Klara has learned to say “guys.”

“Hello, guys. What are you doing, guys?” she says to me and her father and laughs.

Then she gets all pensive.

“Mommy, are you guy?” she asks incredulously.

I still haven’t figured out how to explain the sexist language rules.

10 thoughts on “Guys”

  1. Wait until she learns that one male in a group means that you use the male plural in some other languages! It threw me and I was a preteen.


    1. Like in Spanish. It’s especially funny when we have one male student in the classroom and I say, “Because he’s here, we are now all considered male.” And everybody stares angrily at the poor male student. And then I go, “And now let me tell you about the concept of machismo in Hispanic culture.” That’s when they really listen.


      1. True in American English, too. When I was working, I’d sometimes go out to lunch with female colleges, and the waiter/waitress would inevitably come to the table and ask, “What do you guys want?”

        But what goes around comes around. At the end of the meal, I would inevitably be handed the check for the entire table.


  2. Y’all aren’t in the y’all zone?

    And ‘you guys’ as a functional second person plural is not really masculine, I’ve heard it lots of times when all the participants are women.


      1. “Illinois isn’t y’all.”

        But Clarissa’s a hop, skip and jump away from St. Louis and I thought that was all territory (not sure if I’ve been in St Louis, I drove through Missouri once but I think we missed St Louis…)


  3. I think it is reasonable to tell Klara that sometimes ‘guy’ means a boy or a man, and sometimes it means just a person. Then ask her if she can figure out from how and when people say it which is which. From what you say about her, she would appreciate an intellectual challenge like this.


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