I’m not out at work, but a coworker commented on my shirt and earrings today. Specifically, he noted that my earrings matched my shirt and then asked me if my wife dressed me this morning.
I stifled the urge to ask him if his grandmother bought his shirt for him.
Now, I’d be the first to admit that I’m not exactly cutting the rugged outdoorsman figure nowadays, but it’s been a long, long time since someone I worked with made a comment like that to me. At first, I was pretty taken aback and wasn’t quite sure how to respond, but I finally replied that I was a big boy and was perfectly able to dress myself.
From my lens, he was (I think) engaging in male-bonding needling behavior, and I think that’s what bugged me because I’ve never liked it, due to being very self-conscious about my self-image, though I will admit to the behavior with very close friends. It’s part of the male alpha ranking stuff that I generally detest and it’s likely what raised my hackles.
Cori tweeted something back to me that was an interesting point about how to view this interaction that I hadn’t considered. I guess there was some validation there in a way in that someone noticed the outfit I put together and commented about it.
It might just be that he was trying to compliment me, but the sentence, “Hey, I really like how your earrings match your shirt,” was an utterance too far for him given how he genders me.
I’m going to chalk this one up to the Valley of Indeterminate Gender Identity.