today's thought experiment

let's say you're a mid-20s female who rides the subway to work in the mornings. most mornings the train is insanely crowded, but occasionally you manage to snag a seat.

let's say you leave the house this morning wearing a very cute, tres of-the-moment black empire-waisted dress, so you feel kind of hot. and your hair looks good, and you have taken a few minutes to put on makeup. the train pulls into the station and you get on. you scan for seats: no luck. you settle in with your arm wrapped around a pole and get out your book.

let's say a seated hipster boy, cute in that if-i-didn't-have-a-boyfriend-i'd-maybe-say-hi way, makes eye contact. he smiles. you smile back. he gestures that, if you want, he will give you his seat. you shake your head a polite no, and turn back to your book.

let's say he says, smiling: "do you want my seat?"
and you say, smiling: "no, thanks, i'm fine"
and he says: "really, please take it"
and you say: "no, really, i'm okay"
and he says: "i'm going to stand up. you're going to take it."
he stands up. he says: "i totally understand. my wife is seven months pregnant."
he smiles beatifically.

besides the obvious, which is to never wear empire-waist dresses ever ever ever again, because your stupidly well-endowed chest creates horrible topographic illusions, because you are in fact not pregnant, do you:

correct him. inform him that you are not in fact an incubator of new life, at least not at the moment. feel like a fat cow. allow him to wallow in his asshattishness.
Pro: You are honest.
Con: You are stuck in the same car with the guy who thought you were pregnant for seven more minutes, which is the time it takes to get to the next stop.

do not correct him. take the seat. feel like a fat cow, but silently, and allow him to feel good that he has done something kind. probably he will tell his wife what a gallant thing he did.
Pro: you get a seat on the subway.
Con: you had to pretend to be pregnant in order to get it.

I think this might be the fundamental ethical query of our times. This has nothing to do with whether this might or might not have happened to me this morning. Nope.


Little Bill said...

This is one of the reasons I hate empire-waist dresses. Not because I'd assume a woman is pregmant, actually I wouldn't. But because they make women LOOK pregnant. WTF kind of fashion trend that? Do we need to thank Britney, Angelina, Katie and Nicole for this?

RW said...

Choice C; Turn the necessary cynicism required for survival in the world down half a notch and accept the fact that he was probably just trying to do something nice for somebody and get over it altogether.

Drew said...

Ms. Kelley Hoffman has a fantastic story about mistaken pregnancy, public transportation and empire waists. She took advantage of the situation and wound up wearing her faux preg dress to the best of her advantage on several crowded occasions.

bots! said...

From experience, I will tell you to take the chance when you get it regardless of the details.

When you ARE 7 months pregnant, in the same car, doing the same ride to work whatever and there isn't a seat when you NEED IT ...that hipster boy isn't going to get up.

i said screw it, take the seat and just smile.

carpe diem, motherfuckers.

the slackmistress said...

Kate Moss looks pregnant in an empire-waist dress. Stay away, no matter what you look like. And take the seat.

Sara E Anderson said...

Aw man. My plan (luckily as of yet untested) when falsely accused of being pregnant is to loudly talk about the abortion (Yeah, I know, I'm sick of 'em, but until I have another abortion, I'm pretty pooped!) I'm planning to have.

Keep the fuck out of my uterus, people.

Tyler said...

Something about the name of this style of dress makes me want to conquer Rome.

Anonymous said...

I'm totally anti-empire waist. The high altitude of the waist creates an optical illusion of a woman with longer legs (or in this case, imminent motherhood). If you don't have long legs, find another feature to enhance.