This is one of those posts that will possibly scandalize my mother.
Sorry Momma. For all other readers, please consider this your adult content warning.
Brushing your teeth is a lot like having sex.
After a certain age, most people do it but no one really talks about it in casual conversation. There’s really no wrong way to brush your teeth. Sure, plenty of people have opinions about how’s the best way or what works for them. When you get right down to it though, as long as you’re happy with the results, it really doesn’t matter how the job gets done (As long as it’s consensual and you respect one another’s boundaries that is.).
Couples and other people who share space will talk about it as a sort of courtesy to one another. “Hey, is it cool if I brush my teeth?” You know. Just to make sure that those around aren’t going to be inconvenienced by the fact that you’re going to be carrying on for some time and completely hogging the sink.
But you don’t talk to your co-workers about brushing your teeth. You don’t waltz through the office with a toothbrush in your mouth advertising to everyone that you prefer a vibrating brush over a manual one.
So then why is it that people seem to think it’s OK, to ask women if they’re pregnant? Giving birth once does not automatically grant permission for people to inquire about a woman’s reproductive health.
NOTHING gives ANYONE permission to inquire about a woman’s reproductive health.
(We’ll go back to dental hygiene in just a minute.)
Elle is almost 2-years-old and I am asked regularly: “When are you going to have another baby?” Not once has Mr. Pirate been asked that same question.
My work is such that I have one set of immediate co-workers and then two sets of peripheral co-workers. This second set is occupied by people with whom:
a) I have regular interactions because we’re all in the same department.
b) I have regular interactions with because we’re both the blue-collar side of the white-collar education industry.
This morning – while feeling a bit gross because honestly my body has never functioned well before the sun’s up – a female colleague (of the set 2a) asked if I was feeling alright. I told her no, not feeling the best and then she asked, loudly, “Are you pregnant?” In front of three other male colleagues.
She might as well have declared that my breath stinks and demanded if I’d brushed my teeth yet today.
So I told her (and three assembled male colleagues), “No, I’m not pregnant. You have to have sex first for that to happen and I’ve been missing out on step one. There’s your quick sex ed lesson for the day.”
Yep. I volunteered WAAAAYYY too much information. But she wanted to know.
Later, she apologized and we talked about it. I explained that Mr. Pirate has NOT. ONCE. been asked this same question so it makes me a little tetchy.
Like I said. Elle is almost two. I’ve been asked this question — or variations on the same theme — frequently since she was four-months-old.
I understand that people mean well. I get that they’re trying to make conversation. But, it can come across all too easily as prying into things that are painful. Or inappropriate. Or just plain none of your business.
A better question might be, “Hey, how’s your kid? She/he’s how old again? Wow. That’s a really great age.”
Better yet. Let’s just assume we all brush our teeth and call it a day.