Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Back As a Mrs.

Hello, blog! I'm back!

I apologize for my long absence; I was unprepared for how much your life gets sucked up by wedding planning. But, now I am back, and happily ever after married to the cute boy who encouraged me to become a doula. How could I not marry the man who drew me an adorable doula comic?

There have been some interesting occurrences as we've planned, wedded, and been married that have chafed my feminist sensibilities.

When I made the reservation at the hotel we'd be staying at the night of our wedding, the hotel automatically put it in my husband's name. This really irked me because 1. I made the reservation, 2. I was paying for it with my credit card, and 3. I was the one checking in before the wedding (without him). Why would you change it to the man's name? So you could say that it was the "husband's-last-name" newlyweds? Well, that is presumptuous for multiple reasons. What if I'm not changing my name? The whole thing rubbed me the wrong way, and I asked them to change it. Unfortunately, it had not been changed the day that I checked in, and I gave the concierge a piece of my mind.

Anyone who refers to us as "Mr. and Mrs. Husband's First and Last Name." I. will. kill. you.
I am a separate person and I am not his property! Just go ahead and erase my entire individual existence, why don't you!?

The fact that because I have chosen to have one family surname that matches my husband's (and future children), that I have to change my name with social security, the bank, my passport, the DMV, human resources, my work colleagues, my health insurance... the list goes on. I come home and fill out and fax tons of paperwork, and my husband doesn't have to worry about it at all. The only easy part of this is that these institutions are so used to it, that it is a piece of cake. If my husband had decided to change his name with me to a new name (which we were contemplating), he would have had a very hard time doing so, since it is not the "norm."

We went to the bank to open a joint checking account to officially begin our shared fiscal future. When the bank associate was telling us the details of our account, she told us that my husband was the primary account holder and I was secondary, "because he's the husband" and she smiled. He and I looked at each other and said to her, completely seriously, "That's unacceptable. Is that really the reason?" She thought it was all fun and told us, "Ok, how about it is because his last name starts with a B which comes earlier in the alphabet?" We didn't want to make a big deal out of it, since it sounded like it really didn't matter whose name was first, but it irked us that that was the default. After we left my husband actually offered to go back and change it to me, but I told him I really didn't think it meant anything in terms of the account's operations.

The fact that when we file taxes, we have to file "married but withhold at single," because the IRS still considers the married/joint tax brackets to be only one person working, or one person making significantly more money than their spouse. Because this is not the case, if we file as married, we would suffer from being taxed at a higher rate than if we file single, AKA the marriage penalty. I actually just read a story this morning about how the IRS Supports the Gender Pay Gap.

I'll probably come up with more as time goes on, but that's just what I've encountered in the past 2 weeks!

What non-feminist societal occurrences irked you when you got married? What else have you experienced that I haven't, yet?

I am grateful for my feminist husband, and super excited to call him my husband after 8 years together. Thanks for reading!

- Mrs. Anthro Doula


  1. I have a friend who recently sent me a wedding invitation addressed to Mr & Mrs His-First-Name His-Last-Name (I didn't change my name). My first response was annoyance and a bit of a "I expected better from you" feeling... But when I brought it up with her, in a joking "btw, you didn't invite /me/ to your wedding, who is this Whats-her-name you did invite" kinda way - she /defended/ it!

    She said "it's traditional" and argued that that was the correct way to address us! I didn't want to make a scene before her wedding, but I'm still pissed about it. That's not my name! Neither of those are my name! The 'correct' way to address me is by my actual name. Argh.

    The next thing that comes to our house addressed that way is going to get sent right back, marked "not known here".

    /rant :p

    1. This the same with me. We have one side of the family that refuses to use my last name. Guess which side.:/ There are others who just assume, which slightly bothers me, but when corrected, they are nice and apologetic about it. However, there are a few who like to dig in and push their own values on us. We recently got a wedding invitation from one side of the family with the"Mr. And Mrs. Blah Blah" on it. My husband quickly changed the response card to my name and sent it out. So silly, that in 2014 we still have to take this stance.

  2. I did not change my last name, but almost everyone assumed I did, especially on his side of the family. So, we get lots of holiday cards and invitations addressed to M & K S. But it doesn't really bother me all that much. Where I live, it's still rather uncommon for a woman NOT to take her husband's last name. But I never feel judged by anyone for keeping my last name. What I find humorous is when people assume that my last name is my married name, and they refer to my husband as Mr. G.

  3. Elissa: I've found that much of wedding planning ended up being a decision to either go the traditional route or choose our own way. A lot of people are choosing their own way, what works for them, and the same is in names. Your friend defending her choice for "tradition" sake may actually have chosen some non-traditional aspects in her wedding! So she probably could have tried to understand your side of things. :/

    Missy: I love when people come up to me and DO ask if I'm changing my name, though! I feel like that is a change that has been coming over time, and I'm glad not everyone assumes. Culture change takes time, but things are looking good!

    Kind of a thrill when he gets called YOUR name right? But it goes back to the same assumption that you changed your name to match his.

  4. Just got married and someone wrote a check to Mr. and Mrs. His first name-his last name. Our bank account is under my name only and I kept my name.... *sigh* It's a nice gift...but why not ask someone else in the family before?


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