Saturday, September 7, 2019

What's That?

It's fun to mess with Our Friend Nancy. She's Minnesota Nice, a retired middle school teacher, and in the eighth grade I would have been the end of her. Douglas and I nearly were in Billings in 2009, because the only thing worse than Douglas and me unsupervised is attempting to supervise Douglas and me.

One of the things that vexes Nancy is when we call our quite feminine Brandywine Charlotte by her preferred name.

Why the hell shouldn't a girl dog answer to Chuck?

Anyway, Nancy probably shouldn't have let on that this bugs her. I mean, she has a decade of experience with me.

Chuck Chuck Chuck Chuck Chuck Chuckeeeeee.

Forget the rules, Olds. It's a new day. The gender binary is being relegated to something more like a fuzzy suggestion. A kind Millennial explained to me why it's polite for an obvious cis human to declare preferred pronouns in certain social and professional contexts and oh, that makes sense, got it. Cis is a vocabulary word. Absolutely no one is hurt by any of this change, and many people are helped a great deal. Even our understanding of biological sex is getting all shook up, that is, biologists are sharing the things they've long known with the lay world . I've personally watched a mature hen stop laying, grow spurs and hackle feathers, and start crowing. No one in the flock batted an ... well, chickens do not have eyelashes, but still.  Turkeys can reproduce parthenogenically and it was not someone taking the piss out of me.

So you can see where we had to go when Chuck partnered with the similarly name-neutral Sydney to make a pile of seven little creatures who will be empowered to self-define.

But I'm still a GenXer, demography's middle child, so my cultural reference for people squirming over someone else's ambiguity in both gender and biological sex is a recurring SNL skit from 1990*, when I was young and impressionable.

Here are the It's Pat babies, in all their unique individual glory.

Sam is the tiniest Pat, half the size of the largest puppies. Smol but fierce.
Also known as Peanut.
The only Pat with a face blaze. Additional ambiguity: seal or black? Can't quite tell yet.

Robin is a big, vigorous, adventurous dark sable who will be the image of Daddy Sidney..
Robin so closely resembles Kim that I have to flip puppies over to tell them apart.
Their white chest markings are slightly different.

Is Riley black and tan with minor white, or tricolor?
The ambiguity in what should be a clear binary is killing me, let me tell ya.

Kim looks like Robin, Robin looks like Kim, you got that, right?
 It's like that with siblings sometimes.

Billy is seal and was the first Pat to make a big deal out of finding the newspapers to wee.
 Remember, everypuppy squats.

Jamie is the firstborn, and can be distinguished among the seal puppies by a white nose smutch.
The firstborn thing doesn't matter because inheritance laws have changed.

Val is seal. You can tell Val from Billy by the shape of their chest markings, but it's otherwise hard.
 Val is short for Vaaaaaal.

* Also a feature-length film that garnered a coveted 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, of which we will not speak.

Pat portraits are by Mary Cvetan. If you would like to schedule a photo shoot for your animal(s) in the Greater Pittsburgh, PA area, contact her directly.