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Monday, October 10, 2005
Some Gal Would Giggle and I'd get red and some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head. I tell ya...Life aint easy for a boy named Sue

In face-to-face meetings or even over the phone, my gender is (usually) instantly recognizable. While my name is not "Sue" I do have a name that is generally associated with females and despite the womanly name I am not a member of that tribe. This is a situation that I've had to deal with in many stages of my life.

I try and remember the difficulties surrounding my name as a child whenever I get the urge to get too nostalgic about those days-gone-by. I think I was reminded on a daily basis that my classmates felt there was something wrong with the name my parents gave me. Most grade school kids like their sense of gender issues rigidly defined, and the ever-so-slight amount of ambiguity that came with my name had a way of turning me into the 3rd grade version of Boy George...at least in the eyes of some of my peers.

In college I often found myself wanting to stay up late into the night listening to music and so I would log into chat rooms to give myself a reason to do so. These chat rooms were just inane enough that I wouldn't have to concentrate on what people were typing, but they were engaging enough to give my fingers something to do while I was spinning disks.

Conversations in these chat rooms were like mini episodes of Dawson's Creek. Someone was always pinning over a boyfriend who had moved out of state. Other people were on the verge of suicide and crying out for someone to "talk them down". Still others were lonely and looking for some cyber-sex. Every once in a while a political discussion would break out and would instantly degenerate into flame-wars and name-calling. Most people would want to talk about the relationships they were struggling with IRL (In Real Life).

As a result you get a lot of strangers sharing deeply personal information with you behind the confessional-like mantel of the internet. There were several times when I would be engaged in some sort of intimate conversation with someone like "Lil_Princess_Muffincakes". LPM would know my name and be listening to details about my girlfriend, and then I would say something that would identify me as a male (like, "So I was walking out of the men's room yesterday and...") and my chat partner would interrupt with, "Wait a minute...You're a guy?! I thought you were a Lesbian!"

Yea...that happened at least 2 or 3 times.

Once I left the world of chat rooms (far far) behind me I figured that this sort of thing would no longer be a part of my life.

Turns out I was wrong.

After buying my condo I've been making a lot of changes to the place. These changes have me running around town to the sort of stores that don't really advertise on Spike TV. Stores that specialize in home furnishings and things of that nature. What's been happening is that I will walk in and hand the salesperson an invoice or something like that with my name printed on it. That person will look it over and say something like, "Hmmm...well it looks like your wife has chosen to go with this material in a latte color".

To which I respond, "actually I'm not married".

"Oh...I'm sorry. Is this for your Mom than?" They ask.

"No actually that's me...That's my name".

The clerk usually believes me but there's usually a few seconds where I have to endure the embarrassment of having a girl's name right alongside the reminder that I'm in my thirties and un-married with few prospects to that end.

But I smile and assure this person that "this sorta confusion happens a lot".

I suppose at the end of the day I could change my name or insist I be called something else. But after all is said and done I really don't care that much about it's association with the feminine. Besides...It's _my_ name. I wouldn't know what else to call myself.

But if I did change my name I think I'd be Peter Parker, or Bruce Wayne.




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