The one piece of unsolicited advice I’ve gotten during my pregnancy that I actually appreciate and take stock in is to beware of unsolicited advice from strangers. I like to believe that the people – mainly women but I’ve gotten some gems from men too – who have indiscriminately doled out random, often ridiculous pearls of wisdom to me actually have my and the baby’s best interests in mind and they sincerely want to pass on lessons they’ve learned along the way. But more likely, these people just like to hear themselves talk. They are the models on which internet trolls are based except without the self-awareness of what they are; unlike trolls who everyone (hopefully) knows not to take seriously, these handers-out of unwanted advice actually believe in the oftentimes lunacy of what they’re saying and hope that your inexperience is evenly matched to their conviction.
There are several brands of unsolicited advice. There is the advice from weird fringy family members. Classic stuff. These are sometimes of the Twilight Sleep generation and offer up advice that is just as antiquated and scary. Then there are the other randos in your life – friends of friends of friends on Facebook – that come out of the woodwork the instant the news of your pregnancy hits the newsstands. Sure, it’s nice when they send you a congratulatory note and wish you the best of luck, but then they take a more in-depth bizarre interest in what’s going on in your uterus. Weirdness.
Today we will take a look at the most outrageous and awesome of the self-proclaimed Pregnancy Yodas: the perfect stranger. I’ve touched on these people before, but that was awhile back when I wasn’t nearly as obviously pregnant as I am these days. My midsection now attracts the weirdos like moths to a flame. These people fear that if they don’t get their guidance in to me before I pop, I may just end up ruining my child. This is a life or death situation. I just smile, nod, and try my hardest not to engage them.
Bloggers like to give out awards. We’re just generous like that. Today I am going to bestow the award for the most bizarre and awkward transferal of unsolicited advice of my pregnancy to the lady who cut B’s hair at Fantastic Sam’s on Tuesday. Round of applause, please.
We dropped in without an appointment so B could get a trim. We waited a little while in the waiting area, and eventually the first free stylist came over to call B for his haircut. Since the chair next to hers wasn’t taken, she invited me over to sit next to him during his haircut. Stylist chairs are way more comfortable than the chairs they have in the waiting area, so I happily obliged to relocate. I plonked down and she was immediately extremely concerned about my comfort level.
“Are you comfortable, ma’am?”
“Oh yes! As comfortable as I can be! Thanks.”
“No, you’re not. I’ve been where you are before and there’s no way you can be comfortable.”
Let’s just take a moment and parse this exchange, shall we? She was luring me in with kindness and establishing her credibility. Oh, beware this tactic! Now I HAD to listen to her orations. And so did B, poor guy. All he wanted was a haircut.
She immediately asked us if this was our first. Pretty innocuous question that I have no trouble entertaining.
“Yes, it IS our first. We are very excited. Blah blah.” I even tacked on that it is a girl because I know the pattern of questions by now.
Her response: “Well, you had better get to work on praying for another one soon because all single children are spoiled. Cannot relate to others at all. The best thing I ever did for my kids was to provide them with friends by having others. Their single cousins? SPOILED. You are praying for this child, aren’t you?”
“Plus, this being a girl – well, what are you naming her…?
“We’re naming her ________.”
“Beautiful name! Well, when little (and she actually started calling the baby by a nickname based on the name we had just told her) arrives, this man here (indicating B) will want a son. IMMEDIATELY. Play ball and such. You’re not going to want to hand this sweet baby girl off to him at all! You may think you will, but that instinct will kick in. That MATERNAL instinct. So you’d better get to praying for a boy now. You are praying, right?”
“Well, you’d better. May as well throw her to the lions if you’re not praying for her. And it always has to be the same prayer. ____’s prayer.”
At this point I had to toss in some pleasantries.
“Yes, well we’ve waited very long to have her and —”
“NO, ma’am, you’re not hearing me. You both must PRAY for her now.”
Not a lot of hair-cutting was taking place at all. In the spaces between her breaths, she would clip little chunks. But I suppose since the eternal salvation of Bebe was in the balance at this moment, we shouldn’t’ve expected haircut lady to focus too much on doing what we were paying her to do.
The fun resumed.
“So, how far along are you?”
“Thirty-six weeks. And, haha, she can’t come soon enough! We’re very anxious to meet her.” Alas, a misplaced chance at humor.
“NO, she’s NOT DONE. You must be patient and let God finish making her. You mustn’t hurry these things along. In these next few weeks you will start to nest and prepare for this child. And you must heed your instincts. She will be with you always, by your side. Have you prepared?”
“Yes, the nursery is ready and we have a bassinet for our bedroom.”
Think she had thoughts on this? HECK YES!
“Waste of money, that bassinet. She’ll be in that bed with both of you for months. You won’t let her go, and you shouldn’t. It’s too much trouble to part with her when she’s not nursing.”
Hello, SIDS on Line One. SIDS on Line One.
At this point the haircut was over. I mean, she had completed cutting B’s hair; as much as I wanted to run screaming from Fantastic Sam’s, we held out until it was complete. I am just really grateful it wasn’t me getting my haircut. That would’ve taken twice as long.
I’d like to extend a special welcome to all the new followers of The Waiting who recently got on board!
Also, special congratulations are in order for Stacy at “>From Nonsense to Momsense, who was recently Freshly Pressed! And of course to Never Contrary who was just visited by the FP fairies again too!