AI: Everyday’s Little Prejudices


Last week, I was out of town with a couple of friends for a congress. While looking for good places to get food for the rest of the week, we got into a sandwich shop that seemed pretty good.

When the waiter brought the check in, he hesitated for a second and then handed it out to the only guy on the table, which for us was a bit of a joke because he was short on cash and we were going to pay his share.

The next day, we went there again. Same place, same time, same waiter. Except this time, when he came it to hand in the check, he pretended to hand it out to me and, at the last minute, turned it back and gave it, again, to the only male present. He then turned to me and said “ha”.

I didn’t think it was worth it to make a big deal out of it – it was very unlikely anyone from the restaurant would take me seriously, the waiter wouldn’t agree he did anything wrong, it would be very stressful, etc. So that day we didn’t tip him and we did not come back to that place, and that was it.

Have you ever been through a situation, whatever the dimensions of it, where you were clearly discriminated based on (apparent) gender and could do nothing about it? How did you deal with it?

The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 3pm ET.

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  1. Before my dear wife passed away, I often did the gender queer / man in a skirt thing when we were out of town. Invariably the server gave the check to one of us wearing pants. The same server on three occasions gave my wife the check when she had pants on, then me the check next day when my wife was was in a skirt and I had pants on and finally put the check in the middle of table when we were both wearing skirts. I never realized that wearing the pants in family was so meaningful to people.

    Now that I am alone, I live as what I am, a woman, all day every day. Now I still get the check because I tend to dress up when I leave the house so the server reckons I am the authority figure. I can’t win.

  2. I was out for dinner with my boyfriend and his mother a few days ago, and got quite irritated at the waiter.

    When bringing the wine he poured a little into my boyriend’s glass, so that he could taste and “approve” it (not entirely sure why we do that these days, as the bottles rarely even have corks. That’s beside the point).

    Later the bill was placed directly even front of my boyfriend and when the waiter returned with the PDQ (for the credit card) he handed it directly to my boyfriend in spite of the fact that his mother was holding her card in her hand waiting to pay.

    It’s not at all unusual, but the waiter here was particularly blatant and it really irritated me.

    Is it so hard to put the bill in the middle?

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