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Dude looks like a lady

Brad Pitt

I’ve always thought I’d be pretty as a girl. You might say that’s because I sort of look like a girl or have girlish features. I don’t think that’s true, but I’d probably be a solid 6.5 or a 7 if I were female.

I mention this because I went to dinner with my wife and sister-in-law the other week, and I was mistaken for a girl. Specifically, I was one of the “ladies.”

We settled into our table at one of South Tucson’s best Mexican restaurants, eager to nosh on food so good it couldn’t possibly be American. Anyway, I wore a navy blue T-shirt that night. I had on jeans and tennis shoes. My hair was and is cut short, like many guys. I spoke in my normal, medium-manly voice. At no point did I ask someone for a tampon.

None of that screams “that’s a dude,” but neither did it suggest I was a girl. It was as “me” as I’ve ever been. If it were an audition for the role of Most Average American Male, I would’ve been cast.

Nonetheless, someone thought I had a vagina.

Our waitress came to our table and said, “Are you ladies ready to order?” I assumed she was doing the proper thing and asking the real women to order first. But, admittedly, I wondered to myself: Does she think I’m a girl?

Nah, no chance. I quickly dismissed it and ordered a bean and cheese burrito. Shortly thereafter, though, the waitress brought our bill, and this time she made her perception clear.

“Thanks for coming, ladies. Have a good night.”

I was initially embarrassed, mainly because my wife and her sister cackled like they had just heard the funniest joke ever told. How could I be mistaken for a girl? I instantly scrutinized every move I made during the meal. Nothing I did was outright feminine. If anything, I was gender neutral, so maybe our waitress thought it was 50-50 and she just flipped a coin. Heads a boy, tails a girl. And tails never fails.

Or maybe (being the obvious non-native English speaker she was) she thought to herself, “These Americans say ‘you guys’ to describe groups of girls, so it probably works for ‘ladies,’ too.”

But I know that’s not the case. Something about my appearance convinced her that I was capable of giving birth.

It’s interesting. I’ve looked that same way practically my entire life. If that appearance led someone to mistake me for a female, then maybe one stranger each day thinks the same thing. How many people walk past me and think, “That girl’s face is too shiny” … ?

I mean, what am I supposed to do? I can’t be expected to make my manhood known at every meal.

“Hi, I’ll have the cheese enchiladas and, by the way, I have a penis in my pants.”

I didn’t genuinely care then and I care even less now. She probably thought I was a nice lady who tips well. Besides, I’ve got a wife, and although I wouldn’t say I’ve mailed it in, I don’t really need to impress anyone for the rest of my life. I can just be Plain Ol’ Jane until the day I die, and I’m fine with that.