My pronouns are now per and pers. And that’s what I am going to call you and you and you over there too. Because I don’t care what is in your pants unless I have personal interest (rare and unlikely) or unless I am working as a physician. Per and pers are short for person. Generic. Nongendered because I don’t care. I suppose we could use Pee and Pees for People, which would amuse small children and immature adults (which includes me).
As a physician I need to know if someone is XX, XY, XO, XYY, or any of the other variations because it affects health. I need to know if the XX is of childbearing age or before that or after that. I need to know if the testes are undescended or have been removed because of prostate cancer. But otherwise I don’t need to know and I don’t care what is in your pants.
Get over gender. Everyone can wear kilts or carhartts or makeup or glitter or boots or toe cleavage sandals (ok, the five inch heels are really bad for your feet) and I don’t care. The first time I met my future husband was in a contra dance line where the people coming up the line were upset or rattled. I wondered why and there he was, wearing his mother’s wrap around lavender flowered skirt and dancing the “male” part. Now the parts are often called “lead” and “follow” because the callers don’t care what is in the dancer’s pants either.
When I saw my future husband in a wrap around lavender skirt, it was not love at first sight. What I thought was, “Well, that is not your routine Beltway Bandit. Bet he’s not an attorney.” This was Washington, DC in 1985 or 6 and the place was crawling with attorneys. I was correct. He is not an attorney. I thought, well, at least he’d be interesting to talk to and I found the consternation in the contra dance line amusing.
I did not talk to him that night. The next time I ran into him was at a square dance at the Washington Cathedral Nunnery. (You now may be wondering if this is true. It is.) He was wearing pants. After the square ended, I said, “You look different from a week ago.” He laughed. “The woman I am here with hates it when I wear skirts,” and he promptly invited me out. Ok.
Marge Piercy published Woman on the Edge of Time back in 1976. The pronouns in one of the two futures were per and pers. I am fine with that and I am not fine with having every single person pick their own pronouns. If we are going to pick our own pronouns, I am going to be “Mother Superior”, because I think it is stupid. Make it generic and non-gendered and I have no issue with generic. I don’t care what is in people’s pants or shirts or whatever, nor do I care what gender they are born nor their present identification nor their future plans. Except, as I said, if I am romantically interested or if I am working as a physician.
And since I love words and wordplay, my reply to the next query about my pronouns will be in a very sexy voice. “My pronouns are puuuurrrr and puuurrrrrs.”