Apr 5, 2012

You've Got... Male?

"You didn't say good-byyyyye." she drawled from the back of the post office. "Din't ya hear me sayin' good-byyyye?"

She was tall, taller than me, and much taller than the companion she now rushed towards to embrace.

The post office queue was unreasonably long for 2:30 in the afternoon, and the couple moved to join the line just behind me. Obviously it wasn't good-byyyyye, not yet.

She kept moving into my peripheral vision, as she surveyed a range of children's books and toys strategically placed to be a nemesis for parents.

"Awwr, remember this?" she intoned, as she picked up a soft-cover copy of Animalia.

"Yeahh," came the second voice. "Ya gotta look for a clock or something, doncha?"

I say second voice, second person, the other, Two - because I have no idea what sex and/or gender they were. And it was to prove a frustrating puzzle.

I tried to sneak a glimpse of them as she sniffed loudly, a long, wet sniffle that came with enough regularity to make my mind turn to unflattering theories.

"A clock, yeahhh," she said. She was slim, wearing a white loose tank top and a short denim skirt. Her brown hair was pulled into a topknot. She had a stud in her chin and a white plastic tusk through her left ear.

I couldn't see Two as well, as they were standing right behind me, but they had a trembly voice with an oddly-pitched timbre that didn't emphatically indicate sex.

I shifted the two grocery bags I was carrying in my left hand, giving me a weak pretext to turn my head slightly behind me.

Two was shorter, wearing black pants and a black shirt, with short hair and a black cap.

My brief but close-up glimpse showed a babyish face with a pointy chin. No obvious facial hair, but no obvious make-up either. Age... mid-twenties? But male or female... no idea.

They embraced again, a close nuzzle. "You're bewdiful," she said. "Look at you."

"You're taller than me," Two replied.

She snorted laughter and sniffled again, and mumbled something in his ear about him being priceless.

"Not even Bill Gates has the money to buy you," she said lovingly.

Her attention was drawn by the soft toys, and a plush ladybird on a discount table.

"It says $12.99, but it doesn't say if it's reduced," she said.

"Don't worry about it, I'll buy it for ya," Two replied.

My curiosity over Two was growing. It was none of my business whether Two was male or female. But for some reason, I wanted to know.

"They should have more staff on, this is long queue," she said, loudly enough to be heard by the  three people in front of her, and by now, the four behind.

"Nah, they just need two people who are quick," Two replied. "It's not rocket science, it's just the post office."

"Huh, like you were telling the kids about rocket science the other night," she said.


"And you know I loved how they started calling me Auntie without you saying anything to 'em," she said.


"Well you know it's just respect. Like my lawyer said, you gotta teach kids about respect."


They embraced again, and I had to force myself to not turn around to have a full on, nosy parker stare. Was Two a man, or a woman? Why couldn't I figure it out? Someone else may have been able to instantly pinpoint Two's gender, but for me, Two was the very epitomy of ambiguity and androgyny.

Oh God, I'm being hetero-normative, that's the phrase they use isn't it... I'm being judgemental of this couple's relationship and socio-economic status, it's not my business, it's not my business, it's not my...

"Next, please."

Finally, the post office attendant called me to the counter. I handed over the collection card for my parcel, and as she went to collect it, the second attendant called forward She and Two.

"Yeahh, I'm just here to cash a money order for $100," Two declared.

A glint of a gold chip on some sort of ID or ATM card hit the corner of my eye. A name! If I could see a name, perhaps I could work out whether Two was a man or a woman.

I thrust my eyeballs sideways but the card changed hands too quickly.

"And can I have a few $5 notes in that please?"

"Sure," the attendant replied.

I could feel it, it was coming, the name, Two's name, something that would finally solve this post office mystery that was none of my business.

"Just sign here.....Kelly."

Kelly? KELLY?

Kelly as in Kelly Slater?

Or Kelly as in Kelly Clarkson?


My attendant came back with my parcel of cosmetics worth almost as much as Two's money order. I swept it up in my arms and turned on my heel, leaving She and KELLY behind.



  1. Which gender would you like it to be for the story?

  2. How entirely unsatisfying. I feel like I've just fallen for some sort of practical joke :)

  3. Hand size? (obviously you couldn't see an Adam's apple)

  4. Why did that story end ... Whyyyyyyyy ?!?!

  5. And you know it was "Kelly Toni"?

    Have you ever been in a work place where you just aren't %100 percent sure that someone was born the gender they are now?
    I have wasted entire meetings looking for Adam's apples, with no clear recollection of what the meeting was for.
    It wasn't on account of caring what someone does gender-wise, or any choices they have made. It was just pain intellectual curiosity and the NEED. TO. KNOW. one way or the other.

    I still don't...im lucky I took a promotion in another office or I'd be obsessed with her.