Sunday, April 18, 2010

Harlem Men & Pregnancy

Our block

The weather here in NYC's been cold lately, but a couple weeks ago when we had a warm spell I don't know what it was but the men of Harlem became a little bit more frisky and started feeling free to make fresh comments towards me - a round, pregnant lady! 

At the beginning of the pregnancy when I looked as though I had just overeaten a bit and wasn't quite visibly pregnant yet, I could understand when guys on the street would make comments but now that I'm looking like this . . .

it's completely out of hand!

I was walking up St. Nicholas AVE and two young guys in their late teens/early twenties were approaching me. As I passed one of them said: "Ooooh sexy!" I was like, "WHA?!" I tried to pretend he was talking to someone else. Later I was running errands and had to go to the grocery store and library. During that trip 2 older men stopped to give me compliments. One older gentleman said, "I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!"

Personally, I just brush these compliments off and pretend somewhere in their upbringing Harlem men were taught that pregnant women feel awful about themselves so they need to be bolstered with false compliments but still I do have to admit it's nice sometimes.

Besides the compliments there's another type of commentary I get from Harlem men and it happens in the gym . . .

Ever since my dr. started telling me I'm morbidly obese (mild exaggeration there on my part!) I've been trying to get to the gym at least 3x a week and on the days I don't go at lest get over to Riverside Park for a walk. I go to NYSC and noticed that I am the only visibly pregnant woman who goes. I'm very careful with my workouts and I monitor my heartrate, but it's very surprising all the stares I get. 

Well, usually no one really comes over to say anything to me but lately MEN have been getting vocal with their commentary. I was on the outer thigh machine and there was a middle-aged man on the inner though machine beside me. As he got off the machine he turned to me and offered, "Keep it tight!" I was like, "Huh?!" He then went on to lament how his wife let herself go and never went to the gym while pregnant then got so depressed about how big she was getting that she never bothered to go back again and now she's huge. O. . .K. . . . I just looked at him. He then explained how much he still loves her and how he's not going anywhere. "Great! Have a nice day!"

Then another time a man came over and told me that walking was the best way to tone my legs during pregnancy. I looked at him blankly and he explained, "I'm a trainer." "Well good for you!" is what I thought, but I just said, "Ohhh. Well, I alternate gym time with walks at Riverside Park." Then off he went.

I don't know what it is about being pregnant that makes Harlem men open their mouths, but so far it's been an interesting experience. I'll see what happens as the weather continues to warm up, and I continue to expand. I'm sure it'll be quite fun.