Yes Sir That’s Me

I was called “sir” by a waitress today.

Less than four months ago I predicted that was the sort of thing that would never happen to me no matter how I wore my hair. In fact, I think I predicted it in this very blog. I remember a conversation with my friend Manny around December, when I was edging closer and closer to my plan to cut off my hair, and saying to him, “Yeah, I guess I’m basically butch, but it’s not like I’m the kind of person who’s ever gonna be mistaken for a guy, even if I get a buzz cut.” His response at the time was, “Yes, you would.” I laughed and disagreed.

Cue ironic laugh track here.

Today’s “sir” was especially surprising because I’d chosen to embrace my gender ambiguity and wear a reasonably fitted (which is not at all to say clingy, but definitely not oversized) army green (men’s) sweater over an ordinary bra that doesn’t particularly de-emphasize my big chest. And I wore my Eurotrash Girl glasses, which sure, in shape are pretty damn butch, but they have magenta anodized aluminum ear pieces. Magenta! And my awesome haircut is already starting to be too long and poofy (which means either I invest in a pair of clippers and learn to use them, or I’m gonna be heading to the barber every 3-4 weeks, which could get expensive.) In short, I wasn’t looking what I would call my most masculine.

Here’s how it went down. I was alone at the table waiting for my friend, seated at the back of a crowded restaurant at lunchtime, and the waitress came up to me from somewhat behind (eight-o-clock, for you orienteering and navigating types) and she said, “Can I get you something to drink, sir?”

And I felt this indescribable thrill. Which I quickly set aside in order to move on to the more important part of the transaction, which was ordering a Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda. I think it blew the poor waitress’s circuits a little though, because as soon as I said, “Yes, please, I’d like a Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray,” she looked at me kind of startled and blank, and then asked what flavor I wanted.

“Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray,” I repeated, enunciating more carefully.

“Oh.” More flustered looking at me and her order pad, then me, then order pad again. “It comes in a lot of flavors. Do you want cream soda, or black cherry, or…”

“Cel-Ray. Celery. The celery flavor.”

“Oh! Celery! Cel-Ray. Okay.” And she sort of laughed nervously and went to get my drink.

And I sat there blinking and almost grinning and feeling both amused and bemused, and trying to decide if there was any way it could be a second language issue, because she had an accent, although her English seemed completely fluent, and really, in a restaurant the difference between “ma’am” and “sir” is one I’d expect you’d pick up on pretty quickly. And I decided that, yeah, no. She’d definitely read me as male.

Huh. As my Arkansas grandmother would have said, will wonders never cease?

My next act was to send DK and JB and two other friends the following text message: I just got my first “sir”! *shock*

Then my friend Wayne arrived for lunch, so naturally I told him about it. His response? “You’re kind of proud, aren’t you?” and a grin. Which totally made me blush, because, well, yeah. Which I immediately felt weird about. I mean, why should I be proud of that? I almost felt ashamed of my pride, and maybe proud isn’t the word. But pleased, definitely pleased. I was pleased, and them embarrassed to be caught being pleased, because I guess it kind of marks out what a noob I am or something, and I’m not entirely sure what Wayne thinks of my trans tendencies and butch aspirations, but I sometimes worry he thinks they’re silly, and…

And  yet, it was totally cool. I’m still grinning. I wasn’t expecting it at all, but you know what? That one “sir” today made up for a hell of a lot of the “ma’am”s I’ve gathered over a lifetime. A whole hell of a lot of them.

I think I’m gonna go put on my boots and Levi’s and strut around a little.


~ by Nezu on 14 April 2010.

9 Responses to “Yes Sir That’s Me”

  1. You should strut. Because anytime someone else, a stranger, recognizes you for who you are – it’s awesome! And I have to say – who you are comes from within – so even when the clothes or hair don’t fit “you” that day, you’re still you.

    So strut, and be proud.

  2. You, sir, are awesome.

    I get the pleased bit – on a purely emotional level, I get it. Because there’s an embracing of ambiguity, living into it, claiming this marshy area as your own space and setting up camp. And so the waitress’s mistake becomes an affirmation of your (shifting) identity.

    hugs and kisses,

  3. I’m called ‘sir’ … and sometimes, whem I’m in my clerical collar, ‘Father.’ I find some amusement in it, particularly in the efforts of the one doeing the naming to ‘undo’ what they perceive to be a deeply offensive mistake and which I consider to be a completely understandable observation of my androgony, which, I’m quite happy with. To me, ‘sir’ is just another sign I am, well, myself. I join the chorus, go ahead and strut.

  4. congratulations sir! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person (as my grandma used to say). I have to say that this post just put a big smile on my face! I do wish our English language was not so limited in its gender choices. Because I want to say the emotional equivalent of ‘you go girl’ but that phrasing is so inadequate in wording!!

  5. This post just makes me smile, knowing how happy you are with yourself and affirmation of that self. Hope you are strutting big time! I also loved the image Beachlass used of the “marshy ground” and your setting up camp there. If you need a platform to strut around on (so you don’t get your boots muddied), I’ll be delighted to provide the boards. Love, Mom

  6. *grins* This is so awesome. When I got that text, by the way, I was grinning like mad and halfway to strutting around on your behalf. ;-D


  7. We already celebrated out loud, but I want to throw it up in blogsphere, too. Congratulations, dude, you totally earned it. And I hope it happens a million more times.

  8. […] just take a moment to acknowledge that my mom is awesome? If you doubt her awesomeness, check out her response to my entry on being called “sir.” I am well aware that I am richly, richly blessed to […]

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