Miss/Mrs/Ms

(160 Posts)
MephistophelesSister Mon 13-May-13 20:26:54

I don't usually get to het up about Miss/Mrs/Ms (and apologies in advance, because I know the debate crops up on here fairly frequently) But I am trying to buy some insurance, and am starting to lose my temper.

I am married, but I sometimes use my maiden name. For this particular insurance I actually need to use my maiden name. However, if I try and select 'Miss', the helpful website blocks me from proceeding with the message 'marital status does not correspond with title'.

I am fully entitled to use the prefix Dr. Unfortunately loads of websites won't offer this as an option (which is a pity, as I find it a handy dodge). In this case they will, but I gained my doctorate under my married name, so that doesn't sit right.

I can't (or really, really, shouldn't) lie about my marital status - that would put me on shaky ground if I ever came to claim, and might influence the quote. But as far as I know there is no law against/reason why a married woman can't continue to use her maiden name and prefix it with 'Miss'?

Using 'Mrs' in front of my maiden name just seems wrong, and I have simply never liked 'Ms'.

[Wails] why can't they just let me have it my way!!!

cozietoesie Mon 13-May-13 20:29:53

Does Ms allow you to use your name of choice?

Shallishanti Mon 13-May-13 20:31:16

well, Miss indicates an unmarried woman, Mrs indicates a married woman, and Ms indicates an adult woman whose marital status is not given. So I'd agree with your insurers!
I have had problems in that I am Ms ThenameIwasbornwith and some ignorant people/orgs consider this means I cannot be married (in fact I am) but I soon put them right.
I think you need to learn to like Ms grin

HollyBerryBush Mon 13-May-13 20:32:24

Miz just sounds like a bee stuck in a bottle. Awful prefix. Makes my piles itch.

MephistophelesSister Mon 13-May-13 20:32:45

Yes - but I have never used it and really don't like it. I am going to end up looking really unreasonable, aren't I? smile

I think I am just a bit too old - when I grew up it really was only divorced women who used Ms, and it still has that connotation for me.

I actually bin any mail addressed to Ms Meph on the grounds it is not addressed to me blush

exoticfruits Mon 13-May-13 20:34:15

I don't see why you can't choose Miss and married. I am with you- can't stand Ms.

WilsonFrickett Mon 13-May-13 20:34:42

YABU. Miss means unmarried, as Shall says, Ms means 'feck off and mind your own' which is why I like it.

But you cannot have le cake and mange it, I'm afraid.

Shallishanti Mon 13-May-13 20:34:55

ah, well I bin anything addressed to Mrs Mypartnerssurname! I also get Ms myname-hisname, I pass that to my daughter!

Shallishanti Mon 13-May-13 20:36:16

well, you can choose Miss and be married, but people will be confused, and reasonably so, also the computer will say no!

VinegarDrinker Mon 13-May-13 20:37:14

Confused.com was convinced being a doctor was incompatible with being married and female last time I tried to buy car insurance a couple of years ago hmm

Hassled Mon 13-May-13 20:37:40

Oh just use Ms. It's fine - it's the catch-all for exactly this sort of scenario. I am Ms Hassled (maiden name) and married - makes perfect sense to me. I don't want to use DH's name and be Mrs Bloggs, but yet Miss implies unmarried. Ms is the hinterland between the two.

quesadilla Mon 13-May-13 20:38:06

I struggle with this. I instinctively hate the po-facedness of Ms although I totally get why it needs to exist. Hate all three. Miss sounds Victorian, Mrs Stepford Wife-ish and Ms humourless and self important. Can I just use Mr?

MephistophelesSister Mon 13-May-13 20:38:49

But you can legally call yourself whatever you fancy, surely?

That must also extend to titles [grasps at straws]

I have one bank account in my maiden name (prefixed with Miss)

...and one in my married name (prefixed with Mrs).

Bank are happy - why not insurance comparison site??!!

I am married but use Ms. I don't think of it as relating to somebody that is divorced but more of a "none of your bloody business whether I am married or not".

MephistophelesSister Mon 13-May-13 20:40:47

quesadilla I suspect the website might explode if I try 'Mr' grin

WilsonFrickett Mon 13-May-13 20:41:49

Because they're not there to make you happy, they are there to extract the maximum amount of information from you in the minimum amount of text boxes. It really is as simple as that. There's an algorhythm (sp?) somewhere which doesn't let you tick 'married' and 'miss'. Untick married and you can call yourself what you like.

I think you can call yourself whatever you like but it would probably help if you were consistent.

PuppyMonkey Mon 13-May-13 20:47:38

God forbid people might think you were .... DIVORCED shock

Just put Ms and get on with your life.

MephistophelesSister Mon 13-May-13 20:48:28

Unticking 'married' changes the material facts though, Wilson and I am chary of doing that in case I invalidate the insurance.

re consistency Lady slatt the trouble is, I lead a fascinating double life I married fairly late on, so loads of stuff that it is a huge hassle to change still sits in my maiden name.

MephistophelesSister Mon 13-May-13 20:50:52

PuppyMonkey I can see your point blush.

Ms has just never been my name, and it doesn't sound right to me.

I am just annoyed that they presume to dictate how I am addressed, I suppose.

marriedinwhiteagain Mon 13-May-13 20:50:55

Does it really matter? Aren't there other things to worry about?

msrisotto Mon 13-May-13 20:51:57

Just call the insurers?

SconeRhymesWithGone Mon 13-May-13 20:53:59

To me, it is an equality issue. Why should men have a title that in no way indicates whether they are married, but women historically did. Miss and Mrs. are both abbreviations of Mistress as is Ms. And honestly I do not get objections to the sound of it: English is fill of "z" sounds. Although I am not sure why a title is required at all. What if you were Quaker and it was against your religion to use a title?

CitizenOscar Mon 13-May-13 20:54:52

YABU. Just use Ms. There is nothing wrong with it. Problem solved.

This whole discussion just highlights why everyone should just use Ms and be done with it. Unless you're a Mr, of course, or Dr/Lady/Princess wink

PuppyMonkey Mon 13-May-13 20:56:03

I'm Countess on Sainsbury's Online anyway grin titles are all a load of balls, IMHO.

50shadesofknackered Mon 13-May-13 20:58:59

What really REALLY gets on my tits is when I receive post addressed to mrs dh initial or first name and then our surname!!! angry angry angry my first name is not the same as my husbands and just because I am married and was talked into have taken dh surname, does not mean I have morphed into some mindless married drone who doesn't even deserve to keep her own first name! Bastards! It drives me fucking crazy! It makes it worse coz dh's family are the worst culprits, every friggin birthday card addressed in this way. It makes me especially confused coz its women sending the cards. I know where they can shove their cards, tossers!
<And breathe>

EggsMichelle Mon 13-May-13 20:59:46

When I was 16 I managed to register myself as Rev. with an Internet provider, goodness knows how but it did amuse my parents when I got post from them.

quesadilla Mon 13-May-13 21:00:23

Mephistopheles try it. That'll learn 'em...

usualsuspect Mon 13-May-13 21:02:09

Just use Ms.I don't get all the bloody angst about it .

MephistophelesSister Mon 13-May-13 21:03:40

Aha! success.

I went with Mrs from on comparison site, but the actual insurer allows you to ammend details and they are far more reasonable beings.

I am now the proud owner of an insurance policy under the name of 'Miss Maidenname', marital status 'Married'.

Grump over blush. Still annoyed with comparison site though...

pinkr Mon 13-May-13 21:06:59

Why do you need to use maiden name? <curious>
As a matter of interest are you allowed to keep using whichever name you fancy whenever? I only ask as sometimes if like to be one and sometimes the other!

bollockstoit Mon 13-May-13 21:12:47

I really like being a Ms. As mrsrisotto says though, save the online quote, then call the insurers to clarify things.

tilder Mon 13-May-13 21:15:59

That would really piss me off too. Glad you got it sorted. I'm married, but haven't changed my name or title. Dp didn't, so why should I.

This kind of thing irritates the same way as the mortgage forms I got with person one in blue and person two in pink. I didn't think and filled in the pink, leaving the blue empty for dp. I hate pink. Guess who all the correspondence is addressed to?

Blue & pink mortgage forms! shock

Where were you getting your mortgage from - Disney?

MephistophelesSister Mon 13-May-13 21:21:11

OK - colour coded forms is definitely of a higher order - seriously? Pink?!

1Catherine1 Mon 13-May-13 21:23:16

OP you are in fact correct. You can use Miss if you so choose whenever you so choose. I did research (lots of googling and reading) and learnt that these are just social titles with no real meaning. So as an unmarried woman you could freely call yourself Mrs if you so choose and vis-versa. I agree you should be able to change this. That was how I was able to change my title from Miss to Mrs on my driving licence without my marriage certificate. Curiously, my pension company will allow me to change my name and title but not my marital status online.

As for using which ever you fancy... well I think that depends. I changed my name via deed poll and signed that I would always use my new name and never my old one, so I'm sure I'm not supposed to use it any more. I guess since you don't legally change your name upon marriage then you can use it when you want to. Many people choose to use their maiden name for business and married name for home life - this is perfectly acceptable.

Jan49 Mon 13-May-13 22:15:02

I'm Ms and I'm divorced. I've been a Ms all my adult life, whilst single, then married and now divorced. I call myself Ms because my marital status is none of anyone's business and I see it as a female equivalent to Mr, so it's really annoying when some people think it means divorced. It is of course short for Mindyourownbusines s!grin I also avoid putting a title sometimes, as in just "A Smith".

badguider Mon 13-May-13 22:20:10

I think you should have used Ms - by avoiding it you're perpetuating the 'divorcee' myth.

I did not change my name on marriage and I use Ms. I feel that Miss is saying 'not married' (but I am) and Mrs shouldn't be used with my surname but only DHs.. so I use Ms.

I wish more women would use Ms so that people stopped thinking the old fashioned idea that it has something to do with divorce.

tilder Mon 13-May-13 22:29:26

The mortgage was a proper company. Suppose I should be charitable and assume they weren't being sexist. looking back, it was at best patronising though. It was a very good rate, so financially a good move grin

I never assume ms means divorced. I see it as a title unconnected to marital status. Personally its not for me, would never choose to me Mrs, don't qualify for any other title earned or otherwise so that leaves me with miss.

Glad it's sorted now, all this is the reason i use 'ms' on everything - i'm a 'miss' but engaged so 'miss' feels wrong (to me) plus as has been mentioned my marital status is no ones business and i refuse to give companies more data about me than they need <i is covert init> grin

OrangeFireandGoldashes Mon 13-May-13 22:50:23

I'm married, kept my maiden name and use Ms too badguider, so there are some of us about!

jkklpu Mon 13-May-13 22:54:57

You are no longer MISS MaidenName because you are married.
You are not MISS MarriedName either
It's only a website - just do MS MaidenName and be done with it. If it's the name that matters in this case, really don't lose sleep about the title.

manicinsomniac Mon 13-May-13 23:19:50

Glad you got it sorted.

I don't like being referred to as Ms. I'm not ashamed of the fact that I'm not married and I don't see the need to hide it.

StickyProblem Mon 13-May-13 23:24:54

Ms is just the female equivalent of Mr. What's not to like?!

ComposHat Mon 13-May-13 23:30:05

I can't see the fuss, I like Ms.

Radical: if you don't like the set up of the website then use a different one!

An estate agents I signed up to online didn't have the option of ms (just mrs and miss). So I selected mr and moaned at them when they rang me

SanityClause Tue 14-May-13 05:59:50

Why do we even need these silly titles, anyway?

Mr says, "I am a man".

Mrs/Miss/Ms say "I am a woman who is, isn't or may be married".

Why is it important to specify your sex when saying your name? Why is it even relevant?

myfriendflicka Tue 14-May-13 06:18:36

Ms is good, as has been said it is the equivalent of Mr. Why shouldn't women have a title that does not make reference to their marital status just like men do?

I also didn't change my name on marriage and after my husband died five years ago, got a lot of pressure to go back to Miss, which I find annoying and prim at my age, as though I am some sort of fossilated born-again virgin.

Humourless and self-important eh? We don't say that about men who call themselves Mr do we?

A neutral title is a good thing, unfortunately I do spend a lot of time being asked: "Miss or Mrs?" and saying: "Mssssssssssss!" as in the buzzing of angry bees. As I am thinking of getting some bees for my garden perhaps I shall get them to apply for anything that involves quoting a title grin

MumnGran Tue 14-May-13 06:19:22

Shades -
they may not be trying to offend or make a point, only staying with a format which may now feel outdated but was always considered to be "correct form". Writing to married women as Mrs (DH initial or name) (DH surname) was the accepted format, and not doing so would have been considered poor etiquette.

Nowadays, women's role in society has radically changed and we are lucky to be able to see ourselves as independent regardless of marital status; formal etiquette takes a century or so longer to catch up! I am as guilty as anyone ....though now only use the form for Christmas cards to married couples (why?!?!?) and when sending out wedding invitations (not an everyday occurrence!). I guess its high time I changed blush

What annoyed me far more was the refusal of some companies to accept that a woman could be a householder in her own right! - lost count of the mail addressing me as MR (female name!!) Surname. So ....at least some things have changed for the better smile

Growlithe Tue 14-May-13 06:40:45

Ms is a perfectly fine title provided to suit women in your situation. Not using it because you just don't like it is a bit silly.

The comparison site will just have a program behind it just trying to catch any common errors made when entering data, so that there is less chance of you having to send back policy documents when issued because they are incorrect.

FacebookWanker Tue 14-May-13 06:42:10

I hate the sound of 'Ms'. I don't like being called Miss Surname either...there's no pleasing me...

exoticfruits Tue 14-May-13 06:46:14

Not using it because you don't like it seems perfectly sensible to me. I find Ms irritating. It should be a choice.

Growlithe Tue 14-May-13 06:46:54

BTW, chopping and changing names like this may have an adverse effect on your credit history. There are also fraud systems about which pick up on these constant changes.

This may also effect the deals you are getting.

It's best to stick to one title and surname in these matters IMO.

VinegarDrinker Tue 14-May-13 06:56:18

Loads of my friends use Dr Maidenname and Mrs Marriedname (especially if working locally to where they live) with no problems, financial or otherwise.

I'm Ms/Miss/Dr on various different things (all same surname though, I've never used DH's) and haven't found anyone in the least bothered.

KatyDid02 Tue 14-May-13 07:02:06

I use Mrs and my ex-husbands surname, that confuses people no end but I can't be bothered with changing it.

Growlithe Tue 14-May-13 07:02:36

Behind the scenes if you use two different surnames they will be linked and called alias. IIRC your case will tend to be referred to manual underwriting, which could result in you not getting the cheapest deals from all companies.

Growlithe Tue 14-May-13 07:06:12

PS - this wouldn't necessarily be visible to you.

I agree word for word with what BadGuider says. Ms for all women would be so much better IMO.

lljkk Tue 14-May-13 07:36:59

yanbu, your choice of title should not be a statement about your legal status. it is so wrong that only women have to make this decision and men don't.

I cringe at the British pronunciation of Ms.
I had no idea that people thought it mean divorcee, though.

Smudging Tue 14-May-13 07:49:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

myroomisatip Tue 14-May-13 07:56:37

I agree with using 'Ms', after all why is it only women that are expected to reveal their marital status?

No more Miss or Mrs for me smile

limitedperiodonly Tue 14-May-13 08:01:20

I'm Miss Maidenname though I'm married. It's never been a problem. Occasionally people think DH is Mr Maidenname. He copes.

Puzzled by the posters who say it's not allowed when you're married but then say they use Ms because they don't want to reveal their marital status confused.

Being Miss Maidenname enraged one person in my life who found out I was married and then accused me of fraud hmm

But then she was mad.

However old you are, it's never been only divorced women who used Ms (although there's always been a section of the media eager to claim that).

lottiegarbanzo Tue 14-May-13 08:10:31

I'm 40 (am I really?), have always used Ms and am only vaguely aware of the 'divorcee' connotation amongst my parents' generation. So even if you are in your 70s, it probable that most of the people working at the insurer are not and it wouldn't occur to them.

I do think Ms sounds funny and hate the way some people treat it as po-faced and didactic; some call centre people go all serious, even apologise and their friendliness evaporates.

CloudsAndTrees Tue 14-May-13 08:21:58

By the logic you are using OP, you should also be able to address yourself as Mr. It would be equally as incorrect as Miss, because you are married and that's what it means.

Do you think your husband should be allowed to go by Mrs if he chooses to? It's the same thing.

Why do people hate the sound of ms? To my ears it's just miss with a harder z sound rather than soft s. they are so similar when spoken as to be Indistinguishable at times. I usually answer 'ms M S' when asked 'miss or mrs' because they sound so similar.

Trinpy Tue 14-May-13 08:39:57

I don't know if it is still like this but when I used to run a rainbows group I tried to register with Girlguiding UK; the online form wouldn't let me select ms as a title unless I said I'd had more than one surname in my lifetime I.e. only divorced women use ms. Couldn't believe that one!

VerySmallSqueak Tue 14-May-13 08:40:41

I am Ms on some things,Mrs on others and Miss on yet more.
It doesn't concern me too much though my title of choice is Ms.

I truly didn't realise you could still legally use your single name if you name changed on marriage.

I may be being dim,but could someone explain to me why you might do that. (curious).I realise that if you end a marriage you may well want to do that (but I always imagined it had to be through a legal process).

I have a lot to learn!

pinkyredrose Tue 14-May-13 08:42:14

Oh that's annoying Trinpy

It also assumes that all women change their name when they marry.

olgaga Tue 14-May-13 08:48:50

I've been married for 16 years and still use my single name for work, but it evolved into Mrs Singlename.

My current account, credit cards so all my online accounts are in Ms Singlename, but my email is my married name.

I changed to my married name for my passport, driving licence, HMRC, and we have a joint BS account I can pay cheques into if they are mistakenly paid to Mrs Marriedname.

I never bother correcting people - who can face having to do that for an entire lifetime? Call me anything you like, just don't call me late for dinner grin

olgaga Tue 14-May-13 08:50:37

VerySmall The reason for it in my case is that I didn't get married until I was 37! There was so much stuff to change, it would have been a mammoth exercise to do it at the time and I wanted to still be known by my single name for work.

luxemburgerli Tue 14-May-13 09:06:15

Manic, using Ms has nothing to do with being "ashamed" about not being married (or being married!), and everything to do with it being no one's damn business whether you are married.

The inequality between male and female titles DOES matter. Imagine you're sitting in a meeting and the boss announces someone is coming for an interview. Boss says the applicants's name is "Miss X" and everyone thinks she is a young person fresh out of university. Boss says it's "Mrs X" and everyone's picturing a middle-aged, mum-like woman. Boss says "Mr X" and no one has any preconceived ideas.

I would like to see "Ms" (or any other generic title) reach the same status as "Mr" in my above example, and not be considered a title women use if they are bitterly divorced/ashamed of not being married/worried about being though "self important"!!

lottiegarbanzo Tue 14-May-13 09:06:47

Yes, I say ms, people hear it as miss, so it's only when it matters to get it right for a form that I correct them and they act as if told off.

With unofficial uses I get all three. Tradesmen always choose Mrs, I suppose its statistically the best bet at my age and i don't correct because it isn't matter. Of ourselves they then refer to DP as Mr myname.

Teapot13 Tue 14-May-13 09:19:17

I don't think using "Miss" denotes that you aren't married -- it means you are using your unmarried name. Elizabeth Taylor was always "Miss Taylor" even though she was married most of the time.

Likewise my mother is wrong to address mail to me as Mrs. Maidenname. I am married, but not to my father. (She knows I don't like Ms, and Miss doesn't make sense to her, for the reasons on this thread. Hmm. . .)

MsJupiterJones Tue 14-May-13 09:22:34

I use Ms (married) and if I am using a website that doesn't offer this option I write them an email politely suggesting they do. I recently did it with MAM (baby feeding stuff) and got a great reply from a manager saying thanks and they would change it - and that she used Ms herself too.

I'd suggest you contact the company to explain that you use Miss; if they are asking for marital status as a separate question then whether it matches or not is irrelevant. You could also suggest they include Dr.

VerySmallSqueak Tue 14-May-13 14:36:28

Thanks olgaga.I suppose I changed everything immediately as I didn't realise I had any other option.

It's interesting to know that a woman could open a bank account in their maiden name if she so wished ( but would ID in that name not be a problem?).
Also I was pondering the other day that with a FB account in a womans' married name,friends you lost touch with before you married wouldn't be able to contact you - so that's again a point of interest.

Well, I learn something new every day on MN!

Frostybean Tue 14-May-13 14:51:18

I think all women should use Ms whether married, single or divorced. Marital status should be irrelevant. However, in the real world I know that it is as when DP tried to put me on his insurance they wanted to increase the premium but when I put him on mine they decreased my premium. The person on the phone said that the insurers feel 'safer' knowing that a man will potentially be able to drive the car hmm
I hate the fact that women's status is still attributed to thier married state.

HazleNutt Tue 14-May-13 14:59:02

"'safer' knowing that a man will potentially be able to drive the car" - what kind of logic is that? Men are not safer drivers confused

bollockstoit Tue 14-May-13 15:01:57

When I worked at an insurance company, it usually made it cheaper if a spouse or partner was put on the policy, whether they were male or female was irrelevant. All insurance companies have different underwriting though.

olgaga Tue 14-May-13 15:02:18

You could only open a new bank account in your single name as long as you hadn't changed your name at all and had the required ID in that name. I wouldn't be able to open a new one now in my single name because all the required ID is now in my married name.

I managed to open a joint BS account with DH because it basically came with our mortgage - which is jointly in the married name.

Because of course I had changed my passport by then!

It's all a bit of a jumble - but I manage. I keep thinking one day I'll just get round to changing the whole lot to my married name, which is after all DDs name. But it's even more daunting now - so that's a good argument for doing it sooner rather than later.

It's no problem to be known by more than one name, as long as it's not for the purpose of committing a crime!

yy bollocks, my grandfather tried to get my grannie taken off the insurance as she doesn't drive at all any more and they said that he might as well leave her on because the premium would increase with just him on there

woozlebear Tue 14-May-13 15:12:50

I was a Colonel once on a credit account with Bathstore!! grin It made me laugh every time the monthly bill turned up.

(Actually just plain old Mrs.)

Poledra Tue 14-May-13 15:17:31

VerySmallSqueak, I still use my maiden name for work. So, I'm Dr. MaidenName and Ms. MarriedName at my DCs' school, for instance. I choose to keep my maiden name as I had worked and published under that name for some years before I married, and didn't want to lose my professional reputation. I have bank accounts in both names. You're right, it can cause problems with ID, but my passport, which is in my married name, has a note on it stating that 'The holder is also know as Doctor Poledra MaidenName', so I do have official ID in my maiden name.

You can actually use as many names as you please as long as you are not doing it for fraudulent purposes. I queried this with my accountant (also known as my BIL grin) when he was helping me with tax returns, and he said that there was no reason why the tax man couldn't cope with it, as long as my NI number was consistent.

ComposHat Tue 14-May-13 15:18:20

I was a Colonel once on a credit account with Bathstore

I applied for a job where it had a vast array of titles on the electronic application. I was tempted to select Wing Commander then put in brackets (just in the bedroom)

Decoy Tue 14-May-13 15:52:05

What about unmarried men who'd prefer to be known as "Master" until they get married, only then becoming Mr?

Oh wait, there aren't any...

ATJabberwocky Tue 14-May-13 16:00:37

I always thought Ms was for divorced women, I have always used Mrs. maiden-husbands name - it never occurred to do otherwise. I do think it would be good to adopt this though as why should a woman's title give indication of marital status. Personally OP, I'd ring up and have it put as Dr.

EldritchCleavage Tue 14-May-13 16:02:06

I'm Miss Maiden name, and married.

Lots of women who started out in my profession where women were traditionally Miss Surname just stay that way, though many are Mrs Married Name outside work. So in practical terms for me, Miss doesn't actually tell anyone at work my marital status.

I don't like Ms. I think of Miss as all-purpose female title to be used married or not. I think we should abolish Ms and Mrs, actually.

Decoy Tue 14-May-13 16:02:59

Ms hasn't been primarily for divorced women for years!

HazleNutt Tue 14-May-13 16:11:46

many other countries used to have unmarried/married woman titles, but are now using the married ones as default for all women. This is a way more reasonable solution than inventing a third title for women who don't want to announce their marital status. So the logical solution would have been just to call all adult women Mrs.
However, Ms. can work perfectly fine as well - I work a lot with americans and have never been addressed as anything but Ms. It's just in UK where people assume you must be divorced feminist lesbian spinster.

I don't mind whether it is Miss, Ms or Mrs but there definitely ought to be one all-purpose female title.

Maiden name is another phrase I would like to see the back of. I have a surname, if I changed it I would have a previous surname not a maiden name.

M10s Tue 14-May-13 16:13:54

In the world of registration (births, deaths and marriages) 'ms' stands for 'maiden surname'.

If you think it's difficult to get a computerised system to accept a title 'miss' along with a married status, you should try it with no title at all. I don't select any of the options (mr, mrs, ms, miss) and find that completely freaks most systems out.

Poledra Tue 14-May-13 16:20:29

WhoKnowsWheretheTimeGoes, totally agree with you - was thinking while typing 'maiden name' that I didn't like using the term but couldn't think how else to put it! But my 'maiden' name is not a previous name as I use both - maybe I should just call it my surname as opposed to DH's surname.

VerySmallSqueak Tue 14-May-13 16:27:39

Poledra thanks smile. Sometimes I miss my 'maiden' name but it seems it's altogether easier to use it 'officially' if you haven't already stopped using it altogether.

It seems that I may follow in others footsteps and become a Professor or Lieutenant or something at times just to satisfy that peculiar Bourne-esque urge I have lurking.....grin

WhoKnows I'd never thought about maiden name being so...well...crap! You are,of course,right to object imo.

VerySmallSqueak Tue 14-May-13 16:29:12

(Altogether too many altogethers there......)

M10s Tue 14-May-13 16:32:39

Poledra you could refer to them as 'registered surname' and 'married surname'.

If you didn't like 'registered surname' you could refer to that as 'birth surname', 'parental surname', or 'paternal/maternal surname'.

[But in the world of legally registered archives it still is your 'maiden surname' smile! ]

Poledra Tue 14-May-13 16:37:31

Ohh, thanks, M10S - I can live with 'registered surname' and 'married surname'.

Let's face it, I was no maiden by the time I got married anyway blushwink

slug Tue 14-May-13 16:38:02

As a young(ish) Kiwi, straight off the boat and a tad overtired and irritated with British bureaucracy, I was in a bank trying to open an account. I was holding lots of cold hard cash (as required by the Home Office before they would let me in) a NI number, an address and a job. This was before the money laundering laws had made it almost impossible to open a bank account but the whole process had taken what seemed like hours and I hadn't factored in the habit of banks closing their doors so long before the end of the shopping day.

Bank personage: "Is that Miss or Mrs"
Me: eh?
Bank personage: "Is your title Miss or Mrs?
Me: (at this point heartily fed up) Do you ask a man his sexual availability?
Bank personage: ???
Me: Why on god's green earth is it necessary for you to know whether or not I am married? Would you ask a man if he was married in order to open a bank account? Is there some sound financial reason why a women's sexual availability is more important than a man's? Does a woman suddenly become more financially stable once there's a ring on her finger??

I may have gone on for quite some time..... I honestly couldn't believe that I was, in the latter part of the 20th century being asked that question. In NZ you are Ms unless you specify otherwise.

HazleNutt Tue 14-May-13 16:44:12

At the end of the day, in most situations where titles are used, it shouldn't even matter if you're a male or female. Could do what for example Sweden does and get rid of titles alltogether -everybody is just Firstname Surname.

JoTheHot Tue 14-May-13 16:50:57

I didn't realise that using 'Miss' told everyone you were sexually available. I thought it just told them you preferred to be called 'Miss'.

slug Tue 14-May-13 17:01:54

Miss advertises you as unmarried and therefore available. Mr does no such thing because it does not matter, apparently, to businesses whether or not a man is off the market.

Decoy Tue 14-May-13 17:09:46

Agree with slug. The default should be Ms, as it doesn't give anything away. Then women have a choice whether to specify their marital status later (by giving a different title or otherwise), without this being the default.

lottiegarbanzo Tue 14-May-13 18:06:28

It's always banks isn't it! I've certainly, in my younger days, gone off on the 'you do realise that asking for a mother's maiden name is as useless as security information at it is anachronistic?' theme - as you cannot safely assume anyone's mother was married and, if she was, changed her name.

We agreed I could use my cat's name but they really did not comprehend, at all. Now I just use whatever word or phrase I want and avoid discussion but the question is still asked sometimes.

I hate the term "maiden name" but I guess that's a whole other thread grin

limitedperiodonly Tue 14-May-13 18:55:54

I don't like Ms. I think of Miss as all-purpose female title to be used married or not. I think we should abolish Ms and Mrs, actually.

I'm with eldritch

limitedperiodonly Tue 14-May-13 19:01:32

Miss advertises you as unmarried and therefore available

No. I'm available according to my own wishes, not those of anyone else. I hope that one day this concept will be universally accepted.

exoticfruits Tue 14-May-13 19:05:54

Miss advertises you as unmarried and therefore available

What an odd idea.

exoticfruits Tue 14-May-13 19:07:42

I know people who are Miss and married or living with someone. Anyone would think it was more desirable to be married.

Lavenderandlimes Tue 14-May-13 19:10:59

I'm married. I still use miss 95% of the time. I find mrs so old fashioned!

Pandemoniaa Tue 14-May-13 19:22:48

Miss advertises you as unmarried and therefore available

That's a peculiarly ancient viewpoint. If it ever were a realistic viewpoint.

I use my maiden name but have been "Ms" since my 30. "Miss" seems to have such simperingly youthful connotations and I'm in my 50s and not at all simpery. But I'm entitled to call myself "Miss" despite not being available!

I'm about to get married and don't intend to change my name although I'm not going to have conniptions if people who don't know differently/aren't at all close to me, automatically refer to me as Mrs X. However, I'd be equally pissed off if some computerised form refused to accept that marital status alone should dictate what title I use.

YA definitely NBU. In this day and age being prescriptive about title and marital status and ruling one out on the basis of the other is as ridiculous as the assumption of availability, or otherwise, if you choose to call yourself "Miss".

MephistophelesSister Tue 14-May-13 19:33:40

There is some really interesting food for thought on this thread - I am glad that I started it.

I just thought that I would add, that whilst I personally don't like 'Ms' I have no problem at all with other people using it. It is simply with my own name that I make a stand.

In regard to 'hiding' being married by using 'Miss' - I really don't see it that way at all. I am in the 'Miss' = catchall camp. When I got married it was after 12yrs of being with DP (now DH) under my maiden name. I was asked at the registry office to express a preference for future use and was a bit wrongfooted. I said 'Mrs DHsname' at the time.

I have my passport in my married name, and my driving licence in my maiden name. Everything associated with the home we owned in my name before we got married (mortgage, bills, insurance) stayed in my maiden name. The insurance was for this home, and was to be paid out of a bank account in my maiden name, prefixed with 'Miss' - so for consistency I wanted to keep it that way when switching to a cheaper insurer.

A while back there was a comment about credit ratings. I have honestly never had a problem. Both Equifax and Experian link my aliases without any fuss and I am perfectly creditworthy smile. I was actually surprised at how much they do know, given the chopping and changing. (I think it helps if you pay your bills on time, mind wink.

Perhaps I am unusual seeing this way, but I actually quite like being a woman and being able to use either Miss or Mrs (or Ms for those who prefer that). I am proud to be DHs wife and to carry the same name as all my immediate family, but I don't want to throw away my previous name and identity. It is quite a privilege to be able to keep both alive (though increasingly difficult with online forms...). When I really want to hide I use Dr - then people really do just assume you are a man.

Anyhow, for anyone trying to get insurance as a married woman who wants to use 'Miss' - I can vouch for the fact that it is entirely legal and that insurance companies are happy to do it, just so long as you can navigate the comparison websites first grin

LessMissAbs Tue 14-May-13 19:48:31

Miss advertises you as unmarried and therefore available

Since I'm going to stick with Miss until I die, which I hope means I will be fairly elderly, I would hope that it would not "advertise" me thus.

The quid pro quo is that "Mr" doesn't advertise men as anything, which is worrying ie are they available to all, married or not?

OP, I do think that insisting that you cannot use "Miss" while having a status as married is discrimination under the 1975 Act on the part of the insurance company. Time to get your computer systems updated, insurers!

Growlithe Tue 14-May-13 20:58:47

Meph It was me who made the comment about credit rating. The Credit Reference Agencies will link all aliases you go by, declared and undeclared, and also your voters roll information.

Even with an unblemished credit history, when scoring you for any future credit you apply for, your aliases may cause you to be referred to manual underwriting (and maybe to the fraud team also).

Manual underwriting obviously takes more time and effort, and can sometimes result in you missing the boat on good rates offered on products for limited periods.

So it can actually pay to keep all your financial affairs (and ID) in line, and pick one name and stick to it.

LittlePeaPod Tue 14-May-13 21:09:11

MephistophelesSister. Just a thought. You are right no legal requirement for a married woman not to use her maiden name. But it's a contractual obligation on insurance policies for you to use your legal name (name on passport) when obtaining a quote/setting up a policy. It's a material fact and would invalidate all cover if its discovered you (in the underwriters opinion) lied about your legal name

LittlePeaPod Tue 14-May-13 21:11:52

Sorry forgot to mention. I work in the industry..

LittlePeaPod Tue 14-May-13 21:14:57

Sorry forgot to mention. Most of the companies on comparison sites are fronts. They don't hold the pen on the policies and can't make decisions on underwriting/contractual wordings (eg material facts).

If you don't have a passport or a driving licence then what is your legal name?

LittlePeaPod Tue 14-May-13 21:18:59

I guess the question is. If you got a passport what name would you use without the requirement of a deed poke change?

LittlePeaPod Tue 14-May-13 21:19:24

Deed pole.... Ha a

Growlithe Tue 14-May-13 21:21:46

Similarly with Credit Reference Agencies really. They hold the facts and link information, but it is ip to each financial institution how they use that information in their scorecards.

I used to work in IT for a financial institution. I must admit, all the ID and accounts in different names but running concurrently made me feel a bit queasy.

That is not to say you should not be married and still be a Miss, of course.

MephistophelesSister Tue 14-May-13 21:24:06

I have both a driving licence and a passport. They are just in different names. Therefore I can provide ID in either.

As far as I know, I haven't lied about my name! I just choose to have more than one.

Some things it is actually impossible to change your name for, in any case. I have a paypal account in my maiden name, and they make it so difficult to change it I would have to closeit and open a new one.

Growlithe Tue 14-May-13 21:24:20

Tolliver I think in that case it would probably be whatever name is on all of the the ID the company asks you to provide.

So it would invalidate all cover if an underwriter thinks that if you applied for a hypothetical passport you would use a different name from the name that you think you would use if you applied for a hypothetical passport?

MephistophelesSister Tue 14-May-13 21:27:19

Shortly after I got married, I informed my main bank account and they were happy to accept cheques in either name for years afterward. I checked with them, and it wasn't an oversight - just their normal procedure. I don't think it is as bizarre as some people think.

LittlePeaPod Tue 14-May-13 21:27:23

Why would it be hypothetical? I think most people know what their legal name is and what they would put on their passport. Pretty black and white really.

Jan49 Tue 14-May-13 21:35:24

Miss advertises you as unmarried and therefore available

I think the point is that this is what it used to be intended to tell people.
Adult women were either engaged, married or 'available' and the rings on their fingers and their titles told men which they were. It's archaic, but as many women in the UK still use rings and titles to display their marital status, it continues. That's why it's so much better IMO to use Ms as an adult title for all women, a female equivalent to Mr.

LittlePeaPod Tue 14-May-13 21:37:05

MephistophelesSister i would advise you to speak to your insurers and disclose the passport / driving licence names. If you don't and have a major loss that you need to claim for (major property fire - total loss). Insurers will investigate and likely send an adjuster. If this is discovered the underwriter has grounds to decline cover. It's best to get written confirmation that the underwriter is aware and agrees to your circumstances.

Just trying to be helpful. Or just ignore me. Not my business I understand.

Growlithe Tue 14-May-13 21:37:11

I think it is normal procedure to accept a cheque in a maiden name into a married name account, provided you show your marriage certificate.

Well, I've never had any luck with paying married name cheques into my maiden name bank account, although it has only happened twice in 13 years. Once right back at the start and once a couple of months ago. I have absolutely no ID in DH's surname though as I never use it.

MephistophelesSister Tue 14-May-13 21:48:45

LittlePeaPod that does sound sinister - and I will take a much closer look at the policy. Thank you for your advise. If that is how it works then perhaps I will have to be more careful. The mortgage on the property being insured is in the same name, though.

Does that mean that if you marry mid-way through a policy and change your name on your passport, but forget/can't be bothered to switch it over with the insurance company then they can wriggle out of paying also confused.

I still have an old [obviously obsolete] passport with my maiden name grin

MephistophelesSister Tue 14-May-13 21:49:13

*advice

LittlePeaPod Tue 14-May-13 21:59:37

Does that mean that if you marry mid-way through a policy and change your name on your passport, but forget/can't be bothered to switch it over with the insurance company then they can wriggle out of paying also

Yes they can use it to decline. They can argue non disclosure of a material change. Your policy is a contractual agreement (the same as any legal contract) as far as they are concerned. Underwriters are pretty dry about these things. But the are also normally flexible if they are told about unusual situations. What they don't like is anything they perceive to be non disclosure and worse of all. knowingly not disclosing something.

I am afraid the old passport won't wash. They will ask for an updated one if an investigation should take place... grin wink

MephistophelesSister Tue 14-May-13 22:05:59

crikey. I can sort of see why in my case it might look dodgy, (and I will take care that I am properly covered pronto!) but failing to pay out in the newlywed scenario would be harsh!

Even more glad I decided not to change name now reading this,

LittlePeaPod Tue 14-May-13 22:18:06

They are normally ok if they know about stuff. I am afraid they wouldn't take newlywed scenario into account. Underwriters are black and white. No grey areas. All they think is "it's it covered under the terms of the policy?" , "Is it possibly fraudulent?" etc. they don't see the human face behind the policy especially if they have to pay out a huge amount of money. they are not making the profits they used to so they have become mich more stringent in their underwriting disciplines. So newlywed wont even register unless forced to by media pressure which may impact their brand reputation. Think, robots and you nearly there.

olgaga Wed 15-May-13 11:42:05

This is the first time I've ever hear of Ms being "reserved" for divorced women!

As far as I knew, it gained prominence when Gloria Steinem and other feminists established Ms. magazine in 1971.

SconeRhymesWithGone Wed 15-May-13 13:59:47

Ms. has never had the "divorced" connotation in the US and is now essentially the default title for women, especially in business settings.

Also more and more businesses in the US (banks included) are using no titles at all in correspondence, addressing envelopes as simply "John Smith" and letter salutations as "Dear John Smith." This is the traditional Quaker practice (although of course not the reason so many are doing it), based on notions of equality.

olgaga Thu 16-May-13 01:19:23

Well Scone I've never heard of that here in the UK either!

I also use the "Dear Jane Smith" or even "Dear J Smith" if that's all I have to go on.

If someone couldn't be arsed to tell me their initial I'd use "Dear Smith"!

I just think people get way too het up about titles. The truth is that nowadays you have to have a title of some sort for any identification data which is held on a computer.

I'm still amused by Slug's post, assuming the poor bank worker was enquiring about her "sexual availability". Hilarious!

Poor bloke.

Morloth Thu 16-May-13 02:32:02

I have always used Ms.

It is now policy at my work that all men are referred to as Mr and all women as Ms in all correspondence. Unless they have an 'earned' title like Dr or Rev, but even then if it isn't immediately obvious Mr/Ms it is.

Makes things much easier.

Alligatorpie Thu 16-May-13 05:25:12

In Canada women are assumed to be Ms, unless they specify as Mrs. Miss is something used for children - the way the British use Master. I find it strange that adult women chose to be called Miss. It just seems wrong.

I agree that titles should be abolished. Love the swedish way of first name, last name.

This is why girls should be Miss, and women should be Mrs, and it just changes automatically on age, just like it does for men.

MsJupiterJones Thu 16-May-13 06:25:13

Olgaga I can't see where she said the bank worker was male - have I missed something?

As someone newly divorced this is on my mind a bit. I cba to change any cards from Mrs as it doesn't interest me and I don't use a title anyway unless forced to.

I am buying a property atm and it comes up with agents. The other day an agent asked me my title when registering me and it was so obvious that she we sizing me up as 'divorcee' or 'family wife who is not the sole decision maker'. Made me feel really awkward. I couldn't really avoid the question. I said Miss in the end (as I didn't know what to say tbh) and in the end as the convo progressed I admitted I was selling the family home and getting divorced. She looked at me 'hard' and said 'yes I thought so'. Labelled or what honestly! All because of a title...

Decoy Thu 16-May-13 09:55:15

> This is why girls should be Miss, and women should be Mrs, and it just changes automatically on age, just like it does for men.

Agree with it changing on age, but I'd say it should be Miss, then Ms.

Spottyegg Thu 16-May-13 09:58:04

just use Ms much simpler!

luxemburgerli Thu 16-May-13 11:16:29

I'm in Switzerland, and here it does exactly that. Miss for girls up to about 14, then Mrs for 14+. Works well.

TheSecondComing Thu 16-May-13 11:22:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

badguider Thu 16-May-13 11:24:44

I'd prefer just Ms in the same way that Master has been dropped and males are just Mr (though titles not often used for children).

In france it's very variable when Madamoiselle changes to Madame (excuse bad spelling)... some see being called the former a complement, I was certainly called the former in Paris when I was around 18-20 which was ok in the situations I was in but in a workplace I wouldn't have wanted my youth drawn attention to.
Fair enough if it changes at 14 in Switzerland or Germany... but in france it certainly doesn't.. and in Germany I'm sure i've heard frauline used for women in the 18-25 age group...

wherearemysocka Thu 16-May-13 11:29:49

I've always thought as Fraeulein as being similar to calling someone 'young lady' - could be seen as quite endearing, or could be very, very patronising. Always makes me think of the Captain and Maria in The Sound of Music!

I'm a Ms, and will remain a Ms when I get married.

quail Thu 16-May-13 11:36:53

I'm a married Miss, because I like Miss and if people didn't change their names there wouldn't be anything to talk about. So the way I see it is Mrs means you changed your name to someone else's name, Miss means you didn't. No one needs to know whether you are married or not, because no one needs to know if men are. Miss is correct, as well - old film stars, writers who kept their names, etc, have always been referred to as Miss Crawford, Miss Blyton, Miss Davis, and so on, when they were married.

catsrus Thu 16-May-13 11:38:30

In over 30 yrs of using Ms I had NEVER heard that it was supposed to mean divorced until I came on MN confused I probably just dont read the kind of media that feeds that assumption. Where possible I don't use a title, when a web site or form "forced" me into using one I would use Ms (never changed to his surname for any purpose whatsoever. Simpler to keep my own). Once I had a PhD I started to use Dr.

Squigglypig Thu 16-May-13 12:11:11

I like being married but I still feel a bit funny when I get called Mrs Squigglypig. At work I tend to use Ms for female clients etc (I'm a lawyer) and don't associate it with divorced women.

I really loved it in Battlestar Gallatica where every adult regardless of gender was called "Sir" in a kind of army way, it took a bit of getting used to watching it but I thought it was a kind of cool way of dealing with titles. (Watch BC if you haven't -it's brilliant and not the geek fest it looks like from cover).

auldspinster Thu 16-May-13 12:41:05

I found in Germany that Fraulein was for girls and adult women Frau.

My mum is widowed and hates being addressed as Ms whereas i'm a civil servant and hate when callers ask for my title, like my marital status is any of their business - I like the idea of being addressed as madam but i'm probably alone on that one!

Jan49 Thu 16-May-13 13:17:41

I'm glad people here don't think Ms means divorced. I think it's just something I came across a lot years ago when I first called myself Ms and I think older generations think it means divorced. It didn't bother me at the time, but now that I'm divorced, I hate to think that anyone thinks I'm calling myself Ms for that reason. For me the whole point of calling myself Ms all my adult life is that it's a title that avoids showing marital status and is equal to Mr.

cheaspicks Thu 16-May-13 13:20:08

Yes, in Germany Fräulein is only used for children and even then not used much.

I find it slightly odd that so many on the thread see Miss as an al-purpose female title, but then I haven't lived in the UK for over 12 years. I was brought up to use Ms and I would suggest that if the US, Canada and New Zealand have all adopted Ms as the standard title that anyone campaigning for Miss or Mrs to be used instead is probably fighting a losing battle.

When people change their surname to their spouse's on marriage, do they change their name by deed poll, or can you apply for a passport in your partner's name just by producing a marriage certificate?

cheaspicks Thu 16-May-13 13:26:27

Just checked, 3yo dd is Frau according to her savings account.

bollockstoit Thu 16-May-13 13:57:25

Was just on the phone to the bank and was asked to confirm my full name including title and middle name. I'm afraid I may have said "Ms" rather forcefully blush

Decoy Thu 16-May-13 15:01:20

Good for you bollockstoit grin

Scholes34 Thu 16-May-13 15:30:07

the computer only says no because someone has been overthinking things and has programmed it that way. Of course it's perfectly okay to use the title Miss when you're married. You can call yourself what you like.

1Catherine1 Thu 16-May-13 20:32:58

You can just produce the marriage certificate cheaspicks to change your name.

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