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First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?

GUEST,Helen 01 Sep 01 - 06:00 PM
CarolC 01 Sep 01 - 06:20 PM
Sorcha 01 Sep 01 - 06:21 PM
Sorcha 01 Sep 01 - 06:22 PM
catspaw49 01 Sep 01 - 06:42 PM
Allan C. 01 Sep 01 - 06:56 PM
catspaw49 01 Sep 01 - 07:25 PM
SINSULL 01 Sep 01 - 07:28 PM
catspaw49 01 Sep 01 - 07:43 PM
AliUK 01 Sep 01 - 08:53 PM
Lepus Rex 01 Sep 01 - 09:58 PM
alison 01 Sep 01 - 10:09 PM
AliUK 01 Sep 01 - 10:16 PM
Joe Offer 02 Sep 01 - 01:45 AM
catspaw49 02 Sep 01 - 03:16 AM
GUEST,Helen 02 Sep 01 - 05:49 AM
brid widder 02 Sep 01 - 07:06 AM
Jon Freeman 02 Sep 01 - 07:13 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 02 Sep 01 - 08:51 AM
Mrs.Duck 02 Sep 01 - 09:05 AM
GUEST 02 Sep 01 - 02:21 PM
GUEST 02 Sep 01 - 02:28 PM
Callie 02 Sep 01 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Mary Manners 02 Sep 01 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Gentlewoman 02 Sep 01 - 03:07 PM
lady penelope 02 Sep 01 - 04:27 PM
Liz the Squeak 02 Sep 01 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,Gentlewoman 02 Sep 01 - 05:07 PM
MarkS 02 Sep 01 - 06:04 PM
GUEST 02 Sep 01 - 06:12 PM
GUEST,Gentlewoman 02 Sep 01 - 06:24 PM
Mary in Kentucky 02 Sep 01 - 06:43 PM
CarolC 02 Sep 01 - 06:49 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 02 Sep 01 - 09:08 PM
Margo 03 Sep 01 - 01:41 AM
Ella who is Sooze 03 Sep 01 - 03:45 AM
Mrs.Duck 03 Sep 01 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,The Anti-Wife 03 Sep 01 - 02:18 PM
kendall 03 Sep 01 - 02:35 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 03 Sep 01 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,The Anti-Wife 03 Sep 01 - 02:53 PM
running.hare 03 Sep 01 - 05:18 PM
Mrs.Duck 03 Sep 01 - 05:26 PM
GUEST 03 Sep 01 - 06:39 PM
Chicken Charlie 04 Sep 01 - 04:20 PM
Mrs.Duck 04 Sep 01 - 06:12 PM
Mrs.Duck 04 Sep 01 - 06:33 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 04 Sep 01 - 07:43 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 04 Sep 01 - 08:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Sep 01 - 09:41 PM
Fibula Mattock 05 Sep 01 - 06:51 AM
KingBrilliant 05 Sep 01 - 07:08 AM
Ella who is Sooze 05 Sep 01 - 08:14 AM
GUEST 05 Sep 01 - 08:50 AM
sophocleese 05 Sep 01 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,JulieF 05 Sep 01 - 10:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Sep 01 - 10:19 AM
Kim C 05 Sep 01 - 10:31 AM
Mrs.Duck 05 Sep 01 - 03:05 PM
Mrs.Duck 05 Sep 01 - 03:07 PM
vindelis 05 Sep 01 - 03:26 PM
GUEST,The Anti-Wife 05 Sep 01 - 03:30 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 05 Sep 01 - 03:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Sep 01 - 04:11 PM
Mrs.Duck 06 Sep 01 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,The Anti-Wife 07 Sep 01 - 12:59 PM
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Subject: First or Last name? Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,Helen
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 06:00 PM

How shall I call my collegues and my principal? Shall I call them Mrs or Mr.........? What about the principal of the school. How do you call his or her name at your job? What shall I call her? One of my University professors asked me to call her with her first name. On the other hand I was really impressed when at College another different teacher corrected a student when the student called her Rene. She corrected and said Ms. Waterman. I thought of it as really embarassing. I really do not understand what the difference is.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: CarolC
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 06:20 PM

When I have a question about how to address someone, I ask them how they prefer to be addressed. Of course, that means I have to try to remember for each person but, at least this way, I don't spend any time wondering if I'm offending anyone.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Sorcha
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 06:21 PM

Start with Mr., Ms., Sir or Madame. Let THEM decide when first names are appropriate, that is the courteous thing to do. I HATE being called Mr. ****, and always say, "No, call me ****" Some people are never comfortable with first names, others take time, and some (like me) hate formality.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Sorcha
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 06:22 PM

Oh, and esp. with women, NEVER assume a married status. Ms. (mzz) works well.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 06:42 PM

Well, there are worse mistakes you can make. When I was a student at Berea College 35 years ago................

There was (and still is) an English Prof at Berea who had a serious lisp which he was sensitive about and which was worse when he was angry. Unfortunately his name was (and is) SEARS. So....first day of class, my dumbass and very unworldly roommate goes in and sits down and begins listening to "Dr. THEARS"........Sorry to say Dale had never seen his name in print (we were freshman and Dale had a hard enough time finding the classroom) and well........you got it. About 20 minutes in, Dale has a question, which he begins by saying, "MISTER Thears, I wanted to ask"........and that was as far as he got. Sears was only about 25 with sandy, red hair and a temper to go with it. Sears leaped from behind his desk and yelled, "That's Thears, like in Thears and Roebuck and it's DOCTOR Thears to YOU!!!" This is not the punchline though. As Dale walked down the hall he remarked to my friend (later my longterm roommate) that HE didn't know that "Thears" was a Doctor! Dale graduated and is teaching in Virginia. What must his classes be like?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Allan C.
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 06:56 PM

"How shall I call my collegues and my principal?", you ask. Are we to infer from this that you are a teaching professional? Or are you a student? Who are your collegues? Are you a support staff professional at a college or university? This could make a large difference in the formulation of a response.

I know I will catch some flak for this, but I will have to say that a large portion of the people who are involved in academia seem to be gifted mostly in the field of pretension. They often add to the confusion over terms of address by insisting upon being called, Doctor, to reflect their level of education.

My own personal stance on this is that I refuse to play a part in their pretension and will only address them as Mr. Ms or Mrs.. Those terms of address reflect my respect for the individual as a person. I will not pay homage to someone's degree. The only people I will call Doctor are the ones who practice medicine.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 07:25 PM

......terms of address reflect my respect for the individual as a person.

Is that why you keep sending me PM's addressed, "Dear Dumbass Spaw?"

Just wondering.....

Spaw


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: SINSULL
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 07:28 PM

Would you prefer Dr. Dumbass?


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 07:43 PM

WEll, I was kinda' thinkin' that Professor Dumbass might sound OK.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: AliUK
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 08:53 PM

I hate it when my students call me "senhor". Man does that make me feel old!


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 09:58 PM

What, I finally quit calling everyone "man," and now I'm supposed to use Mr,Ms,Mrs, etc? Life is just too damned hard...

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: alison
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 10:09 PM

I HATE being called "Ma'am"!!!! Do I look like a Ma'am??? don't answer that I don't want to know!!!! *grin*

and I hate being Mrs anything either........ I like "alison"

I remember when I was a student nurse we had to be addressed by our surnames... and we got into huge trouble if the patients found out what our first names were.... not that they called us by any names other than "pet/ darling/ sweetie/ love"....... I hate that too......

oh dear time to take my chill out pills I think....lol

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: AliUK
Date: 01 Sep 01 - 10:16 PM

alison I would never ( and I think Big Mick would agree with me) call you Ma'am. Except in certain unmentionable fantasies, that now I know you are a nurse have suddenly become even more interesting. :o)


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 01:45 AM

Here in California, people seem to like to be known by their first name, and seem reluctant to have people know their last name. I've been in exile here from Wisconsin for 25 years, and I still can't get used to that. I like people to address me as "Joe," but I introduce myself as "Joe Offer." I make exceptions for job applicants and salesmen - I prefer that they call me "Mr. Offer," and I don't trust them if they call me "Joe" unless I suggest it.

I work with kids and ask them to call me "Joe." If I were a teacher, I would expect my students to call me "Mr. Offer" until I asked them to call me by my first name.

The Use of Mr/Mrs/Ms/Dr is governed by regional custom and personal preference. You'd best call a person what they like to be called.

Just call me

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: catspaw49
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 03:16 AM

Whatever, but don't call me late to supper.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,Helen
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 05:49 AM

Dear Alan C. No I am not a student at the moment. I am working. The person I am infering to is a person older than me. Don't know the exact age but 40 at the most. Maybe 35, 36, 37. She is a teacher and I am a teacher with the difference that I am new. I respect her opinion very much. What I shall call her concerns me a lot.

Also Guest X: At an elementary school everybody expects to call the teaher Ms. but at the higher education things are totally different.

I guess I must be a prophet because I new that the suggestions would be call them what they like to be called.

I like to be called Ms. Lizard Helen


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: brid widder
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 07:06 AM

Like Alison I too am a nurse and remember well how as a student....way back in the late sixties, we were in trouble if a patient used our first name, the young, lads on the orthopeadic ward, in traction for weeks following motorbike crashes used to delight in bellowing your name from one end of the ward to the other if any senior member of staff was present! we would tell them our first name was 'nurse'...they always found out. thankfully nursing has grown up and in general now it is understood that 'respect' is about more than titles. in my own organisation first names are the norm...for everyone...we always ask patient's what they prefer to be called....I don't think I have ever had one who has prefered Mr...or Mrs.... I suppose it is different in teaching but cannot imagine a working relationship with a colleague who required such formality. I wonder....does anyone ask the students what they prefer to be called?


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 07:13 AM

I'm with Sorcha on this one.

Joe when I was last in college, the staff there had a policy of being of reffering to each other by there first and last names and students were on first name terms with the teachers. A reason mentioned for this being policy was that it was more like the real world working environment that they were training people for.

Jon


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 08:51 AM

At the folk session I go to (The Kingston), I only know one persons last name, and this is because he gave me his business card with it on.I think if you know someone well it is better to use first names, it is more friendly.Although I work aa a delivery driver an some of my my retired customers just use their last names, I think this is ok, it is showing respect for old people.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 09:05 AM

Parents and children where I teach all call me Mrs Gilday and I wouldn't have it any other way. I hate the term MZ and don't see what problem people have with Miss or Mrs. Colleagues all call each other by their first names except in front of children although I don't think it makes any difference if they use my first name as the children know not to use it themselves. The head is also known by her first name to staff but her predecessor preferred to be called Mrs Ellis so that's what we did. Agood way of deciding how to addresss people in the workplace is firstly to observe what others do and then check with someone who has been there a while and see what they say.
As for recognising someones status by calling them DR or Professor I think it is only right that they should be given their correct title. Afterall they have had to do as much to get there as a mecical doctor. In England surgeons are always referred to as MR anyway including dental surgeons.
Mrs not Mz Duck


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 02:21 PM

In any professional setting, the place (ie elementary vs university, banks vs hospitals, etc) and the circumstance don't matter.

If you want to address any person the way they want to be addressed (which is the only way should you ever address someone), you do as CarolC said. Which is to ask them "How do you wish to/prefer to be addressed?"

It really is that simple, and not anything to worry about. I'm in my late 40s and often run into younger colleagues who seem clueless about this most basic, simple piece of etiquette. Why is that? I mean, it isn't like I learned these things at charm school.

And I wouldn't recommend Allan C's method. It puts the focus of attention on himself, not the person being addressed, which is a great faux pas in important social settings, particularly academic ones.

And by important, I mean important to you GUEST Helen. You said it was important to you to do this right and make a good impression. So do just as CarolC suggested, and it will put both you and the other person immediately at ease, as it shows you *do* respect the person enough to ask.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 02:28 PM

Oh--and I hate the terms Miss and Mrs. and always say so. There is no reason why women should be identified according to marital status. In my experience, it is usually only the little missus types who find Ms (a very old convention of etiquette) to be offensive to them.

And as to the younger women who seem to think it's fine to be called Miss, all I have to say is, well if you don't mind being relegated to the lowest status title of all those being used (there is a hierarchy to forms of address as Allan C has pointed out), go ahead and use it proudly.

But if you want to be taken seriously in business and professional situations, especially by older men, don't EVER refer to yourself as "Miss"!


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Callie
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 02:52 PM

Mrs Duck: the 'problem' with Miss or 'Mrs' is that I don't think whether a woman is married or not needs to govern the title she is given. It shouldn't matter in such circumstances whether one is married, in or out of a relationship, in or out of several, gay, or celibate for that matter.

'Ms' is unoffensive, unubtrusive, and makes it clear (on written material for instance) that the addressee is female. It puts the emphasis on the woman's name, not marital status. I think that's an important lesson for young people to learn in itself.

I worked with young people in a theatre context for some years. With most young people, we had a time convincing them that we didn't like to be called by a title, but that our first name really was preferred. While I understand why such a barrier might be desirable in a formal school context (although I cn think of plenty of reasons why it wouldn't be - it's just that we're used to it by now), we were aiming at a very different kind of education. The kind of theatre we were producing relied on a COLLABORATION between adults and youths. It would have been damaging to that power structure to have the kid call us "Miiiiiiiiiisssss!" or whatever.

In Australia, the correct way to address a formal letter is not to say "Dear Mr Bloggs", but "Dear Joe Bloggs". I say 'correct' because it's in the Style Manual that way, and I used to work with a book editor who had big tantrums when such style 'rules' were transgressed.

Callie

Callie


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,Mary Manners
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 02:59 PM

It should be obvious from the differences between Mrs. Duck and the above guest, that you should never presume one right way of addressing colleagues, regardless of your own personal preference. This is a "in my experience" tale, but at university level, the professors all wish to be addressed by their academic title, not as Mr/Ms/Mrs/Miss. That is the convention for higher ed, and should always intitially be followed.

For primary and secondary school, because only a bachelor's level of education was historically required, you see the forms of address being the same as they are in the rest of the business world, ie by Mr/Ms/Mrs/Miss, because there is no corresponding academic title, unless they have a doctorate degree, which some now do. And some in the primary and secondary level do ask to be addressed by their doctorate title. But that is still quite rare.

And I agree, the best way to always handle the question of how to address someone is not to presume at all, but to ask politely how the person (male and female alike) prefer to be addressed.

It is also important to be aware of age differences between colleagues. Too many people assume, especially when addressing women, that one should feel free to address her by her first name, especially if the woman is a secretary/clerical worker, or works in some other professional capacity that is seen as "lower status" than the person who is addressing them.

There is nothing sadder and more disrespectful, IMO, than to see a 20 or 30 something whippersnapper addressing Mrs. Smith the attendance lady as Doris, just because they have heard a few others who have worked there longer, address her by her first name. Big mistake. Especially when the assumption is that the younger person has a higher status job, so is justified in addressing the woman by her first name, instead of recognizing that the title hierarchy isn't the only hierarchy of respect that matters. Especially among older workers, there is still an expectation that they be addressed formally until they feel comfortable telling the other person to address them personally by their first name. It is much more important to honor this in some settings (like in churches, synagogues, etc) than in others. But the rule of thumb should always be, if you are in a professional setting, conduct yourself formally until you are invited to be more intimate in terms of addressing someone. And never NEVER! believe that it is acceptable to behave casually as you would with friends or family in any business setting.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,Gentlewoman
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 03:07 PM

Guest Helen,

The difference you are confused about is merely one of individual preference on how one wishes to be addressed.

The suggestion of asking people politely is the best, hands down. You may also take note of the way others are doing it, but as some have pointed out (including yourself), this can at times lead to being "corrected" in the presence of others, which is embarrassing.

So really, the best thing to do to avoid everyone being embarrassed, is to ask politely. That is the gentle, respectful way to approach the very important question of how to address one's colleagues.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: lady penelope
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 04:27 PM

My first question - How were you introduced to these people? Or were you just left to find them on your own?

If you were introduced, you address them as you introduced to them, unless they inform you otherwise ( i.e. a professor introduced you to another professor with whom they are familiar and the professor you were introduced to did not wish to be called by a familiar term ).

I find it exceedingly annoying that people who are complete strangers to me call me by first name because that is what is on a form I have filled out.

My name is Michelle Penelope Ward and if you do not know me socially then I like to be addressed as MISS WARD. ( I don't mean people on Mudcat ). I do not like the usage of MS as it is unnecessary. Miss is a short term of Mistress ( much like Mr is of Master ) and denotes a woman of non-serf status. The introduction of the difference between miss and mrs is a French / Middle English affectation.

But other than that, just go for it. Mostly people themselves will put you right.

You may call me Ma'am!

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 04:49 PM

Your first name is MICHELLE???? I've known you for 18 years and never knew you had another first name!!!! Bloody hell, you learn a lot on this forum.....

I hate being Ms. I put a lot of time and effort into being married and I want it known that I am a Mrs (or Mistress to give it it's full title.....). And I had no qualms about being a Miss either.

My 'superiors' at work insist on using surnames only when writing reports, letters, memos, phone messages and the like. Drives me up the wall to be called by just my surname.

I have a terrible memory for names (except for a few exceptions) and just call everyone dear....

LTS


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,Gentlewoman
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 05:07 PM

Miss Lady Penelope,

You said:

"I do not like the usage of MS as it is unnecessary. Miss is a short term of Mistress ( much like Mr is of Master ) and denotes a woman of non-serf status. The introduction of the difference between miss and mrs is a French / Middle English affectation."

Some of us are talking about present day American English usage of the terms Miss/Mrs/Ms in business settings, where the usage of the term Ms is most certainly not "unnecessary" as you put it.

It is entirely necessary to take into account the preference and feelings of the person being addressed, if you wish to present yourself in a polite, professional manner. Always. But especially when one is beginning a new position with someone they want to make a good impression on from the outset. That is ALL that matters in terms of etiquette.

Where you come up with the idea that the term Ms is unnecessary is beyond me, as any style manual on business usage will show you to be completely in the wrong. And regardless of the origins of the terms, the point is, nowadays the practice of using Miss/Mrs as forms of address for women, is based upon the woman's marital status, and many professional women will bite your head off for addressing them in that way. Which is what Guest Helen said she wished to avoid in her own circumstance.

The medieval feudal meaning is a bit out of date, isn't it?

I'm going to be so bold as to suggest that some women posting in this thread, claiming that the form of address for professional women (ie Ms) is meaningless and unimportant, may actually be expressing a personal dislike for the usage among groups of women they perceive as being "anti-male" or "feminist" or some such.

I've worked in both the public and non-profit sector, including academia (including, but not limited to, primary, secondary, and higher ed) for 25 years. No professional person worth their salt would suggest you disregard the ways that a person wishes to be addressed and "just go for it" or "follow the herd" in this regard. That can be tantamount to professional suicide in some circumstances.

The point is, Miss Lady Penelope, Guest Helen asked because she is sensitive to the minefield this can be at the university level. She apparently does not wish to be "put right" for being stupidly insensitive, when she can just as easily get off on the right foot to begin with, and "do right" by the person she has concerns about addressing properly.

May I ask you, just what is wrong with asking a person early on in the working relationship, how it is they prefer to be addressed?

That is a common courtesy I expect in my workplace, and I hear people use that term often. I work in a research hospital, as business manager for a medical group of all male surgeons. We are attached to a large university, where I assure you, titles and the ways people are addressed matters a great deal to most the people I work with on anything less than the most routine basis. Almost without exception, they all expect to be addressed by their professional title (ie Dr. or Professor). The higher you go, the more pronounced the tendency to be intolerant of someone's addressing a person casually.

Its one thing to say it shouldn't matter, or it doesn't matter to you, but it is another thing to say it doesn't matter in business settings, and you shouldn't worry about it.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: MarkS
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 06:04 PM

Hey - this is easy.
Per the previous post, address somebody as they are introduced to you or how they introduce themselves,using whatever title or honorific you first hear. They will give you info on how to change the way you address them as soon as they are comfortable with you, usually right away. In the case of a male addressing a woman, always default to Ms unless you are requested to do differently.
Most times you will be asked to be more informal quite quickly, and if not, no harm done. You show politeness, and no offense is given.
Mark


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 06:12 PM

Interesting thread.

So, we have the hierarchy of forms of address, and we have different views coming from women on how they prefer to be addressed. We have seen it suggested that age, education, marital status, and personal preference can be significant to the individual being addressed.

The main point of contention seems to be with women who wish to be addressed as either Mrs. or Miss, and also seem to have a real aversion to being addressed as Ms.

Now, considering the differences between Anglo English and American English languages, wouldn't it be interesting to note what the breakdown is of preferences among women here by Anglo/American usage?

I was just having this very "back to school" conversation with my female colleagues last week.

I am an American English speaking married woman (late 40s) who works as a librarian in an urban high school. I work with two other female librarians. I am addressed as Ms, and I often explain the reason why when students ask me, as many of them aren't aware of the convention of using Ms as a professional woman who doesn't want to be identified according to marital status.

My other married colleague (mid 50s)is somewhat vehemently insistent about being addressed as Mrs. Both of us are Eur Am.

Our third librarian is mid 50s, divorced African American woman who lives with a male SO, who is addressed as Miss.

The three of us were chatting with some of our younger colleagues (our group was about 10 women, and six of them were younger than us), about how we choose to be addressed as professionals at work. They are all in their late 20s and 30s. None of them use Miss, as they felt it was a somewhat degrading "spinster" type term, and that they felt they got more respect and cooperation from students and colleagues when using the title Ms. Only one used Mrs, even though 4 of the 6 younger women were married.

My fellow Miss librarian said she followed the convention of address of unmarried African American women of her generation and class, and she is fairly vehement about using it, and judgmental towards/suspicious of African American women who use Ms. When I asked her why, she said because they all seem to hate men.

One of the younger women was also African American and married, but she chooses not to follow the (somewhat old fashioned now) convention in the African American community of using Mrs, and goes by Ms. She says she believes it is the title for women which commands and demands the most respect. Quite a different attitude from her older African American colleague.

Here in my part of the US (Midwest), I'd have to say that while some younger women use the term Miss, it doesn't seem to be very common professionally among teachers in my school. It seems most women professionals in my building are either using the term Mrs. or Ms.

I'm just guessing that has to do with what some others have said about the term Miss being less respectable than Ms. And it doesn't seem to be about it being old fashioned. It does seem to be about the power and authority given to the titles Ms and Mrs as opposed to Miss. In most cultural communities, a married woman has more status than single women. But increasingly in our "global community" of the workplace, younger women especially seem to be perceiving the term Ms as having more status and power in the workplace than Mrs, even though that may not hold true in less formal social settings.

Do Anglo English speaking women see this differently?


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,Gentlewoman
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 06:24 PM

One gentle correction Mark, ie that both men and women should default to addressing a woman colleague as Ms, unless requested to do differently.

The matter isn't about men addressing women. It is about the proper form of address for professional women who do not have academic or other titles (ie Mayor, Governor, Madame Chair, etc).


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 06:43 PM

brid widder, I had to laugh when you asked what do students prefer to be called! It reminded me of a High School class where all the girls had nicknames. I just couldn't bring myself to call Casandra by her nickname "Blister"!

It seems in teaching, it's best to be aware of the "history" of the school system you're in, and the past classes your students have been in. If it's the custom for teachers to always be addressed by Mr./Mrs./Ms. Last Name, better stick with it. I was surprised at what a big deal it was for High School students to learn my first name and make a point of addressing me by it after they graduated.

Another topic, closely related, is the use of yes sir and yes ma'am. It's mandatory in some Southern states, not particularly common in Kentucky. I feel that to require it is repugnant...but our local legislator prided himself in introducing a bill in the state legislature to "instill discipline" by requiring the students to say yes sir and yes ma'am.

Still, having been a classroom teacher, I know how important it is to have no "back talk." I told my students that when I said turn to page 20 in your books, their appropriate response was yes, yes ma'am, or NOTHING.

I also taught adolescents in a mental hospital. There we were strongly cautioned to never enter in a personal conversation. And the kids knew this, so would quite often test the "newbies" to see what they could get by with.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 06:49 PM

I don't particularly care whether or not other women prefer to be addressed as Ms, Mrs, or Miss. However, the use of Ms. solves a specific problem for me.

I am not a Miss. A Miss is a never married woman. I am not a Mrs. A Mrs. is a woman who is married or widowed, and who uses her husband's surname. I have been married twice and I have never used either of my husbands' surnames. My pre-married name is the only one I have ever used. And I am now single. So, political correctness aside, neither Miss, nor Mrs, actually apply to me. Ms. is my only correct option.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 09:08 PM

When I encounter an unknown woman (careful, might be dangerous!) I always put heavy stress on the MZZZZ (Ms) in the hopes that she will give me her preference as to Mrs, Miss or first name). If she takes umbrage, fine, that's all part of the war between the sexes. I am amused by Webster's comment on Ms. in their definition. "Probably blend of Miss and Mrs." The horrible word first appears in print in 1949, so it is newspeak. Seriously, the advice of Joe Offer et al., politely to determine preferences is best. And there are regional differences as he pointed out. Foreign women of stature in learning often insist on Madame. In much of the south and west, ma'am is accepted in most primary schools (unless the teacher is male, which is rare at that level). The teacher may request address as Miss or Mrs Jones, but cannot reject ma'am because it has been ingrained by parents. In a university setting, Ph.D. owners are addressed as Dr, but (being one) I use Mr outside that touchy atmosphere. In Canada, however, a Ph. D makes it a point to be referred to as Doctor. Modern English practice is to leave off the period after Miss, Mr, etc., while American practice continues it (I agree with the English practice here). Lots of pitfalls, as the length of this thread suggests, and I have fallen in most of them.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Margo
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 01:41 AM

I HATE the Ms. thing. I never minded being Miss, and now that I'm married, I'd like to be Mrs. I'm proud to be Mrs. Jack White. I'm still me all the way! Margo


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 03:45 AM

definately NOT madam...

I was in a watering hole in Bristol on Saturday night - and the bar tender (female) who walked amongst us all taking orders kept calling me madam.

Bloody annoying or what...

Ella


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 02:06 PM

I expect to be called Madam in a shop or restaurant! I expect Geoff to be called Sir! Of course what I get more often is 'Yes Love can I help?' and if I moved to Derbyshire could expect 'Duck' as a greeting.
I still abhor the term MS and agree with Liz the Squeak that I take pride in being married but was not ashamed to be single. It is who I am.
So just remember Call me madam!!:0)


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,The Anti-Wife
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 02:18 PM

I've been begrudgingly married (common law) almost 16 years. I HATE HATE HATE the Mrs form of address, as I find it to be an offensive "matronly" type word.

And like someone above, I too consider the term "Miss" to be too degrading an association with spinsters, and the low status "girls" and "ladies."

You may, however, bow before me, and refer to me as either The Empress or The Queen! :-) I always told my daughter & her girlfriends when they were little "The hell with being the princess--go for the power girls, and *always* be the queen!"

I'm also not the least bit proud to be married. I find the institution to be quite offensive, actually--like indentured servitude, only worse. I conform to the social standard only for practical reasons (taxes, insurance, kids, etc) not for romantic ones. Any woman who seeks fulfillment and happiness in the company of one man in this day and age needs therapy (and probably some powerful painkillers) IMO.

Being common law, I thnakfully never had to endure the princess bride thing either--I find the middle class Barbie Wedding syndrome to be a wretched waste of resources, people's time and energy.

We eventually had a helluva party to celebrate our union, but it was very traditional...drinking and dancing and playing merry pranks until well past dawn, the third or so day after the event. For us, the Big Event was birth of kids, a much more precarious and difficult thing to accomplish than getting married fer chrissake. I mean really, it just isn't that hard to get a man--the planet is crawling with men looking for a woman to play mama to them, after all.

And I will never understand what seems to me to be a desperate need of some women to wear their marital status as a badge of honor. Which is probably why I have so few married female friends at age 44.

Love the one you're with, I say!


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: kendall
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 02:35 PM

Did you ever wonder what cruel bastard put a S in the word lisp?


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 02:45 PM

I am listed in the Hull Phone book, so I often get salespeople ringing me to try to sell me stuff(double glazing, house alarms, conservatries etc),everybody who knows me calls me John, so if anybody rings up and asks is that Mr ....? I just say no, you have got the wrong number , sometimes they ring straight back, so I tell them to get lost.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,The Anti-Wife
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 02:53 PM

Ditto John. I don't use any of the above, just my name.

I do the same with phone solicitations, except if they ask for "Mrs" In that case, I become loudly indignant and accusatory, saying "how dare your presume there is a Mrs of the House" etc etc. Its one of the few ways I have of getting back at them! ;-)


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: running.hare
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 05:18 PM

"I wonder....does anyone ask the students what they prefer to be called?"

When I was at Sch (not all that long ago) we always had our full name in the register (i.e. Elizabeth) but on the 1st day of term most teacher whould ask us what we liked to be called (i.e. lizzy / liz / beth etc...) & that whould be noted down alongside, & used in "every day" situations.

I found with teachers it was always easyer to go from informal ~ formal forms of address than the other way round. a friend of the family, who i'd always know as Tim became one of my teachers when I moved up a school, I had no problems with calling him Mr...... / Sir.

but when a Teacher who I met first in sch as Miss... asked me to call her by her first name when we where both helping run a Guide (Girl Scouts) arts weekend, I found that realy weird.

I dont find Miss. in any way dirogatry (sp???) but neither whould I be mortaly offended if called Mrs. or Ms. I'd simply put them right. but I do still find being called Madam, by stall holders ect slightly weird, & it takes me a second to realise they mean me. being 20 I'm still getting used to being an adult. ;¬)

But I agree that Ms is more comenly used, & thought of as far more inportanse in the US than here in britain.

this is a very interesting topic, & has gone far behond the original Question. But in answer to that. Yes I'd agree, call then by whatever title / name they where introdused as, in till told otherwise, & If in doute ask them.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 05:26 PM

Pardon me Anti wife but you are not entitled the title Mrs - being common law means you are by definition NOT married!


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 06:39 PM

Hmmmmm...it appears Ms Anti-wife has struck a deep nerve in Mrs Duck.

Mrs Duck--try the Nolo site on common law marriage:

http://www.nolo.com/encyclopedia/articles/mlt/SP8.HTML#FAQ-508

It seems pretty silly to suggest that there is a LAW governing who can use the Mrs form of address, but then we all have our delusions.

Mrs Duck, forms of address are social conventions, not laws. You might want to keep that in mind next time you go quacking your ass off in public about a subject you clearly know nothing about (but do seem pretty threatened by).

Run along home to your sugar daddy now.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 04:20 PM

Who am I to disagree with Sorcha, but I don't think "Ms" is that safe a bet. Some more conservative women, wishing to distance themselves from militant feminism for reasons I will neither endorse nor condemn, object as strongly to "Ms" as anyone can object to anything. I'm not taking sides, I'm just stating this as a fact which both self and wife (who earns her daily bread in public relations) have encountered. I don't know what the "school solution" is, but just want to mention that you can get in trouble this way too.

CC


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 06:12 PM

No deep nerves struck here at all. I refer to English law where marriage is a legal ceremony and a couple living together as man and wife do not have the same legal rights and constraints as those who have been through a marriage. It was Guest Anti Wife that was making such a song and dance about telesales assuming she was Mrs - why doesn't she just hang up like the rest of us, afterall with so many hangups already one more wouldn't make any difference. Guest assumes I have a problem with non-married people-not at all I just don't see why when you've taken that step you should spend all your time trying to pretend you haven't!
Oh and how I wish I could have a sugar daddy but I'm too damn busy to find one!!!Washing ironing cooking changing nappies......


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 06:33 PM

Sorry got carried away there for a moment I thought I was a little housewife. What I meant to say was it would be nice to have time to do the washing, ironing(so thats what that long tables for), etc although I probably wouldn't bother. You see being Mrs has nothing to do with any of that it is merely a conventional title for a married woman which I am. It does not denote servitude nor does it set me apart from other women but its how I wish to be addressed. I do not take to shouting abuse down the phone to anyone who calls me MZ or Miss although I cringe at the former. And my dislike of the term has nothing to do with wishing to distance myself from militant feminism (I do know that for some it is though CC)
I suppose if a nerve has been touched its that just because I choose to be called by my legal title (by which I do not mean that any other use of the title is illegal but in law I am MRS what ever I choose to call myself) that this somehow makes me an inferior being - the little wifey-not this lady!!!


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 07:43 PM

Well said Mrs Duck.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 08:22 PM

A little confused by some of the above. Where common law marriages are recognized, the rights of the partners are the same, the only difference being that either a period of time living together must elapse or a simple declaration that the couple consider themselves to be married must be witnessed. England still adheres to the legal ceremony as the only way?


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 09:41 PM

I'd rather like it if we had a separate title for married and unmarried for men as well. And some Ms equivalent too, since no doubt some people would offer it. I think women are lucky having these choices.

I tend never to use either names or titles anyway most of the time. Half the time I don't even know them. It makes introducing people I've known for years difficult.

I think generally it's courteous to let people call you what they want to. When people I don't particularly like say "Call me Fred"(for example) I am tempted sometimes to say "Call me Mr McGrath".


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 06:51 AM

I like Lizabee's point about asking the students too. When I started somewhere new (school/college/job) I always got called by my first name, but I'm known by my middle name (and even then in its abbreviated form). I was forever hesitantly correcting people about it.

I call myself "Ms" when I have to give myself a title (for forms and the suchlike). "Miss" makes me feel like a character out of a Jane Austen novel, and I'm not quite a "Mrs" yet. When I finish this PhD I think I'll have bloody-well earned the "Dr" title, but I don't think I want to be known by it - I don't like pretension. My name will be fine. That's another messy thing - when I marry (2 years away now) I'll have just finished my PhD. My publications are under my family name, my work is attributed to it etc, but if I am to take on my Other Half's name after establishing (I hope) a track record then that confuses things. Bah. I think I'll have one name for work and one for home. I'll stick with online names instead. Just call me Fib!

Ella - they called you a "madam"!!?? *joke*


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 07:08 AM

I absolutely detest being called Ms. To me it feels tantamount to someone calling me a militant feminist. Tcha! I am extremely proud to be Mrs King. And was equally happy to be called Miss Penney when that was who I was. I don't even mind being addressed on letters as Mr (or K King Esquire!!!) as has happened occasionally at work, but hate hate hate that Ms thing. I would use Mrs as a default rather than Ms - though I don't often have to address anyone that way, and so don't come across the problem very often.
So - don't assume that its always safe to use the Ms option. Some of us get quite irate at it (at least I think its not just me....)

Kris
PS - Guest - I'm not the little missus type!


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 08:14 AM

Yes, Fib, they called me a madam.

I think it may have had something to do with the rosy cheeks, rouge red lips, and huge quantities of eye shadow I was wearing.

Not to mention my portable red light.

hem hem ;)


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 08:50 AM

I must admit I have used Ms since I was about 16. I felt too old ( or even possibly too young in the spinster sence) to be a Miss and as we have never married I have had no need of the Mrs. When I was young I definately felt that it was unfair taht my maritial status was easily recognised but not that of a man in the same position.

I am ok with whatever people address me as if they change that address after I tell them to. Although, I do not like sales people addressing me by my first name while they are trying to sell me things.

Our problem is that, having two surnames in the house we get twice the amount of cold calling. Still we usually just say that there is not a Mrs L'amie or a Mr Fotheringham and put the phone down. If all else fails Tim tells them that the house is being repossesed next week. It can case some confusion in relation to Cat who has her father's surname but I have found it simplicity itself in the schools who are used to dealing with complicated step families - for example Cat's boyfriend has two step brothers ( twins) who were in the same year as him)

What I really hate is when people address things to mee, assuimg I'm male based on the job that I do - once again is forgivable or worse still - this happens a lot when the envelope is addressed correctly but the letter begins dear Sir or Dear Mr Fotheringham. Very Sloppy Systems !

All the best

Julie


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: sophocleese
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 10:05 AM

Coming from a Quaker background I tend not to use Miss, Master, Ms, Mrs, or Mr. I like to be called by my first name. I always address people in the fashion they wish to be addressed, starting more formally in introductions.

If I were to use a prefix I would use Ms. I have no hesitation in being, rightfully or wrongfully, associated with Militant Feminists. Without them my life and the lives of many who don't like them would be a hell of a lot worse. Think of that when you fill out your voter's registration and are wondering whether to use Miss, Ms, or Mrs.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,JulieF
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 10:08 AM

My appologies - I posted as a guest - working from a different machine and not thinking about what I'm doing

Julie


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 10:19 AM

I suppose the male equivalent of Ms would have to be Mess.

How do they do it in France? It's Mlle for unmarried, Mme for married. That should mean that, since Ms is made by leaving out the middle letters in the various English abbreviations for Mistress, the Frecnch equivalent would be Me.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Kim C
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 10:31 AM

Okay. I'm 33 and Southern. Teachers and people of authority are ALWAYS referred to by Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. Last Name, unless they give you permission otherwise. Even now if I have contact with former teachers, I still call them Mr./Mrs./Dr. Whatever. Sure, I could call my college piano teacher Bob, I'm sure he wouldn't think anything of it, but I ain't gonna do that, it's just the way I am.

In college I worked in an ice cream store for people who preferred to be called Mr. & Mrs. Whatley. Her name was Luci, and we never called her Luci, but we nicknamed her Lucky, and ended up calling her Mrs. Lucky! They moved away several years ago, and when I get Christmas cards from them, she signs "Jim & Luci."

Ever since I have worked full time, though, it's first names with coworkers, sometimes other forms of address with visitors, board members or clients. Our elderly clients are ALWAYS Mr./Mrs.

Most folks, when they go to say Mrs., it comes out Mzz anyhow.

I am a Mrs. I am proud to be a Mrs. There is nothing wrong with me being proud to be a Mrs. I have a swell husband of whom I am also very proud. I also do not mind being called ma'am, and I regularly say sir and ma'am to people even of my own age. It is just how I was taught. And of course, I always address my friend the Army Sergeant as Sir.

Cheers---

Mrs. C


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 03:05 PM

Having read the link posted by my 'friend' Guest above it is clear that English and American law differ in the recognition of Common Law marriages. In England a couple who live together for a certain length of time (is it 7 years?) are referred to as a common law marriage. However should that couple choose to part there is no need for a divorce.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 03:07 PM

Having read the link posted by my 'friend' Guest above it is clear that English and American law differ in the recognition of Common Law marriages. In England a couple who live together for a certain length of time (is it 7 years?) are referred to as a common law marriage. However should that couple choose to part there is no need for a divorce as the 'marriage' is not legally binding.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: vindelis
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 03:26 PM

I am another despiser of the term 'Ms'. I am a Spinster and will be so until the day I either get married or pass on to the great beyond. I am quite happy to be addressed as Miss Matthews, but take no offence if addressed as 'Mrs'. I rather like the German custom of addressing all ladies over 'a certain age' as 'Frau'.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,The Anti-Wife
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 03:30 PM

Ms Duck,

Happy to see you can so readily admit your ignorance.

No offense taken friend, even though I know it was intended.

Having a less idealistic view of marriage appears to threaten some of the women here, all of whom seem to feel the need to defend the Mrs thing, be "proud" to be married, etc etc. Yet none of the men make such comments (ie I'm so proud to be married).

Why is that?


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 03:35 PM

Then there is my elderly New Jersey friend who still addresses every girl as doll.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 04:11 PM

Yet none of the men make such comments (ie I'm so proud to be married).

Well I indicated I'd be more than happy to be able to have a prefix to my name thta would say that I was married. "Proud to be married" - I'd sooner say glad to be, and grateful to my wife for putting up with me.


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 02:24 PM

Well said McGrath!


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Subject: RE: First or Last name? And Mrs or Madam?
From: GUEST,The Anti-Wife
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 12:59 PM

And McGrath proves he is a majority of one! Good on ye, McGrath!

Excellent display of "little womanism" there, just excellent.


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