Tuesday, December 04, 2018
I was having breakfast at a Holiday Inn Express recently. You know the people with the annoying commercials about being smart, very smart. I was trying to decide which juice to have, and I had a grand ah-ha moment. One of those moments that open your perspective on the world.
A person walked up next to me, I looked over and I was not sure what gender the person was. The person was kind of butch looking, with tattoos and a plaid shirt, but the face, and jewelry didn't register as male, being a little overweight, the body shape was indeterminate. And it hit me, "why does it matter?"
Our brains attach a set of social roles and expectations based on that momentary assessment of gender (or race, or sexual orientation, or ability.) This is a mixed bag of desirable and undesirable. Men and women have different expectations. It helps my brain assign the correct pronouns. But it also results in me treating a person based on a momentary assessment based purely on appearance. Much about a person is not readily apparent, sexual orientation, and many differences in ability.
Sometimes I wish sexual orientation was more obvious, then people wouldn't ask me about my wife. At that point I either correct them, or ignore it and talk about my spouse. My brain rushes through a through process. Does it matter? If I correct will the person still like me? Is it safe to talk about my husband? Will I ever meet this person again? Is this a teachable moment about cultural assumptions? I haven't kept track, my guess is about half of the time I let it slide, about have of the time I correct the gender.
That moment of uncertainty, forced my brain to think through and articulate deep thoughts.
Have you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express?