It's Just Me

Remember the episode of ‘Sex and the City’ in which Miranda buys her own apartment? The one where people keep assuming that she’s married and she has to constantly correct them, saying “it’s just me”? Yeah. That one. One of the reasons I love ‘Sex and the City’ is how wonderfully it reflects life as a single woman in her over-35 or so. Admittedly with a lot more hot men and more fabulous clothes than generally populate my life, but still…

Recently, during a very irritating week, I had reason to think of Miranda when on two separate occasions, people assumed I couldn’t be anything but married. Because that’s what you have to be, right? The rant about myths, stereotypes and single women will keep for another day, but the two events need sharing.

First, I talk to a company related to another type of TNF blocker, as the Enbrel side effects were getting on my nerves (I’ve since found ways of dealing with them). We talk about my private insurance and the rep asks me if I’m “under my husband’s policy?”. I wonder why she even asks the question, but tell her that I’m not married and it’s my policy, thank you very much. Ten minutes later, I have to be transferred to another department and she clicks me over after saying “thanks Mrs. Andersen”. Sigh…. Get to the other representative to provide personal information. I'll call her Jocelyn, as, not coincidentally, that was her name. When she greeted me, she called me 'Mrs. Andersen' and at the time, I didn't correct her. I wasn't in the mood. A little later in the conversation, she asked for my marital status and I told her I was single. About three minutes after that, she said 'have a nice day Mrs. Andersen'. I sit growling and vexed with myself for not correcting her.

A couple of days after that, I was talking to another person in another company about something entirely different. Again I was transferred, again someone - at this time a man - greeted me and called me Mrs. Having learned my lesson, I corrected him. 'Ms.', I said. 'Oh yes,' he laughed avuncularly, 'we have to be politically correct'. About 47 different responses raced through my mind, ranging from 'why would you assume I married?' To 'you've patronizing asshole!', but as there were so many in my brain, tripping over each other to come out of my mouth first, the moment passed and instead I got rid of him as soon as I could. Then sat and seethed for about 20 minutes. Grrrr.

So, in the year 2006, there is still an automatic default into Mrs. and you’re still thought cutely feminist by men for not wishing to be identified by your marital status. Come a long way, indeed...