My name is Bentley. Apparently, this title is most common among canines, babies on MTV, and men. I am none of those things.
Naturally, this can result in some awkward communication with people whom I have never met or spoken to. Here are some struggles for my fellow ladies out there also rockin’ dude names (this one is for you, Alex/Charlie/Logan/Chris-the girl versions).
1. People assume you’re a boy. Why are they assuming a gender at all? It’s 2014. People are naming children after inanimate objects, like “Apple,” more than they are opting for the classic “Emily” or “Sarah” options.
2. They refer to you as “Sir” or “Mr.” In letters and emails. This is real and this is not necessary. You don’t need to refer to me with a gendered title. Let’s stick with names and see what happens.
3. There is no way to correct people without looking like a jerk. “By the way, I get this all the time, but I’m actually a woman. Just so you know.” Yeah, it’s not weird at all to tell someone your gender, in a digital medium no less.
4. Then they usually say: “Oh! I thought you were a boy!” As if it’s a huge revelation they are sharing with you because if they didn’t know you were a woman, surely you didn’t either.
5. They stop using a gender title entirely after they realize they’ve been wrong the whole time. Now you choose to filter yourself?
6. You dread and/or avoid having to speak to or meet the person who has been assuming you’re a man because you’ve been letting them call you “Sir” in all those emails. Each time you just hoped they would stop. They didn’t. Can you say “no” to a conference call invite? Probably not.
7. You even start to question if your voice is lower than the average female. Maybe they will never know I’m a woman. Maybe I sound like a guy too.
8. You begin to envy other women who got the good names that are blatantly feminine. You have no idea what I’m even talking about, Natalie/Megan/Kelly, do you?
9. And finally, you start to accept your fate and realize at least people will probably remember you now.
Of course, this is after they have already given your 8-year-old self a trophy with a male swimmer on it because they not only forgot who you were after the whole summer, but had to rub it in with this gendered trophy because they think you’re a boy.
Yeah, that happened.