Friday, December 16, 2005

Names

Or More Specifically, MY Name.

I changed my name when I got married. It was a decision I agonized over for almost the whole time we were engaged. Did I want to? Was I willing to give up my maiden name, was I succumbing to the patriarchy? Was I building a family unit with the Husband, or throwing away my identity?

Finally I decided to keep my own name and add his too. As an example - (not real names obviously, but enough so you get the picture) - My maiden name was "Pole" His last name is "Smithers" I decided to legally become Christine Pole Smithers. Yes both names are mine and they are both legally my last name.

This has advantages and disadvantages. I can use either/or/both and have it all be nice and legal. I prefer both. Of course most places aren't set up to accept people with two last names. I had a hard time persuading the MTO that those were the names that should go on my drivers license.

And now it's Xmas card season. I have lost count of the number of Xmas cards that have arrived in the last few weeks addressed to "Mr. and Mrs Husband Smithers" . I realize that it used to be proper etiquette to refer to a woman by her husbands name but I really hate losing me in all this. All I get to be is the Mrs. No name - no nothing. It makes me feel really insignificant. And it's coming from some of the weirdest places - women who have kept their names, my inlaws, you get the picture.

The Husband doesn't really get it. But it's HIS name on the cards so why should he? Maybe I need to get someone to send some cards addressed to Mrs and Mr Christine "Pole" , But that would be a little passive aggressive.

I am trying to be Zen about this. These people are not trying to hurt my feelings. (I hope) I need to realize that they are just sending me a Xmas card and not making a statement about my choice. But it's making me hate getting the mail.

2 comments:

Mrs. G said...

I chose to take my husbands name however... when I sign our christmas cards I sign both our first names and our last... for example " ken and barbie jones" or in our case "ken, barbie,& skipper jones" ...

we have one child... I only use Mrs "Jones" for formal letter writing and sometimes for charity donations.

If you are not comfortable using just his name then try one of those or you could do something like this....

"Mr. Ken & Mrs. Barbie "pole smithers" or Mr. ken smithers and mrs. barbie pole smithers..

hope that helps! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I do understand that it bothers you, but what can I do?! Even some of our goods friends that we've had for years still use 'Mr. & Mrs. my name Smithers', even though they know that you do not appreciate it. And yes I would be affended if they sent it to us using your name,just as you are with mine. For this, I ussually send cards "Jones Family" for an example, or Mr & Mrs Jones.
I guess the real problem is that these are changing times and we are in the middle of it all, and in 10 years who knows how greeting cards will be sent if at all./