Thursday 12 April 2007


It's funny how people are about pointless appellations.
Before you all start nodding, I don't actually mean 'Lord' or 'Reverend' or 'Your Majesty'.
I can understand why, if you had such a title, you'd like it to be used, simply because it's a little out of the ordinary, and therefore, somewhat- personal.

No, I mean those daft impersonal ones people give such a damn about.

I always use 'Ms' for any woman under sixty, even my own mother, though I know she doesn't like it. I find the usage of 'Mrs' and 'Miss' archaic, implying a distinction between married and unmarried woman that his no place in a society where men do not own women. I also must admit to being a little disappointed when a woman under forty marries and takes her huband's name. Again, it belongs to the days when her family gave her to the husband's family to give birth to heirs male.

But even further than that, I find the whole Mr-Mrs thing a little silly in the modern age. People who don't like to give out their first name in business and hide behind a 'Mr' that all the rest of us who have a Y chromsome share. In fact, I am more comfortable giving out my first name than my second name.

I hate these expressions. If I'm served in a restaurant or hotel or anywhere by someone younger than me and they call me 'Sir', I say 'I'm not a Sir, by the way. I've not been knighted yet, please call me X'.
If my bank call me Mr X, I point out to them that I have a first name. I don't like Mr.
It's archaic, it's silly, it came over with the Norman conqerors and like much they brought with them, it has outstayed it's welcome.
We are quite capable of working out what sex people are without a silly title in front of people's second names. A first name tells us lot more- who this person actually is.


Anonymous said...

If I ever get married I'd insist that she doesn't take my surname. I'd like to marry an independent woman.

What kind of parents were cruel enough to call you X anyway? I guess it saves time signing documents.

Anonymous said...

We differe here. I'm all for the archaic - it's kinda quaint and different to modern blandness.

Anonymous said...

Daughter kept her own name for some time but got fed up with people assuming they weren't married, and also having a big performance every time having to prove who she was.

Anonymous said...

I choose to have Ms on all of my documentation. When I was younger the "Miss" to me signified my age. Nowdays I'm mature. I always tick Ms because its no-ones damn business if I'm married or not. It shouldn't affect the way I'm treated.

I agree with the last name thing. At this stage in my life I can safely say I intend to keep my last name. I really love it. I've had people comment that my name is 'quite posh'. Even when I'm called Steph instead of Stephanie.

Although I can also safely say that if I took my husbands last name I would have to love and trust him beyond belief. It would be me giving up a part of who I am. And I hold onto all that I am with possessive zeal.

Anonymous said...

I think we should keep the Mr and Mrs titles but I do agree that women shouldn't change their name. They should keep the name that they already have.

Anonymous said...

I like being called Mr by people who don't know me, it teases me into thinking they respect the fact that I am largely unknown to them but am also vaguely significant. I also like being called "sir" for the same reason.

I don't like being called "mate" by anyone whose mate I am not - it really brings out the reactionary in me.

Anonymous said...

Tin Drummer

Don't come to Australia Mate!

Anonymous said...

I kept my name when I got married both times. So did my wife. I hate to be called Ms and MISTER without the last name.

Anonymous said...

Colin - doh! I should of said that this statement _excludes_ Australia, where the concept of "mateship" is in fact a real expression of how people who don't know each other that well can nonetheless work together and die together. Here in the UK it just means that some guy who doesn't know you is trying to get away with crap service by falsely claiming a link with you.

Anonymous said...

Possibly, Mr Drummer, mate.

Anonymous said...

I'm generally with James, I don't see any reason to get upset about traditions but have no concerns with individualists who reject it.

I find the term "Ms" tending to be used for politically correct reasons though, not for individualist ones.

Regarding "Mate" I used to get quite cross with someone at college who used to call us "Sunshine". It was more to do with a sarky voice than the words though.

Anonymous said...

I agree and disagree really.

With the "Sir" thing, I generally hate being called Sir". Like you I am not yet Knighted (I was busy catching up on soaps on the day the Queen suggested doing it, the only day I have time to go all the way up to London is Wednesdays but she goes to bingo with Charles on Wednesdays, so she said she'd pop round after and do it with the breadknife but I said it wouldn't be the same).

I think I dislike being called Sir because I have respect for honours and so only like them used when the person has the honour/title properly. I hated calling teachers Sir at school, I felt it an insult to greats like Sir Francis Drake. I also don't like it because it feels fake - I prefer to be more personal by using first names.

I dislike Ms however. Men do not own women, but I feel not using Mrs degrades marriage, and not using Miss degrades being single. Also Ms makes you think they're divorced but hiding it or partly in denial. There should be a similar deal for men, not just plain old Mr.