I am a waitress and one of the hardest things about being a waitress is finding the right way to greet a table. I walked up to a table of four older woman the other day and greeted them with a big smile and a hearty “Hey Guys!” and was a bit confused when I was met with icy stares! Oh great ….
Then one of the lady’s decided she needed to explain and angrily snapped “were not guys we are ladies”!
Well, My Bad!
As taken aback as I was, and as much as I desperately wanted to say “listen, your not going to pay me enough to bitch at me so please, what do you want to drink?”, I couldn’t help but agree with her statement. They weren’t guys but surely they knew I had not intended to imply they had penises, it is just a figure of speech.
Fast forward a bit and I am walking up behind one of the tables that had just been sat in my section. A woman is sat facing me whom I could clearly see and across from her there was a young lady in a black woman’s coat with a nice short girlish haircut and long silver earrings. “I’ll be right with you ladies!” …..
Yeah, you know where this is going already right?
Imagine my horror when I walked a bit ahead of the table and realized that the ladies were actually a woman and a young man! Two things happened in that split second: I vehemently hated those old ladies who made me stray from my normal greeting and I wanted to sink into the floor!
Credit where credit is due: he was extremely easy going about the whole thing and as cold and offended as the older woman had been, this young man laughed it off like “it happens all of the time don’t worry about it”.
Personally, I would have expected a man being called a woman to have been more offended then a woman being called a “guy”. My statement to the ladies was not direct as in, I was not actually calling them men. With this young man I had literally called him a female! It made me think about our roles in society and how we use labels everyday both intentionally and unintentionally.
There are countless ways people can be labeled each day and if you tried to categorize all the humans on earth, you would never finish the job! You would have to create categories and sub categories with extensions from the sub categories. Years ago this wouldn’t have been a true statement and it was very easy to put people into one of a handful of labels. Maybe those people secretly could have fallen into a sub category of their own but they dared not be open about it then. Today that’s different, people can be whoever they want to be and they may be judged by a few but their welcomed with open arms by most.
Maybe I didn’t offend this young man because it’s possible that he does identify as a woman and I had actually said exactly what he needed to hear. The haircut and choice of clothing would have pointed in that direction. On the other hand I may have offended him deeply and hit a nerve he was already self conscious about but was too nice to say anything. Who knows! What I can say is this, years ago I wouldn’t have had to put that much thought into how I labeled another person!
You know what? I think it’s great!
I think it’s amazingly wonderful that my daughter may live in a world where she can literally be whatever she wants! Not just in a career choice way either, she can literally identify however she wants and their will be a group of understanding like-minded individuals to take her in! If she chooses not to play with Barbies or have long hair because she wants to be a “boy” then guess what, she can be a boy! I don’t have to hide it and pressure her to change her behavior out of fear about what the neighbors might think.
If she decided that she didn’t like men and wanted to date other woman, Okay! Love your life, be happy! I wouldn’t live in shame or shun my offspring because of a feeling they cannot control but years ago this may have been different! We are allowed to be more accepting of how people feel because these labels exists and people have put so much effort into showing the world “Hey, were different and guess what, that’s okay!”
I’m glad we live in a society that can realize the difference in millions of people and not judge them too harshly. I know there will always be people who judge others and those woman are a great example! It offended them greatly that I had identified them as “guys”. They were horrified that I had put that label onto them and this leads me to believe they are less accepting about the unique amount us.
Anyways …. I learned my lesson that day! Guy …. Girl ….. Cat …. doesn’t matter what you are, what the hell do you want to drink?