7.14.2008

Pregnancy and conversation

Something I've learned through my interactions as a visibly pregnant person with loads of folks in the world is that pregnancy doesn't give you a lot to talk about. People really seem to want to talk, but after the basics--"When are you due?" "Do you know the sex?" "Is it your first?"--there's just not a whole lot more to say without verging into the very personal. (I have plenty to say about the various physical things going on in my science-experiment-like body, but I'm kindly refraining from sharing that stuff with casual acquaintances.)

I had the clever plan for a while to make people into my own social experiment. If someone I didn't know, someone I wasn't likely to see again, asked whether the baby was a boy or a girl, I was going to tell them one or the other (even though we don't know and aren't going to know). The idea was to see how their responses differed.

This was a great idea, but the problem was that people didn't have much to say. I'd throw out, "It's a girl!" or "It's a boy!" and they'd respond, smiling, "Ohhh!"

I suspect that if I'd kept it up I would have encountered some useful differences of opinion, but I wasn't committed enough. I will say that the world at large seems to believe that the baby Biffle-Piepmeier is male. Two of my good friends have had dreams that the baby's a boy, and our next door neighbor is adamant that it's male.

"Let me rub on that boy!" she'll say if we meet each other on the sidewalk.

I'm not sure if this is some sort of subconscious male preference expressing itself or not.

One other thought I had: because pregnancy doesn't provide much material for casual conversation, people get creative with how they ask questions. They'll say things like, "How's the expansion project coming?", or my personal favorite, "When are you going to subdivide?"

3 comments:

Deborah said...

I often wonder if I honestly answered the "how are you?" question, what would happen. People really do not want to know. I wonder if it the same with pregnancy questions. Think they really care or are they just filling the air with words?

How to really get a conversation going...

Question: When are you due?
Answer: I have class at three

Question: Do you know the sex?
Answer: Which sex? Last night or the night before?

Question: Is this your first?
Answer: No, I always order this/eat this/buy this/walk this way/ stand in line to pay...whatever you are doing

Question: How's the expansion project coming?
Answer: They have really perfected elastic... want to see?

Question: When are you going to subdivide?
Answer: When land values in Charleston triple!

Quiche said...

Deborah definitely has got the choice answers! Ha! The "How are you?"- you are right, they really don't want to know, but they asked for it, didn't they? They could have used the standard acknowledgment, no frills, non-committed, "Hello".

"Are you pregnant?" Tell them your registered at Target or some store of your choice, and start listing the stuff you don't have yet- ha!

What really sucks is when they ask you this when you aren't, and then how do you respond?

Anonymous said...

I found more people had a positive bias toward girl babies, with my pregnancies. That is, people tended to say "Oh, that must be a relief. Girls are so much easier." when I told them what we were having. (Of course, this was based on yet another biological assumption about how quiet and "easy" girls are, which has not been my experience--wonderful creatures, but very, very active)

I was surprised by the "so are you trying again for a boy" question, and wished I'd had a clever reply to it. Mostly I said, "Nope." or "Why?"

littledj