As a young junior airman, I read Stars and Stripes a great deal and eventually got addicted to reading Dear Abby.....mostly because I felt sorry for people in some bad personal relationships or dire situations. Somewhere around age forty.....I kinda transitioned over to feeling less sorry for people, and thinking mostly that they needed to get some 'guts' and just fix their problem.
Today, I sat there and read the latest Dear Abby: "My daughter has been in a lesbian relationship for 14 years. They recently took me to lunch and informed me that her partner, "Nicole," is in the process of transitioning to a male. Nicole has now legally changed her name to "Nick" and has begun hormone treatments. They have been going to counseling for the past six months. Since Nick began the transition, I have seen him three times. Last week when I was visiting, I accidentally called Nick by the wrong pronoun, "she" instead of "he" a couple of times. I was either immediately corrected or ignored until I realized I had used the wrong word. It hurt my feelings.
After I got home I sent Nick a text to apologize and explain that it would take time for me to get used to saying "Nick" and referring to him as a he. I told them their correcting me bothered me. All weekend I could tell they were irritated with me, and I felt it was uncalled for.
What do you say? Am I wrong to feel hurt that they haven't given me a chance to get used to the new name? -- MARGARET IN MISSISSIPPI"
At age thirty, I would have felt sorry for Margaret and offered up some kind words....maybe patted her on the back and said she had a fine problem.....and told her that some folks were worse off than her.
Well, my patience level just isn't there anymore. So my humble advice to Margaret goes along these lines. Nicole (pretending to be Nick) has got some problems and it's best to look long-term at just giving up on the daughter and her relationships. If they do come over....show your new dog off to them and let them know right away that the dog is really a cat, and it's not a male but a female. Then let them know that you've been awaiting kittens to come from this new pet. While discussing the new dog-turned-cat.....talk up these strange noises you've been hearing in the house and you think it's demons. Offer up some cheese and cracker snacks and Jim Beam shots to your daughter and her friend. Basically behave as odd as possible, and just hope that they reach a point where they'd like to visit less and less often.
Maybe down the road....things change with your daughter and you can get rid of this stupid dog-turned-into-cat or crazy-lady routine. Don't worry much.....bad usage of pronouns really ought not be one of your top 1,000 problems in life. Trust me.....it ought to be somewhere near number 86,486 on your problem list.