Sunday, March 04, 2007

Dual Citizenship

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.


And me?

I'm in a wheelchair and I'm a man.

I guess that makes me dually diagnosed.


Unknown said...

Oh geez,
Only a "man" would brag about being a man. :)


Anonymous said...

Burgundy IS red -- it's just a dark red. It just depends upon how finely you slice it.

Burgundy is marginally different from red in contrast to a bright cherry red, or an orangish scarlet-red, or a pale pinkish-red, or a purplish magenta-red.

In some languages there are fewer gradations of color; orange is red, and/or pink is red and purple may even be red, which is why purple cabbages are called "red cabbages". Sometimes green and blue are called the same color.

We can slice other colors into further fine gradations. Somewhere between lavender (light purple) and sky blue is periwinkle; if you put periwinkle next to sky blue, then it looks purple, and vice-versa.

Somewhere between brown and grey is taupe, the color of moleskin (the sticking plasters that hikers put on their abused feet). Taupe is a color so blah it only seems to have presence if you stick it next to something even blah-er, like beige. (Beige in turn is pretty much white dirtied up with a smidge of brown mixed in.)

Personally, I also hate those same kinds of interpersonal competition that revolves around cutting people down. I dislike being around catty people who operate on an emotional level about (what seems to be) everything.

I don't follow fashion magazines, and I don't care about celebrities or even know who most of them are. Nor am I keen on burping contests or smutty jokes.

But hey, that's just me.

n. said...

maybe this is picky, but i'm gonna post it just for variety.

i didn't recognize those women at your work as the same kind of woman as me.
swimming in estrogen? what do 'odd' women have in us, then?
i once bought my husband a red shirt that is sort of an orangey burgundy, if you want to get specific.
i do like fashion magazines but i wear what i like and what's comfortable, not necessarily what's in style.
i wear skirts maybe 2x a year.
i like crafts magazines, too. even craft shows on tv.
i tell my students to use logic when thinking about grammar, but i enjoy not having to be logical all the time.
i thought when i married another autistic, he would not do "typical guy things" because neither of us are "typical" for our gender. but he does do some of them. (not that that's the end of the world, no more than certain "typical woman things" that i do).
he says it's not all becos he's a guy, though. some of it is because he's from another continent and that's how they do things there. like, back home, his mother also runs into a clothing store, grabs the first good thing she sees, buys it quickly without deliberating, and it lasts for years.

people stuff is almost always more various than it looks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dave- Oh jeez, I think I'm a man!Frances(but you can call me Frank)

Unknown said...

I'm with Natalia... Not only am I not a woman like that, their kind annoy me! I think the emphasis in our society of polarized stereotypes about gender is really harmful, especially for people that don't match it... I've lost out on a lot because of how people assumed I'd act/feel/think based on my gender, been abused/assulted far too often for not being what they expected, and not identifying with the non-autistic nondisabled stereotype of my gender meant that until recently, I didn't feel like I was a 'real' female at all!

n. said...

Moggy, yeah. I used to feel that and sometimes still do feel that about not being a real woman... Along with or separate from not being a real person.

Anonymous said...

Dave I am getting closer to being on your blog i was in your office during that conversation. You know what i find amazing that one of ny goals is to be on your blog i think that us a compliamnet to you or it shows just how sad my life is i choose to believe the compliant theroy

lina said...

thank you for the honourable mention!