Dear Telemarketers, Solicitors, and Other Various And Sundry People Who Call My House A Lot, Especially Around Dinnertime To Request Donations, Hawk Services, And So On,
I would very much appreciate it if, upon learning that my partner is not available to take your call, you refrained from calling me "Mrs. Bartlett". Not that I have anything against my partner's surname...it's just that you're assuming quite a lot when you do that. And we all know what that does to people.
I know you were probably trained, for who knows what ridiculous reason, to refer to people in the fashion which I am describing for the sake of someone's idea of "politeness". But, well, I would like to state emphatically that I don't find it even remotely polite to have a complete stranger act like they must know me and my life well enough to presume I'm married.
Heck, how do you even know that I'm in any kind of relationship with the person you were actually trying to call? I could be a visitor...or a housekeeper...or some other family member...or who-knows-what else. How do you know I'm heterosexual? What my gender-identity is?
A former co-worker of mine, who was a lesbian, related once that a telemarketer called her up and when she answered, asked to speak to her husband. Her girlfriend at the time thought this was hilarious, but still. The bottom line is that fakey-fake "politeness" -- the kind where people pretend at more familiarity than they're really warranted, based on how well they actually know you -- wraps right back around and turns into rudeness.
So please just quit it. You absolutely do not need to make the assumptions you're making in order to get the information you want. And while you're at it, tell the checkers at Safeway to stop calling me Mrs. Corwin...I may not be married to my partner, but I'm not my mom, either.
- Anne Corwin (not "Mrs". anything!)
- Wonderful, Not Perfect