“Can I help you, sir?” said loudly and confidently.
Usually, the sir rolls right off my back.
Sometimes I take great pride in being viewed as a man, and I play along. Sometimes I find it amusing. Other times, it’s annoying. It all has to do with what I’m wearing and where I’m going and who I’m with and my state of mind at the time.
Never forget that butches are complex creatures like unicorns and writers.
Today, the sir made me angry. I’m not sure if it was because I was having a bad day or because I was tired.
I turned around to face the shoe store worker and responded politely with a “no thanks.” I’m sure that’s when she put two and two together. The two being my voice, which does not sound like that of a husky lumberjack, and those other two things that sit in the middle of my chest.
What I wanted to say was: Maybe you shouldn’t be throwing around gender-specific words like “sir.” Everything isn’t always black and white, boy and girl, cut and dried. Think before you speak.
Of course, it wasn’t her fault. I was wearing a men’s T-shirt and men’s cargo shorts and men’s sneakers and looking at men’s shoes. And anyway, you can put lipstick on a butch, but she’s still a butch — a fantastical creature that falls somewhere on the gender binary between male and female.
When I went up to the register to pay for the sneakers, the worker addressed me as “miss” very loudly. Apparently, she thought that if she screamed “miss” loud enough it would negate the “sir,” and we’d be even stevens.
Well, we’re not even. I haven’t been a miss for more than a decade, and even then it would have been a questionable call.
The bottom line is that she just couldn’t win.
I can relate.