Now we keep an eye out for baby bumps

June 27, 2006|By SUSAN REIMER | SUSAN REIMER,SUN COLUMNIST

The list of reasons not to be young, beautiful and famous is short, but No. 1 would have to be "the belly bump patrol."

"The belly bump patrol" is apparently a subset of the dreaded paparazzi, photographers who train their lenses on that part of a woman's torso which reveals that she is either pregnant or she has had a burrito for lunch.

The slightest bulge is suddenly cause for wild speculation, as Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez and Reese Witherspoon have recently discovered.

Poor jilted Nicole, who finally found happiness with country music star Keith Urban, had her weekend wedding overshadowed by rumors that the pair had something more to celebrate than their marriage. Evidence? The bump in her belly.

Jennifer Aniston, so tormented by that home wrecker Angelina Jolie, who has been recast as a humanitarian in one of the great PR moves of all time, realized the timing of Brad Pitt's infidelity by the size of Angelina's bump, which she unselfconsciously displayed in a gray dress suit while testifying on Capitol Hill last fall.

Now Jen is the object of speculation that Vince Vaughn has a ring ready because a baby is due by Christmas. Evidence? The growing bump in her belly demonstrated by a series of photos in In Touch magazine, the poor cousin of People.

So intrusive was this series of photos that it caused gossip columnist Liz Smith to explode in anger.

"The recent magazine charting of Jennifer Aniston's `bump' is close to revolting. I haven't the foggiest if Miss A. is pregnant, but let me be the first to inform the people who gauge such things that not all women have concave bellies. In fact, most women don't. Not even in Hollywood. Not even the very slim and toned Jennifer."

Reese Witherspoon has sued the tabloid Star for reporting that she is pregnant with her third child and was hiding the fact from the producers of future movies. She claims that the story harmed her because it suggested she would be unable to perform her duties in connection with those films.

"The true facts are that plaintiff is not pregnant, does not have a baby bump and has not otherwise gained weight such that she has had to resort to wearing empire-waist dresses," the lawsuit said, according to the Associated Press.

So "baby bump" has now made it all the way into legalese.

And finally, Jennifer Lopez was rumored to be pregnant as well, based on the way her dresses were fitting. However, we are hearing that her modest pelvic protrusion can be blamed on the side effects of fertility drugs. In other words, she has a wanna-bump.

Sheesh.

Coming as I do from a generation of women who wore maternity clothes styled like umbrellas, I think these women have nobody to blame but their peers. After all, every starlet this side of Barbra Streisand wears her pregnancy like a sock on a beach ball: low-slung pants and tight-fitting tank tops that make the belly button the third party in any conversation.

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Madonna, Uma Thurman, Katie Holmes, Rachel Weisz, Gwen Stefani, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie. All have been candidly photographed clutching a Starbucks and $3,000 Hermes Birkin tote, an enormous egg straining the seams of their Lycra camisoles.

Add Jolie's tattoo across the growing arch between her hip bones -- Quod me nutrit me destruit ("What nourishes me also destroys me") -- and you have the biggest celebrity "ick" factor since Kevin Federline left the house for cigarettes.

Don't get me wrong. Women used to face "confinement" as soon as their tummies popped. And maternity fashion had to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the baby-doll phase. But the pendulum seems to have swung rather far with this baby bump stylin' -- whether you are hunting for signs of one, or showing it off.

If hot flashes mean we have escaped this trend, then pour a pitcher of ice water over my smiling face.

susan.reimer@baltsun.com

To hear audio clips of selected Susan Reimer columns, go to baltimoresun.com/reimer.

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