Sunday, November 28, 2010

An Embarrassing Moment on Deputation

I love meeting young people in the churches that we visit. I love everyone, but I have an especially great time joking around with kids and teenagers when we visit a church on the deputation trail. One way that I break the ice with children and teenagers when I am introducing myself and my family is attempting to guess their names. It goes something like this:

Me: So, what's your name?

Kid: It's...

Me: Whoa, whoa...stop...let me guess...Jerome!

Kid: No.

Me: Okay....Mickey!

Kid: (Giggling) No!

Me: Okay....Harold!

Kid: (Laughing) No!!

Sometimes I will guess twenty to thirty times, and usually it is a great way to show kids and teenagers that the Phillips family is having a great time on deputation. But today it backfired.

I had just met a 12 year old girl named Bailey. Next to her was what appeared to be a 9 year old girl with shoulder-length blonde hair. So, I began the name-guessing game.

Me: "So, what's your name?"

Kid: "It's..."

Me: "Wait, wait...let me guess....Meredith!"

Kid: "No."

Me: "Okay...Jessica!"

Kid: "No....keep guessing."

Me: "Ummm....Brittany!"

At about this time, Bailey, the 12-year old girl whom I had just met, and who happened to be the cousin of the kid whose name I was attempting to guess, began whispering something to me with her hand over her mouth. It took me a couple of seconds to realize what she was saying.

"He's a boy, not a girl!"

"Oh," I replied, "okay...well...what's your name, man?" (Emphasis on the "man")

(Interestingly, the boy's name was Haven. Even if I had just asked him his name, I probably would have still thought he was a little girl.)

I tried to think of a smooth way out of the embarrassing situation; but my wits failed me. It was one of those awkward moments in life when there is no escape from looking like a total idiot.

Hopefully this doesn't happen again. :^)


  1. When my mom was a waitress, she once walked up to a table and said "May I take your order, ladies?" But the one whose back was toward her was actually a man with very long hair! Of course, she was embarrassed.

    But to put your mind at ease, haven't you ever heard of the "Axiom of Culpability in Gender Confusion"? It says: "The person who mistakes another's gender shall NOT be held responsible IF the person whose gender was misstated gave clear indication of being the gender they really are not".

    By the way, this kind of situation has happened a few times in our children's ministry here. But I figured out a real simple way to figure out someone's gender if I am not sure...just ask them a question that requires a "yes" answer. Since you speak Khmer, you'll know why this would work here.

  2. more thing. I have only known people in my whole life named Meredith. Both are men!

  3. Correction: I have only known TWO people named Meredith.

  4. Um yeah... That is totally awesome lol

  5. Bro. Benefield, that is hilarious....the only two Merediths you know are men? Every Meredith I have ever known in my life has been a girl/lady.