Nobody Eats Pie. I've Never Met A Person Who Eats Pie.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 10.854% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So you go to a party so packed tight with burly men it’s hard to make your way to the exit. When they bellow a laugh, they clap you on the back hard enough to leave bruises. Their merry handshakes compress your bones, leave you shaking your hand to get the blood flow back.
On a table in the center of the room, set prominently, is a cake.
The men joke a lot, debate a lot, engage in shoving matches at the slightest provocations. And when one of them oversteps the line, the other shouts, “Shut your piehole!
Except when they say “piehole,” the other guy has to be held back by his friends. “He’s just jokin’, Phil,” they whisper. “Nobody thinks you eat pie.”
The other dudes go out of their way to mention that they’ve never seen a pie in real life. Just pictures. They looked disgusting.
At the height of the party, the dudes slice up the cake reverently. “This is the only dessert a person needs, you know? Cake.” And after they eat the cake, sitting back and relaxing blissfully at the table, Phil – fuckin’ Phil – brings up the time he went to visit his brother in Minneapolis (“Pie central,” they grunt knowingly), and opened up the fridge and what did that sick fuck have inside?
“Pie,” they say, and a couple of ’em crack their knuckles like they wish Phil’s brother was here right now.
They ask if you’ve eaten pie, except it’s an easy out – the very idea is presented as a joke, ’cause they like you, they know you wouldn’t. They jab you in the ribs with their elbows hard enough to almost knock you off your seat.
Somebody mentions this survey people took in the media the other day – “The media,” they groan – and these fuckers report that 21% of Americans have eaten pie in the last month.
“Gotta be a lie,” Phil says. “I don’t know anyone who eats pie.”
Everyone agrees, their lips smeared blue with frosting.
Now, my FetLife feed has been ablaze over the last few days over one single word – and it’s not “pie.”
It’s “they.”
As in, “If someone wants to be called ‘they’ instead of ‘he’ or ‘she,’ you should call them ‘they’ as a courtesy.”
And a lot of male doms – because it’s pretty much exclusively male dominants suckin’ up the oxygen in this particular flame war – have said that this whole argument is dumb anyway, because they’ve never met a person who was uncomfortable being called “he” or “she,” and even if they had then those people are so rare as to not exist, so why bother forging a new pronoun for them?
Except one idiot who claimed “I’ve never met anyone who wanted to be called ‘they’ in real life!” had in fact met at least one person at a club who did want a gender-neutral pronoun – and that gender-neutral person remembered them explicitly because the idiot in question had harrumphed and walked away when they expressed a preference.
You gotta remember the pie.
If you create a culture that is actively hostile to a certain type of person, then you have to remember that you don’t actually know how many of that people exist.
Has Phil never met a person who’s eaten pie? Phil – fuckin’ Phil – thinks that’s because those people don’t exist.
But in truth, it’s because Phil swims in a cake-positive culture where the idea of eating pie is so repellent that you literally risk getting your ass beaten for mentioning “America” and “apple pie” in the same sentence. Or if the cakeheads are feeling mercilful, you’ll just get razzed for your love of pie forever until it feels shameful.
Right now, yeah, we’ve got a whole culture of people who accept “he” and “she,” because honestly, you’re gonna get a lot of Phils – fuckin Phils – who are going to go, “What the fuck? I’m not calling you ‘they’. You’re a ‘he.’ Go the fuck home.”
And when Phil’s your employer or your parent or someone else you need to function in life, that’s hard to get by without. You accept this gendering not because you like it, but because you’ve done the hard math and determined that it’s less troublesome to be called “she” than to battle every Phil – fuckin’ Phil – in your path.
But Phil can’t say, “Nobody wants to be called ‘they’! It’s freakish!” Because by *stigmatizing* it, you *suppress* it.
Look. I don’t know how many people would be comfortable with gender-neutral terms – and like homosexuality, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a minority. But I am certain that the number of people who desire gender-neutral terms are a lot bigger than the number of people facing down Phil in a big burly party.
Only after we remove the stigma can we know what people actually want.
And look, if you’re gonna be some anti-pie activist, then be honest. Tell people you think pie is harmful and will ruin your kids and giving them alternatives to cake will ruin their lives forever.
But what too many Phils do – fuckin’ Phils – is to conflate the argument, to go, “Look, people who eat pie are freakishly rare, and we don’t have to pay attention to them because nobody eats pie.”
Bullshit. You’ve made the people who eat pie rarer through shame and intimidation and the inertia of a cake-positive culture. There’d be a lot more people eating pie if you didn’t make retching noises every time someone opened up a Marie Callender’s and quietly dumped the pies at the banquet into the garbage.
What you’re doing is purposely suppressing pie-eating, and then using that suppression as proof that nobody normal does it. And to you, I say, “Fuck that, and fuck your piehole.”
In the meantime, how many people don’t like “he” or “she” and would prefer a “they”? We’ve got no concept. The idea’s still so new to American culture that people are having negative reactions to it just because it’s unfamiliar. With luck, we’ll come to see how many people desire an alternative, and then we’ll get a concept of how many folks have secretly longed for this all along.
Life’s full of weird closets. But it’s the height of dumbness to stuff people into closets and then claim you never see them around.

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