A Sirring in My Loins

With a title like that, I’m honor-bound to put some interesting content here, don’t you think?

On “sir”: I’ve been called sir a few times now. Enough that it’s not as surprising as it once was, though I still secretly enjoy it. It inevitably happens when I’m wearing my sunglasses, which are aviator-frame Oakleys. Most recently was at a drive-thru window at Jack-In-the-Box, and I honestly don’t know if the woman ever realized I was female. She made no double-take when I answered her, “Do you want ketchup?” with a “No thanks.” Usually that’s when I get a shocked look, as my voice gives me away, so either she was fairly unflappable or my voice didn’t give me away this time. I have a low-ish voice, so that’s not implausible, but I really don’t know.

I had a classic bathroom incident last week. I went to Alcatraz with a couple of friends and their daughter. For those not in the know, Alcatraz is an island in San Francisco Bay that was a Civil War-era military installation and later housed a federal prison for “incorrigibles” like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelley. It was decommissioned as a prison in 1963, used as a base for the American Indian Movement in 1970 and ’71, and in the ’80s was taken over by the National Parks and now there are daily ferries to the island and tours of the former prison and military base.

There’s basically one big block of restrooms near the ferry landing, and I used it without incident at the start of our island exploration. I think it was without incident because there was a line and I stood with my femme friend and her seven-year-old daughter, talking to them, so the other women in line a) could hear my voice and b) could tell I was being considered female by two obvious females.

The afternoon was another story. Before we went to get on the return ferry, after a long day of walking around in the sun and inside the prison (the audio tour was really interesting, and I recommend it to anyone who visits San Francisco) I went to the restroom alone, as my friend and her daughter had already gone while I’d dawdled looking at some nineteenth century brickwork. (I am a sucker for old buildings.) There wasn’t a line this time, so I just sauntered in, sunburned and wearing my aviator shades. I passed three women on their way to the sinks, went into a stall, dropped trou, and overheard from the women washing their hands:

Disgruntled offended voice: [inaudible] blue hair?

Softer voice: [inaudible]

Shocked voice: It’s a woman?

I’m still sorry I didn’t pipe up and say, “Yes, and it can hear you.”

At the time I found it irritating. Perhaps it was just that I was sunburned and tired and hungry, but there was something especially nettling about being referred to as “it”. About having judgment passed on me for what, exactly? Behaving civilly, going into a stall, locking the door, and peeing? I’ve always thought sex-segregated bathrooms were kind of dumb anyway, although there is probably some sort of assault-prevention angle to them that makes them necessary in some circumstances. But anyway, it irked me. I suppose I’ll get over that and become inured to it eventually. I’m already getting used to the disapproving glances.

I also got followed by a little Mexican grandmother-type janitor into a toilet at the movie theatre recently. She was trying to get my attention, but I was completely oblivious. I mean, I heard her, but I didn’t realize it was me she was targeting with her “Woman. This is woman, until I was already in the door with her right behind me. Then I turned and gave her a confused look, she reiterated, “This is woman!” and pinned me with a pointed stare. I pressed my hands flat over my belly, making my bound breasts more obvious, and said, “Yeah,” and she did a classic double-take, laughed and said, “Oh! Ah. Okay.” That time it was just funny.

I don’t have the guts to use the men’s toilets, though. I don’t think I really pass. And I’m still not sure how much I want to. Although the whole thing with the sunglasses has caused me to want to get some more masculine frames for my regular glasses, which would seem to imply that I do want to appear more male than female, since if I were aiming for a more feminine presentation then I ought to be considering getting girlier sunglasses, which is most definitely not the case.

On loins (sort of): I’ve got a flight to San Diego tonight (Yes, I’m going to ComicCon. Yes, I am that much of a geek.) and I’m slightly apprehensive about the ID issue. My passport and drivers license both have photos of me with my hair long and curly (still turquoise). I still look like me, but… Not entirely. I look like I could be my brother. The TSA usually gives me a hard time for having blue hair and carrying medical equipment (asthma nebulizer) anyway, so I suppose the worst they can do is decide to strip-search me to verify I really have the F parts my IDs say I do.

Anyway. Evolution continues. Does it ever stop being annoying to be called it?

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~ by Nezu on 21 July 2010.

8 Responses to “A Sirring in My Loins”

  1. Challenging the binary wouldn’t be a challenge if it was easy…….

  2. LOL, I got ‘sir’ed and ‘He’d’ several times on the cruise to Mexico last week – once my love tried to defend me … we had a long talk about why it is not offensive to me (humorous, yes, offensive no) and how I didn’t want to be defended. To her it was an insult, to me a compliment…. life is complicated.

    • Sounds like Mexico was an excellent adventure. I love hearing your perspective. really helps me as I put my own thoughts about this together, to hear that it’s the same way for you.

  3. It never stops being annoying. My brothers called me “it” when we were kids. Cultural conditioning is, well, annoying in many circumstance. And downright silly too.

    • Brothers are generally twerps, I suppose. But yeah. I think the only time it’s acceptable to call a human “it” is when announcing the sex of a newborn.

  4. I know what you mean about secretly enjoying it. People usually recognize their “mistake” as soon as I open my mouth, but for a few minutes, I get a quiet chuckle and an uncontrollable grin. I’d rather be called “sir” than “it” any day, for sure.

    • Dude, seriously. I really flustered a gay man who made the mistake recently. Poor guy, he turned bright red and couldn’t stop apologizing, even though I told him it was fine, and I considered it a compliment.

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