The other day, while shopping, I noticed the sections of clothing for women and clothing for men and gave it a passing thought, wondering when we were going to end up just calling them “clothes”. I’ve wondered this off and on since hearing comedian Eddie Izzard, when someone asked him about wearing women’s clothing, respond with, “They’re not women’s clothes. They’re my clothes. I bought them.” I loved that response, and, honestly, that was probably the first time I really considered how great it was to dress how you feel, not how you’re expected to, though I wasn’t ignorant of how batshit people got when men dressed in “women’s clothing”, nor had it escaped me how the same stigma doesn’t apply to the reverse.
I have noticed, with gratitude, that some toy sections in department stores move towards just…toys. Not girl toys and boy toys. I spent my entire childhood asking for things in the “boy section” of the JC Penny and Sears Christmas catalogs, and it was always weird to me that I was expected to play with toys that I had zero interest in.
So these are conversations we’ve had more often in this country for the past few years, and I think they’re good conversations to have: Why DO we feel the need to break things down into “for men” and “for women”, and why do we get so uncomfortable when someone challenges this?
I have no problem with deliberate feminine or masculine appearances, though more and more I question why thing are deemed as such (who decided flannel was masculine?), and I like to look at the origin and evolution of these thought-processes. I’m not surprised or bothered that people have a preference based on their personalities, we all like what we like, though I find myself wondering often if folks were given permission early on to feely express a preference anything they wanted without preconceived gender blockades, how that would have shaped them differently.
What I was not prepared for was a weird exchange at a restaurant on Thursday.
The waiter arrived at our table to regale us with details about the specials and his recommendations from the menu.
“Ladies, we have a lovely halibut tonight, roasted with a Swiss chard crust, shallots, fresh chives…and, gentlemen, we have as a special tonight, a wild boar, cooked to a medium rare and cut into medallions with a…”
I started laughing.
The waiter looks at me. I’ve knocked him off script a little, though not much, he was going to power through, but I had to know:
“I’m sorry….wait, do I have to have the halibut? What if I want that boar?”
The man looked at me like I was nuts.
“No seriously, why is the halibut for the ladies…is the boar superbly masculine? I’m really confused right now…” I was still laughing.
This poor guy, I felt a smidge bad for heckling this gentleman’s performance, but seriously, why IN BLUE FUCK are the entrees gendered?
I mean I get it…”broads love yogurt” (snark), but I thought that was the only thing.
Then, as we wrapped up placing our entrée orders (I did not get the halibut), he asks the ladies if they want a nice garden salad, and then he says, “Oh, and for the gentlemen, we have a nice, hearty, smoked salmon chowder, and…”
I quietly but audibly snort-laughed. I’m bordering on crying at this point.
“BUT WHAT IF I DON’T WANT A NICE LIGHT SALAD? I WANT THE MANLY BOY SOUP?” I dabbed my eyes with my napkin.
Guys, I have eaten in all sorts of restaurants from The Olive Carcass to Michelin star awarded fine dining establishments, and I have never had my food presented to me with consideration for my labia.
I may have embarrassed the folks at the table a bit, and that’s cool, they’ll be ok, and I know this dude was just operating on autopilot (older gentleman, he may even be one of the owners there, I have no idea) and I wasn’t angry with him on ANY level.
But…seriously…MY VULVA WANTS A HUNK OF RED MEAT, GODDAMMIT, AND I AM CERTAIN THAT SOME WANG-HARBORING HUMANS ENJOY A NICE SEAFOOD DISH WITH A SALAD. GIVE MOMMY THAT CHOWDAH!
And now I am questioning whether or not the sandwich I packed for work is appropriate – anyone know if roasted chicken is recommended more for a fallopian tube or is it more suitable for a vas deferens?
Asking for a uterus.