Sometimes I think I should just give up.
Stop fighting the good fight.
Just admit that I've been diagnosed "terminally male" and be done with it.
Two days ago I wore my red shirt to work. Donna, who works at the desk, is a large woman who is one of the best dressers I've ever seen. We often talk clothing and I know she has always wanted to see me in more colour. So, I wore my red shirt to work.
I came in, strode up to her and said, "I wore red today, just for you."
She smiled, finished what she was doing, then looked up at me. "That's burgundy," she said witheringly.
"Um, no, it's red," I said.
"Well, OK, if that's what you want to think," she said with irritated patience at the dimwittedness of men who can't tell red from burgundy. What the hell is taupe anyways?
Then a day later at the other office two women raced to ask me a question. I had written a piece for the staff newsletter about the retreat and had mentioned that there was someone there who was surprisingly competitive. Each thought I had written about her. They had a been arguing about who had been written about, first, then who was most competitive, second. Personally, I think they should call it a draw.
Then I was asked flat out by one of them, I knew immedately that I was in trouble. I was going to be in trouble one way or another. There was no right answer that would save me from grief. I thought fleetingly, "Why would men have affairs and risk two women being angry at once?" One was scary enough.
But I had to answer so I told her that I had had her in mind when I wrote the piece. She smiled victoriously. Then the other asked and I told her that I had been thinking about her competetive friend. She teased me that I should have just lied and said it was really her.
I said, "I thought women wanted men to be honest."
"Not about things like this," she said with a look that said 'institutionalize this guy'.
You know what's funny, when I first wrote this I had written both their first names down, then realized that I'd be asked, "Why did you put her name first?" So I gutted out. Backed down. I don't want to walk into that situation so I've changed the text. Sometimes, at work, I feel like I'm swimming through estrogen.
A few days ago at the Science Center's Superhero exhibit, they had a series of 'black holes' that you were to put your hand in to see if you could figure out, just by touch, what the object was. Joseph, 12 year old wonder kid, and I got there first and we did well. The final one I put my hand it and said to him, "No man will get this one wrong." Joseph shoved his hand in and announced, "It's a television remote control!"
We both laughed and Joseph said, "I wonder if any women will get that one." The woman behind me, overhearing the converstation muttered under her breath, "Finally, something a man can do." She said "man" in a tone that most people use when they talk to a dog that's soiled the carpet.
OK, so I give.
I'm a guy.
I like beer.
I like burping contests.
I like smutty jokes.
I like the remote control.
I like the fact that in my world, burgundy is just red.
If being male is becoming a 'disabling condition' then half the population will immediately apply for parking passes.
I'm in a wheelchair and I'm a man.
I guess that makes me dually diagnosed.