The Non-Existent Ettiquette of Pregnancy Tests

vintage_baby_poster-p228687218926020335vsu7_325I’m not pregnant.

It seems really important to clarify that up front, kittens. There is no blonde mini-Grace growing in my womb, sucking out my life force. Which is good. I can barely keep myself and my fluffy, white dog alive. If the professor and I were to have children right now, I’d be arrested within six months, because it would turn out that you can’t put a leash on a baby or give it heartworm pills. Parenting is, at this moment, completely beyond me.

So, it was with much trepidation that I visited my local drug store last month. I bought razors and shampoo, but they were just smokescreen toiletries. At the bottom of my basket — looming in a way that seemed improbable for a small, pink box — was a pregnancy test kit. Thanks to the magic of modern medicine (read: whore pills), my period is usually as regular as clockwork. Which is to say that, like clocks, it loses time here or there, but chimes at pretty much the same time every month. In December, however, the crimson cuckoo never struck.

238550111481800892xKAHi0ezc  I’ve tortured this metaphor, haven’t I? Suffice it to say: I skipped last month’s lady curse and was freaking the fuck out. Visions swirled in my head of wee professors and — horror of horrors! —maternity wedding gowns. I’m normally hyper-vigilant about taking my birth control, but I was four hours late that Tuesday. Was I so fertile that all it took was one late pill and a sideways look by some man essence, before—boom!—welcome to babytown?

Way to be a sadistic bitch, Mother Nature! All that recycling I did and this was my payback? Oh, but Professor McGregor didn’t yet recycle. Was I being punished, because I had not prevented his beer bottles from being thrown in the landfill? That seemed unfair. Surely, he should be the one plagued by a small creature wanting to hijack his body, since they were his bottles. Damn it, biology.

So, there I was. Through the magic of love, birth control user error, and a boyfriend who inexplicably doesn’t recycle, thus pissing off the universe, I was buying a fucking pregnancy test. Or, to be technical about it, I was buying five pregnancy tests. This was not the time to quibble over brands! Buying one of each was, obviously, the best course of action. My gaggle of tests and I pulled up to the beauty counter—or, as I like to call it, the Buying Tampons and Laxatives Counter—and feigned nonchalance. Then, this happened:

Middle-Aged Cashier Who Looks Like a Sunday School Teacher, Complete with Christmas Tree Sweater: Good afternoon!
Grace: Hi.

Cashier: Having a good day?

Grace: Totally. What about you?

Cashier: It’s just dandy! Why, lookie here! (picks up pregnancy tests, with a flourish) Wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas surprise?

Grace, feeling faint: Not necessarily.

Cashier: This time next year, you could be celebrating with a baby!

Grace: Hopefully not.

Cashier, totally not picking up what I’m laying down: Babies are the best. I miss mine being little ones. Miraculous bundles of joy! If you ignore all the vomit.

Grace: Oh, for the love of God! I do not want a baby! Stop your jinxing blather, Witch of Walgreens!

vintage_cute_blond_curls_baby_smile_baby_shower_invitation-rbc1a08b23c424b77a9fbbde65f349f95_8dnmv_8byvr_512Okay, I didn’t say that. I just made vague, noncommittal noises and prayed for the credit card machine to work faster, damn it, because years of living in the South had rendered me incapable of rudeness. Why isn’t there a standard of ettiquette for the purchase of pregnancy tests, y’all? If this well-meaning cashier is anything to judge by, we need rules for these exchanges! People can’t seriously assume that all women over 18 want to be pregnant, right? Some of us do, sure, but some of us really, really don’t, so please stop talking about the inherent cuteness of tiny socks.

To prevent potential drugstore violence by angry, potentially impregnated women, I propose these rules, to be implemented by pharmacies worldwide:

  1. Do not mention the pregnancy test.
  2. Only look at the pregnancy test long enough to find the bar code.
  3. Be fleet. Scan items like the wind, noble cashier!
  4. For the love of God, don’t talk about how awesome babies are! Why, why, why would you do such a thing? We’re already stressed out, whether we want it to be positive or negative. We don’t need to chat about it!

Seems simple enough. Could someone please make sure the Anderson Mill Walgreens in Austin adopts these? In the meantime, I’m going to go drink some coffee and eat sushi, because this month, the cuckoo clock definitely chimed. Let the happy dances commence!

– Grace

33 thoughts on “The Non-Existent Ettiquette of Pregnancy Tests

    • You and me both, Muse. Eventually, I might want them, but I am definitely not at that place right now. I am a million joyfully selfish miles from that place, actually.

  1. THAT is too funny for words (not the freak out about being pregnant, but the buying of the pregnancy test). When I was younger my best friend’s mum sent my best friend to the corner shop to buy a packet of tampons. While she was in there making said embarassing purchase, I was outside clutching my sides from the hilarity. When I used to have to buy myself tampons in the early days I would always try secrete them behind the pile of bananas and under the bread, maybe in with the cans of dogfood….. now, I don’t really give a rat’s arse.

    Condoms, however, are a different story… there always, ALWAYS, seems to be someone lurking around near the condoms. Again, nowdays I’m married so condoms do not feature on my shopping list, but, back in the day, I always made sure I had some to hand because you never know what might happen. Rather than making an informed choice about whether ribbed or glow in the dark would be more preferable, having a “lurker” nearby discouraged me from lingering and reading box after box to discover what specifics the contents had, but rather to snatch the first box off the shelf that I could serruptitiously grap, and make a beeline for the counter, purchasing a number of other objects to disguise the fact that condoms were, infact, the focal point of my grocery shop visit.

    • Oh my God! The condom lurkers! There is some sort of universal law that dictates one can never have privacy on the condom aisle. It drives me crazy! All a girl wants to do is pick out a perfect sized and ribbed bit of rubber, without judgmental side-eyes from the cold & flu section.

  2. Made me laugh out loud! Last time I bought a pregnancy test, I purposely chose the checkout lane not being staffed by the crazy lady with the big mouth who goes to my parents’ church. Wouldn’t ya know that she saw me and came over to relieve the woman who was cashiering? At least all required small talk screeched to a halt when she got to that item and she swiftly dispensed with me and my whoring ways.

    • Ugh! That always happens to me, as well. Inevitably, I will end up with the cashier I’m trying to avoid. I’m a bit envious that she didn’t bring up the test, though! Mine was both chatty *and* nosy…such an awful combination.

  3. SO TRUE. I endured a similarly horrifying pregnancy test purchase this month. What is the deal though with the winter and lady part irregularities?!

    p.s. I will be passing these rules on to all people I know who work at drugstores. Which is no one, but maybe if you made a flyer version I could discreetly hand it off to the employees when I buy condoms and diet coke.

    • YES! To all of the above. This winter, particularly, seems to have been filled with ladypart irregularities for so many people. Perhaps this was what the Mayans were truly predicting?

      And…done and done. A stealthy flyer will totally be in the works. The word must be spread!

  4. I had the same problem in December! My “monthly visitor” is notorious for coming and going as it pleases, but this time it had me scared. I was THIS close to taking a similar trip to Walgreens, but fortunately, on Christmas Day, good ol’ Santa gave me the gift of a vacant womb.

  5. Oh, it was just so nice to read about a Midwestern woman who ISN’T painting a damned nursery.

    Also, Dollar Tree pregnancy tests are proven just as accurate and cost just one dollar a piece. Highly recommended.

  6. hilarious post. i can’t remember the comedian who said you should buy a pregnancy test and one wire hanger together and that’s all. funny shit. that might end the damn nosy questions.

  7. Haha. I can imagine. I hate when I have to tell patients the results of their pregnancy tests. It is always, is this good news or bad. There are a few exceptions where you know for sure that they have been trying and are excited but usually, it is a crap shoot whether it is good or bad. Though, sometimes they already have taken the urine test, and just need the blood draw for some reason or another. Those are much easier to tell the news to

    • I absolutely can’t imagine having to give that news to people on a daily basis! The spectrum of reactions you must see is mind-boggling. Though, considering how paranoid I am, I can’t imagine having the blood test taken without having done a million urine tests. Some people are obviously much, much calmer than I am.

      • not really. Most already know, or they are not having to pay the bill for my visit, whereas the test at the dollar store would cost them a dollar. And some are just hoping that the urine test was wrong

  8. Reblogged this on PMS:PostModernSingle and commented:
    I’ve been through the terror of pregnancy tests twice. Grace’s story just made me laugh the laugh you can only laugh if you’ve been there, done that. I may elaborate later, but for now, enjoy Grace’s tale.

  9. Years and years ago, when dirt was just a lad, I bought a pregnancy test, and was checked out by this very woman. in answer to her chipper blathering on about the joys of motherhood, i informed her that i seriously hoped not because I was 16, had slept with 3 different guys in the last month, drunk at least a keg of booze and had snorted at least a pound of crank in the same time period, so the kid was sure to be retarded and then I’d beat it and end up in jail and it in foster care. that shut her up. and made my hangover a lot less agonizing as I giggled my way out of the store. to my negative (thank god) test results. ah, youth!

  10. Haha!! Nice read!! I remember the look from the cashier when I bought pregnancy test kit before. I was like, what the hell? I just wanna find out if I’m pregnant! Don’t give me that darn look as if I’m a sinner!

    • Thanks, Vanessa! And – I know, right? You would think working in a drugstore would get you over the judgment, since surely they see those things sold every day. Eventually, you’d have to realize that – oh right – most people have sex. Ridiculous!

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