May I Help You, Sir?

Victoria: Your problem, Mr. Marchand, is that you’re preoccupied with stereotypes. I think it’s as simple as you’re one kind of man, I’m another.

King Marchand: And what kind are you?

Victoria: One that doesn’t have to prove it. To myself, or anyone.


I was “Sir’d” again this week. The oh, so polite drive through attendant at Arby’s ended each of his inquiries and statements with “Sir”.

“What type of drink, Sir?”, “You just want the sandwich, Sir?”, “Your total is $8, Sir.”, “Please drive around to the first window, Sir.”

I’ve given up trying to correct people.

As a kid, I was forever mistaken for a boy. My manner and dress bucked the norm of 1960‘s middle class suburbia. I was Scout on paved streets.

The teen years didn’t bring anything different. Although I had changed from a solid, square block to blocky hour glass the question still rose, “Are you a boy or a girl?”

One would think that true adulthood would bring some clearer distinctions, but no on that one too.

Once for Halloween, Bashert and I traded costuming. I wore one of her folksy skirts and tops, put on make-up and jewelry, while she dressed in slacks, a button down shirt, vest, tie and sported a hat. Her gear was beyond my usual attire. I was the one mistaken for a cross-dresser.

What confuses people about a short-haired, middle-aged, heavy-set, well-endowed woman, that they would make the jump to give me a not just a masculine identity, but a male identity? I tried to find some information on line, but to no avail yet. What is the data? What markers or culturally induced suppositions are at work? Is there something innate about these assumptions/presumptions?

You tell me. I have yet to figure it out. All I know is I received a “Thank you, MA’AM” and a 10% discount when I got to the window.

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