Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Gender and... Coins?

As someone who's been mis-gendered my whole life, I pay careful attention to gender rules. It's surprising how deeply social edicts penetrate. Even areas where you don't expect gender rules to apply often have them -- with unspoken praise or criticism for meeting or violating the prescriptions.

Among a long list of experiences I could cite, let me relate one that happened last week. I was at Target buying a product and the cash-register rang up $12.02. I pulled a $10 bill and two singles out of my wallet; I announced to the cashier I have two cents and fished for pennies in the handful of coins in my front pocket.

What role could gender play in this scenario? None, I expected. But the cashier, a woman in her forties, was visibly taken aback. She looked at me and said, "I'm surprised you have coins. Men never carry change."

I tried to process her words. Men don't carry coins? What do they do with their change? When shopping, I always have a handful of coins in my pocket and use them for precisely this situation. Yes, I know women frequently have little coin-purses in their bags and helpfully pull them out to make purchases easier but I wasn't carrying a handbag, I wasn't using a coin-purse; I was merely doing what I thought all humans did in commerce regardless of gender. But to the cashier -- who interacts with customers all day long -- I am an outlier. A gender-bending pioneer with pennies. She didn't say her remark with condemnation; rather, she was simply expressing surprise.

Does my habit of carrying coins deserve comment? Is that how far gender has taken us?

Your thoughts?


  1. That was an odd thing to say. My Dad always had change in his pocket.

  2. Ha ! now that I think of it i've seen both cases. My brother tosses all of this change in a jar at home or in the car's ashtray... My husband usually has them in the car, very seldom does he carry any in this pocket.
    When I read the post tittle I thought it was going to be about how dollars and coins mostly have men printed on them.

  3. I'm actually kind of surprised by her statement because I'm constantly finding change in Nate's pants when I do his laundry...so I think she's a little off base. On the flipside, I never carry change!

  4. My husband carries coins in his pocket, but tosses them on the counter (into the coin jar they go) when he gets home. My granddad used to carry a little leather coin purse for his. I don't know if that's a gender stereotype, or just her personal experience...

  5. I agree that this more of a personal experience than the norm.

    My husband doesn't like to carry coins in his pockets because it throws off the line of his pants. Yes, he is a dandy.

    I often don't carry coins in my purse because they are heavy.

    Honestly I never carry cash at all. Credit cards are so much easier and I earn rewards with them.


  6. A LOT of men don't carry coins! I'm surprised you didn't realize it! I def think it's part in due to western men's wallets not providing a section for coins... And, I'm not going to lie. A lot of guys literally act like messing with coin change is beneath them or something. I'm not kidding. They don't 'bother' with coins. Very different!

  7. My husband usually has some change in his pocket...he is generally the one that will root in his pocket for change when we are at the store.

    I did hear someone say that older people are more likely to have change because they are more likely to have cash on them than younger people who have gone all plastic.

  8. Hmm I don't feel like it's abnormal to carry change...a lot of guys I know put change in their pockets if they receive it at the store, but immediately throw it into something when they get to the car so it doesn't weigh them down. A lot of people simply don't carry cash anymore, so maybe that makes a guy carrying cash AND change an even rarer spectacle...

    1. *sigh*. I'm odd and a dinosaur.

    2. My first husband never carried change. My second husband digs in his wallet and could care less if he holds up the line at 7-11...

  9. Interesting comment. I never noticed such a thing. I always have coins in my pocket. So did my Dad. Grandpa always carried his coins in a little coin purse in his right front pocket. My Dad had a saying, "To shake the change out of his pockets," meaning to administer a vigorous dose of reality.

  10. i don't think she should've commented, actually. i know i would not have, but the majority of my work experience has been retail, and i was taught not to question how a customer pays for a purchase.

    as for it being a gender thing... i don't know that i'd say that either. not many people i know carry cash period.

  11. It is interesting that most men's wallets don't have a change section. When I'm out with Bryan he typically has a few coins but he has expressed repeatedly how much he hates to carry change around. Never thought of this before though! I guess her comment gave us all food for thought :)