Those difficult female names


Several years ago I signed myself and my husband up for a trip through an agency in another state. I filled out the forms using my information and put my husband’s name in the area for traveling companion information.

After I sent that in, a letter came in the mail addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Husband’sname Lastname. I sent a letter to the agency and pointed out their error. I explained that I was their customer and it was my information I gave them. Husband was only going along because I was going. He couldn’t have cared less if we never went. I received a letter of apology addressed to the proper name (Ms. Myname Lastname).

A month later, we checked into our destination. The woman behind the desk asked my husband’s name, and I explained to her that the reservation was in my name, not his. She then recalled that I had sent the letter and tried to explain how their policy of putting reservations in the husband’s name isn’t sexist. Her excuse was that men’s names are easier to spell.

Not Mrs. Hisname – Central U.S.

11 Responses to “Those difficult female names”

  1. jesurgislac Says:

    Men’s names are easier to spell? Sure, must be all the extra testosterone they put in the male letters…

  2. A Different Sam Says:

    Males always have names that don’t have any alternate spellings that are pronounced exactly the same. You know, good unambiguous male names like John, or Chris, or Steven, or Jon, or Kris, or Stephen. Names that you can’t possibly misspell.

    Unlike all those zany female names like Mary that nobody can figure out.

  3. Broam Says:

    I end up having to educate my friends on our proper method of address when sending us physical mail.

    If you know my wife better, it’s Wife & Husband Lastname. If you know know me better, it’s Husband & Wife Lastname.

    “Mr & Mrs” are not used, and generally mean you’re over 50.

    • PharaohKatt Says:

      That’s what my friends do when sending us invites. Either [Hisname]+[myname] or [myname]+[Hisname], depending on who they know better. But we aren’t married, so Mr and Mrs would just be weird.

  4. Jupiter Star Says:

    *Blinks* Oh. Yes. They are MUCH easier to spell. That must by why my mom went from being a Townsend to a Zirakzadeh. The easier spelling.

  5. Cameron Says:

    In Quebec where we’re from you don’t change names when you get married. It’s actually almost impossible to do so. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gotten sad, sort of “oh, you’ve been neutered” looks when people realize that a) we’re married and b) no, my name isn’t the same as hers.

    Astounding how many people are so caught up on this still.

  6. H Says:

    I’m not going to be one of those annoying types on here who says ‘that isn’t sexism’, but the woman at the desk does kind of have a point when she says that men’s names are easier to spell. It’s just another aspect of our culture’s sexism: when you look at how men’s names tend to have fewer syllables and be easier to pronounce, whereas women’s names are often longer and sometimes the pronunciation is unclear. Longer names sound more feminine, more delicate.

    So the woman at the desk is not entirely wrong when she says that men’s names are simpler, but still, that doesn’t stop it from being a sexist policy, spelling isn’t that hard.

    • Pavlov's Cat Says:

      With respect, it’s utter rubbish to say that men’s names are easier to spell, as excellently illustrated by A Different Sam. And if you read the original post, you’ll see there’s a reference to filling in forms. They had forms. With the ‘hard to spell’ name written down for them. Now I know some people don’t have the best handwriting, but it’s still all the more ridiculous for that because it’s the same way they got the husband’s name.

    • A Different Sam Says:

      Even if we accept the assumption that girls’ names are generally longer, that doesn’t make them any more difficult to spell. They still usually don’t exceed three syllables, and I don’t know of anyone who would claim that “Victoria” is harder to spell than “Vincent” just because it’s three syllables instead of two. Meanwhile, the Jon/John distinction makes those short, simple male names some of the hardest to spell.

      (There are female homophonic names, like Kathryn/Catherine/etcetera, but that doesn’t make female names in general any harder to spell than male names, and the difficulty of female homophonic names doesn’t come from their length. In fact, I can’t think of any women I’ve met whose names I would consider legitimately difficult for me to spell, with one exception – and she was Indian, and I have just as much trouble spelling Indian males’ names.)

      In other words: no, males’ names aren’t easier to spell. Stop mansplaining.

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