Gender and Dr Pepper

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Gender and Dr Pepper

I’m not sure why I do this. I’ve only just noticed I do it. I think I do it because I know or feel like some people might judge the female I’m talking to differently to the men. It’s sad I do that. But I guess I want there to be a level playing field before they judge.

It’s like I saw a street artist dressed as Elmo in New York. They’d (there I go again) taken off their head and it was a black woman inside the costume. I wouldn’t have placed that. I would have assumed it would have been a white male. Largely because I think Elmo is a man. Isn’t he? I might have to google that.

I do this all the time. And notice it more. The world was designed by and for men. Even bras (I think) were designed by men. How fucked is that?

Dr Pepper and I have a history of misunderstandings. I don’t know if the Dr is male or female. I have asked. But I’m guessing the Dr never existed. It’s not like it matters, but in many ways it really does.

When I’m seriously “seeing” / “dating” / “subjecting someone to my company for the long term” I tend to call them my partner. This is partly because I see relationships as partnerships. But also because I feel after your teenage years calling an adult female your “girlfriend” seems a bit patronising and not representative of what it is to me. Also I wouldn’t want to get called a boyfriend. I’m a man (or at least I can be tried as one and the man at British Gas customer services calls me sir and doesn’t ask to talk to one of my parents any more and that’s close enough to being an adult as I’m comfortable right now).

But the big reason I like the word partner to describe someone I’m with is because it’s gender neutral. I told a friend this the other day and they said “don’t you worry people will think you’re gay? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just most guys worry.”

I don’t get that. Why do straight guys worry about getting labeled as something they’re not. I guess it’s because the system their father’s and ancestors put into place aren’t exactly favourable towards gay people. So I can’t blame them for not wanting to keep their privilege. It must be hard to not feel at the top of the tree (even for a second) if that’s all you’ve known.

It makes me laugh when someone who I know is straight jumps in and says something like “no homo”. Not because that’s funny, it’s weirdly defensive. But it’s like who cares? And if you know that it’s not going to be something you’d want to be seen as because it’s nowhere near as good for another group of people why don’t you help change that?! You are in a position to make it better. And instead of doing that you just go ” well, someone has to be lower than me for me to stay up, and it’s not like I’m going to benefit, so fuck it”.

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Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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