Identity Crisis

On Friday, I tried to pay two cheques into the bank.

They were to written out to pay me – Jessica Milln: the same name as on my birth certificate. However, when I handed them to cashier she started to get a bit twitchy.

“I’m sorry, but the account number you want to pay these into doesn’t have this name,” she said, “I’ll have to call someone.”

There were two of them now peering at the computer screen and speaking in low tones to one another. I was beginning to feel that any minute now a security screen might suddenly draw down at any second, the alarms would ring and some burly security guard would come and haul me away by my arm. But hang on, I’m thinking, how can I look like any kind of dodgy fraudster?  I have a child with me for heaven’s sake?

“Erm, why do you have a problem?” I asked. “I’ve been paying in cheques into this very bank – my local branch – in that name since I was sixteen.” I took out my bankcard with – Jessica Milln – printed on to prove it.

“Look, look! It shows who I am. Look, see!”

“But your account is in the name of Mrs. F.”

“Well, yes, I am Mrs. F as well.”

“OK, now that you are married, we can change the name for you on your account, that will solve everything.”

“I want to have both. I don’t want to lose Milln.”

My protestations aren’t sounding very good. Since 9:11 people aren’t supposed to go around masquerading under dual identities for security reasons. As long as I insist on being both it must be because I have criminal intent and I’m in cahoots with likely terrorists.

“I’ve been married for 15 years and kept two names on my accounts.” I want to add accusingly that some chauvinist at the bank has obviously changed things recently on the system with telling me. “It’s not been a problem before…” But it’s pretty obvious that the prevailing attitude of this bank is that married women should not go on clinging to their maiden names.

“Look,” say I, “It’s a work thing. What’s mine goes to Milln and what I share with Mr. F is Mrs. F’s. I can’t remember account numbers so it makes it simple for me to separate accounts with different names.” The explanation doesn’t do me any favours. I’m beginning to sound like a dimwit too.

The identity that names give us are important and mine with a lifetime of “Oh, that’s and unusual way of spelling MILNE!” reactions has given it a certain memorable notoriety. (Well, actually sticking an ‘e’ on the end can’t be right for pronunciation at all. My Dundee ancestors were right they were just out-numbered.) So, if I let the bank slip anonymously into being Mrs. F, I’ll first share my name with my mother-in-law and then I’ll become one of hundreds of thousands of other Mrs. Fs.

I hung around in that bank for far too long, taking umbrage.

“We’ll accept them this time,” they said. Which wasn’t good enough for me.
“So do I have to go through this all again the next time?”
“You can only have one name.” The bank had decided I, as married, should default to Mrs. F.
“So, how about I change all my joint accounts to Mr. F and Ms Milln – can I do that?” But, I know what Mr. F’s take on all this would be…and it would probably involve a lot of ‘f”s… He’s not entirely sympathetic with my semi-name change when it suits me attitude.

The bank manager gave me an exasperated look. Yes, I’d been busy working my way up through the ranks!

“The simple solution (I noticed that he didn’t attempt to address me) is for you to bring your marriage certificate it to prove that your name was Milln.”

Well, I gave up then, grumbling to my poor son who’d been witness to the whole episode. He’d once thought my only name was ‘Mummy’!

“It’s easy for you, you’ll always be an F!” I told him.

My identity crisis got worse later on – like a bit of extra salt in an open wound – with a forum opening up on Bounty discussing: “I got an e-mail the other day from mother and baby saying that they still needed some testers for toys….and then I got another one with them asking for testers for cribs. But it’s not fair ‘cause they never say I’ve been chosen even when I emailed them.”

It’s not as if I didn’t introduce myself or explained the vast number of applicants to the small number of testers required etc. I signed myself off  ‘Best wishes, Jessica Milln’

So, there you go.

But if you are e-mailing me because you want to be a tester, please try using my name. I’m much more likely  to remember you.

24 thoughts on “Identity Crisis

  1. Jessica I am sending you a virtual hug {} as it sounds like you need it xx Bounty can be an absolute nightmare I know …… and bankers are … well … erm 🙂 best not say eh?
    At least your son will grow up knowing how to fight his corner lol!

  2. Oh Jessica, how awful. I had a similar experience but the other way round…. I had a cheque paid in my miden name and they kicked up hell to pay it into the old account (still had maiden name on it) because all my others were in married name. I hate banks with a vengence. But awwww when you said you’re boy only knows you as mummy, really made me smile, how simple a childs life is 😀

    And ignore those websites…. too many jealous and envious people who can’t except out of 400 aplicants it’s just not their turn, they will have to wait til next time 😦

    Hope your weekend has been much better 😀

    • LOL sorry I did mean to write 4000, and you can’t feel bad cos even if you did let all of them test you still wouldn’t please everyone etc…. you have to do what’s best and stick to it 😀

  3. Aww (((bh))) from miss umm how do you say your surname. Yep I get that all the time or people assume I’m married to my partner then I become mrs Revell but I’ve given up with that one and just answer yes.
    You are doing a great job with M&B and if you were to accept all the applicants then there wouldn’t be enough to go around then they would complain over that instead. Ignore them and if need be have a large glass of something to help you through the selections etc.

  4. When buying our first house – jointly with Mr. D – as Teresa Milln – our solicitor intimated there seemed to be a problem with my name on the mortgage documentation. M.I.L.L.N. I suggested – is correct. He assured me that they’d got that right. It was my second name that looked a little unusual. He attempted to pronounce what had been written. It began with a ‘J’ followed by an ‘E’ and then a ‘B’. I forget what came after – but I do remember that there was an ‘Z’ and “H’ and possibly a ‘Q’ and an ‘X’. I told them they’d definitely got that wrong – my second name is ‘Clare’….

  5. This has now worried me as not only do I use two names but also two addresses due to some things still being registered at my parents and me not being bothered to change them! Could I indeed be some mad terrorist? I wasn’t the last time I looked. I have enough problems with my first name let alone my surname!!

  6. I got married in 2005, and promptly went to the bank to change my name to Mrs S-C, from Miss S. They managed to change it on all but 1 account, so I am still a Miss… And don’t even start on spelling my first name!

    As for Bounty, some of the users on there need lessons in common courtesy!


    P.S. I like how possible related posts brings up Money Laundering Legislation, is there something you need to tell us?!

  7. I always had to carry around my marriage certificate as my passport was under my maiden name and all other documentation was under married name. Why should we have to pay out for a name change?
    I sometimes manage to pay in cheques which say mr and mrs cox when we don’t have a joint account, some bank clerks get really upperty while others don’t seem to care.
    The best one is my mum managed to write a cheque and pay for something even though it was my sisters account ( mum even signed it in her name) banks do my head in.

  8. Aww Jessica I really feel for you! I know exactly how you feel though – I have always had to spell my first name and maiden name and still need to do exactly the same with my married name…

    I too could have dual identities though as I have lost track of the amount of times I have had calls asking for Simon Riches or post for Simon… it’s a good job I don’t have a complex really! I know if I have a pound for each time I would be a very rich lady at this moment in time!

    Hope you do not have to go through that again next time a cheque arrives… I hope that they recognise you and just put it straight through without all the fuss!

    As for the Bounty comments…just ignore them – as Anita mentioned, you are doing a fantastic job and I have noticed the times at which you send some emails and I do not envy you still working at midnight – you must dream about the awards and product testing!!

    Good luck with your next pay in!!x

  9. oh jessica – how crap – im getting married next year and definitely dont want to just become another Mrs D in this case – i love being an unusual Sephton and having to spell it – maybe i just like being different – i totally sympathise with you

    jessica milln – i too am sending you a virtual hug (()) – hopefully things can only get better – or you could change your name by deed poll for another all new identity x

  10. Hi Jessica, i have had the same problem with the banks.. Maiden name is a very common surname and married one is a religion as you can see lol.. Anyway had alot of problems paying in cheques. They wouldnt let me change my address when we moved home as i had my passport under my married name.. Not happy with said bank right now..

    Sorry for sending you that Bounty link, my intention wasnt to stress you out, i stumbled across it and thought you might want to look further into it as it involved the Mother & Baby Awards.

    • Not stressed by the Bounty link. I’m glad you sent it.
      Some things you have to ham up a bit for dramatic license and since I’m currently up to by eyeballs sorting testers I’ve no time to write a proper Awards blog – but at least I could keep it slightly relevant.

      I guess you only have to say your surname to have some bank clerks scurrying for cover?!

      • Lol.. I used to get funny looks when i told them one of my accounts is till under my maiden name and one under my married. So i would show them my old passport and my new one, one with maiden name and one with married name.. I wear the veil so i uncover my face and show them its definately me in the photo lol..

        Iv given up with the banks and do all my bits and bobs via online banking now, so much easier. All transfers are done as and when i want them.

  11. Hi Jessica I sooooooooooooo feel for you right now (been one of your testers im enjoying every minute and love my products 🙂 – I know how much effort you go to sorting everything out ) As you can imagine with a surname like mine i get a lot of the how do you say it
    ? hows it spelt? (I know its not the same thing but I know the feeling lol) and I agree with pps about bounty – I only go on to have a look never really speak for fear of lynching lol

  12. OOOOH. I so HATED giving up my name. I even enjoyed the mispronunciations (McDonough turns into a lotta different names). Clark has no oomph. Milln has oomph. Stick to your guns.

  13. our bank have had a copy of our marriage certificate since we came back from honeymoon (march 2007) and yet they still have me down as ‘Miss’! and they really struggled with the concept of hubby taking my name as his!!!

    huggles honey, you stick to your guns.


  14. Ohhh this is a sore point too in our household!! Glad to hear I’m not the only stay at home feminist!!

    As an unmarried couple I wanted our kids to be Master A-R and Miss A-R, much to the disgust of Mr. R and his family and even now at 3 years old they still insist on calling our son a Mr.R much to my repeated correcting….

    My question is why do we all have to merge into our husbands when we choose to marry them?? I have spent a lot of time tracing my family tree and dont wish to leave my history behind and sell out to another family?? And my kids….well I did carry them, give birth to them and currently raise them pretty much single handedly….so is it too much to ask to have them take half of my identity and history…..

    I am constantly referred to as Mrs. R, Miss. R, Mrs A, Miss A-R and every other combination possible, but I have said that if we ever get married, I too will be Mrs A-R…… So far there has been no date set…!!

    So Jessica Milln……stick the banks out….i didn’t realise that you could even keep two names, but now you’ve inspired me to do it!!

  15. Pingback: I’m just the bloody wife (part 1) « Jessica Milln's Blog

  16. Pingback: The Best of British Mummy Bloggers |

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