One of those never-ending 'Mrs Hisname' threads.

(47 Posts)

I've had versions of the same conversation with three lettings agents today.

First they ask my name and title. Then they ask who'll be living in the property - so I say, it'll be me and my DH. 'Ah, so that's Mr and Mrs LRD then'. So, I say, no, sorry, his name's DHname (because they're filling in forms for us). 'Ah, so it's Mr and Mrs DHsname'. No. We have different names. I'm Ms LRDName and He's Mr DHname.

'Sorry, this is a one-bedroom flat, we can't take sharers, only a single person or a couple'.

So I explain no, we're married, we just have different names but they're welcome to put whichever name they like on the paperwork.

'Well we have to have your real name for the credit checks'.



And naturally, I have three emails confirming the conversation, one addressed to 'Mr and Mrs LRDsname', one to 'Mr and Mrs SomeShitMisspelling', and one (yay!) to 'Mr and Ms LRDsname'. Well, they get half points for the title I guess!

It is 2013, isn't it, not 1952?

meditrina Thu 28-Feb-13 15:29:40

Ugh. I feel your pain - I never changed name and would be furious with any organisation which cannot handle that (common, normal) situation.

I can put up with being Mrs DH socially, but legally - never.

What annoys me is that one of them obviously thought we must be lying about being a couple in order to get into a one-bed flat. And the other one did a silly little titter when I said it was 'Ms'. I am biting my tongue because you have to be really polite to them, but it annoys me.

AbigailAdams Thu 28-Feb-13 15:45:45

How hard can it be? Really?

I know. Does someone not teach this stuff in 'being a professional, 101'?

Startail Thu 28-Feb-13 16:01:37

I am very happy to be Mrs Star Tail, I've been married 20+ years and both sides of the family are very traditional, being Ms or keeping my maiden name never really entered the equation.

I was still at University so I didn't have work contacts to confuse and anyhow my maiden name is very easy to misspell.

However, I am Star or if you must Stardust (I'm one of those awkward people who was used their NN since birth)

But I am not Mrs DHname Tail.

It's ridiculous I'm long haired, short, curvy and clearly female, calling me by DHs name is quite clearly not something you would do in person so why, why, why do it in writing.

It especially drives me nuts when people who are my friend first and know DH only in passing do it on Christmas cards.

It annoys me too. They're not all bad though, I made a call today about an insurance quote, I was already in the database and they asked me to confirm that my name was Mrs X Surname and I said no it's Ms X Surname, they said OK we'll change that and could you confirm your status as married? I said yes and she carried on, no comment, no hesitation, no smirk. Just annoying that somewhere along the line they had assumed I was Mrs in the first place.

Mitchy1nge Thu 28-Feb-13 16:06:29

grin I am still a bit amused by my daughter's English teacher doing this. I couldn't make parents evening, but her father went, so emailed (from my to introduce myself as Actualname Lastname, and I particularly wanted to thank her for something. She replied to Mrs Mydaughter'sfather'sfirstname Hislastname. It must have taken some effort to overlook my name in the address and body of the email and recall the first and last name of the other parent? We're not married, don't live together, our names are not even slightly similar.

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Thu 28-Feb-13 16:11:47

So would they refuse to rent to co-habiters living in sin?

Like that episode of Fawlty Towers

I did wonder, Ithink! grin

It stunned me that they were so interested in whether we were married or not. I can understand them wanting to say that a two-room flat isn't suitable for two people sharing, because I think probably two people sharing like that, with no living room, are likely to be harder on the property than a couple, and you wouldn't want to rent to two unattached people and find you'd ended up with four tenants living their once they got partners.

But still.

whoknows - aw, that's nice. I do know there are some good ones out there. In general it seems to go with being prepared to spell out an unusual name. DH's name is odd to British ears, and I can usually be sure that someone who sniggers at it or doesn't bother to let me spell it, is also going to call me 'Mrs whatever'.

Tend to agree LRD - we both have surnames that most people either hesitate over or get wrong, so I tend to spell them out regardless, some people listen, some just plough on and type it wrong into their computer whilst muttering Mrs Surname and not bothering to check that either.

I said this on another thread earlier - I always feel like cheering when someone calls me Ms without checking with me first, I look forward to the day when this becomes the default.

Me too. smile

Though, perhaps by then we shall all be divorced, gay, cagey about our marital status or (gasp!) 'rabidly feminist'.

Mandytm Thu 28-Feb-13 17:12:02

Me three!

I'm married and recently had a conversation that went on for far too long with the council, when I asked for the name on my account to change from Miss to Ms. "Oh, so you're divorced?" From the council office worker... firstly, like it's his business. Secondly [yawn].

meditrina Thu 28-Feb-13 17:23:52

They might want to know when you are renting, as there is a different legal status between a married/CP couple and two sharers.

They ought to be able to cope with the idea that choice of name is not an indicator or marital status, and be able to address actual or potential clients by the name given.

FloraFox Thu 28-Feb-13 17:29:23

He won't get far with the credit checks unless he uses your real name - Ms LRDsname.

Would the different legal status affect how we rented it, though?

I moved into our current place before DH and I got married and we're down on the tenancy agreement as being jointly and severally liable (which is standard), and the tenancy agreement drafts we're seeing this time around have exactly the same wording, although they know we're married.

In any case, I agree, they should be able to cope with names, and if the legal status matters they could easily explain it.

flora - well, exactly! Nor with DH's credit checks if they try to use 'Mr LRDname'.

I will point out (ironically), that two out of the three were women, actually. So not 'he'. wink

Kendodd Thu 28-Feb-13 17:35:18

I've been married 17 years, both kept our own names (children are double barrelled). I can't say I've really come across this with professionals. I sometimes get called MrsDH when people haven't been told my name and DH sometimes gets call Mr Dodd. He says it quite useful if somebody phones him up and asks for Mr Dodd because he knows they must be a cold caller and he can hang up straight away.

Family are another story all together through, some of the still don't get it. I remember a relative asking me once 'what name am I using now?' after many years of marriage, then saying that they 'just couldn't keep up with all my name changes'. I have used the same name my whole life.


Oh dear. That is awful, but quite funny. Did you point out you've always used the same name?!

Kendodd Thu 28-Feb-13 17:43:28

"I said this on another thread earlier - I always feel like cheering when someone calls me Ms without checking with me first, I look forward to the day when this becomes the default."

Some women on MN are outraged by this though, I'm sure you've seen the 'proud to be Mrs' comments you get sometimes. I do think, oh, grow up, when I see them.

Kendodd Thu 28-Feb-13 17:45:16

Said relative seems to have absolutely no problem keeping up with a cousin who's changed her name about five times though.

I know, and clearly the use of Ms irks them as much as the use of Mrs irks me, so we are all stuck with each other's preferences really. But it is nice to let off steam on here.

LadyRainicorn Thu 28-Feb-13 17:52:14

The legal thing with renting is about homes of multiple occupation, which 2 unrelated, un 'together' people would fall under and cause licencing and insurance issues for the landlord I.e extra cost.

But an unmarried couple would not fall under this definition, so I'd go with the agents being idiots.

LadyRainicorn Thu 28-Feb-13 17:55:19

Plus the council would have difficulties proving a case against just 2 people sharing. It's meant to stop landlords cramming 8 people in 2 rooms etc.

I took my husband's name as it was an opportunity to lose my father's name. We could've made an entirely new name free of patriarchal associations but we were lazy.

Yeah, I think it must be the agents being idiots. Two people couldn't possibly count as an HMO. Round here it's four or more unrelated people living together - I think it might vary by area, though.

I've no issue with other people who choose to be Mrs, or who use their husband's surname, or whatever it may be ... I just find it annoying that this attitude is so common.

It really does feel as if, once you make a fuss about it, they've marked you down as someone they don't really respect enough to treat professionally. It's the same once they realize DH isn't British - sort of 'oh, we needn't bother being polite now'. It is a bit shit.

Mandytm Thu 28-Feb-13 18:18:58

I work in lettings and there is no legal difference for couples married or not when it comes to renting property as a cohabiting couple.

Another irritating issue I had with a lettings agent 4 years ago was naming the "lead tenant" on the deposit form - the person who the deposit cheque is posted to on vacating the property. I noticed it was my (at the time) boyfriends name listed as lead tenant. As all housing paperwork and bills were organised by me, I asked the agent why it wasn't my name, they said "I don't know, i think it's always the man."

Not how we do things in my agency!

Bue Thu 28-Feb-13 18:23:59

I've just fled here from the 'other thread'. Proud to be rabidly feminist, think I may add cagey to my list of characteristics, just for good measure.


Wow, that's bad mandy.

I know I'm the lead tenant on our current lease - sounds as if I am lucky! hmm

bue - just so long as you don't bite any of us ...

Bue Thu 28-Feb-13 18:33:02

Don't worry LRD, your feminism is your vaccination against my bite grin


Hullygully Thu 28-Feb-13 18:38:46

I get this too.

So, you are Mrs Dh and dc name

No, I am Ms Myname

But you're married?


Stares of stupefaction

Schooldidi Thu 28-Feb-13 18:52:44

Well I'm not married and have never had this problem at all. The only person ever to call me Mrs DPname is his mum and she knows full well what she's doing, she's dropping hints (to him) that we should be married.

I was lead tenant on the house we rented together and now I'm owner 1 on the mortgage, I believe in the case of the mortgage it went on who earns the most.

Maybe the problem was getting married? I'll just nor bother with that then.

I really don't care if people get offended tbh, I will always use Ms unless corrected... because it is correct! and also because it is sexist to do one thing for women and thing for men.

Mandytm Thu 28-Feb-13 18:54:33

Hullygully lol, too familiar.

It's definitely getting married IME. I might occasionally have had to explain I was 'Ms' not 'Miss' before, but nothing at this persistent level.

I also notice that people are terribly apologetic to DH for calling him 'Mr LRDsname' when they discover it's not his name, as if that's somehow appalling because it's really not his name, whereas I'm just being picky.

How frustrating for you LRD! Daft people.

KenDodd I took DH's surname when we married because I wanted to, and I go by Mrs DH. It doesn't upset me in the slightest to be called Ms instead though. I can see how it might be annoying the other way around though!

I don't mind being called 'Mrs Dh' in a casual context, or by someone who has no reason to know, at all.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 01-Mar-13 03:18:10

For whatever reason, “Ms.” seems more accepted in the US than in the UK, which surprises me because, as a whole, the US is more conservative politically and socially. I am happy that “Ms.” is pretty much the default in the US, especially in professional settings.

I have been married 25+ years and did not take my husband’s name. I have never had a major problem with it being accepted, and I live in the South where it is less common. Sometimes people seem surprised when it comes up for the first time, but nothing more. One thing that is clear is that fewer young women are keeping their names in the US now than in years past, and while I certainly accept their right to have a choice, I do think it reflects a wider retreat from feminism, which does concern me.

I am not militant about correcting people in casual, non-professional settings. If DH calls the plumber or the electrician, but I am the one at home when they come, I don't get too bothered when they call me "Mrs. DH."

Fittingly, just just as I am typing this, I am watching the documentary "Makers" about the leaders of second wave feminism in the US, and was just reminded of a key slogan from the movement that "the personal is political." That perhaps accounts for some of the strong feelings around the issue of titles and names.

EldritchCleavage Fri 01-Mar-13 13:27:02

I'm married and Miss Firstname Birthname (the Miss is traditional in my profession, irrespective of actual marital status, and I like it -reminds me of being told off at school, for some reason it was always Miss Birthname that was bellowed down the corridor at me, probably as in their ire the teachers couldn't trust themselves to remember which Cleavage sister I was).

It seems irrationally to annoy people that this is the position. I enjoy that. It's even better when DH tells people off for getting it wrong, rather than me.

Well, now I'm happy. smile

I saw a fourth letting agent today (and I think we've found a house, which is great), and she not only called me 'Ms' without asking first, she also commented politely on DH's surname while asking how to spell it, instead of being rude about.

Very reassuring.

eldritch - totally agree, it's so much funnier when it's DH correcting people. Especially as it pre-empts the inevitable 'doesn't your husband mind?'.

Schooldidi Fri 01-Mar-13 18:05:42

I had to correct someone today, first time ever that it's mattered (previously it's only ever been cold callers or dp's mum winding him up).

As part of our safeguarding procedures at school, we regularly have photos of all staff circulated so all pupils can recognise us all and know if we have people in school who shouldn't be there. I was listed as MRS. I am not and never have been a mrs, and even if I was married I would be Ms. I have emailed the deputy head and informed him that he is wrong and I expect it to be corrected asap.

Jenijena Sat 02-Mar-13 21:48:57

Emailed my uni alumni's dept a couple of months ago to explain that not only were we at the same address, DH and I were married so they could just send one magazine out to us rather than two.

Email from My first name last name referring to my husbandfirstname husbandlastname and our 2010 marriage.

Got a round robin begging letter email the other day.. Dear Mrs Husbandlastname.

Agggh! Replied to the, very promptly telling them politley where to shove their mrs husbandlastname. No reply...

kim147 Sat 02-Mar-13 22:27:57

It's going to take a long time to change all these attitudes. But they need challenging so people don't make assumptions about titles / surnames etc. People are all too used to the way it has been.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 03-Mar-13 07:35:41

Hooray for nice agent, LRD.

Indeed. smile

LaFataTurchina Sun 03-Mar-13 12:45:47

Gah! Threads like this make me so glad I'm foreign. At least if/when DP and I end up getting married and I stay Ms Turchina I'll get to say "No, it's Ms Turchina. Women in my country don't traditionally change their name when they get married."

ChairmanWow Wed 06-Mar-13 10:09:21

We get this all the time. DH is actually more laid back about it than me, and when he gets called Mr Wow he lets it slide. Our issue is our DS (and DD when she arrives next couple of weeks) has my surname. We tossed a coin because we couldn't decide, yet he gets birthday cards etc from family members, including on my side, with DH's surname. Am going to start getting shirty soon because he'll start to read and I don't want him thinking there's anything strange about having his mum's surname.

There there's the couple of comments I've had about how I must have somehow forced my husband to do this, implying I'm a bitch and he's pathetic.

Remind me of the year again...? angry

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