You Talkin’ To Me?!

For the years I was the most androge/genderqueer (though of course I was often simply called “freak”), I had no idea I was, until I realized that when someone called out “young man, you dropped a glove,” or “homeboy was out pretty late tonight” types of comments, they were talking to me. The odd thing is, I don’t remember any sense of “you’re talking to me?!” when that happened. Maybe the first comment was so obviously directed at me that there was no question, so I wasn’t surprised when it happened after that. I don’t know. It was harder for me to adjust to being called by Betty’s last name – I didn’t change mine – and more than one waiting room receptionist has called it out more than once.

I don’t like having to tell people not to call me “Mrs. Your Husband,” because they treat you like you’re intentionally complicating their lives somehow. But I just had another friend change her name upon getting married, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why anyone would do that. And please don’t repeat that “sometimes it means a lot to the husband” excuse to me; if it’s that important to him, let him change his goddamn name.

5 Replies to “You Talkin’ To Me?!”

  1. Yep.

    For me it was simply a question of how the surname sounded with my first name. I was never fond of my given last name, so I changed when I married, changed back when divorced, changed again when married again. But if I’d married someone with a name that sounded (more) awkward than mine, I’d have kept the given name.

    It made no difference at all to either husband.

  2. darn tootin’. i don’t get it either.
    incidentally, my brother’s wife took his HYPHENATED last name as her own. on the one hand, i think ha ha! the hyphens are taking over the WORLD. and on the other hand, i think: how stupid.

  3. Just a matter of liking Dave’s last name better than my maiden name, or any of my ex’es last names.
    What I did do was put my son’s last name instead of my origional middle name, I did this because it makes a connection between me and my grandchildren. Were there anything memorable under my maiden name, I probably would have kept it as a middle or hypinated name.
    I did have a stage name, but that part of my life is history.

  4. I was led to believe that it was symbolic of the joining of 2 lives into one. I figured the male name was kept because of the patronimic nature of our society. Now, like pants for men, its an ingrained tradition that we all grow up expecting. As the husband, it really wasn’t important to me that my wife change her name, but in each case, that change was something she seemed to want, so she made the change….

  5. The decision to change names depends on a lot of things. My first spouse
    changed her name partly because she like mine better than hers, partly
    because we were young and she was sort of rejecting her father’s name
    to make one for herself. She wrote a feminist column for our college
    left-wing newspaper defending the name change which I’m afraid I no
    longer have. She actually kept my last name when she remarried, and
    her daughter with her second husband has a hyphenated last name with
    our last name in it. My second spouse didn’t change her name when we
    married at age 38, with an established career, though she thought about
    it. Most of the parents our age with kids our daughter’s age seem to have
    different last names, while younger female spouses have more often than not
    changed their name to their husbands. In some sort of bow to tradition, most
    of us have given our children the father’s last name. Go figure.


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