We scooted in close for our very first pregnant-couple heart-to-heart in our very first discussion groups about our very first babies.
“Be Honest!” implored GBNK woman, our fearless leader.
We looked at each other uncomfortably. I don’t recall what we were supposed to be talking about, only that I had other things on my mind, namely my gut. I was about to blow.
“So….you guys know what you got yet?” , someone said, possibly the Missus.
“It’s a girl, for us.”, someone replied, also possibly the Missus.
I can’t be sure who was talking. My eyes were filling up with water, the internal pressure pushing liquid out my tear ducts. I was trying REALLY HARD not to, as we now call it in our blessed-with-child days, “make a stanky’, and the reason was this: farts, even in normal polite societal functions, are a dicey way to introduce yourself.
Now I’m juvenile. I think bodily functions are funny, and I know I’m not alone. I think often the best of friends are post-30 people who can still admit they have an adolescent streak to each other outside of the cubicle. That said, I’m sure we could have all gotten over it- had a laugh in the future even- if it weren’t for two scientific equations at play here.
The first is this: Pregnant women have Spiderwoman senses of smell. They can detect a 45-year old opening a bottle of Dr. Pepper in an apartment three blocks away, and also smell if he had an argument with his cat in the last week.
I tried to be polite, I really did. I even synergized my ‘I’m going to mask the sound’ with ‘I will also cover the smell’. I thought I had a great maneuver, one that would allow both a polite fiction about an audible fart, and also an alternative smell.
“Hey Honey,” I said in awkward, stilted, and disingenuous capital letters, “ Are You Hungry? I Will Get You The Rest of the Sandwich!”
My plan was this: I could grab the rest of the sandwich, lean WAY over to her, let the greasy folds of wax-paper-soaked-steak’n’cheese goodness emanate a smokescreen cloud of fast food love, while I delicately released an undertone, hopefully unnoticed by our intimate quadrant of happy parents. I could even slyly place one of the pillows atop my lab for absorbency.
I thought I was doing pretty well, thinking on my feet, as it were. We certainly needed new parent friends. The Missus probably knew this acutely, but I at least had a vague outline of the future. Having a baby is akin to showing up to your first day of High School dressed in full Goth regalia- you understand with absolute clarity that you had better find people of your ilk really quickly. I wasn’t prescient enough at that moment to understand this- that came about a week after the baby- but I knew I had better not blow the opportunity to make friends (pun unintended.)
In retrospect, I realized I made two rather grave mistakes in my planning. The first, I should have realized- Greasy folds of steak’n’cheese do not emanate love to pregnant women. They emanate nausea.
The second equation, I feel I can be forgiven for, at least in terms of foresight. It has been a long time since I sat in the molded plastic chairs of the elementary-school classroom (or in this case, the birthing class) and I had plumb forgotten how well they amplify sound. The pillow maneuver just drew attention to my lame attempt at covering up the incident.
I don’t really want to describe the alarmed looks and the cocked eyebrows, nor the heavy eyelids that accompany naked human repulsion, so I will stop right there. Suffice to say, we never really hit it off with any of the other couples enough to maintain a relationship with them, and I fear that may be my fault. Or the Cheesesteak Shop, depending on how you look at it. We had to make friends other places.