Old joke: What’s the difference between a Playboy centerfold and a pregnant woman? Nothing, if the pregnant woman’s husband knows what’s good for him.
And therein lies a tale from long ago: at this particular moment in time, I am pregnant with my fourth child and to understand this story you need to understand that when I was pregnant, under the best of circumstances I never looked like a glowing Madonna, or even Gwen Stefani, with a cute baby bump under a tasteful Niki Biki tank top.
No, the pregnant me resembled nothing so much as a Volkswagen Beetle trying to maneuver into a parallel parking space. Concerned strangers would stop and ask when the triplets were due, or why I was smuggling watermelons as I lumbered along. Ankles swollen like loaves of bread, pregnancy mask … I was the Ugly Pregnancy Poster Child.
Here I am, mired in the third trimester and almost unable to get my girth behind the wheel of the car and still reach the accelerator and brake. Dad, Interrupted has graciously consented to escort me to an obstetrician’s appointment, and so I arrive at his construction office to pick him up.
On the wall over his desk I spy his calendar. It features a young, shapely woman dressed in filmy lingerie and clutching a Thompson machine gun whilst draped over a Harley. Moving in closer, I know this must be very bad because my husband is stammering that it’s simply a tribute to the Second Amendment.
I am unamused, to the core of my own constitution.
I remain unamused, occasionally at the top of my lungs, as we drive to the obstetrician. As a human resources professional, steeped in the anti-sexual harassment legislation of the nineties, I express my concerns about the possibility of lawsuit and litigation and the example Dad, Interrupted is setting for his co-workers.
I also express my concern that, as a father of two young daughters who are likely to visit his office, he is sending a message about body image and career choices and the kind of women he admires and, by extension, the kind of women they might aspire to be.
And as an eight-months’ pregnant woman, struggling to still fit into just one pair of maternity underpants, the thought of my husband ogling women who are younger than my stretch marks does nothing to boost my self image or whatever shreds of attractiveness might still accrue to a rear end roughly the size of the Titanic’s engine room.
Dad, Interrupted knows what’s good for him and the calendar comes down. He comes home and reports that his boss has taken to entering his office, sitting morosely and staring blankly at the walls, and finally muttering, “I miss Stacked and Packed.”
I feel bad. Not as bad as some of my more epic contractions two months later, but still. So for Christmas, Santa slips one last gift under the tree. It has a note that says, “I appreciate that all you wanted to do was admire beautiful women of strength who are standing up for what they believe in, so I got you a replacement calendar for your office. Enjoy!”
Reading this, his eyes light up. He rips open the wrapping paper to discover the latest calendar celebrating ... Mother Teresa.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears monthly.