…Then may we speak with Mr. Insert Real Last Name…

Well, he’s my dad and doesn’t live here but you can speak with my wife. (Although, my guess is since she didn’t call you but I did, she doesn’t want to talk to you.)

Wait, there was a time when a whole family used one phone wasn’t there? Mind Blown!

We have a small chuckle once in a while when some unsuspecting person puts together that we’re married. It’s cute. It’s funny. It’s a changing, evolving world we live in and not everyone has fabulous married lesbian friends like us. Most people are super professional – you see the recognition on their face and then they quickly get back on track. Some people even get really excited which is extremely cute and gives everyone the giggles. I can’t even think of one negative reaction or I’d have written about it.

So this week I’ve been making calls to handle a little house maintenance issue. All three vendors I spoke to this week assumed I had a husband. Now I’m not saying they should assume I’m straight or gay…it’s a phone call. It wasn’t that they were just trying to get a sense of the homeowners though. Two of them actually wanted to speak with my husband. Their assumption that someone other than myself was more capable of making the decisions was off-putting. Off-putting enough that I barely enjoyed their blushed tones when I said I had a wife instead and then the inevitable fumbling over spelling her last name which is only four five letters. It’s probably hard to think when you’ve just realized you were being sexist and made a huge assumption about someone.

While I am certainly not mad or offended about the assumption that I have a husband, it was a realization that some things haven’t changed. Some people still think men are the decision makers when it comes to home repair or in a relationship in general…Which means some people think there aren’t single women owning homes and kicking ass at it but there are (I even know some!). It means that some people don’t think about the wider definition of the word family. It means businesses aren’t having conversations about how to phrase things to be less patriarchal.

In some instances it may be necessary to know if more than one person owns a home or lives in a home so just tweaking the questions a bit would go a long way…

Will you be the only contact for this project?

Would you like to add another contact for this project?

Is there a spouse or partner I could list?

It’s really not that hard to keep your foot out of your mouth if you try just a little bit.

 Anyone else out there experience this kind of thing? Tell me about it.

4 thoughts on “…Then may we speak with Mr. Insert Real Last Name…

  1. I think a heteronormative bias is commonplace. I feel bad when I realize that I’ve incorrectly assumed, but in most cases with most of the folks that I meet on a regular basis, the bias is correct.

    I’m a woman married to a man but I use the word “partner” more often than husband. I started back when he was my “boyfriend” and I felt ridiculous saying that word as a woman in her late 20s. So many people assume that my partner is a woman as a result of semantics. It’s actually kind of funny when they see my big, burly husband enter the picture.

    Your comment about home repairs speaks to traditional gender roles, which for the most part, we follow in our household (and so do many of our friends). Generally, my husband can fix anything, but the rare time that we do hire a contractor, he always handles it. I’ve never had someone specially ask to speak to him instead of me though, which I think it is a bit off-putting regardless of who you’re married to.

    Interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have had insurance companies assume Corrie was my daughter. I had to argue with a woman one time because my pregnant daughter could not be on my insurance she needed her own. I very firmly said she is my wife and after a long pause her tone changed. I think a lot of people just don’t know how to address it so they stick to the society norm.
    The thing that really bothers me is on school forms for the kids. It always asked for Father and Mother name. I always cross out the word father and write in mother. The thing is in todays world you not only have same sex parents you have grandparents raising children. They need to come up with something better.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This happens to us a lot. Most recently I ran into a furniture store to look at stuff for my daughter’s bedroom and the salesman asked if my husband was coming in to pay. He actually said that. I corrected him and probably embarrassed him a touch. Awkward. And then to save face I still went to look at the furniture like it didn’t phase me.

    Only once have I encountered rudeness but not from a business. It was just some random mom on a Disney bus who was chatting away with me until we introduced our other halves. After I went she just turned her back to me and turned her son from looking at Bumbi. That was awkward but I stayed Disney happy and just announced to my partner that she seems to be afraid if lesbians. We never talked about it again. It wasn’t going to rain on our magical day – Bumbi’s first trip to The Magic Kingdom. But it obviously stayed with me.

    Great post as always!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This happens to us a lot too, but I’m so quick to say “my wife you mean?” That I almost enjoy the awkwardness of their plight to understand the situation. Sometimes though it’s fun to have a conversation with your bank teller, only for her to revel how excited they are that you are their first ever married lesbian couple! People are fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

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