The People’s Republic of Texas. 

I’m back in Beaumont. We are actually building the bridge! Pounding away at piles and starting to form the footings! I’m in my element!!

I worked until 7pm today because I don’t really have a reason to go to the apartment when I have Riley at work with me, other than to bathe and sleep. The apartment is more Riley’s home than it is mine but when I’m in the field, he gets to hang out with me. 

When I lived in Austin, I never felt uncomfortable being butch. Wearing means clothes, having short hair, and carrying myself with a more masculine gait. I’ve also never been bothered when I’m called ma’am or if I’m mistaken for a male and called sir. 

However, I can’t ever recall being called “sir” when I lived in Austin. Or even in Houston for that matter. 

Beaumont, however, it’s a daily occurance. Literally. The barista at Starbucks has gotten used to me ordering my Grande Pike and seldom even refers to my gender. 

The people at work are now familiar with me in my jeans and ball cap and it doesn’t seem to phase them. 

It’s the unfamiliar. 

At the grocery store. “Sir, do you have a Kroger card…er..um…I’m sorry”

At the local fast food chain “would you like fries with that sir (and the girl behind him whispers in his ear his mistake) oh. Sorry bout that”

Maybe I’m weird. Maybe I’m actually more sensitive to it than I think I am. But, I almost would prefer they simply ignore that they’ve made a mistake. Or, at the very least just say, “I’m sorry” and move on. 

The stuttering and stammering just makes it even more awkward. For both of us. 

I had an incredibly bad day a few weeks back and needed to go to the store after work to pick up a few things. As I’m searching the signs over each aisle looking for the right one, a voice said, “can I help you find something sir?” I’m not a man so I didn’t answer because I didn’t think he was speaking to me. He said it again only this time a little aggressively. “Excuse me, sir. Can I help you?”

I finally turned around and he started that typical stutter step. 

“I am so sorry. Ma’am. Can I help you find something?”

In an uncharacteristic tone I asked him if he was really all that interested in what I was looking for. When he asked what I meant I said, “you have asked me three times if you could help me. The first two you incorrectly referred to me as a male. Did it dawn on you that regardless of my gender, when I didn’t respond, it would have been ok to just move along and leave me the hell alone?”

He was offended and left. 

I guess what gets me is that we still feel the need to identify people by their gender. Does it matter? Can’t someone be just as polite saying, “Can I help you?” without having to relate to me by my gender? 

Today I was given my itenerary for next week. I’m presenting in Houston for two large projects that we have partnered with another firm on. 

When I contacted the lead engineering (via email) to find out what task lead position I would be presenting, he responded with “Mr.”

It didn’t bother me but my boss who had been cc’d on it sent his response email and included my “bio” page, complete with the airbrushed professional photo that I had taken. His subtle way of revealing my gender without making the other guy feel like an ass. 

If it doesn’t bother me, why should it bother others? Better yet, why should their awkwardness become my problem? 

On a lighter note…this weekend was pretty stressful. I had a lot of work to get caught up on and I need to decide how I’m going to handle school this summer. I went outside and smoked a cigarette. Something I haven’t done in over a year and something julie has NEVER seen me do. When she caught me I felt as though she had just walked in on me madturbating!! Awkward!! 

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2 thoughts on “The People’s Republic of Texas. 

  1. I think your Sir post and my Ma’am post crossed in the cloud…

    On Monday I was stopped my a new staff member at the gym on my way into the (women’s) locker room – she did apologize when I told her it was OK for me to go in – and I got Sir’d on Tuesday at Starbucks and told the guy we were supposed to be talking about race not gender and he laughed it off. It isn’t just in the boonies…

    • I’m not sure if I’m happy or dismayed that this isn’t just a boonies thing. To me, gender should be thought of the same way fingers and toes are. We all have them but nobody ever brings them up because it’s not important in how we live our lives!

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