I'm a woman, and I enjoy being identified as such — but I have a lot of hair that grows on my face. I don't remove it because I'm cool with it. The other day a young cashier called me "ma'am" but then corrected herself and said, "Sorry, what's your pronoun?" She was obviously thrown off by my facial hair and seemed to think I was transitioning. I felt embarrassed, and the whole thing ruined my trip to the grocery store.
Hairy-ette (woman, 31)
I'll never understand our society's consternation over women's body hair. We're expected to shave, wax, pluck and laser practically every naturally occurring follicle. It all came about due to a long history of classism, misogyny and advertising agencies, but luckily the tide seems to be turning toward more acceptance of the au naturel look — at least as far as legs, armpits and pubes go. Facial hair still throws people off, but we'll get there, thanks to people like you.
Another thing I don't understand is the use of gender-specific greetings for people you don't know. We should have dropped ma'ams and sirs a long time ago. It seems the cashier was trying to be politically correct, but there's really no need to ask someone what their pronoun is when you're ringing them up at a grocery store. Just keep it neutral, and nobody will get their feelings hurt.
A hundred years ago, I was at a graduation party with my high school beau. He was talking to a female friend of his family for a few minutes, and he asked her: "When are you due?" I've never seen anyone look as mortified as that woman was at that moment. She wasn't pregnant. Right then and there, I learned a very important lesson: Never assume anything about anybody. More importantly, if you do, keep your mouth shut.
Good luck and God bless,