am outside a french nightclub. As I sat outside the club waiting for our taxi, I was approached by a man (in front of husband) – a good-looking man in his mid-twenties I should add. He asked me if I was tired as I was sitting down and I replied that at my age, 40, (and in my condition!), tiredness was an occupational hazard if you dared to go anywhere after midnight. He looked genuinely surprised and said he couldn’t believe I was 40 and had thought I was 29 tops. OMG, distended “pregnant” stomach immediately forgotten as I basked in the ultimate (although clearly ludicrous) compliment.
I of course related this to my friends in the taxi with great glee – divine retribution, I thought, for the earlier horror visited upon me on Thursday. My husband and my friends were less convinced. They pointed out the obvious (which I was trying to ignore) that it was 3.30 am, dark outside and the man in question was almost certainly wearing a very strong pair of “beer goggles” Thanks guys!