Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Name of the Game

The other night I woke up at 3am thinking of something my dh had discussed with me. I guess the thought was just taking its time percolating in my mind because I sure I don't like waking up at 3am...

Earlier in the evening, we had discussed, yet again, his ongoing frustration with our (his) inability to combine our timeshare and credit card 'points' into one account. The greatest # are in my name and so those are used when we make hotel reservations hither and yon. What's the big deal?? I asked, seriously not seeing any issue. Well, they're in your name! he said. BFD!! So what?? I replied. He continued to mumble and finally said, Well I have to use your name!! and I don't like it!! I just shook my head and said So get over it... and went back to reading my book, thinking no more about what seemed to be a very much of a non sequitor to me. Fast forward to 3am.

I got it! He was having to do what women have taken for granted for so so many years. Ah, my dear, you can only be a person and conduct commerce if you use your spouse's name. Oh don't have a spouse? Well, you do have your Daddy's name don't you? I got it, I got it! He was so unfamiliar with this loss of name it shocked him and rightly so. He didn't like it! By the time this concept was starting to bother me as a women, I had already had two men's names. Even worse was carrying a passport that proclaimed me "a dependent of a person (abroad on..)" while his passport proclaimed he was "a person (abroad on...)". This now xh used to taunt me with that, reminding me that he was a person while I was merely a dependent of a person. "Can this marriage be saved?" I think not, and it wasn't.

When I finally woke up later in the morning, tho I was tempted to spring out of bed and dash to the computer, I had my tea and told my dh I got what was bothering him about the points. I reminded him that I had, once again, changed my name to please him when we got married even tho I had not originally planned to. I knew it meant more to him than it did to me. (aside..I only regret this when I remember I have moved down the alphabet in lines.) I said - Suppose you were named John Smith and you married Jane Doe, and henceforth you would be called Mr. Jane Smith. Get it??? He got it, and I know he does, but then he said...But sometimes they CALL me Maureen! Well unless the call center is in Mumbai I don't have a clue about that one! But I don't think we will have the points discussion again. Knowing the man, I suspect he will be processing this for some time to come.

Both legally and familiarly, as well as in my books,
I now have only one name, which is my own.


Judy said...

Reminds me of the time I was with my dh at HIGH level reception and a very distinguished gent asked me, "and what do you do Mrs. B.?" and I replied, "about what exactly?"
What else can you say...

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Oh so very true.

Here in Japan of course it's worse, on all my official documents I have to be under my husband's name. Mind you, I'm sure they get confused as I haven't had the chance to change my name since our wedding 3 years ago (I'd then have to change my passport, which would mean I would then have to change my working visa... all too much trouble).

When a Japanese woman marries a Japanese man, she is added to her family registery (basically adopted by the family) and then erased from her own family!

Mind you, here, if I man (who isn't an eldest son) marries an eldest daughter from a family that has no sons, the man will take on the woman's name. Good to see it can work both ways!

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