Last year, when I was feeling particularly stressed, I came up with a mantra: “No, thank you.” It worked in nearly every situation. My husband asks if I can make dinner tonight because he’s tired. No, thank you. The kids are begging to play Wii. No, thank you. A colleague tells me not to forget there’s a faculty meeting after school. No, thank you.
With some of the interactions I’ve had over my name change, I think it’s time for a new mantra: “It’s not me, it’s you.”
Most people have been delightfully helpful with my name change. The older Hispanic woman at Social Security smiled pleasantly and asked about my kids when I told her the three of us had taken my husband’s name. The Southern-accented lady in American Express customer service offered her congratulations as she told me how I could change our account information to reflect taking my husband’s name. The woman at Chase Visa seemed giddy when I responded in the affirmative to her question about whether this was a marital name change. I’m not sure if she suspected I took another man’s last name or if she thought I was some post-modern twenty-first century male who was shucking the misogynist power structure by taking a wife’s last name, but either way she seemed happy for me and it made the process a little easier.
The ignorant biznatch at Comcast wasn’t quite so welcoming. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a good Comcast customer service story, so here’s my addition to the never ending stockpile:
“How can I help you today?”
“I recently changed my last name, so I need to update my account information.”
She stifled a laugh, and then said, “We usually only do that for women.”
“How interesting. I’m a man.”
Heavy sigh. “Okay.” She gathered my information and then placed me on hold. When she came back, she said, “Okay, I’m just going to add your new name on to your old one, okay?”
“No, I’d rather my account information reflect my new legal name.”
Another sigh. “Please hold.”
When she came back, she curtly told me I was all set, and I tried to remain calm as I thanked her for her time . I happily didn’t succumb to my self-diagnosed Pre-TSD; instead I repeated my new mantra (internally of course, although it would have been nice to say it directly to her): It’s not me, it’s you.