“Don’t worry; it happens all the time. Just ask again.”

“Oh, you don’t understand… You can’t just ask… she… uh…Barbara already told me three times.”

“Well, if Barbara opens the door, just use she, and if Bart opens instead, use he“.

“They don’t use either.”

“What about they then?They is pretty popular.”

“No; it’s something else, it sounded really weird. I can’t possibly let h… uh… Barbara find out I forgot h… oh shit, this is so awkward – that I forgot Barbara’s  flipping pronouns again. This time I’ll really get kicked out of the the group.”

“Let’s sit here for a minute; you might remember. What letter did they start with?”

“I think a Z… Zed! It’s got to be Zed!”

“No; that’s the shouty guy from Police Academy 2.”


“Fridge monster from Ghostbusters.”

“Maybe an X… Xan?”

“No, thanks; I took mine this morning.”

“Maybe Xing.”

“That’s a Chinese name… and I think you pronounced it wrong. It’s OK; don’t freak out; I won’t tell anyone.”

“Phew. If my mentor knew I’d mispronounced a foreign name she’d kill me.”

“Take my phone, look  up the list and flick through it. You’ll find the right one eventually.”


“Hi, I’m looking for Barbara… I have a book for… faer?”

“Sure, hold on” her dad answers the door. “Honey, your friend’s here with a book for a fair!”

“Oh no; it’s not for  a fair; the book is just … verse? Hirs…? ”

“It’s a poetry book about a hearse!”

“Did you just call me honey?” Barbara suddenly shows up. “Don’t you know how demeaning that is to young wom-… people with va-…  uh… people who were assigned the female sex at birth?”

“Well, you are my daughter. At least I hope so”, her dad winks. “What’s with this Emo book about hearses?”

“Oh, don’t bother. She can’t even remember my pronouns. Ally my ass… she’s so done”, Barbara mumbles as she shuts the door and runs upstairs to rant on Facebook.