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I have the fondest memories of Kindergarten. So fond in fact, that there wasn’t even anything negative about it.
I don’t know about you, but “bliss” doesn’t stick too well in the memory bank; it’s all just a bunch of cotton candy blur.
Which brings me right along to the very next stop: my first day of first grade…
…We’d just moved in to a fully-detached home, which was a five-minute drive from our last one. Older brother refused to switch high schools, so he started to take the bus…not that his friend-count was higher for having stayed (he had green stuff underneath his fingernails, among other things).
Sister and I weren’t so lucky. We were the newest “ethnics”, in a school with approximately two ethnic kids per class.
I’m not really sure how things went for her, but for me it started with a colourful scene: blue paper name tags for the boys, and pink for the girls (and not an ounce of room for the gender-bending colour “green”).
When I finally spotted mine, my face turned red…or purple. Well I don’t know, how does your face turn when you’re mortified? How does your face go when you’re a six-year-old girl and your name tag’s blue?
It was blue.
I guess since my name wasn’t Sarah or Jenny, but rather a funkier Asian name, the teacher had taken a guess (like the kind where I’m a six-year-old Romi with a dick).
I had to think fast, and I only had one idea…
…I sat on my name tag.
This worked for about a minute or so, after which my teacher saw it, half peeking out from my butt (why can’t kids have bigger “bootys?” It really would’ve helped that time).
I waited for her big revelation; the “Oh dear! What a terrible mistake!” type of moment.
But she smiled.
So….me + boy’s name tag = smile???
And then I figured it out…she thought I was a boy.
How did this happen? I mean yes my hair was just growing out from a buzz-cut (solution to a recent head lice experience), but girls have Beatles mop-tops all the time! And besides I was wearing overalls; what’s more girly than that?
So I had a decision to make: tell her I’m a girl…or not.
In other words, would I be a boy who wore sweaters with kittens on the front? (I had a lot of those in my wardrobe), or a girl who was once mistaken for having balls?
I decided that I’d face more beatings as a girly-man who loves his kittens, so I went with option B.
My teacher was aghast and remorseful. She never requested a physical exam, but I would’ve dropped my pants if needed.
As for the kids, they laughed…for ages. Eventually they moved along to something else, but in the meantime, I was far too often a victim in the game of “red-ass”. That’s the game where you face the school brick wall, and the kids throw a rubber ball at your ass (by the way…was that an actual game? Because it sounds pretty sick in hindsight)…
…These days, I’m actually quite revered for having the title “Romi”. Like there’s a popular line of Romi Tools, there’s the Canadian folk artist Romi Mayes (a female), and there was even that awful (but mainstream) movie, “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion”.
But what I’m actually waiting for, is the moment when Brad and Angelina name their next kid “Romi”; isn’t that so much better than “Shiloh” or “Vivienne”? Well…maybe not, but if they have another hundred kids as predicted, I’m sure they’ll get to “Romi” eventually…
Well Romi, is there something you are not telling us. Blue name tag. Maybe your last blog should have been Year of the Dick! I commend you on having any recollection of first grade because I can hardly remember yesterday. I think you are on to something with this Brangelina crap. If they have anymore kids they are going to need to hand out name tags too. Hopefully they will remember Romi is not a blue one. Haha. Thanks for bringing up bad memories of childhood with that red-ass game…not fun…I was friends with older kids, therefore I always lost.
I really like your page theme! Very cutting edge!
LOL. I would so love it if Brangelina named a kid after you, Romi!
How horrifying to be identified as a (gross, icky, cooties) BOY at that young age, when everyone knows the opposite sex is the worst thing anyone can possibly be. Kudos to you for speaking up to your teacher though. That was very brave.
Nobody in their right mind would ever mistake you for a boy now, though. No worries there. 🙂
Poor, poor Romi. If that teacher could see you now!
It reminds me of my Auntie whose birth certificate states she is a boy, and yet it was never changed to specify otherwise. She IS a Woman, always has been one.
Hah . . . teeni pretty much took the words right out of my mouth with the last sentence of her comment.
So, I’ll move on to my second point. I think that Romi is the absolute coolest, prettiest, sexiest name of all time. Is it a shortened version of a name or were your parents just that cool? By the way, I think Romy <- ,with a Y, is so misspelled.
LOL, well I reckon I beat you – I got mistaken for a boy at EIGHTEEN (I had to write that in letters, rather than numerals so I could capitalize!)
Don’t people realise this sorta things scar us for LIFE? As a teacher I am determined never to do that to a child – I never call the roll out on the first day – I always go up to each kid and ask for their name/prefered name.
How do you pronounce your name? (I know a Romy – she is Austrian) I would say Row-me but I have heard it said Rom-ee.
We should just all have white name tags and then there would be no issues. Or…have parents that name us simple regular names like “Mary” and “George”…that would help too!
Oh I love it! I swear you have the best stories ever. I’ve never heard of the red ass game. Maybe it’s a Canadian thing? Note to self: should I ever have a daughter NEVER shave her head.
I think Romi is a great name. It never would have occured to me it might be a boy’s. Perhaps your teacher got her education from night school. I kind of feel for you. Lots of people who hear my name before they meet me assume I am black. Then when they meet me, they almost seem disappointed. Like something went incredibly wrong at the name factory. And when I tried to find a rental up here in MT, I think a couple places would not call me back based on my name, racist bastards. I think I shall blog about this.
I would never assume a name ending in “a” or “i” would be a guy’s name.
We never played “red-ass” but we had another one of those “is this really a game?” things in junior high called “red hot.” 8th and 9th grade boys lined up on either side of the auxiliary gym, and took turns throwing a partially-deflated (for better grip) volleyballs at each other underneath a volleyball net.
Velocity and pain – that’s the definition of junior-high PE, I guess.
My first “Romi” was the “Romi and Michelle” movie. But still, I don’t think “Romi” sound too ethnic-ish.
And that’s coming from someone who grew up in Lower Alabama.
Ohhhh that so sucks. Another reason why all name tags should be green, not just because it’s obviously the best colour ever. Way to upset the poor fragile psyches teacher!
I used my student I.D. at a library once. The librarian asked if it was my sons card (right, because EMERALD is SO masculine.) When I said noooooo it’s my card, she replied “Oh, so I guess you’re not in high school anymore?” I was still in high school. Grade eleven, to be precise, as mentioned on the card itself.
1) You think Emerald is a boy name. Thanks.
2) You think I’m old enough to have a kid. Awesome.
3) You think I’m old enough to have a kid in highschool. What the hell-ass???
I put it down to stupidity.
P.S. I do think Romi is a lovely name. 😀
You’re the only Romi I ever met. And I haven’t really met you. But the transgender thing sure explains a lot!! 😉 For a hot Indocanuck you sure pack a pistol don’t ya?!
I’m not sure what that means …
Now who’s being awkward?
My first day of 1st grade I remember being beaten up after the teacher left the room by like half the class. But Ive always wondered about that as well, because it’s so vivid in my mind, but at the same time I can’t imagine a reason for the beating. So I think I may have just dreamed it, and it just stuck.
women are from mars I tell ya!
Did you really consider not telling her you were a girl?!
I moved schools lots as a kid, and my ‘first-day-of-school’ nightmares were always (in this order)
1. Someone mistakes me for a boy (I have a boy-ish name). Every body laughs.
2. I’m wearing the wrong thing and everybody laughs.
3. I have pen on my face/ toilet paper on my shoes/ skirt tucked in to my underpants. Everybody laughs.
… it always seemed to end in everybody laughing…
Aw, sweetie; that SUCKS! I had a similar experience but it was in JUNIOR HIGH for me (7th grade = trauma). I went to band practice with a friend… yes, my dear sweet mother chopped my hair off in the stylish “bowl cut” – – I was sitting beside said friend when apparently the band wasn’t playing to the teachers satisfaction -he stated to everyone, “I’ll be that little boy visiting today could play better than all of you!!”
I died a little that day. Damn my mother and her scissors! So, I feel your pain little brotha!
I had the same issue with my name – no one could spell it or pronounce it.
I was often mistaken (in print) for a boy and then had to deal with annoyance from the idiots who were expecting me to be a guy.
I know how you feel.
Justin: Oh my gosh…”Year of the Dick”…that is freakin’ hilarious as well as disturbing…can you imagine if I’d been hiding a secret of such epic proportions!?!?! (well I’d hope for “it” to be epic if I had one, haha 😉 )
PS: red-ass hurt and I’m sorry you always lost…but this is our safe place for therapy, haha 😉
Michael: Thanks for visting and commenting on the page, the colour scheme was literally inspired by an Indian dress of mine, haha 😉
teeni: Oh I know, the cooties are running rampant around that age, nobody wants to be mistaken for the opposite sex at that time…ugh… 😉
PS: thanks for noticing my current non-manliness, haha 😉
Red: okay, now THAT really sucks, and since your Aunt is related to you, I can imagine she is ALL woman, oh yeahhh…haha…
Greg: oh my gosh, thank you so much for the Romi-name-love 😉 Actually the sick thing is my full official name is “Ramandeep”, but my parents always called me “Romi”, so I didn’t even know what my full name was until I went to the dentist! Haha…how sad. And then I got enrolled in school as “Romi”, so it has stuck!
GYL: ohhhh myyyy god….I read that link..age eighteen?!??!!? How dreadful, and you seem like such a good teacher (even though that should be standard), thank goodness for you! 🙂
PS: and yes it was the first one as in “Row-mee” 🙂
morethananelectrician: I don’t know about everyone being called Mary or George, but white name tags sure sound like a good idea!
bluesuit12: HAHAHA…yes, it’s a very good idea not to shave your daughter’s head (my mom just gave up on the “lice comb”, and that’s when she decided to buzz it off…lol)…and gosh, maybe that twisted red-ass game IS Canadian…gosh I am ashamed now, haha..
maleesha: “Perhaps your teacher got her education from night school.”….lmao 🙂 And wow, when I read your post I wa appalled at the kinds of things you’ve experienced for having the name Maleesha…some people need to get with the program…seriously! (and I really like your name a lot 🙂 )
Taoist Biker: red-hot sounds like it could’ve been pretty hot if they let a girl or two into the mix, haha…no wait, it would probably just be painful…lol 😉
dobeman: I don’t think it sounds too ethnic-ish either, but a few Indians have that name…it’s just a weird name and even now I’m not a huge fan of it…lol 😉
Emerald: OH MY GOSH, I can’t believe you had to stand in a library as a GRADE ELEVEN GIRL and come to conclusions 1, 2 and 3!!!!
PS: your teenage son must be all grown up now…hahahaha…ridiculous! 😉
David: lol, now you’re being WAY more awkward than me, but I think I love it!
PS: and please stop talking about my pistol in front of others… 😉
Kerplar: oh my gosh, I really do hope you imagined the beating…why would anyone beat up a precious little you???!?!?!?!
Otto Mann: I am an Aries, which means I am actually ruled by planet Mars, male god of war and all that…wow, maybe I am at least half-dude or something, haha 😉
birdwire: well you know, sometimes people are laughing WITH YOU…oh wait, you weren’t laughing as well were you? Well oh no, but maybe chalk it up as you were very entertaining 😉
PS: no, I really did consider not saying anything, I was scared!
Java Queen: OMG, Java the little boy with the bowl haircut and awesome music skills!!!! Haha…but really now I feel the pain for YOU…well we’re all in this together! 😉
rambleicious: don’t you hate when people think they are going to get package A and they wind up with package B but no “package”? Ah…that’s my lame joke of the day 😉
Dude, that blows but makes for a great story now. I was always forced to have loooong hair, even when I didn’t want it, but I’ve also always had a weird Greek name that, easy as it is to pronounce, no one ever got right on the first try. If you can say May and you can say Tina, why can’t you just say Maytina?! Grr, about 5 years ago I dropped the Tina and life has been a little easier. 😉 Romi is a kick ass name, I love it!
heya. yeah, it was a real game, forbidden but kids still played it..you didnt go to catholic school too, did you?
Yeah, that pink-or-blue thing–I don’t where that came from. It could reasonably be the reverse–pink for boys, blue for girls.
My favorite color is blue, but I don’t believe that has anything to do with my being male.
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