As many of you know, I love frequenting a local Starbucks for what I like to call my morning ritual. Over time I found the one I like most. As we know, all Starbucks are not created equal. They may all look similar, but each one has its own energy signature.
The staff is friendly, and as I observe them over time, I notice they are a close-knit group and seem to enjoy working together. Of course that trickles down to the customer. We can sense those things and it can make for a much more welcoming experience.
I always say, one of the most important relationships in life is the one with your barista.
So one morning one of the young male baristas was pouring my dark roast. He had been part of the staff there for awhile. He was friendly, and seemed to enjoy working with the others. We exchanged our usual pleasantries and he asked, “room for cream?” after which I proceeded to say, “Yes, ma’am!“
As the two words cascaded from my lips it felt like I just stepped in front of an oncoming bus and I couldn’t move out of its way. As I walked to my seat I hoped it wasn’t audible, since I choked mid word, at “ma….”
But the exchange haunted me. How could I have been so careless as to address him as a female?
I went over and over it in my mind. Maybe he didn’t hear it. Maybe he understands that it’s just an expression and not directed at him. And this wasn’t the first time I had said ma’am to a man. It happened from time to time. One man in particular took visible offense so I was especially sensitive to the situation.
Now, there have been countless times over the years that I have addressed two or more women friends or associates as “You guys.” Or have directed a “Yes sir” to other women in conversation. Or I would use a phrase such as, “brother, was I upset!” Or “oh man, that was some experience!” as I was speaking to one or more females. And as far as I can remember, there was no discomfort. No one felt the least bit offended.
We don’t have to drill too deep to understand that ‘yes ma’am‘ said to a man would be an insult. Sadly, we know that it stems from the belief that the female is somehow inferior to the male. Why else would someone feel so uncomfortable or even offended by the reference? Along with other so called insults like, “You throw like a girl,” “Don’t be a sissy,” “Don’t get your panties in a wad,” “You’re a douche”, “That’s so gay” and many other expressions that I wouldn’t put in print.
In fact, just saying “You’re such a girl” is enough to infuriate some men.
Sadly, in the past, I said of myself that I throw like a girl. This is how insidious this virus is, that has both men and women accepting such references as ok, and even humorous. And really, it’s not intended to highlight anything anyone has done wrong, but to simply bring more awareness to a situation that has gone on far too long.
And it’s not even about educating men about this behavior, but as a woman, it’s to recognize it in myself, when I am carrying around an old concept of who a woman is. Because it’s time for women to no longer internalize these beliefs.
And by the way, the particular barista I believed I had insulted is transgender. He has elected to physically transition from his physical birth self as a female, to being male. To look at him one would not be able to tell he was once a woman, since he has the typical male features and voice. Yet, there is something…..it’s more a sense, perhaps a sensuality, than anything physical, that I like about him. So even though he has chosen to now identify as a male, he still embodies the feminine aspect. which includes insights and compassion, an intuitiveness, creativity and a deep understanding of the sacred heart (which is……a GOOD thing!!!!!) And I simply recognized it in him, and expressed that recognition by using a feminine salutation of sorts.
Thankfully in my heart I know the truth, that the Divine Feminine is equal to the Divine Masculine, and it needs to reside in each male in a balanced way. So really the ‘slip of the tongue’ was my acknowledgement that he has a favorable amount of the feminine within him. Which is always one of the highest compliments someone can give to a man.
And frankly, I was a little embarrassed that I would have believed otherwise.
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