There's a hotel I stay at almost every time I am in San Jose. Almost every time. I am there a lot. When I travel for work, I stay in the office until I'm exhausted and only then do I head to my hotel -- too depressing to be in a hotel away from my wife, kids and pets.
Last night, I headed to my hotel around 8:30, spent and hungry. Because it's so easy, I frequently get dinner in the lobby bar -- either sitting there to eat or carrying it to my room. Last night, I decided to sit. There are two bartenders that I know: Ali and Lily. Ali was on duty and greeted me with a hearty, "How can I help you, sir?"
I smiled and in my female voice gave him my order. I would say 75% of the time, this approach works. It allows the Sir-offender to realize their mistake. I don't have to correct them. Yes, about 75% of the time. The other 25% of the time, I just don't know.
Ali thanked me and gave me my drink, "Take a seat, sir. I'll bring it." Ali is a 25 percenter.
Grr. I turn with my drink -- and my big boobs -- and take a seat. A few minutes later, "Would you like bread, sir?"
Now, it's like nails on a chalkboard. "Sure," I say. "Look at my face!" I want to scream. I eat my bread.
Ali brings my steak. "Can I bring you anything else..." Wait for it ... "Sir?" Seriously, Ali? I come in here all the time. You serve me frequently. Tonight, we've talked maybe five times. Me always using my female voice, with my soft face (albeit below Butch hair and above a jaunty bow tie). What the hell, man?
Let me point out that I get "sir" a lot. A lot. I am tall, big, broad shouldered with an imposing air (I've been told). I sport a Mohawk and often a tie. You see me and are confused. Sir is the default. I get it. You get a pass for the casual encounter. Also, little kids get a pass -- their schema doesn't include me until they meet me. And people who are much, much older -- their schema was formed when folks like me weren't visible. Other than off days when the sir-offender just strikes me wrong, I roll with it.
But, if you aren't a passing stranger, little kid or much older person, if we interact and converse and you can't grant me the decency to See Me? Just no.
Such is the case with Ali. He didn't See Me. He thought he did, but he didn't. He saw the archetype. He saw an assumption. Not me. I would very much like for people I talk to, interact with, tip, to See Me. Please? Is that too much to ask?
It's Butch to demand to be seen. Be Butch.