Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Of beards and "bellies"

Mark/PT, thanks for reminding me (read the comments along with the post)--I knew there was something else that I wanted to post about. One of my favorite radio hosts ended up in a long discussion with Weed (the station manager, a fellow student) and a few callers (including a certain bearded bass player of her acquaintance) about beards. Beards come in several sizes and shapes, ranging from full to goatee to "like an Egyptian"--think of those paintings and statues of the Pharoahs. Apparently, the growing and/or removal of any type of beard can result in all manner of reactions, ranging from children who've never before seen their father beardless running and hiding in closets to threats of divorce to comments about the appearance of one's now-"naked" face. Mustaches were also mentioned in passing and given the thumbs-down. (Full disclosure: Years ago, I asked my husband to shave off his mustache as an anniversary present--I was tired of kissing the "Fuller Brush Man.")

But there's one change in appearance that no man ever has to deal with:

Having "a belly." Also known as being pregnant.

Yessireebob, nine glorious months of nausea, followed by more nausea, not being able to sleep on your stomach, looking like a Mack truck, and suddenly finding that your body is no longer your own.

If you think that having your kid hide in a closet is bad, try having some guy whom you normally wouldn't let within 10 feet of you reach right out and, without so much as a "May I?," pat you on the tummy, as if your abdomen were no longer part of your body once there was a baby inside.

There are some advantages to living in a shomer-negiah community.


Blogger westbankmama said...

Well, even in a shomer negiah society the women feel free to touch you. To tell the truth, I've done it to other women without thinking. There is something primal about a pregnant belly that brings out things in people.

Wed Nov 08, 07:02:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

WBM, I don't think I would have minded so much being touched by another woman. It was being touched by a man, without my permission, that bothered me. I felt as if I'd suddenly become public property. I mean, seriously, is it okay for a man to touch a woman on her abdomen without her permission when she's *not* pregnant? Under other circumstances, that would be a good reason for a woman to slap a guy in the face (or, as they say in current American slang, to smack him upside the head) for being "fresh" (disrepectful, in a sexual manner, to a member of the opposite sex).

Wed Nov 08, 07:32:00 AM 2006  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

But there's one change in appearance that no man ever has to deal with:

Having "a belly."


Wrong answer.

Wed Nov 08, 10:20:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

So nu, Mark, what's the *right* answer? Wearing a sheitel? On second thought, you've already blogged about "meitels" for men. :)

Wed Nov 08, 07:28:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Tzipporah said...

Ha! And then you look forward to getting your body back to yourself, and instead find you STILL have to share it: with the sweet little monster you birthed(if you're breastfeeding, which I most certainly am with my now-2-month-old).

There's definitely something public and communal about a pregnant woman's tummy. Everyone, especially at shul, wanted to talk about the baby and the pregnancy, and all the women wanted to touch it. I think this is just one of our social-mammal things - we support each other, and help each other raise children, and people rightly see this tummy as something charismatic and powerful and good - who wouldn't want to rub on that? :)

But yes, there is always the uninvited creepy person - I only had one of those, and it bothered me, but I saw how happy it made him to make a connection with a new life (this was someone depressed at the time) so I got over it - I also learned how to spot them coming and avert those overtures.

Wed Nov 08, 07:47:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Oh, yeah, Tzipporah, I remember that--I'd just gone through months of not being able to sleep on my stomach, and now I had to go through more months of the same, because I was nursing?! Man oh Manishevitz, motherhood is a major adjustment. First your *body* is not your own, then your *life* isn't. As a girlfriend of mine once pointed out, babies are cute as a survival mechanism. Otherwise, with all the trouble they put us through . . .

Wed Nov 08, 09:59:00 PM 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>