Friday, June 15, 2007

Hits and Mrs.



In moving from NYC to the suburbs 12 years ago, one of the biggest adjustments for me was, and still is, being called "Mrs. ... " by other adults. This is primarily the case with teachers, school office workers and other parents.

First of all, I'm not a Mrs. Anything. Even when I was married, I wasn't Mrs. Anything. I kept my maiden name through three husbands, and while I don't expect people to automatically know that, I think that when I refer to myself either by my first name or by my first and last name, people might try to pay attention. Instead, they keep calling me "Mrs. My Kid's Last Name". Most of these people know that I'm not married, so why not say "Ms. My Kid's Last Name" if they don't know mine? If you ask me, Ms. is one of the best new "words" of the 20th century. It takes the guesswork out of addressing women, and it doesn't make incorrect assumptions about their marital status.

Sure, the name game is a little confusing at our house. My last name is different from both of my children's, and theirs are different from each other's. For some reason, though, people in NYC had no problem with this concept. And when you referred to yourself by your first name, people used it.

I don't even want my kids' friends calling me Mrs. or Ms. anything. And please don't call me Ma'am!!! I realize that some people instill this as a form of "respecting your elders" in their children. On the other hand, my children have been taught to ask adults what they'd like to be called, and respect that.

Is this just a practice in snooty Connecticut or Westchester County? Honestly, I thought "Mrs." was dead. At least I hoped it was.