I wandered into Waitrose today.
I was clumsily couriering my phone, scarf, bag, keys and a book in my not-big-enough-for-this-task hands.
Unsurprisingly, and without immediately noticing, I dropped something.
Two Waitrose peoples, one chap and one lady, just behind me, noticed the scarf on the floor.
Waitrose chap picked it up, looked me up and down a bit (scarf-in-hand), then looked back at the scarf, then looked away.
Waitrose lady reacted differently.
She asked me if the scarf was mine.
I said yes, thanked Waitrose lady, took the scarf from Waitrose man, and off I went.
We read a lot about unconscious bias.
From one angle, unconscious bias can be interpreted as lazy, opinionated, cruel, something-ist and, according to some, is deserving of punishment ranging from being frowned at, shouted at, outed, sacked, punched in the ear, or killed.
From another angle, it’s just clumsy, daft, and forgivable.
Like Waitrose man.
You see, my scarf is a flowery, brightly coloured, flouncy, ladies scarf.
And I’m a chap.
But I’m also a flowery, brightly coloured, flouncy chap.
Something that seemed a bit odd to Waitrose man.
So he didn’t think the scarf was mine.
Which is all fine.
Because I got my scarf back.
Waitrose man met a chap that, sometimes, wears ladies clothes.
No one chose to be upset.
No one got bullied.
And I went off to buy some overpriced shit I didn’t need.
The lesson for me?
Whether I’m offended by this that or the other, is up to me.
The (imagined) lesson for Waitrose man?
Ladies clothes can look and feel cool on men, and his wife’s underpants felt lovely under his green polyester slacks the following day.
Everyone’s a winner.