This morning Jello and I went to IHOP. We have just moved to our new place, and this is our real first meal out. We showed up and it was semi-crowded with the early morning Sunday crowd.
The young man who was the host politely led us to our table and we sat down. He went through his normal spiel and looked down at Jello and myself and asked if he could do anything more for me “sir”.
I had this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach as he turned to Jello. When he did, the magic words came out of his mouth.
“Can I get anything for you ma’am?”.
I froze with that uncomfortable feeling, and at the same time I saw Jello freeze as well. He left and we looked at each other and I could feel the cringe in my face. Jello took it really well, its the first time in weeks I have heard him misgendered and not a big deal.
A few minutes later the host came back around to ask if we wanted something to drink. I told him water and Jello told him tea. He said he would bring it to us and referenced me as “sir” and Jello as “ma’am” twice more. I couldn’t keep my mouth shut at this point.
I told him that he needs to say sir. He looked confused and I repeated it twice. He still didn’t seem to understand until Jello looked up and said “I am a guy”. The host looked horrified that he misspoke. I do have to say at that moment he confirmed it wasn’t intentional. He stammered an apology and even when he brought our drinks he averted his eyes in shame. Is it bad I thought he should feel that?
All the other people at IHOP (and the guy at AT&T) all identified Jello as a guy, so I think that reassured him. It was just an awkward moment, that happens much less now. I think in another year no one will second guess.
Just wanted to share an awkward moment with all of you.
Oh gosh, awkward indeed! It’s a cool moment in transition when one is able to just correct people when use the wrong words. It was a big turning point for me. People always react that way–extremely embarrassed and apologetic. I found that if I got misgendered and said nothing, I felt horrible and had nightmares for few days–but if I corrected the person, I walked away with my head held high and never really thought of the incident again.
I’m sure you’re right that within a year, the “ma’am”s will be a thing of the past. It may even be a lot sooner than that.
It was a really cool moment. I felt bad at first correcting him, but my hubby comes first and I won’t let anyone make him unhappy. “No one puts baby in the corner!” 🙂
I don’t feel like I have reached that point in my transition, yet, where I can correct strangers when they misgender me. I am so disproportionately read as female vs. male that I feel too self conscious dealing with people I know I will never see again.
I think that is fairly normal. Jello didn’t feel comfortable doing it earlier in his transition (I on the other hand can be aggressive and have always felt I should correct people).
Also I think it makes a difference if someone does that on purpose. If it is accidental I am more likely not to say anything if we won’t see them again (well probably not now, Jello passes now) but if they were doing it on purpose I like to think I would have laid the law on them 🙂