Babies are (not) taboo

I am not one of those people who does something just because it is illegal or socially not accepted. Nor do I like provocation for provocation’s sake. But of the many things that I like to do, some include activities that overstep the boundaries of the social norm a bit; just to show that I am an individual and not merely an exchangeable member of society.

For example, I take off my shoes when I am in a library. (Not because I regard libraries as sacred places, but because it’s comfortable.) Or I read a book when I am in a concert of classical music because I can listen and read at the same time. Or I give up my job from one day to the next to become a student again. Also, I like to talk back to people who speak into their mobile phones so loudly that I can reasonably claim that I thought they were addressing me.

If you want to experience the feeling of breaking a taboo, I recommend that you start with what is the biggest taboo for most people: their children.

Nobody would have called ME ugly.

When travelling on public transport, I sometimes do the following: If there is a baby around whose physiognomy warrants it, I look at the baby for more than the normal duration of a stare, frown and state with a clearly audible voice “What an ugly baby.” Not in an aggressive way, just as a declaration of fact, before turning to my newspaper again.

Let me know how it went.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
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16 Responses to Babies are (not) taboo

  1. John Erickson says:

    Have you decided to go kamikaze on me? Jeez, between your recent postings that have drawn such intense scrutiny, to this one, I’m beginning to wonder about you! ;)
    I love the bit about addressing “loud talkers” on cell phones. Even better than interrupting them, listen closely but discreetly to what they say, noting names and events. Then, when they hang up, turn to them and address them as if they were an old friend, and ask them a specific question about the person on the other end. When you get the expression of abhorrence, shrug and say, “Sorry. I thought you wanted us all involved!” It works great on commuter trains – so much so, you’ll usually have a seat all to yourself! Talking aloud to yourself right next to them works well, too, and will usually get you a clear seat much faster! :D

  2. Dis Manibus says:

    so how did it go for you?!

  3. Dani says:

    What did the poor child’s parents say or do? I hope you got the right reaction for it! :-D

If it happened to me, I would pull your newspaper and say, “I sincerely hope you have one, too, one day.” Or to a bolder extent, “What a cruel thing to say to your child! I was just about to tell you that you’re his biological father!” After that, I’ll attack you with a baby bottle, and put a soiled nappy down your bag, if you had one. Of course, I would probably get into trouble for it. But hey, nobody calls MY baby ugly!!! 



    It is rather unfortunate to have an unattractive baby. Babies are supposed to be cute and all that. For lack of an appropriate adjective, I am guilty of saying, “oh, what a sweetie” to friends’ babies whom I thought looked like runts or little aliens.

  4. Even I do that at times when I used to work with children, on shops and so on and sometimes the kids got scared and stopped other times they would continue arrrrrr.

  5. Elena says:

    You will say ugly even if he/she is really beautiful baby?

  6. Lena says:

    I understand that you can say what you want and be original in your way, it is good and even interesting (I read about this in your posts), but why to hurt the parents of the baby? I am sure you don’t want to offend anybody. The baby doesn’t understand. If you see really ugly man or woman you also have to say them this? “You are really ugly,miss, you know?”:))

    • It’s more of a protest against everybody saying “ohhh, what a cute baby” to EVERY baby. I want to point out how shallow these comments are if nobody ever says the truth.

      I would not say anything to adults, except if they make themselves ugly, e.g. through tattoos.

    • Lena says:

      But also everybody say ” ohh, what a beautiful tatto you have” to somebody that have it.
      So you have to say the truth. I think it is the same.
      It was sometimes the movie (in Russia I think) when they desided to spend only one day without lie and say to everyone what they really think…It was fun…That what you try to do…I understand your protest against this lie about baby, but still don’t understand why to hurt the parents, that think that their baby is cute, for them this ugly baby is the most cute in the world?

  7. ela says:

    Why do u need to hurt the parents feelings? Besides the fact, that not every baby is cute, I don’t think, that it’s really necessary to say these words to strangers. Hey, the have no choice, should they put their babys on a bazar to sell them just because the babys won’t fit YOUR standarts? The most ugly baby can turn into the most beautiful woman when she grows up. And besides that: the baby can have disease or something like this. So it would hurt the parents even more. Do u try to rescue the world or what?

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  9. Chroncat101 says:

    What an ugly wordpresser! EWWW. Back to my surfing.

  10. Mal Ta says:

    it’s true. quite a number of babies are ugly. and they get worse as they grow up! angela merker must have been an ugly baby.

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  12. Dante says:

    There are some babies who look rather ‘ugly’ as newborns but become ever cuter during their first year(s) of their lives.

  13. Silke says:

    You are just cruel. Let’s hope, karma gets back to you some day.

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