“Hello, Apple. Thanks for stopping by today.” Dorothy Goodrich reached across her desk and shook the hand of Apple Tenfingers, an applicant for a supervisor’s job in Dorothy’s company, Dorothy’s Delights.
Apple smiled at Dorothy and nodded. Apple had a pleasant smile and seemed relaxed and comfortable. Dorothy was immediately taken by Apple’s charm.
“Please sit down,” said Dorothy. Apple sat, and then Dorothy sat. “I think your resume is very impressive, Apple,” Dorothy said. “You seem to have adequate experience in the food industry, having worked in various aspects of it over your 15 year career. I was particularly impressed by the achievement awards you’ve received, and by your participation in community service projects.”
“Thank you, Dorothy,” Apple said. “Community service is something I’d like to do full time some day. Perhaps when I retire.” Apple laughed, and so did Dorothy.
Dorothy looked over some notes she made after she had read Apple’s resume and job application. Dorothy had found one problem on the application that she had deemed of minor importance. But now, its importance had grown substantially. Apple had failed to check either the “Male” or the “Female” box on the application. This, Dorothy had thought, could be resolved as soon as Dorothy laid eyes on Apple. But Dorothy was wrong. She had no idea if Apple was a man or a woman. Thinking quickly, Dorothy seized on a possible solution.
“There was only one problem with your job application, Apple.” She handed Apple the application. “You forgot to check the appropriate sex box. Please do that and the application can be processed.”
Apple took the application, looked at it for a moment, and then handed it back to Dorothy.
“Dorothy, I don’t really believe in getting into hang-ups over sexual identity.”
Dorothy found herself admiring Apple’s long, tastefully decorated gown. It covered Apple’s body from neck to toes. The sleeves, somewhat bloused but neatly pressed, extended to the first knuckles of Apple’s fingers. A bonnet, not strictly matching Apple’s gown but having some colors and designs in common with it, successfully covered all but Apple’s round, cherubic face. Dorothy squinted hard, trying to find evidence of beard on Apple’s chin. She then looked at Apple’s chest, searching for evidence of breasts. She looked at Apple’s fingers, searching for the delicate fingers of a woman or the thick, coarse fingers of a man. Apple’s voice could be either that of a husky-voiced woman or a soft-voiced man. Dorothy found nothing that would help her define Apple’s sexual identity. Dorothy grew frustrated and edgy.
“Apple,” she said, “I’ve never employed anyone whom I couldn’t identify as a man or a woman.”
“But Dorothy, why?” Apple asked in all sincerity.
Dorothy thought for a few seconds.
“Probably because I have never met someone whose sex wasn’t easy to figure out.”
“Is sexual identity that important to you, Dorothy?”
“I must say that it is, Apple. How am I supposed to treat someone who has no sex? How do I refer to you when I don’t use your name? Do I say he or she or it? Do the girls who work here think of you as a possible date or as competition for a date? Do the guys look at your butt or wonder if you’re looking at theirs? Do you use the women’s restroom or the men’s? If you’re in either restroom, do the others using it wonder if you really belong there? If I hire you, you’ll be the talk of the plant. People will spend hours and hours talking about you and speculating about you. They will pester you and play tricks on you until they think they’ve discovered what you’re all about. They’ll be wagering on whether you have a penis or a vagina in your britches. Sorry, Apple, if I’ve offended you but that’s just what they’ll be saying and doing. If you really aren’t either a man or a woman and indeed have no sex, that’s fine. That will be much easier to deal with. If I hire you, we’ll just tell the other employees that you have no interest sexually in either the boys or the girls here and I’ll assign one of the restrooms to you. The restroom is the primary issue. If you do have a sex, we must know it so that everyone knows which restroom you belong to.”
Dorothy felt much better after laying her cards out on the table. Apple had listened intently to Dorothy’s speech and silently ruminated about it. Finally, Apple responded.
“You mean you’d be willing to hire me as long as I tell you what my sex is?”
“But then my position will be compromised. Dorothy, I spent many stressful years dealing with my sexual identity. Yes, I have a sex, but I got tired of it. It got in the way of relationships I had with people. It seemed to always be an issue. And that issue seemed to always take precedence over others. I just decided to give it up and quit struggling with it. I am less stressed having no particular sexual identity. I like it this way.” Apple was serious and was obviously sincere.
“That’s just fine for you, Apple,” Dorothy said. “But what about others? Virtually everyone, at least in this plant, has a sexual identity. I’d say that most of them are happy and satisfied with the sex they were born with. Granted, some people are born with the wrong sex and some of those end up changing it. But on the whole, what seemed stressful for you makes life fun and interesting for others. Talking about the sexuality of others is a great way to pass the time. I admit, I engage in it myself. Apple, I’m offering the job to you because I think you can do it and would be good at it. Whether or not you want it bad enough to tell me your sex is up to you.”
Apple looked at Dorothy. Apple’s eyes closed for a few seconds, then opened again and Apple stood up.
“Dorothy, I would love to have the job. Can I think about your offer overnight and call you tomorrow?”
“Yes, Apple, you can do that. I hope you make the best decision for you.” Dorothy stood up and shook Apple’s hand.
Apple smiled, then turned and walked out. Dorothy watched Apple’s posterior and gait for telltale signs and, seeing none, giggled. “My, my,” she said softly.