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General

Telemarketers, pay attention.

06.06.05 | 1 Comment

I was born Blake Allison Motley. I will provide answers here to questions I have been asked regarding my name, and those implied by interactions with uninformed people.

No, my parents were not devastated to find me a girl and did not go ahead with the boy name they had planned. (Had I been a boy, my name would have been Brandon Woodrow.) Yes, you heard me correctly. Yes, I will answer to Brooke, Brake, Lake, and Blakeley, forgive the first error, and correct you nicely. (Unless you’re a good friend who calls me Blakeley, and there is one of you. I also answer to Blah-kay to my Spanish-speaking friends.) Yes, it is an “interesting” name, though when you say it strangely like that, you might as well have said “weird”. I prefer unique or just plain interesting, judgmental smirks omitted, please.

No, I am not undergoing transition as a transexual (though more power to those who are) or dressed in drag. Yes, that is my real name. Yes, please do see some ID – I like the added verification that my credit card has not been stolen. I’m happy to provide it. I would rather you ask for it than not, especially if you’re going to stare at me as if I’m forging a signature from some guy’s card I stole.

To the telemarketers: I don’t want any. But when you call, as you will despite the fact that our number is listed on the do not call registry, please believe me when I say, “This is she”, and do not respond, “No no, I said BLAKE”. I will hang up. If you first ask for Mr. Watts, I will assume you mean my husband, and he would like to talk with you even less than I.

Mail addressed to “Mr. Blake Watts” will be destroyed immediately as it is a federal offense to open someone else’s mail (so I’ve heard). If it says my name on the outside, but the letter inside in any way references me as Mr., I will help correct your system by utilizing the prepaid envelope to send you a copy of this post, just so we’re clear.

Now this one really gets me. If you work for a facility that has provided me medical treatment, and there have been several of you, for the love of God get it right. You have my medical records right in front of you as we talk. Take a quick scan of the gender field; if there’s an “F” there, that’s your clue. This error is really quite inexcusable. “Would you please tell Blake that he…” “His procedure is scheduled for…” Blake is not my son, my husband, my brother, or my father. You may tell Blake yourself, here, now. My absolute favorite is when a male nurse walked into my hospital room (I’m the one hooked up to the IV) and went straight at my husband with the syringes. Classic.

Speaking of my husband, we are not a gay couple with a joint bank account (although there’s also nothing wrong with that). His name is not “Joelle” or “Joe”, both of which are fine names, and that’s all I will say unless he would like to launch his own vendetta.

While I’m at it, no, it’s not Mötley like the band – there’s no umlaut over the o. But yes, I have heard of them. And yes, it’s hilarious that my maiden name is the same as a 1980s hair metal band. No, I’m not such a huge fan that I changed my name to match.

I am not embarrassed about my name. In fact, I like my name so much that I kept it; my current legal name is Blake Motley Watts. It’s a traveling conversation piece. The only thing is minor irritation when people insist that it is a boy’s name, despite evidence to the contrary.

I really am good natured about these little exchanges, especially after an incident in high school at a student council convention when I met a guy who looked a lot like David Schwimmer. I said, “Hey, has anyone ever told you that you look a lot like Ross on Friends?” He responded quite hostilely as if this question were the bane of his existence. I felt badly that I had been so trite, and resolved to do two things: try to be more sensitive of the obvious and not incite hostility in new aquaintances, and to respond more favorably when on the receiving end of such statements.

Hopefully among me, the popularity of the new movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and its young stars (one of whom is Blake Lively, a girl), we will enlighten society that Blake is not always a male name.

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