December 25th, 2013
I’m visiting my folks in Charlotte for a few days, and things started out pretty well with my dad. He picked me up at the airport, said, “Hi, Ashley” when he greeted me, and we were off to the races.
Once we got home, I chatted with my mom a bit too, and while I don’t mind “Snooks” as an occasional nickname, my mom just kept calling me Snooks and never once my name. Finally, after about the third time:
MOM: And Snooks, Dinner will probably be ready around 6:00.
ME: “I’d prefer if you’d call me Ashley.”
[Before my mom could reply, my dad chimed in:]
DAD: “Well, we said that we’d try to call you Ashley in public. But we still like Snooks, and we’ll go with that sometimes too.”
I was too stunned to say anything. And it really chapped my hide not only that they weren’t really over this hump but also that they seemed to think I was the insensitive one for bringing it up. For fuck’s sake.
December 15th, 2013
After Ashley sent a second letter to her parents about using her correct name, she realized that they would probably just fall back to calling her Snooks all the time, a childhood nickname. She decided that if her they called her Snooks the next time they called, she’d ask them to call her by her name – and if they didn’t, she would end the call. That’s what happened.
Ashley thought they would call again sometime but avoid names entirely. And when that happened, Ashley mentioned to them that it wasn’t okay to do that either – and then ended the call. Other than calling her dad for his birthday, Ashley didn’t talk to her parents at all over the next several months.
Thanksgiving was approaching, and she started to worry that staying with her parents might end up being a four-day stretch of being called anything but her name. She thought she could handle that behavior for one meal, but made plans to stay with other (more supportive) nearby relatives for the rest of the time.
She told her parents about her tentative plans to stay somewhere else, but included the offer to stay with them if they’d call her by her name.
Ashley’s parents replied a few days later and astounded Ashley by starting their email with, “Hi Ashley”! And while the rest of their email seemed to backtrack a little from their enthusiastic opening, Ashley wondered whether this might hint at some movement on their end.
There’s more to the story, but it’d better to hear Ashley tell it.
(Ashley’s nail polish in this episode is Deutsche You Want Me Baby from OPI. We aren’t being paid to say this — just thought maybe you’d like to know.)