“What Sex are You?” and other inappropriate questions

January 15, 2010 § 31 Comments

phone rings


“May I speak to Michael?”

“This is she.”

“…” “I need to speak to Michael.”

“Yes, I am Michael. How can I help you?”

“…” “You sound like a girl.”

My first name is Michael. And I’m a girl. Welcome to my life.

I have had to deal with everything from curiosity and amusement to downright incredulity and hostility over my mis-gendered moniker.

My usual explanation, if they are of the curiously amused sort, is a standard statement: “It was my mom, Jimmy’s idea,” pause for appreciative chuckle, “She didn’t want a ‘Junior’ so they named me after my father.”

Sometimes more questions follow; do you like having a boys name etc etc, but usually the conversation moves on. It’s a great ice breaker, I must admit.

More often than is decent, though, folks will make the most ludicrous comments. It’s amazing how rude people can be at times.

The various statements upon learning my name usually go like this: “I bet your parents wanted a son.” Or, “Did your mom and dad think you were a boy?”

As indicated above, the phone seems to cause the most disorientation for people, because I have been told I sound like a girl numerous times. I am beginning to respond with “I get that a lot.”

I once had a lady from the bank call and ask for “Michael.” When I indicated that I was indeed she, she proceeded to ask me all my identifying information, and ask progressively stupid, rude, and offensive questions. Finally, she said, “But you sound like a girl.” Which I did not dignify with a response. At my silence, she declared, “Well, I cannot talk to you about this account unless I can verify your identity,” mind you, I had confirmed my social, my address, my birth date, phone number, mother’s maiden name, and my DOG’S name, “goodbye.” click

I just shrugged. She had called me.

The absolute worst/best encounter over my name though had to be while I was a sales rep for a certain wireless phone service. This was face to face.

An older… gentleman (I use the term ironically) was asking me questions about several phones and our service. About midway through, he caught sight of my name badge.

“Michael? Your name isn’t Michael.” It was a declaration, not a question.

Smile “Yes sir, my name is Michael.”

Long appraising look up and down my person.

“What sex are you?”

I wish I had a picture of the horrified expressions from my boss and co-workers.

“Sir, if you can’t tell, I’m not telling either.”

perplexed “You’re a girl, right?”

Yes, folks, I am a girl and always have been. Unfortunately, most people are thoughtless, dumb and tactless, and it seems, always will be.

Written as an entry for therealljidol.



§ 31 Responses to “What Sex are You?” and other inappropriate questions

  • eattheolives says:

    You do have excellent comebacks, though. *applauds*

  • ladyfaith3 says:

    I like unusual names. Jorri, and Jabin are my daughters names. Jabin is a male name and only one person has known and they were of arab descent (the name is hebrew but because I am not we say the regular J sound instead of H) we are going to name our little boy on the way “Judah” I think your name is wonderful sorry for all the confusion!! That’s rude!

  • rattsu says:

    Is it horrible of me that I laughed? It was just that you described the situations so clearly it was hard to do anything else.

  • bojojoti says:

    “Did your mom and dad think you were a boy?” LOL
    My male friend, Leslie, had his difficulties, too.

  • hannahsarah says:

    I’m sure that the Leslies, Lorens and Robins (among others) of the world will agree with you!
    My best friend’s name is Billie. Her sister’s name is Bari (Barry?). They get no end of comments, too.

  • frodo_esque says:

    I like the name Michael for a girl, it’s like I love Charlie for a girl. There’s something strong and sexy about it!

  • …why do I have “A Boy Named Sue” in my head now?

  • lawchicky says:

    I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with this, but I loved the entry. It made me laugh, because the conversation context was so real.

  • majesticarky says:

    Forgive me if these are the stupid and inconsiderate questions you highlight in this entry. Do you usually go by a feminine nick name? Have you thought of changing your name? I would probably do that. My friend legally changed her name to Chaos. Heh. She said it was easier to change the first name than the last name. Still, you remind me of that Johnny Cash song about the boy named Sue : ). There are reasons for naming your child “unique” names!

  • shadowwolf13 says:

    I went to school with a girl named Michael … we called her Mighty Mite. I hated that my name was unisex because it seemed that everybody had heard of a guy with my name.
    Good entry šŸ™‚

  • alycewilson says:

    Wow, I don’t envy you. It’s like “A Boy Named Sue,” but in reverse. Incidentally, my home-game entry is about baby names. You might like it: http://alycewilson.livejournal.com/274790.html

  • DT says:

    *bowing* ah-thank you, ah-thank you… šŸ™‚

  • DT says:

    I actually really like my name. Like i said, it’s a great ice breaker when meeting new folks. Of course, I suppose it has predisposed me to unusual names. Elanor isn’t exactly top 20 on the baby name lists!

  • DT says:

    Thank you very much!

  • DT says:

    Yeah, my mom, Jimmy, likes her name as well, but does get annoyed at how rude folks can be.

  • DT says:

    People like a good oddity. Unfortunately, sometimes they just don’t have sense about it.

  • DT says:

    lol Thank you! I really do like my name.

  • DT says:

    Y’know, by the time i was done writing this entry, I had that song in my head too!

  • DT says:

    Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed my pain! šŸ™‚ Thanks for reading!

  • DT says:

    I don’t mind questions– I’m really rather fond of my name. It’s only annoyting when folks say things like “That’s not your real name.” or “Don’t you mean Michelle?” as if I don’t know my own name! šŸ˜›
    I usually go by “Dawn” which is my middle name– but only because that is what my family has always called me. In school and at work, I’m Michael. It’s a great name to have in sales, since folks will generally remember your name!

  • DT says:

    Thanks! I only ever knew one other female Michael– my best friend from 8th grade.

  • DT says:

    Thanks! Loved the entry, BTW. I LOVE Python.

  • My grandfather’s name is Jimmie, which is actually the girl’s spelling. šŸ™‚

  • rejeneration says:

    Dude, I wish my name was Michael. How neat is that. =D I’d love to be something unique and even though Michael for a boy isn’t quite, it makes for one sexy name for a girl (IMHO). =D

  • Is there a story behind the name?

  • mstrobel says:

    Wow, some people can be so rude! Bank lady deserves a good wallop and that last “gentleman” … hooboy. Though “Sir, if you can’t tell, I’m not telling either.” is an awesome line šŸ˜‰
    Seriously though? I stopped teasing Stacey for having “a girl’s name” in second grade. (And have since met many more male Staceys, for that matter!)

  • beautyofgrey says:

    I had a time with “Tracy” early on… but as I’ve grown it’s been more accepted as a unisex name, so nothing like what you experience.
    The rudeness of other people never ceases to amaze me.

  • joeymichaels says:

    I have a similar problem – I am a man, but I apparently sound like a woman over the phone. I’ve had an almost identical conversation with a bank person, though it ended differently since I drove to the bank, met with the manager and asked that they get their staff to work on their phone skills a bit. I got an apology, though I was hoping for a toaster.

  • karmasoup says:

    Hi, nice to meet you, too, Michael… I’m a girl, also, and my name is Mick. Many people assume, since I’m female, that it’s short for Michelle. Some people even presume to call me Michelle, or add “Mickie.” I’m never ceased to be amazed at how willing people are to usurp and take personal possession of MY NAME for their own misuse and amusement. I am not Michelle. I am not Mickie. I am Karmic. I go by Mick with a “k” in much the same way a man named Richard can go by Rick with a “k.”
    The people that tick me off the most are those who say things like:
    Okay, what’s your REAL name?
    That IS my real name.
    But what’s your Christian name?
    I’m not Christian.
    No, I mean, what’s your GIVEN name?
    Karmic is the name I was given.
    But what name were you BORN with?
    I’ve even have people go as far as wanting to see my driver’s licenses, and, in some cases, my birth certificate. Yet, no one seems the slightest bit in tune with the fact that this makes them come off as the most pushy, insensitive, ass.
    And, then, of course, there’s a barrage of interrogatives that presume asinine assumptions that my parents were hippies, or Buddhist, or did too many drugs, or something else equally ludicrous, etc., etc.
    Want to make things even more complicated? My male roommate? His name is Gypsy.

  • onda_bianca says:

    Haha to “if you can’t tell, I’m not telling either.”
    I am interested in the reasoning behind your name though…:)

  • akktri says:

    It is hard to tell over the phone with many people. I have learned to just ignore the gender issue if they can answer the security questions correctly. One time I was doing collections and I found an account that said, “CALLER IS A MAN”. I found this hilarious. I mean, they had to actually notate this because nobody could figure it out.

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