My Issues with The Mrs.
Paula Patton’s character, Montana Moore is beautiful, witty and terribly flawed because for the life of her, she can’t get a husband! And to make matters worse, her younger sister has snagged a man and is engaged, and her multiple-married Mama doesn’t know what is wrong with Montana. The hunt for the husband is bananas! But it ends well because the man she’s looking for has been right there all the time. Don’t we always overlook the good ones? At least that’s what these men who are experts on women want us to believe—but that’s another story for another day.
I guy I used to date a guy sent me a text recently that said, “Hello Mrs. Gates.” And I replied, “Are you looking for my mother because I’m Ms. Gates.” We’ve known each other for years, so why he calls me by my mother’s name, I’ll never know. He got the message because the next message he sent was Mrs. Singleton—his last name. I laughed, not because he used his last name, but because it is common practice to date before getting married, and a few random text messages does not constitute dating. Or did I miss the new millennium dating memo?
I had a message on my voicemail from the women who periodically do housework for me. They also address me as Mrs. Gates, but I don’t bother to correct them. I shake my head and laugh because people are always giving me something I don’t have—a husband. It’s not that I’m anti-marriage; I’m still a sucker for a happily-ever after ending. But I don’t like being judged as less than a woman who happens to have a husband. I get the—what-is-a-good-woman-like-you-doing-single? or it-must-be-something-wrong-with-you-if-you’re-still-single lines all the time. I’d be better off if I say I’m divorced, but to be over 40 and never married—I’m definitely damaged goods! Why is my worth as a woman tied to my marital status?
I thought that if men didn’t have to be identified by their martial status, why did I? Married or single, a man is Mister, but a woman is Miss or Mrs. or now the more non-identifying moniker of Ms. Which is what I prefer. Time has actually mellowed my staunch stand on the Ms Vs Mrs. Back in the day I use to go into a full speech about how I was a Ms and not a M.R.S. I wore Ms (still do) as proudly as married women wore Mrs. because some of the married women I encountered were quick to correct anyone who called them Ms. It was if that extra letter and extra syllable gave them something that single women didn’t have and they flaunted it. And some married women think that all single want women want their husbands. I had to tell a paranoid married woman that single doesn’t mean desperate! What’s even sadder is that some of the women waving their wedding flags the highest have wandering husbands. But I learned long ago that it’s not wise to tell someone about their mate.
I put my book away and settled in for a relaxing facial with no more references to Mrs. until I tuned into Scandal and Olivia Pope’s daddy, Eli, took her to task for even thinking about settling for being just a Mrs.—even if was First Lady of the United States of America! He told her First Lady was aiming too low; that she should at least try for Secretary of State. I almost fell off my couch. There it was again—this idea of being a Mrs., but Papa Pope had turned the fantasy of First Lady on its head! So I started thinking—AGAIN!—about this whole idea of Ms. Vs. Mrs. and I know that for me the title of Mrs. is not only political, but intensely personal as well. Society dubs single women as misfits whereas the title of Mrs. earns a certain level of respect—deserving or not.
We put so much pressure on women to get married that women hurt themselves and others in the process of trying to get him, as Beyonce’ says, “to put a ring on it.” I’m still trying to figure why Beyonce’—no last name needed—decided to name her tour, The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, after her husband, Jay-Z who doesn’t use his own last name. I’m not mad—just curious as to the reasoning behind it. She was Beyonce’ after she married and had a baby, but now she’s Mrs. Carter? Hey, it’s not for me to figure out.
Beyonce’ aside, I am disturbed by the deals some women make with the devil to get married. But once they are married, they retreat behind the halo of marriage. The irony is that the term “Mrs.” originally meant Mistress which is who some of them were before they actually became the Wife. A lot of women believe that man is eligible even if he’s in a committed relationship because he’s not married. There are women who know they’re the jump-off, chick on the side, wifey or whatever, but they grow tired of their second class status and try to “upgrade” themselves.
I know a woman who is her husband’s third wife. He cheated on Wife No. 1 with Wife No. 2, and cheated on Wife No. 2 with Wife No. 3, but the third wife says that he knows better than to cheat on her. Really? I know of another woman who was her Wife No. 2 after being the mistress. A friend of mine was supposed to attend a wedding, but it was called off. She shared with me that the bride-to-be received some photos of her husband with another woman the night before the wedding. The other woman sent the photos. The bride-to-be called off the wedding; he later married the other chick.