Ms. vs. Mrs.

I haven’t talked at all about name changes with you girls, because I’m not doing it. Fiancee Eagle and I have incredibly similar last names (hint: they both end in “son”), so we won’t be hyphenating. We decided fairly early on in our engagement that she would take my last name, as her name doesn’t really matter for her job as much as mine does. I’m really excited about her taking my last name: I’m excited we have that option (very easy to change your last name in Canada – even in a heterosexual marriage the man can change his name to the wife’s very easily), excited that we’ll be linked even more that way… and excited that she so badly wanted to take my name. It makes me feel pretty butch. Yes, that’s right: I feel butch as I sit here in my yellow sundress and full face of makeup. I’m so not butch; but I can pretend.

With that being said, Fiancee Eagle really wants to be “Mrs. Wife Eagle.” She wants to be addressed as a Mrs. She always cutely says we’ll be “Dr. and Mrs. Eagle” (although I won’t be a doctor for four to five more years). I like the way that “Mrs.” distinguishes a female as being married. But…Mrs. is the possessive form of Mr. As in Mrs. means the Mr. owns her.

We have no Mr.

So where does that leave us? Ms. “Ms.” is such a PC term. I know that etiquette states that if a woman doesn’t change her name then she should go by Ms. (after all, even some married bloggers here like Ms. Gazelle who didn’t change their names go by Ms.). Most etiquette sites don’t include same-sex wedding/name etiquette, but the ones that do unequivocally state that married lesbian couples with the same last name should be addressed as “Ms.” I searched and searched and searched and found one site that states lesbians with different last names can be called Mrs. This is hard y’all. Etiquette sucks.

I really like the thought of calling Fiancee Eagle “the Mrs.” (e.g., “Oh, I’m just going home. It’ll just be me and the Mrs. tonight!”). I mean, after all, we’re going to be married, she will be my wife, and why can’t I call her the Mrs.? I like the way it sounds, and I know that Fiancee Eagle is excited about it. Who cares if it’s not “technically correct,” as we have no Mr.? I think it’s almost an interesting point that may get people/colleagues to ask if they weren’t sure about the relationship, which would allow a more thorough explanation of “No, my WIFE…” I’m a big proponent of being out to people and being open about your relationship, because it is harder for people to support gay marriage if they don’t know anyone who is gay and/or married. I know that being so blatantly out isn’t a possibility for a lot of Americans where it is still legal to fire someone for being gay, but we’re pretty lucky up here in Canada with all of our anti-discrimination laws and such.

So, we have both decided that we’ll go by Mrs. I know Fiancee Eagle will correct people if they call her Ms. I don’t suspect that I’ll use my “Dr.” title socially (but I’m sure other people will) once I get it—so I think we’ll forever be Mrs. & Mrs. Eagle. (Although I think I’ll refer to her as Wife Eagle on Weddingbee so no one gets confused!)

What are your opinions on a lesbian couple both going by Mrs.? Are you changing your last name?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Eagle

Location:
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Wedding Date:
August 2012
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  1. Member
    curlymama318 749 posts, Busy bee @ 1:06 pm

    I think it’s awesome! FI is hyphenating her last name with mine, but will still be a Mrs. as will I. Woot Woot!

  2. Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:07 pm

    Since changing your lastname is not a custome or option in Mexico I’m not actually used to this, but I really like having the other side of the story when it comes to name changing, how excited and happy you are that she’s willing to take your name puts in perspective the name change game.

  3. Member
    hosannac 194 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:09 pm

    1) I agree.
    2) Such true words: “I’m a big proponent of being out to people and being open about your relationship, because it is harder for people to support gay marriage if they don’t know anyone who is gay and/or married.”

  4. Member
    Dela2012 133 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:15 pm

    I think you should do whatever feels right, and that sounds great, but personally I don’t like that a woman’s status changes when she gets married but a man’s doesn’t. I do like Ms. for that reason.

  5. Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:18 pm

    @Dela2012:I can agree with that – it doesn’t seem right that a woman’s title changes but a man’s doesn’t. I can agree.

  6. Member
    mswizard 554 posts, Busy bee @ 1:26 pm

    I think the idea that “Mrs.” means “property of” the Mr. is antiquated. No one thinks of it that way anymore (at least, no one under the age of 80). Nowadays, “Mrs.” simply means “married woman”, “Miss” means “single woman”, and “Ms.” is the PC term if you’re unsure of a woman’s marital status, or the title that some married women choose for whatever personal reasons they have.

    I say go for “Mrs.”! Fiancee Eagle seems excited about it, you seem excited about it, so why the heck not? I’m sure there are hundreds or thousands of lesbian married couples out there who are debating this very thing and, like you, are seeing that “Ms.” is the “appropriate” term even though it’s maybe not what they want. So break the mold a little bit, make Fiancee Eagle a Mrs., and maybe you’ll help some other lesbian couples out there feel better about their decision to be Mrs.’es (that’s hard to pluralize!) too.

  7. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 1:35 pm

    I’m a bug supporter of doing what you want and will make you happiest, and Mrs. sounds good for the two of you. I never really knew that Mrs. was the possessive form of Mr., I always assumed it was just the ‘married’ title for a woman, kind of makes me dislike the title even more now.

  8. Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:37 pm

    @Mrs. Pony:I know right?!

    @Mrs. Wizard: I sincerely hope thats what this post does!

  9. Member
    sschwartz 188 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:38 pm

    My Aunt and her “wife” were not legally allowed to get married in Florida – how ridiculous – but they had a ceremony anyways. Her wife took her last name socially (by this I sort of just mean facebook and how she introduces herself) but she cannot legally change it. They both use the title Mrs. and no one thinks twice about it. I think whatever you want to do is fine! Etiquette has a lot of catching up to do in this arena :-)

  10. Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 2:00 pm

    I’m with Wizard — if Mrs. makes both of you happy, Mrs. it is! I don’t think I’d be confused by it at all. :)

  11. Member
    sunhat 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:01 pm

    I’m with Pony – had no idea Mrs. meant the Mr. owned her! I say rock the Mrs. title to your heart’s content! I love that she is so happy to take your name!

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    HappyBride, Guest @ 2:17 pm

    I have never thought of that. :)
    wow, very interesting. What about Ms and Mss. Still pronounced the same.
    hmmm… I’m going to a wedding in September, two grooms, I am excited to hear what they will do.

  13. Member
    MissKabers 537 posts, Busy bee @ 2:23 pm

    eee! Yay for another “Mrs & Mrs” couple :)

    We are Mrs and Mrs and i LOVE it – and i took her last name – it made me SO happy to have that connection to her (though perhaps not always to the other people who share her last name – haha!) she totally isn’t “butch” either, though probably not a lover of sundresses – so that wasn’t what made our decision – it just honestly felt right
    and you wouldn’t believe the number of people in my line of work who are SHOCKED by both of these things….oh well, it’s my life and i love being her wife/mrs! :)

  14. Member
    aardvark 1129 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:28 pm

    I never knew that Mrs meant Mr’s… how interesting. I really like the title honestly. I do wish that there was a male equivalent (Mss? (for Miss’s)) OR what about, as your case may be some years from now, Drs. (Good lord can you imagine how far a snooty “Doctor’s wife could take that one!?)
    Sorry, I am rambling and have started putting together random letters. As usual great post!

  15. Member
    Mrs. Mouse 4912 posts, Honey bee @ 2:49 pm

    Screw “etiquette.” Do just exactly what makes you and Fiancee Eagle happy! I think your Mrs. & Mrs. plan sounds like a great one. Makes a lot more sense than one of you being Ms. and one being Mrs. (although nothing wrong with that if that’s your preference!).

    I didn’t change my last name, so technically I prefer to be referred to as Ms. But people get confused and will refer to me as Mrs. anyway, sometimes with my actual last name and sometimes with my husband’s. Guess there’s not really anything I can do about it!

  16. Member
    futuremrscpt 955 posts, Busy bee @ 3:01 pm

    My sister and her partner decided my sis would take her name – they have the same issue as you and FI Eagle, that both last names end in the same sound (in this case it sounds like “men”). Neither one had much of a preference, so they flipped a coin and decided that my sister would take her partners last name. Unfortunately, since they aren’t legally married (it’s not allowed in our state) the process and cost to legally change her name was too much (uh, mostly the cost is the issue for them right now, thanks to the economy). They had their ceremony almost two years ago now, and still no change.

    Hopefully some day it will be legal and she will get to change all her legal docs to their family name.

  17. Member
    pinkmoon 10748 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 3:01 pm

    I think that the perfect way to go! Mrs = married in my eyes, no matter what your last name was or is. That’s so cute that you guys will both be Mrs Eagles!

  18. Member
    Jenniphyr 3426 posts, Sugar bee @ 3:11 pm

    I think it’s totally fine for GLBT couples to use whatever titles they want in their partnership/marriage! : ) Personally, as a female marrying a male, although I’m taking my FH’s name because we both want that sense of family & unity (he even said right off the bat, without me asking or even asking if I was OK with changing my name, that he would change his — esp. if I had no male cousins to “carry on” my name), I am going to be using “Ms”. I only recently found out the origin of “Mrs” (durr), and though I know that it’s not what it means ANYMORE (just like changing your name doesn’t mean you’re chattel changing ownership), it throws me off. : ) I probably won’t correct people (esp. kids) if they refer to me as Mrs., but I will sign it as Ms.

  19. Member
    archer 551 posts, Busy bee @ 3:42 pm

    I told you about my favorite cousins when you were getting ready for e-pics, but they are my primary frame of reference. They re both mrs!

  20. Member
    anemonie 1578 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:57 pm

    Mrs is not “Mr’s,” it is short for Mistress, as in “Mistress of the House,” just as Mr is short for Master as in “Master of the House.” It didn’t used to be pronounced “Missus,” but rather just “Mistress,” as only lower-class people mispronounced it that way. Still, I understand the affiliation people have between the term Mrs and the connotation of sexism and female ownership.

    I really like the sound of “Mrs and Mrs”, at least until you get to say “Dr”! (If I had a doctorate, I would insist everyone refer to me by Dr always. In all conversation.) Point of interest, because Mrs lacks an official plural (Mrss?), the French Mmes is subbed in formally, short for Mesdames, plural of Madame (Mme).

  21. Member
    msfairy 976 posts, Busy bee @ 4:28 pm

    I love that you are both doing what works best for you! That’s way more important than worrying about Ms. or Mrs. titles

  22. Member
    This Time Round 10219 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 4:34 pm

    First off, another great post !!

    And I too as a Canadian soooo LOVE all the freedom we have here in regards to this whole WHO DO I WANT TO BE name game. As I was telling another Bee today, we have oodles of possibilities, something for everyone Gay or Straight (Take Name A – Take Name B – Hyphenate them… in either order – Create them into one – OR Choose something brand new for both persons). And YUP no charge for ANY sort of LEGAL NAME picking when done at Birth or Marriage. Gives a couple a ton of freedom and choices.

    As for the Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms (Mister – Master – Mistress – Miss – Ms) discussion, another great thing about living here is you can be whatever you choose, again no eyebrows raised. So ya go ahead and be Mrs & Mrs Eagle (or Dr & Mrs Eagle) and enjoy it.

    As others have said, I think the whole Mrs (Missus) thing with modern thinking has evolved past it just meaning “property of”… more often than not now, folks just see it as a woman declaring that she is married vs single (I mean really how many women write Mrs Mary Black vs Mrs John Black nowadays). Etiquette does have to catch up here… because times have changed a lot.

    I for one kept my Maiden Birth Name when I was married the first time (circa 1980) BUT I wasn’t shy on stating that I much preferred the title Mrs over Ms… as I was quite proud to be a married woman (lol, it was kind of funny because I was both Mrs Married Surname and Mrs Maiden Name at the same time depending on what group of people / social circle I was in at the time) And honestly, it never bothered me a bit.

    Ms now that irked me… I would much rather have been called Miss Whatever (be it a Surname or my First Name) vs Ms… I like the custom they have in the US South where they call ladies by Miss no matter their marital status or age… it just seems so genteel and respectful. I hope that when I am an elderly lady that I will be known in that way “Must make plans to have tea with Miss Mary this afternoon”

  23. Member
    therascalqueen 204 posts, Helper bee @ 5:45 pm

    I love that you’re reclaiming Mrs. for the lesbians! I kept my name, but after our wedding I got mail from my mom addressed to “Mrs. Maiden Name” : )

  24. Member
    priyathescientist 1514 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:38 pm

    I’m not always a big fan of etiquette – as in this case. I’m glad that you two have reached a decision that you’re both happy with. :)

  25. Member
    newfiebullet 1298 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:43 pm

    I like Mrs. and Mrs! I think it sounds good!

  26. Member
    OHbride 12 posts, Newbee @ 10:58 pm

    You can not legally be fired just for being gay in the U.S. Congrats on finding a solution that works for the two of you so easily. Just out of curiousity; can you and your girlfriend be legally married in Canada?

  27. Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:03 pm

    @OHbride: As far as I’ve read you can still be fired for being gay in the US in some states, as laws vary state to state. Maybe laws have changed?

    And yes Canada legalized same sex marriage many many years ago.

  28. Member
    MrsKeAloha 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:13 pm

    Good for you. I think it’s great you two found something that works for you. All that matters is you are both happy.
    I think to many people put emphasis on making a statement with the name change or not making the name change. We have a male friend who changed his because his wife’s career. Others who kept their maiden name or hyphenated. Pre wedding the name thing was something stressful, post wedding I don’t care what others call me or my man but I do love being his wife. I guess I’ve never been into titles, professionally I get it and respect it. Personally, i will remember a smile before a name.

  29. Member
    hoosieratheart 6 posts, Newbee @ 12:51 am

    @OHbride, you absolutely CAN be fired for being gay in 28 of the 50 states.

  30. Member
    village_skeptic 1861 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:58 am

    One more vote for the fact that there is no possessive apostrophe in “Mrs” — it’s not “the master/mister’s.” Mrs = Mistress and Mr = Master. “Missus” and “Mister” are colloquial corruptions of the original pronunciation.

  31. Member
    MrsPeachMartini 679 posts, Busy bee @ 5:56 am

    I love it! you will be wife and wife- so it’s great to be Mrs. and Mrs!! :)

  32. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:43 am

    I think Mrs. and Mrs. makes the most sense anyway, etiquette be damned! Traditional “etiquette” doesn’t have a place in most of modern society anymore, in my opinion, so do what fits you!

  33. Member
    FloretteLiz 2007 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:22 am

    @Miss Eagle: As of 2011 I think 29 states still allowed people to be fired due to sexual orientation. I think some employers may be able to get away with it more easily in states where they don’t have to give a reason for firing you. Where I live your employer does not have to give an explanation unless they want to or the work place guidelines require it.

  34. Member
    steph01924 308 posts, Helper bee @ 11:45 am

    I think Mrs. and Mrs. sounds great! Screw any strange etiquette and do what’s best for you!

  35. Guest Icon Guest
    Hammock, Guest @ 3:21 pm

    I think that Mrs. is fine for those of us who like it. Anyway, when you say it out loud it’s Missus, which sounds much more like Ms’s than Mr’s, so maybe it’s even more applicable to you two than it is to the rest of us! Anyway, like Wiz said, nobody really follows those rules anymore so do what you feel like.

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