...to call myself "Mrs"?

(148 Posts)
LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:03:20

Am in my thirties, gay, single, with two DCs. I've never been married (my children were born thanks to a sperm bank).

I used to be very keen to call myself "Ms" in my twenties, but now I think "Mrs" maybe sounds more respectable/authoritative...in reality, I don't know that many women who go by "Ms" now (and it's tricky enough to pronounce...)

I find that the GP, Health Visitor etc address me as "Mrs" anyway.

My only reservation, besides not being sure if I am legally "allowed" to call myself "Mrs" if unmarried/not in a civil partnership, is whether it might lead even more people to imagine that I must have been deserted by a partner. When I can be bothered, I often find myself having to explain already that I'm a single mum by choice.

MrsMushroom Sat 16-Feb-13 20:04:23

YABU to bow to convention. You know YABU.

TidyDancer Sat 16-Feb-13 20:05:47

Well personally I think this is a bit silly tbh.

Does it really matter? I don't think it sounds more respectable or authoritative either, what makes you say this?

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 16-Feb-13 20:08:37

Are you a Victorian housekeeper? If no, YABU and strange.

specialsubject Sat 16-Feb-13 20:09:01

you can call yourself what you like, but in modern usage 'Mrs' means 'someone's wife'. So people may ask about your husband or wonder if you are divorced or widowed.

none of which is a problem but will use more oxygen.

Ms works perfectly well. I am married and use it as I didn't change my name, although I was using it before marriage, stopped 'Miss' at about 22.

BambieO Sat 16-Feb-13 20:09:42

I have to say I do feel more 'respectable' being a Mrs (I feel I look relatively young haha I may be deceiving myself) when with DS


It's a disgrace that society can make us feel this way, there is no shame being a mr, mrs, ms or miss etc it's all labelling and does not reflect anything of substance other than life choices or circumstance

If it makes you happy do it!

Marcheline Sat 16-Feb-13 20:10:15

I am a Mrs <DH'sname> and often wish I had stayed Ms <maidenname>.

Grass is always greener, I suppose!

I'm unsure of whether you can legally be called Mrs too but don't see why you shouldn't in informal situations, if that's what you want.

TheCraicDealer Sat 16-Feb-13 20:11:06

Seems like this'll just cause more problems than it'll solve- you'll constantly be explaining that actually, you're gay and there is no "Mr OP". There's no law pus be breaking by addressing yourself as Mrs, you can call yourself whatever you like. But people will often make assumptions based on it.

CockyFox Sat 16-Feb-13 20:11:23

I can see where you are coming from I think it is fine as long as you will be confortable explaining when people ask about your husband.

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:12:45

TheOriginal nobody, let alone the Victorians, would let me be a housekeeper - but if I was one, I would be "Miss", no?

*specialsubject" your reply is likely to persuade me to keep "Ms". Though they are lovely stories, I use a lot of oxygen already on how DCs were conceived if I am gay, etc etc without having to explain also that I'm not divorced or widowed...

simplesusan Sat 16-Feb-13 20:12:46

I don't actually like Ms as I find it awkward to pronounce. It just doesn't flow smoothly.

Personally I think that all adult women should be Mrs regardless of marital status, just as all adult males are Mr.

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:14:20

sorry specialsubject your name went funny

TheCraicDealer yes - thinking along those lines too...more questions to answer...

BambieO Sat 16-Feb-13 20:14:27

Not to cause controversy on a straight forward thread but does anyone know what you would technically call OP if she underwent a civil partnership? I am genuinely curious and not a troll see lots of other useless advice I have given posts

Would she not become a mrs? So people could just ask about her partner rather than husband?

CockyFox Sat 16-Feb-13 20:15:14

Meant to add, I got married at 18 so have been Mrs DH surname my entire adult life. I wouldn't have ever wanted to be an adult Miss, It seems a very young title whether I would ever have adopted Ms I am unsure, I think if I had remained single I would have had a similar dilemma to you OP.

BambieO Sat 16-Feb-13 20:15:57

Disclaimer! Not that you need to be in a partnership OP, it just prompted food for thought smile

apostropheuse Sat 16-Feb-13 20:17:15

I used Miss when I was young, before marriage.
I used Mrs when I was married.
I now use Ms (I'm 51) as I'm not married and I think Miss is for the young - or old maids in their eighties!

I personally think Ms is like Mrs; it doesn't define you. You are you, regardless of marital status.

To my mind Mrs doesn't make you sound any more respectable or authoritative. I have no idea why you would think this.

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:18:01

BambieO I am sure I could call myself "Mrs" if I entered a civil partnership (not on the cards as I have yet to meet Mrs - or do I mean Miss - Right), but I know a number of lesbian civil partnered couples who chose "Ms" instead.

Simplesusan I think I would prefer that too, no Miss/Ms just Mrs for everyone, for simplicity

Melawen Sat 16-Feb-13 20:18:35

I too am a single mum by choice and I am quite firmly Miss as I'm not married although I do find myself agreeing with simplesusan.

iwantanafternoonnap Sat 16-Feb-13 20:18:39

I am 40 and a Miss with a DS and I hate it if anyone calls me Mrs. I correct them and tell them I am a Miss. Nothing wrong with being a Miss IMO.

apostropheuse Sat 16-Feb-13 20:18:49

sorry I meant to type Ms is like Mr


Marcheline Sat 16-Feb-13 20:20:08

Simplesusan, I agree. It would be much better to have a universal title for women, as for men. Did they try to do it in France (I seem to remember somethig about Madame and mademoiselle - they tried to scrap one of them, but it didn't work? I could have made that up, it has been known to happen...)

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:21:49

And I think maybe I only feel more respectable/authoritative as "Mrs" is because its only people like the GP who address me in this way! I know that is a completely daft reason. Sometimes on the phone, for example, the other day when being sold car insurance, I had answered the "Mrs/Ms/Miss" question with "Ms" and the person selling the insurance went on "So Mzzz LolloRosso, is it for business/personal use only etc." and the funniness of the "Ms" word made me feel abit silly. Maybe that is just me, though, on paper it looks fine, just it is a weird word to pronounce, let's face it you don't hear as many people saying: "I was talking to Ms Smith the other day..." or whatever, it's just not that commonly used verbally.

Iggity Sat 16-Feb-13 20:21:52

I never give myself a title when introducing myself but I suppose I tick the "mrs" box on forms. I've rarely heard anyone directly address me as "mrs" as they normally just use my full name. You can call yourself whatever you fancy unless you are doing it for fraudulent reasons (I think!).

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:22:39

Yay Melawen another single mum by choice smile

EuroShagmore Sat 16-Feb-13 20:23:16

I am straight and married. I've called myself Ms since I was about 15 and that has continued after marriage. I think YWBU to bow to an outmoded convention of giving women (only) titles according to whether or not they are married.

CockyFox Sat 16-Feb-13 20:23:38

Out of interest how do all the ladies who use Ms pronouce it, should it be Miz or Muz or something else, I always say Muz but have been told it should be Miz.

DontmindifIdo Sat 16-Feb-13 20:23:44

OP - because housekeepers and cooks in 'posh' houses were "Mrs XXX" regardless of marital status (it showed those where 'high status' woman's jobs - Mrs being more respectful than Miss). In the same way, some staff where only referred to by their first name, others only by their surname. When the went to another house, they'd be known as Mr/Mrs/Miss [their employers name].

OP - you could well find Mrs more respectable and authorititive because even though you've picked a relatively alternative lifestyle, you have still taken on the fact that an adult woman with children is more respectable if she's married. A woman who has 'bagged' a man is more authoriative than one who's failed to do so.

Miss or Ms is perfectly acceptable, the only issue with Mrs seeming 'little girl' comes from the idea you have to be married to be a 'proper grown up'.

(I however am a 'Mrs' and use it, but I didn't get married that young and didn't have a porblem with Miss before)

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 20:24:11

"just it is a weird word to pronounce, let's face it you don't hear as many people saying: "I was talking to Ms Smith the other day..." or whatever, it's just not that commonly used verbally. "

Hopefully that will change as more and more people get used to it.

BOF Sat 16-Feb-13 20:25:44

I don't see the problem with Ms, personally. It's just pronounced miz. I don't like the marital status connotations of Mrs and Miss past adulthood, so I have used Ms since I was 18, and I have never changed my surname. Which is very handy, as I'm too disorganised to remember who I'd need to write to if I did.

Zavi Sat 16-Feb-13 20:26:15

YABU in my opinion. I think the title Mrs is for the preserve of married or widowed women.

If you start to call yourself Mrs people will assume you are married to a man and there will come a day when somebody asks you about your husband. And you will both be embarrassed when you explain you are a gay single grin

Many women see no need to declare their marital status so publicly and prefer to refer to themselves as Ms and of course men NEVER need to declare their marital status in the same way.

I automatically have more respect for women who refer to themselves as Ms because to me it signals that they are more confident and self-respecting and happy to stick their head above the parapet.

How many married shrinking violets or doormats do you know who refer to themselves as Ms?

soverylucky Sat 16-Feb-13 20:28:12

I would stick with Miss tbh - who really cares whether someone is a miss/ms/mrs/married/single/straight/divorced/widowed.

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:28:48

If I don't want to bow to convention, then I will probably call myself "Mrs" as an unmarried, single mum! So long as it's not breaking any laws, and it doesn't seem to be...If we can make up the rules ourselves, which people on here seem to be doing, then I think I would rather be "Mrs", and it is less for my ideas of "respectability/authority" which are clearly just personal misconceptions judging by the responses here (-though there are more people here saying they don't like Miss as it seems immature - what was it that Simone De Beauvoir said about having to BECOME a woman but being BORN a man??!-), more because I find "Ms" so weird to pronounce and funny in conversation.

123rd Sat 16-Feb-13 20:29:02

Ha it's funny because I am married but NEVER call myself Mrs!! If asked my title I would say Mrs 123 but if asked for my name I'm always just first name and surname.

OpheliasWeepingWillow Sat 16-Feb-13 20:29:48

I'd call myself what I liked if I were you!

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 20:29:58

YANBU. Pick whatever suits you.

I'm a Ms <married name> myself. Except when I'm a Miss <maiden name>.

I don't care what anyone thinks and I never feel obliged to explain myself.

I am a married Ms. I was a single Ms too.

I was stopped by a chugger the other week, and he asked my title and I said Ms. He asked me why, was I divorced or something (he was being nosy, but in a nice way - just interested) and I told him it was none of his business, just as him being a Mr and me not knowing his marital status is none of my business.

YABU. Mrs is not more authoritative or respectable. I hate it as it makes me feel like all I am in title is someone else's property.

CrunchyFrog Sat 16-Feb-13 20:31:52

I'm a Ms. And it's Ms my name, which I first took when I married XH but is now mine. Unless you only borrow it while married?

I was a Ms the whole way through my marriage too, I prefer it and always have.

Yama Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:01

I love Ms. Love it.

I don't feel the need to correct people when they call me Miss but blimey I do when they call me Mrs. I am married by the way.

However, I want to stick two fingers up to the notion that marriage makes me more respectable. Why on earth should a women need to feel more respectable because she has kids?

LineRunner Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:32

I have never found Ms weird to pronounce or funny in conversation but maybe that's just me.

It's Miz.

And frankly no-one should be having conversations about other people's marital status. If people give that much of a shit, I wouldn't be talking to them tbh.

purpleroses Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:49

The system that expects women to have to declare if they are married or not - and makes them feel status if they are - is wrong.

The question is whether it's better to refuse to go along with it by using Ms, or subvert it altogether by using Mrs when you aren't in fact married....

foxywoxy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:33:20

You could call yourself Mrs and say you are reclaiming what used to be the title for all adultwomen.

Back in the day, Miss was for girls, Mistress (Mrs) was the title for grown up women, married or not. The Miss/Mrs distinction which came later sought, and succeeded in infantilising by title all unmarried women.

It would have been far more radical for feminists to have reclaimed Mrs, and involved them in no less debate than Ms STILL does now.

I use Ms.

purpleroses Sat 16-Feb-13 20:36:36

That's interesting foxy - not just more radical though, also a lot more practical. The problem at the moment is that it's hard for Ms to catch on, precisely because of the status that Mrs confers, meaning that married women are reluctant to give it up. But if unmarried adult women simply started using Mrs whether married or not, the distinction over whether a women is married or lost would simply be lost.

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 20:36:38

In Germany the convention has been to call all women (ie over 18) Frau instead of Fräulein because it's seen as patronising. I understand it's similar in France but women decide when they will become Madame and it's not dependent on marriage.

I think they may be on to something...

Bue Sat 16-Feb-13 20:37:52

I'm married and I'm a Ms (have a different name to DH and even if I'd taken his name I would still use it). However I'd have no problem with Mrs if, as a society, we decided that all grown women should use the title. Hate that it currently implies husbandly ownership though!

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:37:58

The replies on here are pretty mixed, YABU/YANBU at first glance, which is interesting to me.

DontmindifIdo I hadn't realized that usage of Mrs for people as chattels - can see now why some - JackieTheFart etc - avoid it for that reason.

Questions can come for either choice, I think. As Jackie says, you do get questioned for using "Ms" even if it's subtle/friendly questions such as "oh, are you on your own now" but as Zavi says people will assume there is an OH if I call myself "Mrs". At toddler groups etc, even amongst people who are trying not to be prejudiced/make assumptions, people nearly always assume your are straight/ in a relationship (in that order) just by the presence of your children. I think that will happen whatever I call myself, I don't usually go ahead immediately and tell people my sexuality and marital status in such situations, but inevitably people say, after a few toddler groups etc "Does your OH work?" or "What are you and your DP doing for Xmas" etc etc and I then correct them.

Jackie that's a good answer to questions re "Ms" that you have, though, polite but pointing out it's not relevant. It's usually women, not men, who ask though, in my experience!

Bue Sat 16-Feb-13 20:38:18

Oh, and I pronounce it Miz. I hate Muz!

foxywoxy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:39:10

I agree purpleroses, it would be a long haul, but if the Germans and French can do it, I live in hope.

Bogeyface Sat 16-Feb-13 20:39:26

I have always been Ms <MaidenName> through three marriages!

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 20:39:45

Do people really ask if you're miss or mrs at toddler groups? <boggles>

wem Sat 16-Feb-13 20:39:57

I use Ms. I pronounce it Muz I suppose, but don't often say it, only really goes on documentation.

I'd like it if we used Mrs for all adult women, like Frau or Mme (I think?)

CockyFox Sat 16-Feb-13 20:40:28

I am intrigued by people who take their husband's name , I understand keeping your maiden name and using Ms. I just don't understand why you would be comfortable and happy to give up your own name but still use Ms; the fact you have the same name as your husband surely gives away the fact you are married if that is your argument.

LineRunner Sat 16-Feb-13 20:40:37

I still fail to see in what circumstances discussing one's title now arises. It is simply not an issue.

If anyone asks me, I say, 'Why do you need to know?'

LineRunner Sat 16-Feb-13 20:41:23

Actually I might become 'Mr'.

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 20:41:42

Sod it, I'm going to be Frau Middleton from now on.

wem Sat 16-Feb-13 20:42:03

CockyFox, married women are not always accompanied by their husbands...

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 20:42:26

Or Lord Admiral?

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 20:42:54

shock wem!

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:44:05

The question is whether it's better to refuse to go along with it by using Ms, or subvert it altogether by using Mrs when you aren't in fact married....

Thanks purpleroses, that is what I meant by my question I think. I don't want to have a second-class/marked name, I think that "Mrs" is still the 'unmarked' version i.e. neutral, whilst 'Ms' does have different connotations, even if (some) feminists try to put those connotations in a really positive light (Zavi says: "How many married shrinking violets or doormats do you know who refer to themselves as Ms?" I.e. "Ms" is seen as an assertive choice of title)

I think now it would be great if everyone took Mrs.

foxywoxy Sat 16-Feb-13 20:44:13

I don't think that's cockyfox's point. more why make on kind statement via the title, and then completely undermine it by taking the man's name.

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 20:45:08

At what point would you transition from Miss to Mrs grin
Should men go from Master to Mr too?

purpleroses Sat 16-Feb-13 20:45:34

Cocky - using your husband's name only lets on your married if you're with him - in which case you'd probably be happy for people to know that. Whereas using Mrs says that you're married even when your DH is nothing to do with whoever you're dealing with (car insurance, booking a work trip, etc)

digerd Sat 16-Feb-13 20:46:59

I do like the german language. Once you are an adult all females are called Frau married or not. There is no distinction in title. But we live here and have always found MS a bit naff as ridiculous to pronounce. I would like the title Lady or Madame, but the former is restricted to being the wife of a Lord in english.
OP call yourself what makes you want.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Sat 16-Feb-13 20:47:30

I think people will look at you funny if you introduce yourself as Mrs and it then subsequently emerges that you're a spinster. You will get hmm faces galore. If you don't mind that then there's no law against it.

Tortington Sat 16-Feb-13 20:47:37

whatever floats your boat - i have to say that i think your letting the side down a bit - the womens and possibly gay side - its the 21st century for fucks sake, for professionally to assume a woman with children is married is ridiculous.

i am married - i call myself Ms.

i am known professionally by my maiden name and i retain my bank account in my maiden name

i have been married 24 years and i do regret not keeping my own name. SO one day i thought fuck it - and used it anyway. and that was that.

do what makes you feel right, - i really mean that

digerd Sat 16-Feb-13 20:47:56

strike out makes.

purpleroses Sat 16-Feb-13 20:48:19

kim I think you should make that transation around the same time you become a woman, rather than a girl, or a man rather than a boy. Would probably depend on context, but our society already has different language for adults and children.

LineRunner Sat 16-Feb-13 20:48:46

it then subsequently emerges that you're a spinster

Yes, yes because this happens all the time in the real world ....

Yama Sat 16-Feb-13 20:49:32

LineRunner - if someone phones me and asks Mrs Myname? (or even Dh's Name), I will correct them. Anywhere where I am not addressed by my first name my title is used. If they pluck for the wrong title I will correct them.

Actually, as I said earlier I only correct Mrs. And, contrary to other posters' experiences it is only men who persistently get it wrong. I have only had to tell women once.

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:49:39

I don't know what I want confused
A glass of wine right now and will sleep on it.

SilveryMoon Sat 16-Feb-13 20:51:45

I'm a Ms. I changed my surname by deed poll last year to make it the same as dp's and our ds's, I thought a bit about the title, whether I wanted to stay a Miss or not, but decided on Ms because I wanted to acknowledge that I'm not single, but not married, so I went for the one that's in the middle.
When in conversation, I do refer to dp as my husband though, is just easier.

OP I don't think it really matters though, and you should do whatever you want to. Miss, Mrs, Ms, whichever one you prefer, it doesn't actually make much difference does it?

purpleroses Sat 16-Feb-13 20:53:18

Yama - why do you correct them though? (unless they've got it wrong before of course and you're annoyed with them?) I tend to take the opposite approach and though I don't call myself Mrs, if someone else does, I don't bother to correct them. Seems a step in the right direction of saying it's none of their business and shouldn't matter

Yama Sat 16-Feb-13 20:55:35

I correct them because I don't want to validate the need for women to change their title upon marriage. Men don't. Parity and all that.

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 20:56:47

YY to that Yama

LolloRosso Sat 16-Feb-13 20:56:51

LineRunner grin
Yep, people have assumed many things about me in my time, but no-one has voiced their suspicion that I am a "spinster".

Custardo as for letting the side/s down. I don't mean to do that. I actually think it's a tricky dilemma as a feminist as to which to use Ms/Mrs as purpleroses expressed the question.

I have held up my hands to it being my own silly prejudice that "Mrs" sounds more respectable, but I maintain it still has different connotations than "Ms". "Mrs" stands as itself as an answer, "Ms" (like it or not) seems to attract more questions.

LineRunner Sat 16-Feb-13 20:57:54

It is also IME mainly men who ask, dither and sigh about women's titles.

BlatantLies Sat 16-Feb-13 20:58:34

I used to call myself Ms but I didn't love it. I am not sure why but iseemstobe to be an invitation for people to start quizzing me about my marital status. angry It also bugged me when people kept calling me Mrs or Miss regardless.

It does seem simpler being a Mrs. I have a bit of a shite maiden name so didn't much care about switching to my DH's. I have lived in a country where women retain their maiden names regardless but that seemed confusing to have different names from the DC's

I think the best plan would be for you to get studying and get yourself a Doctorate or medical Degree, or become a professor.

Doctor LolloRosso or Professor LolloRosso both sound good to me. grin

Are your DC's old enough to be consulted?

Dromedary Sat 16-Feb-13 21:02:01

I'm in a similar situation and call myself Ms. But it's a pain - most people behave as though they've never heard the term and I often have to spell it for them. Various people call me Mrs, while knowing that I'm not a Mrs, presumably because they think it is the respectable title for a woman with children (ie I'm immoral). Some who call me Ms do so sarcastically.
I recently wrote to a woman as Ms, because I'm used to using it. I got back a very offended letter with her going on at length at how she liked being called Mrs as it showed that she was married... confused

KatieMiddleton Sat 16-Feb-13 21:02:49

Ime experience it doesn't matter what you call yourself people will still assume.

FIL and surrendered wife stepMIL sent me a birthday card to Mrs <dh initial> <dh surname> and I once got a letter from work with Mrs <maiden name>

Nobody bloody asks. I'm not fucking chattel FIL nor am I Mrs because I am married colleague-who-knew-me-before-marriage-and-knows-I-haven't-change-my-surname angry

Still FIL and stepMiL's card did have a lovely little recipe on the back <shoots self>

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Sat 16-Feb-13 21:06:20

I find my marital/relationship status does emerge in the course of conversations/ official discussions reasonably frequently in the real world, yes Linerunner confused.

If I get a cold call that asks for Mrs MyName or Mrs DH then I normally respond "yeah, close enough" (these are cold callers, so get a fairly frosty response) unless I have good reason to believe that they're nuisance calls in which case requests for Mrs DH are met with "no-one of that name here".

AmandaPayne Sat 16-Feb-13 21:10:21

I changed my surname when I married for various reasons. I am a Mrs because Ms is just so daft as a word isn't it. I like the theory of the word, but the word itself is so false and made up sounding.

But I would stick with Ms if I were in your position. As the lesser of two slightly unpalatable choices. Simply because, as others have said, Mrs in our culture implies marriage, and it's one more tedious explanation you have to give.

However, if I had my way, all women would be Mrs, just as you would never address a grown male as anything other than Mr. I think that maybe that's what they do in Germany? I remember finding it odd being routinely addressed as Mrs Maidenname when I went there for business before I was married (and the colleagues knew I wasn't) but my friends said it was normal there.

YippeeTeenager Sat 16-Feb-13 21:10:50

I think you should be Lady LolloRosso from henceforth...

Branleuse Sat 16-Feb-13 21:11:20

Im a Ms.
i don't correct people though if they get it wrong unless they ask

AmandaPayne Sat 16-Feb-13 21:11:32

Or get a doctorate? or is that a slightly shallow reason for such prolonged study?

Wincher Sat 16-Feb-13 21:24:07

Forwhoever asked, I go by Ms Marriedname at work - I have changed my name, so thatsmy surname, but my marital status is irrelevant. I tend to use Mrs in a personal context simply as it is correct and I rather like it. However I have no idea of the titles or marital status of most of the friends I have made since having DS, even though they are close friends. I only know their surnames because of facebook!

weegiemum Sat 16-Feb-13 21:32:00

I now go by mrs <married name>. but before we moved to a rather remote and rural place where everyone knew everyone, I was MRS <maiden name> at work (married name has rather unfortunate mammary type associations - it's German where "tit" doesn't mean breast!).

If I was getting married today (18 years later!) I'd not change my name. But the name I took with my dh is kind of cool, only about 40 people in the whole world have it, so I'm pleased with the exclusivity!

For the OP: in my first teaching job, I was getting married one term in. So I chose to be Mrs <maiden name> from the start. It was ok. You can call yourself whatever you want!

kim147 Sat 16-Feb-13 21:34:40

A friend of mine changed her surname 3 times at a school I worked at.
Divorced, maiden name, remarried.
Mrs, Miss, Mrs.

It got expensive in name plates for the door.

dayshiftdoris Sat 16-Feb-13 21:56:56

Single with 1 child...

Been called all 3 (Miss, Ms and Mrs) and use Ms & Miss interchangeably.

Don't care what I am called but I did kick off spectacularly on the occasion that I received a letter from the same department regarding my son addressed to 'Mr & Mrs'... had raised it politely twice before and still got a third 'Mr & Mrs'...
Say kick off - I told them as they had send me 3 letters referring to the 'Mr' that I was assuming that they were going to provide said 'Mr' and could I please have a nice one with a 6 pack...

It happened again with another department and I wrote to everyone stating my marital status and who lived in the household.

I didnt need some over-enthusiastic tax credit person digging round my bathroom looking for men's shaving equipment and dirty underpants Thank You!

herecomesthsun Sun 17-Feb-13 04:03:34

getting a doctorate does solve the problem grin!

anonymosity Sun 17-Feb-13 04:10:29

Call yourself what you like. There will be nay-sayers whatever you choose, sadly.

missingmumxox Sun 17-Feb-13 04:18:58

I hate Ms, it doesn't flow, I am still Miss, even though I am married and 2 children, for some reason my surnane changed against my will (I can't be bothered to explain but it can happen!) on all forms of identification, but the NHS, my bank and work use Miss, DH surname..no idea why, and i can't be arsed to correct them after 14 years...I like the confusion, my last job I was Mrs but at the time I didn't wear a wedding ring, took it off when pregnant and it took 6 years to fit back on, this job, Miss, but have a wedding ring.
I think you should do what you are comfortable with, I found people did double takes when I was Mrs without a ring, but as a Miss with a wedding ring, nobody seems to notice, and nobody questions, normally too polite, no I don't remember being questioned.

aurynne Sun 17-Feb-13 05:13:18

I do have a doctorate, and man it feels good to say "Dr" to someone who keeps pestering me for my "title".

JessieMcJessie Sun 17-Feb-13 06:41:28

I am pushing 40 and never married, no children. I am proud to use "Miss", perhaps influenced by my lovely never-married great aunt who went by "Miss Watt" her entire life and was extremely well respected.

That said, I have no objection to being addressed as Ms, although this only really comes up in correspondence with banks, authorities etc- in my professional circles it is seen as archaic to write to someone as anything other than "Dear First Name" even if you have never met them. I get more annoyed being addressed as "Mr" as I have a unisex given name and I hate the assumption that a person in my job must be a male, when it would be very easy for them to find out before writing to me.

Much has been said on this thread about the implications of using a title that reveals you are married- I must say that for many years my dogged insistence on using "Miss" was to make it crystal clear to all available males that I was NOT married! Since I have been with DP I am probably more relaxed about Ms. If we were to get married I'd like in principle to be Mrs [DP surname] but unfortunately his surname goes really badly with my given name. Mrs McJessie is my Mum, SIL and Granny, definitely not me, so I guess I'll be Ms McJessie forever by default.

Actually, does anyone out there use Mrs [DH name] when only surnames are being used (say, a child's teacher is addressing you as Mrs Smith), but never pair their given name with their DH's surname?

OP I'd say that you could go the Victorian housekeeper way if you really valued the "respect" that you perceive you get from Mrs but what you seem to be saying is essentially that you feel people respect you more when your title disguises the fact that you are a single mother by choice, which is odd as everything else you say sounds as if you are rightly open and proud of your choice.

StuntGirl Sun 17-Feb-13 08:48:39

I think about this a lot actually. I am an unmarried miss. But I think using titles to define women's marital status publicly is kinda shitty, and I think we need to move away from it. For a while I thought it should be Miss/Master til 18 then Mrs/Mr for everyone, but now I think it should just be a straight Mrs = female title, Mr = male title from birth. Let's not faff with it.

It would take a while and there would be some people who didn't like it, some people are very attached to the concept of what those titles denote, but I think it would be a move to a fairer and more equitable society. Other countries do the same thing and they haven't imploded, so I think we'd be fine too.

Tallgiraffe Sun 17-Feb-13 08:54:24

Another vote for doing a PhD! I use Mrs most of the time but it gives me a lot of pleasure to use Dr if someone is being patronising or annoying.

BikeRunSki Sun 17-Feb-13 08:59:21

Do a PhD and call yourself Doctor?

fluffyraggies Sun 17-Feb-13 09:08:36

Ms. But it's a pain - most people behave as though they've never heard the term and I often have to spell it for them.

^^ this made me smile. Yes! People say Mzzzzz, in a strained sort of way.

I've been (in order) Miss W, Mrs G, Ms G, Miss W and now it's Mrs A. (with DHs sir name) When i married a second time i dabbled with the idea of staying with my maiden name as i'm a bit sick of changing my name. DH was quite put out, hurt almost, so i changed for him.

I think all girls should be a Miss. End of.
Mrs is outdated, and Ms is just daft.

seeker Sun 17-Feb-13 09:11:49

It always amuses me that people don't have the slighted trouble saying Mrs or Mr, but somehow Ms is really, really difficult.

I suppose it's the same as women's last names always being ugly and hard to spell, and men's last names always being euphonious and simple............

diddl Sun 17-Feb-13 09:15:57

It is as previously said, modern convention that assume "Mrs" is married.

Perhaps we should just adopt Mrs when too old for "Miss", as it used to be?

I have my husband´s surname, but always think of myself as Mrs Diddl Husbandssurname.

My MIL always addresses my bday card to Mrs hisinitial husbandssurname-completely removing anything of me!!

GinOnTwoWheels Sun 17-Feb-13 10:32:41

The whole Miss/Mrs/Ms thing is something that has bothered me for the whole of my adult life, for all the reasons discussed here, but mainly title used and issues/explanations etc is an indignity that only women have to put up with.

I hate having to select a title in online forms and choose a random selection of Miss/Ms. I often am addressed as Mrs Last Name as well but that's my mother, not me.

I would rather not use a title at all and am happy with firstname lastname with anyone whether I know them or not referring to me as firstname. This is the norm in Nordic countries.

If if is the case that we have to use titles, I only ask that men and women are treated equally. Either that all adult women are called Mrs or Ms, I don't care which, but the link with marital status should be removed. Like in France/Germany.

I have often thought of starting an e-petition but don't like drawing attention to myself so would worry that people would know it was me blush.

However, I've just looked at the epetition website and there's TWO live petitions on this issue.



Thank you to Deborah Zaher and Rosie Campbell for doing what i am too scared to do and sticking their heads above the parapet and doing something about this indignity that women suffer.

Lets all join in and sign the petition to get the necessary 100 000 signatures that mean that this will be debated in parliament and perhaps put into law! Come on Mumsnetters, you can do it!

There has been a few similar petitions in the past but sadly have woefully fallen short of the 100 000 signature requirements.




My (divorced) Mum claims she did her PhD to avoid the title question.

I am a married Ms <DHSurname>. I took DH's surname because I have no relationship with my father and no-one else in my family had that surname, so I had no connection to it and was delighted to get shot of it. It never felt like 'my' name. However that choice does not mean I have to divulge my marital status in my title. I know a lot of people on MN disagree, but I think my decision is completely rational and reasonable.

Trills Sun 17-Feb-13 11:24:12

You can if you like, but it's a bit odd, and if you get into a conversation about "Mr Rosso" and have to explain that there isn't one, never has been one, and never will be one, people will do this face at you hmm

Where do you live that people have not heard of "Ms"? 1955?

Zavi Sun 17-Feb-13 11:25:33

I pronounce Ms as mzzzz and I just love saying it! I'm sure I can see some people trying not to roll their eyes when I say it!

Lolly, the term Mrs came about as a means of describing a woman's status in relation to a man. It means Mister's. So, strictly speaking, it should be written as Mr's but has been shortened to Mrs through the ages.

That is why I have always described myself as Ms. I thought to myself "better start as I mean to go an because there is NO way on earth, when I marry, that I am going to take on a title that describes me as a man's chattel!"

Zavi Sun 17-Feb-13 11:26:14

Meant to say Lollo above

TraceyTrickster Sun 17-Feb-13 11:34:12

I am married and straight, with a child.

I am Ms Maidename 90pct of the time (DH doesn't care) but occasionally Mrs MarriedName.
I am too old for Miss and Mrs feels too proprietorial...

edam Sun 17-Feb-13 11:35:39

I don't see why women are constantly asked their marital status when men are not. Especially as it's usually irrelevant. Wish we could all just use Ms for grown ups. Or Mrs, whatever.

I'm a school governor and whenever I go into school I get introduced to the kids as Mrs Edam which is v. irritating. Esp.as I kept my own name. And they know this as dh helps out at school a lot and has a diff. surname. But it seems too much of a fuss to correct the teacher in front of the kids.

edam Sun 17-Feb-13 11:38:51

Zavi, that's entertaining backformation but not true. It's short for Mistress as in Shakespeare's Mistress Quickly.

I'm a married Ms Ownname, I don't like Mrs at all and will correct it (it is invariably said with DH's surname). I can't remember the last time anyone addressed me as Miss <old>.

I think you should stick with Ms, but that's probably because I wish Mrs would disappear altogether. It is likely to cause confusion if you use Mrs in your circumstances though.

perplexedpirate Sun 17-Feb-13 11:54:36

I've been Ms since I was 18, single and married.
It has never caused a moment's trouble.

IncognitoIsMyFavouriteWord Sun 17-Feb-13 12:21:36

I don't like Ms.

I am not divorced!

I am a single unmarried mother. my title has never changed because of this so I will me a Miss until I marry. No matter what age I am.

LolloRosso Sun 17-Feb-13 12:25:39

Thanks everyone for all your replies, much food for thought. So far I have two post-graduate degrees but both beneath the level of a PhD so maybe I should just go for a doctorate (financially impossible though...)

I will definitely look at the epetitions and sign relevant ones, thanks Gin.

Just for the last time, I am openly proud of my single status, my life choices etc and prepared to admit that my own associations with "Mrs" were little more than personal prejudice. Though it seems odd, I do agree with all who have said that "Ms" is clumsy to pronounce though. Will ponder on...

Trills Sun 17-Feb-13 12:31:59

Calling yourself Mrs is accepting that "Mrs" is a higher-status title, and just going with it, regardless of the implications (that a woman's aim is life is to bag a man).

Calling yourself "Ms" is rejecting this, and saying that a woman's marital status is really nobody's business, but it means that you have to put up with people who think this is weird.

This dilemma: accept the unfair status quo and make the best of it vs challenge the unfair status quo and get flak for it is familiar in many areas of life. Neither choice is inherently unreasonable.

I disagree that Ms is clumsy to pronounce. It's no more difficult than Miss-iss. We're just less familiar with it.

thegreylady Sun 17-Feb-13 13:00:34

To me Ms is neither one thing nor another. It smacks of being embarrassed about who you are. If you are single you are Miss and if you are married you are Mrs and if you don't want anyone to know then you just give your name. Ms is rarely used by those who are completely comfortable with their status.

Feminine Sun 17-Feb-13 13:23:59

Totally agree with you greylady

I was coming to write the very same thing.

motherinferior Sun 17-Feb-13 13:33:07


I am perfectly comfortable with my 'status' - I could very easily get married (my daughters' father keeps suggesting) it, but even if I did, I would remain Ms (and keep my surname). Please don't project your ideas about comfort and convention onto others.

motherinferior Sun 17-Feb-13 13:34:36

I am neither married nor single anyway.

ZenNudist Sun 17-Feb-13 13:35:18

OP I think you should use Mrs if you like it. People will be making judgements or assumptions but that's just a side effect of the crazy system where women declare age & marital status in their title and men don't. Use what you like and sod 'em. Its annoying that if you tell them it's none of their business if they enquire about your dh then you will be seen as ashamed when you're not. An "I just prefer Mrs", would suffice.

I chortle to see letters addressed to master ds. I think name surname more appropriate.

I used Ms maiden name from 21ish up to marriage when despite my protestations I adopted mrs dh's name as he wanted a "mrs me"! I now love my name and wouldn't change it back to my dads name (that's what it is).

I support people to call themselves what they like. Im a bit envy at people who can use dr to get away from the miss/ms/mrs debacle. My dsis made me laugh when she got married and was asked her married name "doctor maiden name" was her curt reply. She is a medical doctor. I dont know if shes gone back to ms now shes a consultant. My friend and her dh are dr & dr his name although she is phd and he is medical doctor. I think it's a bit hmm for her to use dr as she isn't a medical doctor but hey ho. [waffles on emoticon]

Zavi Sun 17-Feb-13 13:40:22

Have to disagree greylady

For me the use of Ms is the signal that you are so comfortable and confident about who and what you are that you don't feel the need to let other people know what you are.

You are confident enough to be able to leave other people completely in the dark about your marital status.

Must admit that I do think that single women should drop the Miss title at 18 and become Ms. Ridiculous being called Miss, i think, in your 30s 40s if youre unmarried.

ivykaty44 Sun 17-Feb-13 13:52:11

I call myself whatever I fancy - sometimes Mrs, sometimes Miss and at others Ms. i thought that was the great thing about being female there are so many more choices - men only really get boring ole Mr and have to stick with it, but then that is not my problem.

Callycat Sun 17-Feb-13 13:56:21

Hasn't Ms been used for ages in the American Deep south, for all women? Or have I made that up? They say it as "Mizz". I actually like Ma'am - I use that to address women if I don't know their name (if they're older than me and I want to sound respectful).

Another vote for the PhD - I'm Dr Callycat and it's fun watching the incredulous looks on (usually) older men's faces when I give my title grin

Cornflowerdreams Sun 17-Feb-13 13:59:14

If you look at the history and meaning of Mrs, you'll probably think twice before using it, especially being gay.

Mrs usually has the history and social connotation that you are a man's property by law.

Why would any woman/man want to send that message to society in this day and age? By changing small token of patriarchalism like that, we're beginning to change the broader society.

Drop the "Mrs" and go for "Ms", no matter how hard to pronounce it is!

MadonnaKebab Sun 17-Feb-13 14:05:06

I make a point of avoiding using any prefix and find firstname-surname works 90% of the time
If forced to I will click on Dr, but only if the form will not allow a blank
If I didn't have that option I would probably mix it up a bit, go for Dame one time , Prof the next, maybe Rev or Major
Endless fun!

SomethingOnce Sun 17-Feb-13 14:17:01

Even if I were to marry DP and change my surname, I'd keep Ms. On the grounds that I am glad there is an option not to be identified as either a a child/unmarried adult woman or a married woman.

I don't have a problem with marriage and would consider the name change for a number of reasons, but I do have a problem with my title changing to indicate my status to others when men get to be Mr throughout their adult lives.

What title do little boys have these days, by the way? Is the gloriously anachronistic 'Master'?

HeathRobinson Sun 17-Feb-13 14:20:27

I'm old enough to remember the change, when they stopped using Master for boys and used Mister (Mr) instead. I thought it was really unfair.

cheesesarnie Sun 17-Feb-13 14:27:44

i recently split up from dh. still married but not together (thank fuck). so technically im still mrs married name. on facebook im first name married name was maiden name. id like to keep the same name as dc but not sure if i was to be his name or mrs forever. hmmm

sorry op- your thread has made me wonder out loud!

Bue Sun 17-Feb-13 14:41:44

Trying to work out when I became uncomfortable with my status! I am comfortably married but I am not Mrs since I don't use DH's surname. I am not Miss since I am married. That leaves Ms!

On consultants' names, I was in an operating theatre the other week with a Miss <Surgeon>. Baffled why a successful, driven, 30 something woman chooses to use that title, I thought it sounded silly and trivial in the context. At least one of the other female consultant surgeons there uses Ms.

perplexedpirate Sun 17-Feb-13 15:48:37

Uncomfortable with my status?! So I was uncomfortable single, and now I'm uncomfortable married? WTF?
I must try divorced and civil partnered, maybe that will make me 'comfortable' enough to stop using Ms.
Never heard such poppycock.

scottishmummy Sun 17-Feb-13 15:55:55

But your setting self up for lots of what? mrs the convention is you have male husband
I think it's purposefully obtuse of you, are you trying to make point?

JessieMcJessie Sun 17-Feb-13 16:14:17

Bue, why does "Miss" sound silly and trivial when used by a surgeon? Do tog think that unmarried schoolteachers who call themselves "Miss maidenname" ( because let's face it, school kids will never get used to Ms) are also "silly"? Or is it somehow OK for people in stereotypically female professions to call themselves "Miss"? Perhaps the female surgeon you worked with was proud of her single status, why should she be any less entitled to advertise her marital status than a married female surgeon calling herself "Mrs"? As I said in a previous post my great aunt was Miss all her life and was anything but silly. I am a lawyer and when the judge addresses me as "Miss McJessie" I certainly don't feel "silly".

HollaAtMeBaby Sun 17-Feb-13 16:14:59

OP, perhaps you could get ordained online and be a Reverend? Respectable, authoritative, and completely gender-neutral grin

I'm another one who thinks Ms signifies comfortable in your own identity whereas Mrs signifies that you are not and need everyone to know you are married. As for Miss used by adult women, to me that says comfortable with oneself but perhaps not as bothered about the sexism inherent in women's titles as a Ms.

Regarding school children never getting used to Ms? Why ever not? Increasing numbers of them probably have mothers who use that title.

wherearemysocka Sun 17-Feb-13 16:50:20

The children I teach have no problem referring to me as Ms Whereare (they have on occasions called me Mum) - although if they're screeching across the classroom at me I do get 'Miissss! Miiisss'. My married colleagues get that too, though, so i just put it down to a figure of speech.

None of my male colleagues have knighthoods but get referred to as 'Sir' - given some of the things I've been called in my time as a teacher I don't get too bothered by it.

I think the people who are least comfortable in their own identities are the ones who see fit to criticise and judge someone for their choice of title. I would love us to be like the Germans whereby it's on age rather than marital status, but I don't feel the need to be defined by my relationship with a man, so I choose the only neutral option available to me.

Arcticwaffle Sun 17-Feb-13 18:11:56

I like Ms. To me it signifies "It's really none of your business whether I'm in a relationship or whether I'm sexually active". Just like Mr.

I loathe Mrs. Whatever Edam says about it not being "Mr's", to me it feels like that. I won't answer to it.

I'm another who went through the slog of a doctorate so I could have a gender-neutral tag. but it's a bit of a faff, just being Ms is simpler really. Doesn't land you in so much debt.

HazleNutt Mon 18-Feb-13 11:15:57

I work for an US company and have never, ever been addressed by Americans as anything but Ms. Totally normal there, just like Mr for all men. Only in UK is the title seen as "ooh you must be a divorced lesbian feminist ashamed of their actual marital status".

JessieMcJessie Mon 18-Feb-13 12:54:33

Ah, mention of Americans reminds me, in the US, all lawyers are addressed in correspondence as "JessieMcJessie, Esq." The first time I received a letter from an American I presumed that they had mistaken me for a man but it turns out the term is officially unisex. Not much use in conversation, but I o rather like it.

Bue Mon 18-Feb-13 13:56:01

JessieMcJessie, yes I actually think that any grown woman using Miss sounds silly grin

But I am from Canada, where Ms is the totally standard business form of address. Mrs/Miss would never be used these days.

Hopefully we will follow the lead of the US and Canada then.

HollyMadison Mon 18-Feb-13 14:18:00

I prefer Ms or Miss to Mrs (I'm married). There are no connotations to using Ms these days.

JessieMcJessie Mon 18-Feb-13 14:21:14

But Bue, you haven't explained why it sounds silly- what is it about using a title that reveals you are unmarried that is "silly"? Is being unmarrued "silly"?

minimeech Mon 18-Feb-13 14:47:21

I agree with simplesusan, why do women have miss, ms, mrs when men only have mr.? I think you should call yourself whatever makes you feel comfortable, anyone that has issue with your marital status - that is their issue & do not have a right to make you feel uncomfortable - be happy : )

willesden Mon 18-Feb-13 14:48:42

In service, the cook was always referred to as Mrs even if she had never been married. I think you should call yourself whatever you want. I have remained a 'Mrs' even though I have been divorced 11 years and with my partner for 4 years. Personally, I would hate people to know I am an unmarried mother. People are so quick to judge especially on MN.

I think using any title which indicates your marital status is outdated Jessie that is why Miss and Mrs sound silly to me but I realise that many women still choose to do so and that is their right. It is not the fact of being married or unmarried that is silly.

Bue Mon 18-Feb-13 16:41:25

Jessie, to me Miss is a title for a little girl, and as such I think it sounds silly and infantile on a woman. There is nothing silly about being married or unmarried, but it IS silly that women still have titles that are based on their marital status, while men do not! I certainly appreciate that others don't share my views however.

Bue Mon 18-Feb-13 16:42:14

So basically what WhoKnows said smile

FergusSingsTheBlues Mon 18-Feb-13 16:48:18

Och, I like being Mrs. Its like wearing a cloak of invisibility.

Crinkle77 Mon 18-Feb-13 18:39:55

What's wrong with Miss?

Dromedary Mon 18-Feb-13 20:14:39

Crinkle - see above.
Why are women expected to inform everyone they meet that they are married / single (maybe because no man would want them?) / a single mother (because no man would want them? Because they sleep around? Therefore their children are neglected?). These are not my assumptions, but others do have them. The bottom line is that your marital status is not the business of every person you meet / every phone centre worker you speak to.

BeCool Mon 18-Feb-13 23:29:11

They do this in Germany - use Frau regardless of marital status.
A German friend told me on the weekend that Frauline is now rarely used even by young women. It's very uncool to use it.

Joeast123 Thu 19-Jun-14 23:01:59

I am a teacher, never married with 1 child. I have made the decision to become mrs. I tried miss but felt like I wasn't a woman, ms no one can pronounce and still makes me feel less of a women. In 14th century all respectable women were mrs - that makes sense to me.

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