Friday, June 15, 2007

Just Call Me Joe

My old friends occasionally get flummoxed over what name to call me when I'm doing readings & the like, & this past Thursday for my reading at Sugar was no different. My dear friend & former roomie Maurice asked me more than once if he could call me "Gail" at the reading, & I told him he could call me whatever. "But I should call you Helen," he continued. "Sure, call me Helen." He wasn't sure if he'd remember, so I told him to call me "G" which is actually what he's called me for years. It seemed settled.

Of course when we got to the bookstore he called me Gail about half a dozen times, & I don't mind it at all; I really don't care what my old friends call me - I just thought it was funny.

But I also thought that maybe when trans people get upset about someone getting their name wrong, it has nothing to do with gender & everything to do with the funny way your brain works (or doesn't work) with your mouth. Because I knew Maurice meant to call me G, & it was as if, because he was thinking, "don't call her gail don't call her gail don't call her gail" of course Gail was what came out.

Just sayin'.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm pretty laid back when it comes to people who "knew me before" using my old name or the wrong pronoun, it happens, they slip up, usually they get all apologetic and do a better job next time. In public I cringe a bit, but this is all to be expected.

Having said that, it is at once frustrating and blindingly hilarious to me when these same people are staring at my breasts while talking to me, and then use the "wrong" name or term. The looks on their (usually men's) faces as their brains attempt to reconcile what their mouths just said (obviously referencing their perception of me in male form), my bosom, and their realisation that they haven't looked me in the eyes for the entire conversation is singular. I imagine it's the same thing a conservative man goes through when he sees his wife breast-feeding for the first time: lust, loss, and the dawning realisation that he needs to rethink his beliefs on sexuality and breasts.