DR. HOOK- Not public: Stop grilling, touching pregnant women

"Pregnant?" Have you ever asked a person if she was pregnant, only to learn that well... she isn't! 

This is when if you had a tail, you would curl it between your legs. 

What's even worse is if the person you asked is a man... well, unless it's the pregnant man on Oprah. (Or unless it's my favorite schoolteacher, who was eight months pregnant when a colleague exclaimed, "You're pregnant? Holy cow! Since when?")

Certain conditions make you a public target. According to my friends who have been or are pregnant, you're community property. One of my friends said random people have asked her, "So how much did you weigh before you got pregnant? How much do you weigh now?" 

That's code for, "You're eating like a cow. Stop grazing." 

Now I believe it's nice to be social. After all, in our country we have become such an aloof society. Many of us would rather text message in the grocery line than look at the cashier or the screaming child begging Mommy for candy. 

On the other hand, some issues are kind of personal and "touchy"– such as asking a woman you don't know what her weight is. It's like going through someone's underwear choices at the department store. "Mm Mm. Special night, huh? But doesn't that thong give you a wedgie?"

Some pregnant women shiver every time a person touches their belly. "First one? Oooo, your belly is big as a watermelon! Let me pat it. Boy or girl?" 

Jason Lewis, who plays the hunk Smith on Sex & the City said a fan lifted up his shirt, put her hand on his six-pack abs, and told her hubbie to photograph them. 

"Oh, honey, I've already seen him naked on TV. It's okay!" 

Did you ever consider that putting your hands on an unknown pregnant woman's belly without permission might be uncomfortable for the lady? 

On the flip side of having a big belly, people are more likely to tell you that you're too skinny. It's like strangers become Barbara Walters and go for that killer issue. 

"You're too skinny. Is there a famine going on?" "You look pale. Are you sick?" 

Now I understand when you're in the media, you're like a pregnant woman– at the mercy of strangers. But TV puts on ten pounds, so I can't walk in a parking lot or push my shopping cart without hearing a random person spit out, "You look better in real life, but boy, you are skinny." 

(But with all the weight lifting, steroids, and growth hormones, don't I look like Stallone? Ha ha... ahem. For the record, I'm at ideal body weight.)

Injuries are a magnet for strangers to ask what happened. "Bar fight?" many people joke.

"Um, no domestic violence, but thanks for caring." 

You don't know the circumstances of an injury. Most of the time it was an accident, but you can open up a whole can of worms by asking how the injury occurred. I remember when I broke my leg and had a cast. "Broken leg?" No, broken arm but the doctor put the cast on the wrong body part. I got so tired of everyone asking me the same dumb question. But it was more the frustration of being reminded that I was impaired.

It's nice to try to relate to someone who has an obvious physical condition, but isn't it too bad we don't try to relate to someone who is just, well, bland?

For someone to go from being a flower on the wall to the life of the party can be uncomfortable, especially with swollen legs, morning sickness, and 50 extra pounds. 

Dr. Hook cracks a joke or two, but he's a renowned physician with a local practice. Email him with your questions.