Several weeks ago, I was waiting for my wife who was at the dentist in a distant town, and I needed to make a stop at the bank and pharmacy. Dressed in capris, a women's polo top, pantyhose and flats, with my other "identifiers," in both places I was addressed as "Ma'am." Neither clerk knew me. So, that's always good to hear! But a recent experience gets the "big award" for 2018.
Recently I visited a diagnostic center (where I am not known personally, but they have full access to my records) for some non-invasive testing which required two visits. I wore my new bold pattern blouse pictured in previous posts, my 3" inseam white shorts, bare shaved legs, white slide sandals and most of my other traditional "identifiers." For the day, I put on only light makeup, with lip balm instead of lipstick, and no earrings. I was addressed by the receptionist who checked me in as "Ma'am." And when done, she had me sit "over there" to wait my turn for the tech.
Though I wasn't seated closely enough to hear details, the girl who ushers people to exam rooms was talking with the receptionist. I could make out a few words, such as "female," "she," "Ma'am," "first name" and so on. I suspected I might have been the subject of that discussion, though couldn't hear enough to confirm it. A few minutes later, the girl making the inquiry opened the door, and said "Step right this way, Mrs. Sherman."
You could have knocked me over with a feather. There's "very little chance" they were unaware of my gender, with records in front of them when I checked in. When I took my blouse off for the obligatory stethoscope check, the hair on my chest (significantly less than most males due to laser treatment years ago) hadn't been shaved in several weeks. Oops...I forgot to do that...my bad. Yet that nurse, and the rest of the staff, addressed me as female.
My interpretation of this: they were being "politically correct." Addressing someone wearing what appears to be a female outfit as "Sir," could (at the very least) sound incongruous to innocent bystanders (who were seated nearby, paying no attention to me, and may not have noticed anything unusual). It might even lead to a PR issue. What if I were a somewhat masculine woman and staff hadn't checked, guessing "M" incorrectly? Most likely, genetic women dislike being mis-gendered, too!! The safe course apparently was chosen: "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, call it a duck." And I'm fine with that.
For my second visit, I wore the same top, with different 3" inseam
shorts, and my flats instead of sandals. Same drill again - exclusively female forms of address.
Regardless of the reason, I could learn to like this - a lot!