So it's been a few months since I got my haircut and it's been at the decidedly shaggy stage for a couple weeks. Usually I just let it grow all through winter, style be damned, because I hate it when my neck is cold. This time, however, I just wasn't feeling the shaggy.
With coupon in hand and mid-fifties weather, I decided to roll the dice at SuperCuts. The lone black man in the shop threw me a bit since I'd never seen a man working there before, but he was friendly so I signed in for my cut. His accent made me think of the Caribbean, but I really couldn't place it for certain. Besides, he said he'd lived in Brooklyn so he could easily have lived in the US all his life and still have an unusual accent.
As I sat down in the chair, he said, "When you first came in, I thought you were a boy. I'm sorry."
I shrugged and said, "That's OK."
I've been mistaken for male numerous times over decades. I'm tall, most of my clothes are masculine (I like dark colors and usable pockets--what of it?), I don't wear makeup, and I don't have a big rack to tip people off. Doesn't seem to matter if my hair is pulled back in a barrette or down. If someone calls me "sir" out of politeness, I'm not going to make an issue of it. Often they soon realize the mistake on their own and apologize.
When I've told family and friends about various mistaken gender encounters, they regard me in disbelief. They just don't see how someone could that mistake which is sweet but clearly biased.
What was unusual in this instance is that he made the assumption and realized his mistake before saying anything to me but then felt compelled to tell me anyway. I don't know what the point of that was or what he expected me to say. I'm not going to apologize for or justify the clothes I wear, or my lack of makeup and earrings. I think he was just saying what crossed his mind, but with a different inflection it could so easily have been mean or come across as an attempt to embarrass me.
I do not fit your expectations; I get it and I'm good with that.
A year ago on TTaT: Prop 8 - The Musical