I brought Monkey to the park yesterday afternoon. There were only two other kids there, and one of them – a longhaired, blonde girl, wearing bows – left five minutes after we arrived. The only child left, besides my Monkey, was five years old and a… a… well, crap. I don’t know WHAT kind of child that kid was.
The Ambiguous Child was dressed in brown. However, he/she was also running around barefoot with purple toenail polish on his/her feet. The Ambiguous Child also had short hair, but his/her grandma told me his/her name was Jaelynn.
I wasn’t about to ask the child, “Are you a boy or a girl?” and scar him/her for life, but it was pretty awkward when he/she was playing with Monkey, and I had to mumble, “Look, Monkey! S-HE is climbing up so high!” or “Wow! Look how high THEY can go” or even “Look! THE KID is running fast, go and catch HIM-ER”. Things would have been so much easier for me if he/she wasn’t running around as the picture of androgyny.
Now look, I know this was not The Ambiguous Child’s problem, or even his/her parents’ problem. They have every right to name their child any old way they want. And who am I to say that boys can’t paint their toenails? You could have a Picasso in the making, so let him use his toenails as a canvas, right?
And anyway, my Monkey always gets, “How old is SHE?” or “What’s HER name?”, but they get the picture as soon as I call him by his undeniably male name. And yes, people use the names Taylor, Michael, or Jan for either boy or girl, but it would probably be a bad idea to name your girl child ‘Bob’ or maybe even ‘Steven’, right?
I’m just saying, as an outsider who was trying to be polite, it’s tough being thrown in a pickle like that. The limited social graces that I have and actually know how to use couldn’t figure out how to maneuver through that Jay/Lynn situation.