Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What would you say or how would you feel about a gender mix-up?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26879points) November 5th, 2013

If you were walking across a large plaza and seen two people sitting with their backs to you in jackets that seem similar, jeans, one in sneakers the other in Jackboots. One has very cropped hair, the other people has hair to their mid back and appears of similar size and build to the other. You don’t see any faces but they rise to leave as you approach the bench. You noticed one with long hair has lost their cell phone from their pocket. You retrieve the phone and dash up to that person and say ”Ms. You lost your phone from your pocket”, only to have them turn and the one with the cropped hair and Jackboots was the female and the one in sneakers and long hair was the male. What would you say other than ”oops”?

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33 Answers

picante's avatar

I’m not sure I’d use the gender-specific salutation. I’d likely say—“Excuse me; you dropped you phone.” However, if I did err in calling out the gender—I’d probably blush, giggle and apologize. Not necessarily in that order. That couple is bound to get this type of confusion all the time.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Something similar happened to me. We were at the mall and two people walked in behind us. One of them was standing behind us and Josh was lingering in front of the items that the person was trying to look at. I only saw the person out of my peripheral vision and I told Josh, “hey, you’re in this guy’s way.” I turned to apologize and it was a woman. Now, she was a bit on the butch side, but it was quite clear that she was female. I just failed to get a good look before I said something. I was so embarrassed and felt like a complete idiot. I know now to look before I speak. I apologized and she smiled and told me it was okay. My guess is that this happened to her often, but I hate that I came off as one of those people.

In your situation, I wouldn’t have said “Miss” or “ma’am,” as @picante said.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Oh yeah…..say _“ma’am” to a woman around here under 35 years of age (she may think you are calling her old) you may find out if she is a gangbanger or not; even if she is not she may still produce a knife and try to gut you like a fish. ;-P

JLeslie's avatar

I might say, “oh, I saw your long hair and assumed you were a woman,” or maybe I would not say anything. It isn’t likely to happen because I usually would just say, “excuse me, you dropped your phone.” This ties in with the Q’s we have about the south using ma’am and sir and the north just saying, excuse me.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Well, where I’m from every female above the age of 18 is a “ma’am.” If I was somewhere else, I probably wouldn’t say it.

@JLeslie I’d think the hair comment would make it worse. Not only women have long hair.

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 My husband had gorgeous long wavy hair for many years.

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s very common. My son was mistaken for a girl so many times he had fun with it.

I don’t use gender specific terms much in order to avoid that sort of thing.

Seek's avatar

I wouldn’t make such a stupid assumption.

“Here, I think you dropped this,” works just fine.

Valerie111's avatar

I would feel bad but I wouldn’t say anything. I wouldn’t want to bring more attention to the fact that I thought he was a girl.

downtide's avatar

I wouldn’t have said “Ms” or anything like it in the first place. Just “Excuse me, you dropped this.”

I’ve been mis-gendered myself so many times, I’ve long ceased to make assumptions of other people’s gender based on their appearance. That long haired person might be transgendered, and the one with the buzzcut and jack-boots might be a pre-op/pre-hormones transman.

ibstubro's avatar

I probably wouldn’t touch the phone, and definitely wouldn’t address either of them by gender.

I’m pretty quick on my feet. IF (for the sake of argument) I DID say “Ms”, then when they turned around, I’d probably pause a beat and say to the guy I approached first: “Thought you might want to run back for it…I wanted to make sure nobody thought I did anything wrong.”


josie's avatar

I wouldn’t say Ms. and I wouldn’t say oops either. I am neither infallible, nor am I obligated to act like I should be.

glacial's avatar

If this was 1956, I’m sure I’d be very upset.

kritiper's avatar

“You dropped your phone.” (You should have started with “Excuse me!”) Best to positively ID the sex first before opening your mouth. But don’t sweat it! You are probably not the only person who has done it to them.

ibstubro's avatar

I was a really really pretty young man. Carded until I was early 30s. I was mistaken for a girl enough in my teens that I was finally more annoyed by the fluster afterward than the mistake. Best to just say, “Yall have a good day!” smile and move on.

Kardamom's avatar

^^ Any pictures of you as a really, really pretty young man? Throw us a bone.

Most of you know that I like really, really pretty Old Men, but I am curious, hee hee.

ibstubro's avatar

Um, NO. There was one about from about the time I graduated HS. I look about 12, 13, and I have long hair, parted in the middle, feathered 70’s sides. 125#, 5’9”. Sharp features, big blue eyes and long lashes. I never thought myself attractive, never took compliments well.

Now that I’m a slightly lumpy guy in his 50’s, I look back and see it all too clearly.


Seek's avatar

I would have had a crush on you. ^_^

Kardamom's avatar

@ibstubro I probably would have fancied you then, and would probably fancy you now.

I’m about your same age. Back in the early 70’s I had a crush on this cute guy with blonde, longish hair with feathered bangs. He was very pretty. This is who I fancy now!

Seek's avatar

Pics. Pics. Pics. Both of you, actually.

ibstubro's avatar

Now I wish I DID have a boy pic of me, but I do not. Nothing digital…there’s a yearbook around somewhere, but I never remember where I saw it when it’s not here. lol

Katniss's avatar

A guy with long hair? I would say “How YOU doin?”

@Kardamom I looked at the pic, even though I already knew who it was going to be. lol

Seek's avatar

PM the school and year to me, and I’ll find it. ^_^

Kardamom's avatar

@Katniss Are you certain you knew who it was going to be? It could have been This Fellow You might remember him from The Nanny.

Or This Fellow who apparently needs no introduction.

Or even This Bloke. Does anyone feel like going out for Indian food? Maybe some palak paneer or chana masala? I’m feeling a bit hungry.

Katniss's avatar

@Kardamom I was pretty certain because you said “This is who I fancy now.” Doc Martin seems to be your most recent love. lol

Kardamom's avatar

@Katniss Then you, must not know of my fondness for Fran Drescher and Alan Rickman!

I know, an unlikely pair.

Katniss's avatar

@Kardamom I totally know about Fran Drescher. lol
I do believe that was one of the very first facts I learned about you.

Mitsu_Neko's avatar

I used to get mistaken as a male until my breasts grew in… mostly because I kept my hair less than 2 inches long and wore a lot of sweater vest things. Until his most recent haircut, my son frequently was given the girl toy in meals or asked “what would the little lady want?” He finally had his dad shear it to about three inches long. Even now I keep mine just past jaw on sides and almost shaved in back usually (I can now get it all in a short ponytail.)!

downtide's avatar

@Kardamom I have to admit I was kind of expecting the pic to be Alan Rickman. Especially with the talk of long hair I was expectig Rickman-as-Snape.

Speaking of pretty boys with long hair, I have a crush on this obscure Polish model Long hair AND a ginger.

Kardamom's avatar

@downtide Wow he is beautiful!

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

My figure hit BANG overnight. I have a voice like Jennifer Tilley. I had a rough and tumble attitude, but everyone treated me like a piece of fluff. I ended up joining the Navy. People thought I was nuts, but I turned out to be tough enough to do my job well. Part of my job involved training midshipmen at the academy. One day, I was barking out orders and one skinny mid shouted “Yes sir!” I hid my mirth for the moment, but I laughed about it for days after.
It’s a moment by moment, person by person thing. Stressing over what’s been done won’t do you any good. You’ve most likely lingered over the moment longer than they did.

Katniss's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers Seriously? You have a voice like Jennifer Tilly? I’m so jealous!! I love her voice!

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