So. Except for one time in college when I went with several dorm mates to one, I have not been to a Baskin-Robbins since 1987 or 1988. The reason, the one big (if I'm to be honest) reason? Annoyance.
Junior-High Me went to one in a Reston, Virginia shopping center that's since been almost completely remodeled, where I was waiting after tae kwan do class for Mom to pick me up. It was winter, so I was probably in eighth grade, my hair short *, my voice still relatively high and definitely no facial hair to speak of -- and one of the people behind the counter called me "ma'am."
I wasn't androgynous; I was really just indeterminate, and at that moment buried in a shapeless gray coat. I realized later that it could've been hard to tell that I was a boy. But being mistaken to my face for another gender -- whoa, that threw me. And bothered me. And annoyed me. I didn't say anything, but got my cone and went.
Just that was enough for me, an even more serious version of myself than I am now **, not to want to go to Baskin-Robbins. And except for a circa 1993 trip where it would've been rude not to go with people, I haven't.
I got reminded of that yesterday when, in the mood for a milkshake, I asked a clerk at the Hollywood Things From Another World if anyplace close had milkshakes. The neighborhood has, it turns out, a Baskin-Robbins; the clerk suggested that (and, failing that, the nearby McDonald's). I thanked him, and didn't tell him my very personal (and definitely unfair) boycott that made me not want to go to one. Later I went to the Original Hotcake and Steak House on SE Powell near Milwaukie Ave. and the Aladdin Theater, because I knew I can get milkshakes there.
I said it was unfair of me. Here's more evidence of that: not long after that first time, I got called "ma'am" one more time, at an Erol's Video that I rarely went to in Herndon (I usually went to the Vienna Erol's). I didn't boycott Erol's (or Blockbuster once the bigger company bought the smaller). At some point, I kept up the boycott mainly because it amused me to do so, to have this weird reason that no longer applies. Yes, on some things, I can be stubborn. But nowadays, if I were somehow mistaken for being female, I'd mainly be amused. Because I have no reason or desire to try to pass for female.
So. Any of you have any feelings on Baskin-Robbins one way or another? Any reasons I should stop -- or keep up -- this weird little boycott? Is Baskin-Robbins the only ice cream chain that uses child labor or Soylent Green or something, right? Then I can feel my boycott's justified! Or if Baskin-Robbins uses ice cream made from renewable, free-range unicorn farts or something? Then I'd feel bad for dissing the company.
* As these pictures show, up to sixth grade my hair was straight. Then, one part of my hairdo started to curl, above my right eye and nowhere else. I was distracted enough by that to, once or twice, cut off the nub of curling hair, leaving my hairdo uneven until I next got to the Vienna Hair Cuttery on Maple Avenue. Then I dealt with the curling simply by getting even shorter haircuts than before, until college. When, suddenly without much money, I started going months without cutting my hair. WHICH CAME OUT IN WAVY GLORY.
** Back then I was slowly, concertedly, sometimes even painfully trying to build up more of a sense of humor. That was -- is! -- a work in progress, but thank everything I can more easily laugh now. My humor is hard-fought-for and hard-won.