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Monday, January 10, 2005

baby sex

christ almighty if one more person asks me this question, i am going to stab my fucking eyes out:

well-meaning nitwit: are you going to find out what the baby's gender is?

this drives mr nice guy up the proverbial wall. but i might as well answer it now. yes we are going to find out what our child's gender is. but not before it's born. and probably not for, oh, like 13 or 16 or even 18 years after that. because, well, you see, GENDER IS A SOCIETAL CONSTRUCT, PEOPLE.

some folks when asking the question they actually mean to ask get pretty close. they stammer a little. they pause. they choke on the word that is mysteriously giving them problems. what is this word, you wonder? it's SEX, friends. say it with me: SEX.

so, the question as it should be asked: are you going to find out the baby's sex?

ah. better. now. why is this so hard for people -- well educated, otherwise very clever people capable of complex, subtle thinking -- to master? my theory is that this is a byproduct of political correctness and michael jackson. why else would people be afraid to say BABY and SEX in the same sentence? (like, have you ever heard that urban legend about the person who, in the days before digital cameras, got calls from the police because they had taken pictures of THEIR OWN CHILD IN THE BATHTUB?) do they think that i will take umbrage in the insinuation that my precious baby might actually be classified by -- gasp! -- sex? "how dare you ask me about my baby's sex, you fucking pervert!" no. look. i am a pedant, you see, and an asshole. if the baby is a boy, then the baby's SEX is male. biology, people, it's biology. nothing nawty about it.

as for the baby's gender, well, that's pretty much up for grabs. and frankly, i don't care what its gender is ... provided its gender doesn't make it do things like get very expensive operations requiring heavy hormone treatment and lots of knives. no. in fact, come to think of it, this sex-vs-gender thing is something that all of our well-meaning friends and colleagues would have, without a doubt, understood when they were well-meaning earnest college sophomores. what happened to them?

but fear not, mr nice guy is not so gauche as to actually correct a well-meaning friend when they ask him about his unborn child's gender. he merely answers the question by unsubtly and annoyingly substituting "sex" for "gender."

ps: and the answer is ... NO. we're not going to find out the baby's sex. until it's born. hopefully. but basically we don't need 87,201 tons of pink crapola if we announce we're expecting a girl (or 87,201 tons of blue crapola if it's a boy). besides, that would be gender typing our baby. and we wouldn't want to do that, now would we?

pps: in the terrifying event that it's a boy, don't even get me started on circumcision.

UPDATE: some cheeky acquaintance dodged this whole issue yesterday by asking me "do you know if it's going to be a boy or a girl?" let me say this: very clever way of getting around the question, pal, but you don't fool me for a second. i can just tell you're a "what's your baby's gender" kind of a guy.

you know, the next time someone asks me the gender question, i have resolved to answer thusly: "we're not finding out what it's gender is, but we're both hoping for a really masculine child."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummm.... someone's a little overeducated today!?!?

1/10/2005 9:16 PM  
Blogger Alyssa De Jour said...

I actually had never thought about it. Hmmm, what do I say when asking that question? Now I know I don't use "gender" (and it's because I just don't, not because I knew the correct context until now... hell, the word SEX is a much better word anyway!) but I think I ask "are you going to find out if it is a boy or a girl?"

But thanks - now I know!

But you know what? When it is my time to breed and people ask me "are you going to find out what gender the baby is", that question is going to irritate the hell out of me! Grrr, don’t know if I’m so thankful now - haha ;)

1/11/2005 3:17 AM  
Blogger Cattiva said...

You're going to end up with my personal "favorite": 87,201 tons of yellow crap. I HATE yellow, and that's what people got.

If mrs. nice guy has not had a baby shower yet, you'll want to get out some helpful hints. Tell people you already have tons of impractical outfits that the kid will never wear and you instead want practical gifts, like diapers, wipes, onsies, etc. I learned that lesson with my first kid.

1/11/2005 9:56 AM  
Blogger mr. nice guy said...

sorry, yes. got a little testy there yesterday. as for yellow baby crap, that's fine. as long as we also get green baby crap. and indigo baby crap. and brown baby crap. and verdigris baby crap. you get the picture. as long as it's free, the nice guys aren't too picky.

1/11/2005 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for clearing up the gender/sex issue. Another one that drives me up the wall is when people (*especially* women!) obviously do not know either what or where a vagina is located!! (usually confusing it with the exterior region)

But I digress. Please fill us in on your circumcision thoughts -- as the soon-to-be mother of a boy, I am very interested in the male perspective!

Lisa (due in late March)

1/11/2005 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, gender is a perfectly acceptable word. - see the third definition. As is the case with most english, you have to understand the context to determine the intended meaning.


Jason Wall //

1/20/2005 6:31 PM  
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