Things The Men At The Italian Deli Said To Me…

Something unexpected that accompanied our move to New York City from Berkeley back in 2019 was an immediate and across-the-board shift in gendered address, at least for me. I went from fairly consistent “sirs” and “hims” in the Bay Area to almost exclusively “ma’am’s” and “she’s” on the East Coast. I won’t speculate overlong as to why that might have been, as that road all too often leads to trans phrenology, but generally I think some things that read as male in the Bay Area, especially for someone white, don’t read the same way in New York City. Besides which, New York is quite a lot denser than Berkeley, so the number of spontaneous encounters with strangers I had in a given day quadrupled at least; it’s possible that I was just running into people who already knew me and had a sense of my whole deal more often back in California. Recently I’ve noticed more “sirs” trickling back into my daily life, which I’m enjoying very much, although the brass ring still remains getting sirred over the phone (someday!).

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