We were having dessert when one of the boys said a grossly improper sentence. And by grossly improper, I mean by way of grammar. (As a side note, if any of this post is “grossly improper by the way of grammar” it may be due to the glass (or two) of wine I consumed during dinner).
I gently corrected this said grossly improper grammatical sentence and, pushing my glasses higher on my nose, told them that, “Words matter.” I went on to tell them about a high school teacher I had who was very forefront in gender neutral wordage. She did not say “mailman” but “mail person” or “mail carrier”. I gave a couple other examples that were stellar, I’m sure, but then I made a misstep.
Yup. How do you go about making that one gender neutral?
Carter, who is now eleven, robustly and gleefully blurted out his attempt (not gender neutral at all).
Much laughter ensued.
As a teacher, and a mom, I instinctively tried to turn the tides.
“Words matter,” I tried again.
This time Husband piped up about words and our president and improper…
I may have said that Trump was a whole other type of hole (to which Carter – dang he is sharp – said, “Donkeyhole?”)
Feeling cornered, I turned once again to the manhole. Distraction can sometimes be your friend. My solution to the non-gender neutral term for manhole was utility vault hole.
Utility vault hole.
Yes, utility vault hole, was my gender neutral answer to the manhole.
Husband immediately pointed out how smoothly “utility vault hole” rolls on the tongue. I strongly suspect he was mocking me but chose to ignore it.
Dessert ended, without a single person bringing up the word “piehole”. This makes me rather sad because pie was what was for dessert.