I’ve learned a few things about people in my day.  Not a whole lot, seeing as I’m still horribly awkward in some conversations and have been known to give a backhanded compliment on a few occasions (not purposely, mind you).

Of the lessons I’ve learned, this is the most important one:

DON’T ask a woman if she’s pregnant.  Ever.  Like, ever.  Even if she’s in labor pains and you’re a doctor.  Well, maybe then, but only if she’s subdued.

This one happened to a friend the other day.  She was helping a customer, who was already upset with her, when the customer busted out this little question: “Are you pregnant?”  My friend, who isn’t skinny as a rail but sure as hell isn’t fat, responded with a simple no.  And then the customer said “because you look pregnant.”  Precious.

My friend’s feelings were hurt obviously.  To make it worse, she had been asked before.  I felt horrible and suggested that she tell anyone who asks that she is just plump because of chemotherapy.  That’ll teach ‘em to ask personal questions.

I’ve seen pregnant women before but I’m still not really sure.  I have to tread carefully when trying to figure out a woman’s state.  Little things like digging through a purse or checking her receipts are really helpful in determining.  Actually, you’d be surprised how much you can learn by digging through a woman’s purse.  For instance, did you know it’s illegal?  I sure didn’t.  At the time.

Anyway, don’t ask.  Just don’t.  Most personal questions with co-workers and acquaintances are better left untouched.  Let the facts come out naturally if they must.  Ask about natural hair color or upbringing if you need to start small-talk.  “Did you see any movies this weekend?”  “What’s your favorite book?”  “Isn’t John McCain a big, ol’ douche bag?”  Simple questions like that provide plenty of hours of conversation.  Just stay away from anything sexual, financial, or health-related.

I will never, ever ask a woman if she’s pregnant, even if she says to me “I am pregnant Brandon.  I am expecting a baby.  There is a child feeding inside of me.”  That might make for an odd married life but at least I know I’ll be safe from destroying someone’s day.  The only possible way I might — MAYBE — ask a woman is if she is literally giving birth to a child in front of me.  And even then I’m not sure I would ask.  I’d probably pass out.