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6 Jul

So, How Dilated Are You?

… Fifteen centimeters? Ten? When was the last time that you checked?

I’m standing, clutching my club soda and lime, facing down a total stranger who has just asked me when it was that I last peered down between my legs to see if the baby delivery system was opening up on schedule.

I haven’t checked myself, actually. Can’t get past this gigantic sphere that’s blocking my view. Would love to check it out, though.

She sips her wine and doesn’t blink. It’s an open bar – a pre-wedding reception at a well-heeled downtown restaurant – and she’s clearly been enjoying the flow of Chardonnay. But she’s keeping her wits about her. Well, your doctor should be able to tell you. (Pauses, sips drink.) Or you could get your husband to look.

She’s in her fifties. Well-preserved, with the polished look that wealthy older women have, the kind that haven’t had work done but who go to the spa weekly. Buffed and plucked and dry-cleaned. That look. She’s a piece of work. And she’s clearly relishing chatting about my cervix.

Oh, I say. Well. He doesn’t go down there much anymore. You know, since the baby could slide out anytime. You don’t want that mucus plug hitting you between the eyes.

We stare at each other over our respective glasses. I’m determined to not let this bitch win. If she thinks that she can fluster me, she’s got another think coming. You can’t fluster women who are going on 11 months pregnant. I’ll show her how much I’m dilated before I’m going to blink.

She smiles. No, darling, you don’t! But you shouldn’t let that stop you. Intercourse is the best way to bring on labour!


I smile. Oh, it’s not that he isn’t ever down there. He just doesn’t go head first. We’re doing everything we can to get this baby out.

Parry and thrust.

Well, just be sure that he gives you an orgasm.

Return and thrust.

Oh, I always make sure!

A weak return. She sips her drink and looks away, searching, no doubt, for some virgin that she can grill about hymens. I have, it seems, begun boring her.



It occurs to me that this is the hottest conversation that I will probably have for a very, very long time. And I’m having it with a fifty-something Jewish woman in an Italian restaurant while very possibly going into the early stages of labour. The nightmares, I realize, are going to be horrendous. Or, at the least, confusing.

I consider faking a big, dramatic labour pain, just to freak her out.

I consider spilling my drink and saying that my water just broke.

I consider telling her that I need to excuse myself to go have sex with my husband, to see if we can’t poke that baby out for once and for all.

I do none of these things. I rattle the ice cubes in my empty glass and look around anxiously for my husband. I shuffle my fat, bloated feet and say, weakly, well, it’s been lovely speaking with you. If the baby doesn’t arrive tonight we’ll see you at the wedding tomorrow.

She raises her glass to me and grins, wickedly. Make sure you get someone to measure that cervix!

I put my thumb and forefinger together and make a big circle, the universal symbol for “A-OK!” and “Hey! Big Vagina!”, and hold it up in front of my face, and smile and nod at her from behind the hole.

I regret to this day that I did not stick my tongue through, and waggle it derisively. Except that, I’m pretty sure that she would have waggled back.

In which case, I would never have recovered.

(I would say, with the rest of the PBNers, that I would have rather just handed her THIS, but that’s not true. I would rather that I had had the nerve to say something really, really dirty to her. But I do wish that soemone would have handed this book to me. Then I might have understood better what a cervix is.)

(What would you have said?)

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