Things I’m Not

I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling this year, and there are some misconceptions I need to clear up before I hit the road again.

1. I’m Not Pregnant

So here’s what happens when you hit middle age: your weight settles in your stomach and everybody thinks you’re having a baby. I’m assuming God intended the gray hair and wrinkles to offset the menopause bump, but since we don’t do gray hair and wrinkles any more, there’s a cognitive disconnect and people keep congratulating me. For about two years now, I’ve been getting invitations to speak at conferences that begin, “We can accommodate your pregnancy.” I had a woman at a conference say, “Whenever I see you, I expect to see your baby.” I said, “My baby is thirty.” I am not alone in this; I have a friend who actually had somebody pat her stomach and say, “And what is this?” She said, “A soon-to-be liposuction.” My worst was in a real estate office. I was waiting for my realtor and the receptionist said, “He’ll be right out.” I said, “Oh, no hurry.” She said, “Well, we don’t want you delivering in the office.” I told my critique partner, Val Taylor, about this and she said, “You need one of those maternity tops that say ‘Baby’ with the arrow pointing down, except yours can say ‘Fat’.” I’m considering that. Dave Barry gave good advice here: Never discuss a woman’s pregnancy unless you can actually see the baby.

2. I’m Not Sleeping with Bob

I hadn’t intended to address this EVER, since, like my gestation status, it’s really nobody’s damn business, but it’s reaching critical mass. I have never seen Bob naked. I am never going to see Bob naked. We don’t do that. I’m reporting this so I won’t get any more e-mails congratulating me on “making great books and having great sex with Bob.” Or after I’ve said that writing books with Bob is wonderful, having any more workshop participants yell out, “How’s the sex?” Or having a friend say to me after a presentation, “You might as well sleep with him; after people see you talk they think you’re doing it anyway.” I could go on, but basically, the number of people I don’t know who are discussing my sex life with me has just exceeded the number of people I don’t know who are discussing my pregnancy with me.

So I’m in Maui on a stage wearing a long flowing dress and in my bare feet because, hey, it’s Maui, and giving a lecture on revising. And at the break this darling man comes up and says, “I have to leave to go to an appointment, but I wanted to tell you that with the light behind you, I can see right through that dress and I’ve really enjoyed it.” Him, I like. Then a woman comes up after the next hour and says, “That was a great lecture,” and I say, “Thank you,” and she says, “And boy, that Bob,” and I say, “Oh, yeah, that Bob,” and she says, “He knows how to keep his women: barefoot and pregnant.”

I laughed. Well, I pretty much had to, it was too damn funny.

3. I’m Not Sleeping with Bob and Pregnant.

So I went out into the hall and Bob was out there and I said, “You owe me a drink, you bastard,” and he said, “What did I do?” and I said, “You knocked me up.” And he said, “How?” and then I told him, and he said, “Where is she? I’ll kill her for you,” and I started to laugh again because it really was funny. And then he started to laugh, too, and we went out to the pool bar and he bought me a drink with a little umbrella, and we laughed harder. Then the usual gang showed up, and John Saul said, “What’s so funny?” and we told them all, and after they all gasped, they started to laugh, too. John said, “That’s a compliment, considering how old you are. And you know at your age, multiple births are common.” And Bob said, “Damn right. I want twins. Boys.” So we had another round of little umbrellas to celebrate the boys. Then they offered me another drink, and I put my hand on my stomach and said, “I really can’t. It’s not good for the twins,” and Andy Cohen, who had just walked up behind my chair, looked down my cleavage and said, “The twins look pretty good to me.”

To recap:

  1. I’m not pregnant, I’m fat.
  2. I’m not sleeping with Bob.
  3. The twins look pretty good.

Let’s try to remember all that, shall we? Thank you.