Something has been troubling me since I became someone’s wife. For 30 years, I ticked the ‘miss’ box without any thought. For eight months, which is how long I’ve been married, congratulations to me, I have had to hover over the boxes, unsure what to do with myself. I am not a Mrs Jones, because I have not taken the lucky man’s name, and I’m certainly not Mrs Willis, because that is my mum’s title. I am not a Miss, because apparently you can’t be a Miss married. And I take umbrage to Ms, because it’s a bit pernickety.
Actually, I take umbrage to the whole goddam system. Why should I have to tick any box based on my ability to wait patiently for five years while a man decides if he’ll do me the honour of shoving a ring on my finger? He still ticks the Mr box, whether he’s coming or going.
If the forms I’m filling out want to know whether I’m male or female, for the purposes of punishing me with targeted advertising, then fine, I’m female. Tick that box. But whether I’m single (miss) married (mrs) or would rather remain illusive (ms) should be no one’s business other than my own.
Which is why I now tick the Dr. box. Dr. Willis. Deal with it. Dr. of what? Well it depends. Has someone had a heart attack on a plane? Then I’m a Dr. of philosophy and I’m avoiding eye contact. Is the postman enquiring as to whether Dr. Willis is in the house? Well then I’m a Dr. of molecular engineering, thank you very much, and yes, my degree was challenging but I nailed it.
While I’m on the subject of letters, let’s move on to the x. The X. The XX. The kiss. I’ve recently started giving my email sign off’s an extra x, thus it’s gone from Kim x to Kim xx, but only in special circumstances where the recipient really deserves it. Friends and family get even more, they’ve earned it, but for years my work emails were always a one x affair. Now I’ve noticed that there are a minefield of unwritten rules on the x front.
Met someone? Give them an extra x just to show it’s more than a formality. First email ever? Hold back on any x’s. Play it cool. They reply with an x? Give them one back, you are now chums. They reply with an xx? Too much, too soon. Rein it back in with a simple x. They reply with nothing? Nothing them right back, the bastards.
Sometimes my husband texts me and doesn’t put an x at the end. It really annoys me. It’s so curt and makes whatever he’s saying sound like he’s in a mood. Even if it’s nice. ‘I miss you.’ SEND. Well you clearly don’t because there is no x. So I reply, holding back my x’s just to prove a point. (A point he’s probably never even noticed because these are games I play in my head, not aloud. Until now. Husband: hit me up with an x at the end of your texts, will you? Love from, your Mrs.)
Only, when I reply to his kissless text with a kissless text, just to prove a point that he doesn’t know I’m proving, I feel like we’re just sending each other really aggressive texts. They might say: ‘I miss you.’ ‘I miss you too.’ But they read: ‘I AM IN A MOOD.’ ‘I AM IN A MOOD TOO.’ And that’s no fun for anyone. But he started it.
My sister always finishes off her texts with a capital X. Bit aggressive if you ask me. I like to use a lower case x. More cutesy. Which is what I am all about, obvs.
But it is the work-emails double x that is really bothering me. I should never have started it. It’s too friendly. I need to rein in the Kim love. People need to earn a double x. They need to be blood relatives or soul sisters.
Who am I kidding? I have far too much of a yearning to be liked to ever rein in my generous x’s. Except with my husband, who I think loves me enough as it is, so I will continue to hold back on the x’s in order to teach him a lesson.
Dr Willis. xx