“What Sex are You?” and other inappropriate questions
January 15, 2010 § 31 Comments
“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.