Max and I went to Lowe's home improvement store on Friday to buy some paint. The woman who helped us was, well, a bit masculine, to say the least. She was wearing overalls and combat boots, and a bandana covered her buzz-cut. She wore no makeup, and when she addressed us, her voice was rather deep. She even moved like a man. However, I was still aware that she was female.
Max, on the other hand, was a little more confused. As I was trying to explain my order to "Pat" (as I have begun calling her in my mind), Max inquired loudly, "Mommy, what is THAT?"
I'm sure I turned twelve shades of red, but I ignored him for the moment and continued talking, a strategy that just served to make him MORE curious. He tugged on my sleeve impatiently. "Mommy, what is THAT?" he asked again, this time blatantly pointing at Pat.
I was mortified. I tried to pretend that I didn't know what he was talking about. "What is what, sweetheart?" My eyes darted frantically and finally rested on the bucket of wooden sticks on the counter. "Oh, that--THAT is a paint stirrer!" I announced triumphantly and handed him one, sure I had dodged any further embarrassment.
"No, Mommy--THAT!" he yelled, throwing down the stick so he could again point directly at Pat. "Is that a boy or a girl, Mommy? Is that a BOY or a GIRL? "
There was no avoiding it this time. I was mortified. In retrospect, I should have just honestly answered his question and forged on, but I was so humiliated that I again ignored it. Luckily, Pat just let it go, too.
When I told Teri about the ordeal later, she said the girl had obviously dressed that way for a reason, and she was probably HAPPY that Max couldn't discern her gender. I know she is probably right, but it doesn't make me feel much better. I'm sure it won't be the last time something like this happens, and I hope I react more tactfully next time. Live and learn, I guess.
2 years ago