Passive-aggressive dickwad

Via Historiann:

Katie Rosman Was My Name. And Still Is.

Joe has a few jokes that are so funny, he tells them all the time. Such as: When we meet a couple in which the wife has the same last name as her husband, Joe says, “It’s so nice to have a wife who loves you.”

That knee-slapper never gets old!

I did not change my last name to my husband’s when we married nine years ago.


I was born Katie Rosman and Joe fell in love with Katie Rosman. The idea that marriage would necessitate an edit of my personal headline didn’t feel right to me.

There is a feminist element at play, I suppose: I didn’t want my identity to change upon becoming a wife.


When we got engaged and discussed such matters, I explained to Joe that I had no doubts about marrying him. But the idea of changing my last name felt totally inauthentic to who I was.

I was truly surprised that he was at all surprised by my declaration of non-changing.

“I might have bought you a smaller diamond had I realized,” he said.


We were driving with our kids a few weeks ago and my two-year-old asked if she could throw a scrap of paper out the window.

“No,” my husband answered, “Team Ehrlich doesn’t litter.”

After a few minutes, my five-year-old piped in: “Is Mommy on Team Ehrlich?”

“Sort of,” Joe told him. “She’s our mascot.”

I turned to face the kids in the backseat. “Mommy is the Team Captain no matter what her last name is,” I said. I may have accidentally elbowed Joe.

Later I cornered him. “You’re going to confuse the kids by teasing me,” I said. He agreed and apologized.

“Is this really still a big issue for you?” I asked.

“In some ways,” he began, “not at all. I hated having a different last name from my mom because the name difference reflected a divorce and all the dynamics that that can bring. This is not the same situation.”

“I really appreciate your saying so,” I told him before heading toward the kitchen.

“But on the other hand,” he hollered down the hall, “Change your name!”

We have all dealt with people like “Joe.” He uses humor as a way to be mean and hurtful, but when cornered he says “I was just kidding.” Sometimes he adds, “Jeez, can’t you take a joke?” like it’s your fault, not his.

If Joe and Katie have been married nine years and he still keeps making these “jokes” then it is a big issue with him, he just doesn’t want to admit it. Historiann nails it:

If it were so important to your husband that you share a last name with him and the children, why didn’t he change his name to Rosman?

Joe doesn’t want to share a last name, he wants her to share his.

BTW – If Katie is airing this out in her column at WSJ, I suspect they have deeper issues as well. I give them two more years – three is they try therapy. Then Katie will be glad she kept her name.

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43 Responses to Passive-aggressive dickwad

  1. myiq2xu says:

    The comments over there at WSJ are incredible:

    I’ll bet that if Joe had been wealthy before their marriage, with lots of property in HIS name, and Katie divorced Joe she would want to take at least half the stuff that had been in HIS name before their marriage. I’ll bet feminist Katie doesn’t want to go too far out there, smashing the traditions of conventional marriage. It’s cool to be a rebel. . . . up to a point.

    His separate property before marriage is still his separate property now, regardless of name changes.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Oink, oink:

      Andrew Eppink wrote:

      Wonderful essay last time, terrible one this time. The husband is head of the household and the wife is supposed to take his last name. The feminist garbage isn’t worth hearing about. Who needs that sort personally and socially destructive propaganda. The husband being head of the household results in practical terms in the husband knocking himself out to please his wife. At least that’s the way it is with me. But in concerns of major import to the family the husband is the head. E.g. “Honey, we can’t make it here. I can get good work in the ND oil patch.” And the wife has to dutifully go. For the good of the family. The husband is head of the household, not the wife.

  2. honora says:

    I have been married for 25 years and never changed my name. (Probably still bothers my MIL, but that is not why I did it. 👿 ) I was surprised that the WSJ article and notes missed the elephant in the room. When a woman changes her name and then has children under her husband’s name, it severs ties not only between her biological family and her, but between her biological family and her children. While it makes no biological sense, I identify more as part of my father’s family that my mother’s because I have his name. Of course, my mother’s mother’s family and my father’s mother’s family are totally forgotten. Adjusting my tin foil hat, THAT is the reason the male name dominates. As a society, we drop the old, useless feminine part of ourselves and embrace the virile, male component.

    It does seem to me, that what was pretty common and accepted among college-educated women in the ’80s (keeping their own names) has become much common. To each her own….

  3. Ms. Marple says:

    Well, most of us didn’t choose any of our names, our parents or someone gave us first and middle names, and last names are through the fathers’ side of the family. So keeping your name has a limited meaning, for me anyway. I’ve decided to change mine, $ permitting, to my same first name, and a matronym and patronym so that both my parents are reflected. (Going to court for a name change isn’t super costly, but all the document changes add up.) Taking a husbands’ name reflects ownership from the days when a wife didn’t have her own legal standing apart from her spouse. If a couple wanted to be creative I would think they could come up with a new name for both of them so that each would make a change. I just really like the old Scandinavian names that reflected that you were “so and so, daughter or son of such and such”. I’m just not leaving out my mother, who was critical to the whole operation.

  4. WMCB says:

    I took my husband’s name, and have never had a single regret that I did. It just isn’t an important symbol of feminism to me. It is to others.

    But it seems odd to me that if she is the sort to whom it is an important symbol, they didn’t have a better conversation about this before marriage. His answers when she brought it up way back then would seem to have indicated trouble over it down the road.

    Is he being a passive-aggressive pig? Yep. But she also should have realized that getting him to agree to it was not the same as him agreeing with it.

    Relationships are tricky things, and methinks that there is more going on here than merely garden variety sexism alone. The name thing may be a stand-in for bigger conflicts about gender roles they don’t want to face honestly, and never have addressed. Symbols only become the field of battle when you have neglected to either agree or eyes-wide-open compromise on the truths underlying them, and have done that together, with full faith and trust.

    If you are sniping over symbols, there are conversations you are both afraid to have.

    • WMCB says:

      Please note: I am not saying it’s okay for him to make the comments to her he makes. It’s disgusting. But it also turns my stomach to see her airing their personal laundry in a public forum as her own passive-agressive way of shaming him for it.

      They need to talk to each other about this. Not lob bombs at each other from behind the fig leaves of “I was just joking” or “I was just making a cool passionless intellectual point for my column”. They are BOTH hiding behind something else to take their jabs.

      • Valhalla says:

        Yeah, they’re both being passive-aggressive. He’s doing it by little snipes (to the kids, sheesh) and she’s doing it by writing a column about it, which presumably he can’t respond to. Agree with commenter above who said this marriage has 2, maybe 3 years tops.

        • 1539days says:

          I don’t think this is a major bone of contention in that family, as opposed to an amusing anecdote for a column. The author points out that she refers to herself as “Mrs Ehrlich” for her kids’ appointments and has no problem when others use it. She even says she once went to change her name, but after you marry, you need to do the same background check thing that a guy would.

          The nuclear family makes the naming thing extra complicated. A family name used to connect you to a huge localized extended family, not it’s just a legal designator. In high school, I had a teacher who used the title Ms. That kind of went out the window when she was pregnant, especially since she was using that title in front of her married name.

    • Mr. Mike says:

      Hear, hear.

      But then I’m a guy so I’m probably missing the point on this name thing.

  5. foxyladi14 says:

    I hope they can work this out. 🙂

  6. DeniseVB says:

    I got married during the hyphenated craze but chose to keep my maiden name as my legal MIDDLE name w/o hyphen. Simple and my old school friends can find me on Facebook too 😉

  7. WMCB says:

    I’m sitting here turning all this over in my head, because it has struck me that my gut responses this argument (ostensibly) over feminism, taking place in public, in an existing marriage are not the same as my normal responses to discussion of the topic as a whole.

    Why is that? Why my reluctance to assume he’s your garden-variety pig? I am real-time examining that in my own head even as I type, because I tend to like to be brutally honest with my self rather than touting the accepted lines. The un-examined life and all that, yada yada yada…

    I think it is because while I agree that his comments were beyond the pale, the entire scenario doesn’t meet the smell test for me. I once knew a woman who liked to take pot shots at her husbands penis size during or after arguments. Not because she had any complaints, or truthfully thought it was small (she didn’t), but because it was the easiest way to hurt him. I’ve known spouses who took their jabs at the other’s parenting, or their bowed legs, or their spelling skills, or whatever they thought would be hurtful, regardless of whether they even believed what they were saying.

    In a dysfunctional relationship, a person hones in on the personally hurtful, the area where the other person is uniquely vulnerable, to get their jab in. It doesn’t matter if they honestly think it’s true or not.

    This guy is definitely saying sexist things. No denying that. But I’ll withhold judgement on whether he is a real live sexist. He may or may not be. Anything can be a weapon. He may just be subconsciously aware that his wife’s personal identity is very wrapped up in feminism, and that’s where he can hurt her. And she may well be aware that his image as a modern, non-sexist man is very important to him, so she hurts him in turn by airing this in a public forum.

    They both need to be seeing a marriage counselor, not having fights about feminism that may or may not really be about feminism.

    That’s just me. YMMV.

  8. Today’s tabloids
    and I did experience that “joking” at the end of my marriage too. Not having a column in the WSJ, I simply left. And I changed my name – not to my maiden name, to my mother’s – that’s how far I wanted to be from the whole “sharing” business.

  9. Karma says:

    I have a friend who refused to change her name when she got married because at the time women would completely lose their good credit history. It would disappear with the marriage name change. And if divorced, the credit built there would now disappear with the marriage. The friend insisted that the hyphenated version would keep your credit history that you built before, during, and after the marriage.

    Not sure if hyphenated step actually worked, but I do remember the issue of women getting divorced and not being able to buy cars and houses due to no credit history. So that part is accurate.

    Of course, this was during the time when qualifying for a credit card was actually difficult.

  10. yttik says:

    In my state, you can pick a whole new name when you get divorced. It’s kind of an interesting law, you get a free name change included in every divorce and you can change your name to anything you want. I know several people who have just made up the names they always wanted during their divorce.

  11. Three Wickets says:

    Katie likes doing these marriage workouts in the Journal. Not sure it’s the best idea but she’s definitely been live streaming her life on facebook.

  12. Lola-at-Large says:

    I know one of the two women in Kentucky who challenged that state’s law requiring a woman to change her last name to her husband’s upon marriage. They won. It was sometime in the 1970s, which was not that long ago.

    I kept my name and added his. Still have my doubts, but they mostly revolve around four little letters that no one can pronounce correctly when strung together. Germans. Gah!

  13. ralphb says:

    OT but interesting. Obama v Perry in North Carolina

    Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry leads Barack Obama 45 percent to 42 percent among North Carolina voters in a potential presidential matchup, according to a new poll released by the Civitas Institute.

    Forty-five percent of voters said they are leaning towards or would vote for Gov. Rick Perry if the election for President of the United States was being held today and the candidates were Perry, the Republican, and Barack Obama, the Democrat. Forty-two percent said they are leaning towards or would vote for Obama, and 9 percent said they are undecided.

    The poll sample will give the White House some heartburn as well. It has a D+14 advantage, slightly better than the 2008 Democratic performance in North Carolina (11%) in what was a big-turnout election for Democrats. Even with the assumption of an even better Democratic turnout, Obama has dropped significantly in standing — and against a man who isn’t even running at the moment. Independents still favor Obama’s opponent by 20 points, nearly identical to 2008, but in this poll Perry gets 17% of Democrats, where McCain could only get 4% in 2008.

    In fact, Obama only get 69% of Democrats, and only 60% to “definitely” commit to him — which portends a big, big problem among conservative Southern and perhaps Rust Belt and Midwestern Democrats. If the GOP can offer the right candidate that can appeal to what used to be considered the Reagan Democrats across the aisle, Obama might find himself limited to the coasts, and out of a job in 2013.

    Obama loses to an undeclared Rick Perry. The poll sample should have been brutal for Perry so that’s some really tough going.

    • Just a little grain of salt here. Obama has lost the blank shirt advantage, but most of the undeclared candidates still have it. I was liking Cain’s resume till I found out more about him, ie his anti-mosque statement.

  14. vivien2u says:

    Maybe her husband will be president one day and the msm can pressure her into changing her name. Worked before.

    • yttik says:

      We sure could turn things on their head by just electing a woman and getting ourselves a First Dude.

  15. Sickduck says:

    Please excuse my poor English and allow me to quietly gloat. I was born in Vietnam and in Vietnam, people keep the name they were born with all their life, i.e. nobody, male or female, change their name when they get married. Then I emigrated to the Province of Quebec in Canada. In the Province of Quebec, since 1975, women don’t change their name when they get married. In order for a woman to take her husband’s name, she would have to apply for an official change of name. At birth, children can take the family name of the father, or of the mother, or a hyphenated name.

  16. ralphb says:

    More Lessons in Liberal Civility: Rape Yes, Target Maps No.

    This is a good post in general but the portion about Bill Maher and his latest forays in blatant sexism seem particularly cutting.

    In all seriousness, though, if you think that any of the above humor from Bill Maher’s recent show is funny, then please, stop whatever it is that you are doing, let your fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages and find yourself a good shrink. Really, if you think that fantasizing about people being raped, mocking a handicapped child and comparing young girls to disfigured, violent mutants is funny (simply because you don’t like their mother), then you are an awful person and you need help.

    I could not agree more with the writer.

    • 1539days says:

      I also think everyone should reconsider their subscriptions to HBO.

    • WMCB says:

      Loved this:

      Now, the Hills Have Eyes reference might go over your heads, but you really should be aware of what it means. The Hills Have Eyes is a horror movie by Wes Craven where the quintessential American family is attacked, raped and brutalized by a family of radiation exposed mutants–oh, and the youngest member of the mutant family is mentally disabled.


      [On a side note, I find it to be a bit peculiar that the people comparing the Palin children to violent, raping, murdering mutants are the ones actually fantasizing about the rape and murder/death of their enemies, but I digress.]

      • yttik says:

        The irony is astounding, isn’t it? And the hypocrisy.

        There are many reasons why I distanced myself from these people, but one is their belief that the best way to teach tolerance is by violently punishing anybody who disagrees with you.

        For a double contortion of irony, I bet Maher would explain to you that he hates Palin because he cares so much about women’s rights.

  17. WMCB says:

    OT, but Melson is talking:

    The acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the Justice Department has been withholding key information from congressional officials and that the department sought to protect its political appointees from criticism over a failed anti-gun trafficking operation that allowed hundreds of weapons to be smuggled to Mexico.

    Kenneth Melson told investigators earlier this month that among the materials in Justice’s possession was “a smoking gun” document related to the inquiry

  18. WMCB says:

    Aaaaaaand, Rachel Maddow proves once again that she is pathologically and illogically askeered of anyone outside her urban hipster bubble:

    Occasionally Republicans tip their hand on this, as they have done in Texas, when Texas Republicans were cranking down voting rights, making it harder to vote in that state than it has ever been before, Texas Republicans carved out an exception to their new you-have-to-show-an-ID-to-vote-now rule. The exception is? (pause for dramatic effect) For anybody who has a concealed carry permit for a weapon. (Stated as story from Texas Observer shown, on new voter ID law, with words “concealed handgun license” broken out from story and prominently displayed). What do you think it is about having a gun that makes the Republican legislators of Texas relax about your eligibility to vote?

    Oooooo!!! Those scary rethuglicans are making an EXCEPTION to voter ID laws for crazy rightwing sloped-forehead mutant gunpackers!!! Bring yer gun, and no one will ask you for ID!! Yeehaw!

    Except they aren’t.

    The legislation requires voters to present one of five acceptable forms of photo ID — a driver’s license, military ID, passport, concealed handgun license or a special voter ID card provided free of charge by the state.

    You, Rachel, are a bigoted moron. The Concealed Carry License in Texas IS a photo ID, you hyperventilating dipshit. It looks a lot like a driver’s license, in fact. In addition to a photo, you have to take a course, pass a test proving you understand both the legal and safety ramifications, pass an actual live shooting test, and get fingerprinted to make sure you are not a criminal. So I’d say that of the five forms of PHOTO ID allowed, the CCL is the one that requires the MOST hoops for the voting citizen to obtain, and is a more ironclad form of ID than any of them.

    Oh, and I already told my husband I want a brand new gun for Christmas. A pretty one, with less kick than the stinkin’ 45. Am I ominous and scary? Only to you, you clueless twit.


    Read more:

    • WMCB says:

      That should be CHL, not CCL. Too mad at this idiot to think straight.

    • yttik says:

      What’s the opposition to simply showing ID when voting? I mean, seriously, I don’t get it, especially when one form of ID can be a voter’s registration card that you can get for free.

      My very liberal, very Dem state, actually has policies I find much more repressive, invasive, than showing ID. I’m on a list, w/name and address for all to see, and you can even look me up on the SOS website to see when I’ve voted. What bothers me the most about it is that you can also find out exactly where I live.

      Rachel Maddow recently called Bachmann a bunch of names, among other things, an f-in dwarf. I can’t even listen to her, she just ticks me off.

      • WMCB says:

        Yeah, the whole brouhaha that showing ID is voter suppression is bunk. But this one ticked me off even more, because she claimed that TX made “an exception to the ID law” for gunowners. It’s not an exception. Any more than they are making an EXCEPTION for passports, or an EXCEPTION for driver’s licenses.

        In what bizzaro world is a state-issued ID an exception to….um…a state-issued ID law?

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