A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.


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A very terrible development has emerged in my life in the last six months. I never thought this would happen to me, and I don’t wish it upon any other woman.

The first time, I was at work on a floor I don’t often frequent, looking for a peculiarly-named conference room. I saw a former coworker and called her over to ask if I was on the right track. I opened my mouth to pose the question, and before I could get it out she had rushed over to me, squealing.


I raised an eyebrow.

“Are you expecting?!?!”

BOOM. There it was. The question no one is ever allowed to ask a woman unless her water has literally just broken in front of you. An incredibly awkward exchange ensued during which she suddenly and magically vanished into thin air. I told my friends about it and they all assured me that it was nuts, a clear violation of the unspoken yet universally accepted code. I looked fine, and we all agreed that I was likely just slouching. That night, I began to research new gym options and ate a bowl of broccoli for dinner.

More recently, I was at a party wearing a ruffled dress. I felt fun and festive, and I was enjoying myself and the complements I was getting on my fun and festiveness. Everything was going swell until a female family member patted the ruffles affectionately and asked me if I was pregnant. BAM. A couple of hours later, an older woman whom I had just met did exactly the same thing. Double BAM.

A sad trombone played somewhere in the distance. Wah wah wah waaaah.

“It’s the dress!” they both cried when I pointed to my champagne and shook my head sadly, defeated. No. No I am not pregnant. I am, however, never wearing this dress again.

“No! The dress looks great! It’s the ruffles.” Ruffles, indeed.

Okay, so I’ve been married for a year and a half and I suppose that places me in the danger zone where people are allowed to ask me where my fetus is already. Let’s fly right past the problems surrounding that whole situation and simply focus on the issue at hand: We. Do. Not. Ask. Women. If. They. Are. Pregnant. Unless someone looks like she is about to pop and there is one of those freaky outlines of a tiny foot protruding from her big, round belly, assume she is not with child. Assume she has a couple of extra pounds to lose or she ate a big dinner or she really, really has to pee. Assume she has a 25 lb-tumor or she’s wearing a padded suit or an unflattering top. I have always known this rule to be widely-accepted and non-negotiable. Apparently, it bears repeating.

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It’s alright, though. Clearly the people who subjected me to such treatment have questionable judgment and are incredibly inappropriate. It was the ruffles. I was slouching. I refuse to be taken down by a few dopes who lack social filters.

In other and completely unrelated news, I have recently joined a new health club and signed up for personal training.

Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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