Name change: impersonal relationshipsPosted: April 8, 2016
About half of the people in my life are aware of the fact that I socially changed my name. I came out to friends, about half of my exended family, and I’m working on work. But what about those other isolated areas we run into from time to time? The pharmacy. The bank. The library. The car mechanic. The eye doctor. The chiropractor. Places that have your legal name on file or places you have to use cards that have your legal name on them. Personally, in these cases, I’ve done nothing – just gone with the default. I guess it’s because the hassle of explaining isn’t worth the infrequency of the encounters and the impersonal nature of the relationship anyway. But more than that, it’s about the frustration I would feel if I did explain and then they reverted to my legal name the next time I was there, anyway. In my mind. that seems highly likely. Partially based on times I have asserted a different name and/or gender, and it wasn’t observed.
Yesterday, I went to the dentist. That’s an example of one of these places. I’ve gone to the same place since I was a kid, so they use an even older version of a nickname that is long gone almost everywhere else in my life. It’s almost cringe-worthy. But I still had decided it wasn’t worth the effort. However, this time, when I walked in, the receptionist greeted me and immediately said that when she had called (the day before, appointment reminder), she had noticed that I have a different name on my voice mail. She had some forms in her hand and asked if I’d legally changed it? I said no not yet, so she kind of said, well, we’ll save these forms, but go ahead and put it in parentheses on this form that you need to update so we know what your preferred name is. We will be sure to use it here. She then proceeded to ask me how I spell it, said she liked that spelling, and chatted about how much it costs to legally change your name and was I going to do it soon, etc.? I took the form and delighted in leaving the GENDER: CHECK ONE: M F blank. I wish I could do that all day long: fill out forms and blatantly leave that blank. (Well, maybe for one day – all day every day would get super tedious and I would totally want to quit that job if that were a job.)
The dental hygienist opened the door and announced, “Kameron.” That was me! At no point had the hygienist and the receptionist talked while I was there, so there must have been a conversation before I got there. I followed her to a room to get my teeth cleaned, and it was the best teeth cleaning ever.
Unfortunately, it all went south from there: When I went to pay, and the receptionist said, “Alright lady! Let’s get you scheduled for your 6 month appointment.” What is with the “lady?” Seriously. I get lady-ed and ladies-ed ALL the time.