What's on my mind.

18 April 2007

Is it a boy or a girl?

Interesting post on Whatever, apparently John managed to write a sexless character. "Anyway, the answer to "What Sex is Sam Berlant?" is: Dunno."

I haven't read TAD yet but I gleaned a few things from the post: Sam is never referred to by a singular pronoun. It started accidentally and John continued because he realized he'd gotten that far without "discovering" the gender of the character or sexual orientation of Archie. It wasn't important to the story. Kinda cool that lots of people never noticed.

Just to warn you about ambiguous names, a couple of family stories -

Years ago, when my dad was young his father always called him Bobbie. (Don't know if Grandpa was Bob or Robert) When his sister, Roberta, got to high school she started going by Bobbie (uses Bert now!). Meanwhile, Dad has graduated and joined the Army. One evening my grandfather answers the phone and tells the young man that "no Bobbie isn't here. But hopefully he'll be able to hitch a ride home this weekend." The poor young man was undoubtedly very confused as to why his girlfriend(?) needed a weekend pass. And where was she that she was hitching a ride home? It all got sorted out eventually.

Much later, when I was a tall, gangling, not quite 8-yr old my brother decided that he was going to join the school orchestra and play the double bass. He was a rising 7th grader. Mom had contacted the orchestra director at the intermediate school and arranged to rent one of the school's basses for the summer, so Pat could start learning how to play. Not being old enough to be left alone, I had to ride along. When we got to the school Pat had something on his hands and Mom sent him to the bathroom to wash up. We went on into the band/orchestra room. Mom introduced herself. Mrs. Winder looked at me and with fear in voice asked "is this Pat?" Mom assured her that I was his younger sister and Pat would be right in. I remember she looked very relieved. I was tall for a rising 3rd grader but very short for a bass player (the school didn't have any 1/4 or 1/8 sized basses). Pat was plenty tall. (I got tall enough and switched from cello to bass in 8th grade.)

Almost forgot this one (yes, I posted then edited). I've eaten lunch with my little sister at school a few times. The kids have a lunch account (no bullies stealing lunch money!). When the lunch lady rings up the lunch the kid punches in their code and the appropriate amount is deducted. On the registers screen the child's name pops up "last, first" style. We have a long last name and only the first 4 letters of her first name show up. Those four letters spell a common boy's name. I don't know if the lunch ladies don't notice most of the time because they are moving so fast or if it happens whenever there is a new cashier but when I've gone through line with her the lady said "wrong number, dear." My sis puts her number in again. "No still wrong. What's your last name? I'll look up your code... Oh, that was the right number." Trust the 3rd grader who has punched in the same code almost every school day since kindergarten.

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