When I first moved to New York City, it was around the time of the Clinton and Monica Lewisnsky scandal. I had short, dark layered hair and was considerably… voluptuous.
I noticed that at certain restaurants, such as Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse. (Yes, I frequented them, for a taste of home…you have too, so don’t judge me) I would often be treated extremely kindly by the waitstaff. Then the check would come, and I’d pull out my credit card, and the waitress would say:
“Oh wow! I have to admit I thought you were Monica Lewinsky! Well, we’re gonna comp that dessert for you.” The waitress nervously went on about how pretty Monica was. Yes, I gave her a nice tip.
Being mistaken for the woman who had illicit relations with the president at the time came with mixed feelings. Monica wasn’t a bad looking girl, we were both on the heavier side. Honestly, if Bill Clinton propositioned me, I’d say yes. I can’t really say that I blame her. But I didn’t love being mistaken for her.
So I dyed my hair blonde. Shortly after, I was mistaken for Kelly Clarkson at Outback Steakhouse. The perks: I got a free bloomin’ onion, but the disappointment that I was not the American Idol star, was apparent all over the waitstaffs’ faces. I had received amazing service that day, by at least four different waiters. Yes, it was odd, but I felt special. My regret, I should’ve paid cash, maybe they would have never known. Then no one would’ve gotten hurt.
It’s not that these statements made me want to change my appearance and lose some weight. It was when the subway seat offerings started coming my way. I knew it wasn’t because anyone thought I was a star. It was because they thought I was pregnant. At first I was angry at these requests. How dare someone offer think I was fat and pregnant?! Once a woman kept offering and offering her seat to me during rush hour. The train was packed, I politely declined. She persisted. I lost it and said, “I’m not pregnant I’m just fat!”. The poor woman turned red and just stared into Us Weekly, while people applauded my bitchiness. Looking back, I feel awful because she was making a genuine kind gesture.
Now that we’re well out of the Clinton era, I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight and I do not get mistaken for anyone. However, there are those times when I choose to wear big baggy clothes and I will be offered a seat on the train. When this happens, I take it. If you’re going to assume that someone is pregnant, I will feel better about taking your seat.
I had a semi-traumatic moment in Walgreens today where I thought I was having a heart to heart with a woman about Reese’s peanut butter cups. I went on and on about how much I liked them. I do realize that may have sounded odd, but I didn’t care.
“Well, you can eat those, you know, because you’re having a baby.”
She pointed down to my stomach, I was wearing my North Face puff coat.
“Oh, no, I’m just wearing layers, see.” I proceeded to unzip my coat, then just stopped because I’m sure she felt embarrassed. I tried to leave the conversation, but she wouldn’t stop talking about her love for Almond Joys. I wasn’t offended, because I do not look pregnant for the most part.