Please Don't Offer Me Your Seat on the Metro February 11 2011

Something I never thought much about until I got pregnant was how people would offer to give up their seat for you. After I got to about six months this would happen almost every day on the Metro and bus ride to and from work. Maybe I looked tired. Or just grandulona. I had a high and very pronounced round belly that once prompted teenagers to point out to each other, "Damn, she is about to Ex-Plooooode!" Nice. I guess it didn't help that I had an obsession for hot dogs (actually, we pronounce them a la Miami -- fo-dog) when I was pregnant. Ikea fo-dogs, the Costco $1.50 special, Ben's Chili Bowl, street vendors by the National Mall in DC -- I hit ALL of them up **repeatedly** throughout my pregnancy.

My commute to downtown is short, so it's not a big deal to stand up in the metro, but it was kind of nice to get the offer. The gesture humanized my fellow commuters. Older women were the ones who were most likely to offer first. Their offer was often paired with a warm smile. Then it was the older men who offered. Gentlemen. Then the younger men. Their mommas taught them to open doors. Then younger women. Not often, too concerned with themselves. That was my experience, at least.

Sometimes in my head I would actually get mad when I wouldn't get an offer, like WTH don't these selfish people know I'm carrying a load here?

The toddler is now 19 months, and so there is something really wrong when I'm still getting offers. On my ride home today a total Kanye West disciple (same clothes to a T) offered me a seat offer on a packed metro. Crap! I sucked in my stomach and said, no, no, thank you that's very kind. I would've busted out boxed wine and some cigarettes if I could just to prove I'm not preggolicious.

I can't really think to before I got pregnant and whether I got seat offers. Maybe I did, or maybe I'm just too self-conscious now. I am totally paranoid. I don't know if they're asking to be nice, or because they spot a pooch and think I've got a bebito on board. I don't. Can I, should I say it? I look at their eyes -- are they looking at my stomach?

I exercise (I ran a half-marathon in November, for Chrissakes), try to eat right, but I've still got that post-mama belly -- the one that looks a little like a deflated beach ball. Sexy, I know. My mom always insists I try a girdle. A GIRDLE?!?! Or as my grandmother calls it, "una faja." I don't even understand the origin of that one. But girdle, that's some serious '60s and '70s business there.

I'm not ready to throw in the towel and go that route yet (not even Spanx -- which is basically a girdle by a different name). But I've taken note and my goal is to never get offered a seat on the metro again. And maybe just learn to love my soft middle a little.