WIBU? Asking school to not use Mr and Mrs. R Bonkers

(294 Posts)
bonkersLFDT20 Wed 09-Oct-13 11:10:53

Got a letter from DS1's secondary school.
It was addressed to Mr and Mrs R Bonkers
R is my husband's initial.

I've just written to them suggesting they use more a more modern way to address parents e.g Mr and Mrs Bonkers or Mr R. Bonkers & Mrs M Bonkers.

WIBU?

DidoTheDodo Wed 09-Oct-13 11:12:00

YABU to have changed your name in the first place ;)

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Oct-13 11:12:10

YANBU. I thought the 'husband's initial' way of addressing couples had been pretty much abandoned.

shewhowines Wed 09-Oct-13 11:13:47

They need to move with the times. It doesn't sound like a very enlightened schools. What else are they doing that is archaic?

Feminine Wed 09-Oct-13 11:14:18

I wouldn't mind. That is not to say you shouldn't, just that I don't think its worth thinking about! smile

MellowandFruitfulSnazzy Wed 09-Oct-13 11:14:24

YANBU, it's not the 1950s. Plus I bet statistically more mothers than fathers will be opening and reading these letters, so doesn't look great to treat them as the adjunct part of the couple. In fact, wouldn't it be easier just to address everything to 'Parent/s' of <child's name>'?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

livinginwonderland Wed 09-Oct-13 11:18:15

I find it weird that people care about these things blush

WorraLiberty Wed 09-Oct-13 11:18:48

Ours are always addressed "To the parents/carers of (insert child's name)"

Who could really care....really?? Does it matter in the grand scheme of things? God, I really wish I had nothing else to worry about!

cingolimama Wed 09-Oct-13 11:25:14

Well clearly the OP cares! Frankly I think it's wildly outdated and borderline rude. Yes, I would definitely mention it to the school.

Is it really that important? Our letters come addressed in a variety of ways, I really don't care and even if I did I don't think I'd do anything about it - maybe hurrumph quietly to myself, but quite honestly there are so many other pressing things on that contacting school to correct it wouldn't even occur to me.

SpecialJK Wed 09-Oct-13 11:25:43

Wouldn't bother me at all

HopeClearwater Wed 09-Oct-13 11:27:50

YANBU it's ancient and needs to stop!

Bowlersarm Wed 09-Oct-13 11:28:49

Wouldn't bother me.

However if I had married a Mr Bonkers, I am fairly certain I wouldn't have changed my name in the first place.

TheInquisitor Wed 09-Oct-13 11:29:05

I seriously wouldn't care if school addressed letters to me as Mr and Mrs (DH's initial) Inquisitor.
I'd save my energy for getting worked up about things that really matter.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 09-Oct-13 11:29:25

Wouldn't bother me we've all got the same name in this house anyway what does it matter.

SoupDragon Wed 09-Oct-13 11:30:54

I have no problems whatsoever with Mr & Mrs (his initial) Surname. I hate Mrs (his initial) Dragon though.

I'm also surprised you changed your surname if you get annoyed by this sort of thing. Mr & Mrs R Bonkers is no more old fashioned than you being Mrs Bonkers in the first place

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Wed 09-Oct-13 11:32:51

I still haven't changed my name, but school send us letters addressed to Me and Mrs H Hanging.

Couldn't care less, I am glad they write and I think the administrative staff have a tough enough job without pandering to my feminist whims or imagined slights.

Are your kids doing ok there? That's the important issue.

QueenofKelsingra Wed 09-Oct-13 11:33:14

YABU to suggest the school should adopt 'a more modern' approach for everyone. I am very happy to be addressed as Mr & Mrs <H's initial> <Surname> thank you and I don't want that to change because you have got your knickers in a twist over something so small.

I prefer joint things to addressed correctly and traditionally, however I certainly wouldn't bother to get worked up if mail came to Mr <his initial> and Mrs <my initial?> <Surname>.

HowlerMonkey Wed 09-Oct-13 11:34:14

If it's that small a problem then it will take 3 seconds to rectify and the school won't mind doing it, seeing as it's such a small problem and all.

<smiles sweetly>

This would bother me too op!

QueenofKelsingra Wed 09-Oct-13 11:35:12

I'm also surprised you changed your surname if you get annoyed by this sort of thing. Mr & Mrs R Bonkers is no more old fashioned than you being Mrs Bonkers in the first place

exactly!! well said! you either embrace the idea of being a traditional family unit and accept all that goes with it or be 'modern' and keep your own name completely.

Pendeen Wed 09-Oct-13 11:35:24

Yes, YABU.

I would imagine some amusement in the school office when they open your letter.

HowlerMonkey Wed 09-Oct-13 11:35:41

Feminist WHIMS HangingGarden?!?

Silly me, thinking I have a right to be acknowledged by my own name and not my husband's. Silly, whimsical me.

sonlypuppyfat Wed 09-Oct-13 11:36:28

Well said Queen.

LadyBigtoes Wed 09-Oct-13 11:36:56

I have to agree if you went to far as to change your name to his, you can only expect this kind of thing and it's hard to see what the difference is. Your surname is arguably as important a part of your identity as your first initial yet you were happy to see that go.

BUT if it bothers you for whatever reason, it's OK to let the school know how you would like to be addressed. I do politely ask mine to call me Ms myname myname, some of the teachers and the HT seem deeply baffled that I have dared to challenge the patriarchy, but they do try!

PansOnFire Wed 09-Oct-13 11:38:00

They are using the polite and widely accepted format. Nothing to do with the 1950s or taking away your identify - if that's how you feel I'd be questioning why you changed your name in the first place. Most people wouldn't give that a second thought would they ? I like having my husband's initial though so I probably don't understand.

LadyBigtoes Wed 09-Oct-13 11:39:02

Rofl at whims.

There can't be many acts more whimsical than throwing away the name you've had all your life because you're the woman, he's the man and it's traditional.

Kemmo Wed 09-Oct-13 11:41:35

Yanbu

Would really piss me off.

bonkersLFDT20 Wed 09-Oct-13 11:41:48

I have plenty of other things to worry about. Took me about 30 secs to email the school.
I'm not getting worked up about it.

My son is doing very well there.

Yes, I realise the contradiction in my views in the fact I changed my name when I got married. Actually, I sometimes wished I hadn't because I've kept my maiden name professionally and it causes all manner of problems.

curlew Wed 09-Oct-13 11:42:54

Is it a private school? I wouldn't expect that sort of incredibly old fashioned formality from a state school.

But just drop them a note asking them to change the data base. No problem.

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Wed 09-Oct-13 11:43:06

I didn't change my name on marrying because I am a feminist, but I think this is less a quaint tradition and less a symbol of patriarchal oppression.

They'd changed it if I asked them, but my children like the look of us under the sake name on lists at parents eve.

However, I retract 'whims.' It was silly and dismissive and I am going to ask for ten of the best next time the Head writes to me.

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Wed 09-Oct-13 11:43:55

more a quaint...
Fuck me, time for a lie down with Spare Rib.

CoffeeTea103 Wed 09-Oct-13 11:45:18

In the bigger picture of life this isn't important. Really who has the time to be this picky??

cavell Wed 09-Oct-13 11:48:14

YABU.

Mr & Mrs R Bonkers is the correct form, where "R" is the husband's initial.

Ladyflip Wed 09-Oct-13 11:51:43

My godmother sends my birthday card addressed to Mrs [Husband's name] Flip.

The cheque inside goes in my account though.

YANBU
Mr and mrs R Bonkers may be 'correct' in terms of antiquated etiquette rules but that doesn't mean it's 'correct' morally, socially or culturally in 2013.
I am firmly in the 'keep your own name' camp but I can see a vast difference between mr R bonkers and mrs K bonkers, as opposed to mr and mrs R Bonkers.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 09-Oct-13 11:53:25

Also have to say it wouldn't bother me either.
Somebody said its not the 1950's and they should be more modern, but then went on to say its more likely that the woman would open it anyway. Bit ironic really

MsJupiterJones Wed 09-Oct-13 11:53:47

I thought it had been well established on MN that people are able to have concerns about smaller things and bigger things at the same time? It is so rude to imply that the OP has nothing else to worry about when you have no idea about their life.

It annoys me too OP. I took DH's name for personal reasons (I wasn't 'losing a name I'd had all my life') but I still use Ms and expect to be addressed by my first name or initial. I don't think these things are incompatible in the slightest. I would send a polite note, if it's such a small thing I'm sure the school can rectify it easily.

I think it's perfectly reasonable to have changed your name to what is essentially a new family name for the whole family (even if originally your DH's surname) but to still think that people calling you by his first name as well is a step too far
We don't get this from the DC's school but we do occasionally from other sources .... I always notice, especially as it's usually me that's the primary correspondent/ organiser with these organisations.
If they can't give both our initials I'd rather there were none I think.
Or just address it to me !

QueenofKelsingra Wed 09-Oct-13 11:58:05

Mr R Bonkers and Mrs K Bonkers would indicate that they are divorced though.....

and ehric - it is morally, socially and culturally right for me (and actually all my married friends agree) to be addressed traditionally thank you. and last time I checked I was alive and well in 2013.

stay Miss K Notbonkers or become Mrs R Bonkers. You have the choice, don't then complain because you only want bits from one side or the other.

holidaysarenice Wed 09-Oct-13 11:58:07

I'd rather the school could focus of dc's education and not have to faff about sorting this out for you.

Grip given. There are bigger things to be concerned about.

bonkersLFDT20 Wed 09-Oct-13 11:58:45

Thank you jupiter.

"would indicate that they are divorced though" Queen

- I don't think it would in this day and age and as both living at same address. Just a modern etiquette concession to modern day sensibilities and equality ?

HowlerMonkey Wed 09-Oct-13 12:03:27

Fair enough, HangingGarden grin

HowlerMonkey Wed 09-Oct-13 12:05:46

I'm pretty sure the school will keep focusing on DC education whilst simultaneously managing to respect the individual nomentclature choices of all the children's parents.

BurberryQ Wed 09-Oct-13 12:06:13

if you gave up your name to become an addition to your husband, what did you expect?
did you really think the school would address it to to 'Mr R and Mrs C Bonkers?'
Get a grip, get your own name.

HowlerMonkey Wed 09-Oct-13 12:06:13

Nomenclature, dammit.

Dahlen Wed 09-Oct-13 12:07:11

Read
Mr and Mrs R Bonkers
out loud.

Am I the only one who thought that would be reason enough for insisting on using Mr R and Mrs. P ..., let alone addressing the feminist ideology behind sharing a surname.

I agree Howler ... or they could do as many schools do and address to the parents/carers of Child'sName.

MinesAPintOfTea Wed 09-Oct-13 12:08:18

Well if I married someone called "R Bonkers" I definitely wouldn't have changed my name. Maybe you should point out to the school that Mr & Mrs Are Bonkers doesn't read well wink

It annoys me as well though. I wrote (and burnt) a response to FiL's wedding invitation to Mr & Mrs D. Tea and Master Tea accepting on behalf of DH and DS and asking who Mrs D. Tea is because I've never met her. Mr & Mrs Tea is fine. So is Mr D. & Mrs R. Tea.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Wed 09-Oct-13 12:09:30

I just assumed if you had changed your name to his then it is the correct way to address you jointly. Who decided and when this was no longer the way to do it, I don't really understand the problem.

FWIW I would not particularly like to be Mrs then my DHs initial and surname but then I have never ever seen anyone addressed like that anyway.

Lots of women decided it was no longer the right way to address a married woman, because it's belittling and insulting. Sorry, insulting to lots, but not all women, some of whom inexplicably like losing their entire name and identity on marriage, and being addressed as an appendage of their husband. Whatevs.

Bollocks to all this you changed your surname so put up with it bullshit. I changed my surname not my first name so I expect to be addressed as the correct name. My first name is not and never will be the same as my husbands. And changing my surname does not mean I'm not a feminist.

sashh Wed 09-Oct-13 12:24:06

But you are Mrs R Bonkers, Mrs M Bonkers alone would indicate you are divorced. Mr R and Mrs M indicates you are your husband's mother.

In the same way that Georgia Moffett is also Mrs David Tennant. Insert any celebrity married couples you choose.

Yes it is archaic, yes it is not very modern but that is the way it is.

There is a reason it is called 'taking you husband's name' and not taking your husband's family name.

And Burberry giving up your surname does not make you an addition to your husband. What a ridiculous thing to say as well as insulting. Get a grip yourself.

sebsmummy1 Wed 09-Oct-13 12:26:15

Actually it would piss me off too, but probably only enough to roll my eyes and huff to OH about it.

I get irritated enough by people calling my partner my husband, but that's mainly a personal thing because he hasn't yet asked me to marry him. So I'm slightly bitter about that.

MiaowTheCat Wed 09-Oct-13 12:29:32

It annoys me as well - not enough to do anything about it, but it's definitely NOT my preferred method of address.

ThePuffyShirt Wed 09-Oct-13 12:30:39

This would annoy me, so good for you OP.

My husband and I share a surname. It's his because it is infinitely nicer than my old name and so was our choice, but there is no way would I accept being addressed as Mrs (his initial) surname. It's not 1940.

treaclesoda Wed 09-Oct-13 12:32:35

It wouldn't bother me at all, but the OP is perfectly entitled to feel differently.

I think though that there is a bigger overall problem in that no matter what the school (or any other organisation sending out letters to married couples) do, they will offend someone. Some women like to be adressed as Mr & Mrs Husband's initial * Surname*.

Although, on thinking about it, schools would probably be on fairly safe ground, because by definition the parents of school children will generally fall into a specific age bracket, so are likely to be younger, whereas banks etc will be dealing with a larger cross section of society, and a lot of older women that I know would be mortally offended to not be addressed through their husband's name. Not all of them, of course, but certainly some of them.

But sashh I have never knowingly changed my name to include my DH's first name. I have never described myself in that way. So no-one else should either.
I have used what I see as our family name (surname) - the name I share with both DH and our DC.

Floggingmolly Wed 09-Oct-13 12:33:34

It doesn't sound like a very enlightened school. hmm
Get a grip. It is technically correct, and it's such a ridiculous thing to make a fuss about. Your child's school has a lot of potential for things to worry about, this really shouldn't be one of them.

BucketArse Wed 09-Oct-13 12:34:15

And Burberry giving up your surname does not make you an addition to your husband

It's a pretty unmistakeable signal that you consider your husband to be the senior partner in the marriage, though.

ringaringarosy Wed 09-Oct-13 12:34:33

It would annoy me,my mil does this,even though she knows i havnt even taken dhs name.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Wed 09-Oct-13 12:41:17

I didn't change my name as I consider my husband to be the senior partner, I just did as I wanted to with no real agenda or thought into it, I also like the fact we all have the same surname, DCs included. I like being Mrs X, it is just a name and doesn't affect my identity or being an addition to my husband. We are pretty equal partners TBH.

I feel awful as I have just realised I sent a 'new home' card to one of my close friends and addressed it Mr and Mrs X Xxxxxxxx, they are married but she never bothered to change her name - I will be looking out for a thread about me now blush

Driz Wed 09-Oct-13 12:44:09

You have actually emailed the school about this? I think you will give them a giggle in the staff room at least. You can't really get worked up about it being old fashioned when you have gone down the archaic patriarchal route of changing your last name to his. Therefore addressing you as Mr R and Mrs M Bonkers is no more 'modern' at all!

DSM Wed 09-Oct-13 12:47:17

YANBU.

Good on you, OP.

MrsBW Wed 09-Oct-13 12:53:02

And Burberry giving up your surname does not make you an addition to your husband

It's a pretty unmistakeable signal that you consider your husband to be the senior partner in the marriage, though.

Bollocks

I chose to lose my father's name - who was a total cock, and take my husband's name... Who isn't a total cock.

Nothing to do with him being a 'senior partner' hmm

Driz Wed 09-Oct-13 12:59:19

A woman changing her name harks back to the time when women were regarded as property of their husbands though MrsBW.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Wed 09-Oct-13 13:01:06

It may have originated that way but now I think many people see it as their family name.

What mrsBW and clover said. Bollocks is my husband the senior partner in my marriage. He knows darn well that's me! wink

treaclesoda Wed 09-Oct-13 13:14:18

I took my husband's name on marriage but I don't consider him the 'senior partner' and he doesn't consider me beneath him. We wanted to have the same name, and for that name to be the same as our children's name should we ever have any (which we did).

On a personal level, I disliked my maiden name as it was very unusual and identfiable, and switching it for a nice anonymous surname suited me very well.

Driz Wed 09-Oct-13 13:17:57

But the OP is arguing that there should a more modern way of addressing the couple, yes there is, don't follow an outmoded tradition of submitting to the husband.

MrsBW Wed 09-Oct-13 13:28:42

A woman changing her name harks back to the time when women were regarded as property of their husbands though MrsBW.

Maybe so

But years ago, women didn't have a choice as to whether to change their name. Now we do.

Most people realise that a woman taking her husband's name nowadays doesn't mean she is stating that she is his 'property' or 'inferior'.

As I said, for me it was a very simple, uncomplicated choice. My surname before I married was my father's name as far as I'm concerned. I couldn't wait to get rid of it.

MrsBW Wed 09-Oct-13 13:30:22

The OP isn't being unreasonable asking to be referred to as she wishes.

But she shouldn't assume all people have a problem with tradition either.

Driz Wed 09-Oct-13 13:30:25

But would you email the school about using "more modern ways to address the parents" MrsBW? That is the bit I really don't get

MissStrawberry Wed 09-Oct-13 13:35:35

YABU and rather precious. It really doesn't matter. There is quite possibly other couples with the same surname so using the father's initial helps.

I got married. I took my husband's name. My children have his surname. I am in no way a downtrodden wife and we are equals.

Stop belittling people, those that have, who choose to take their husband's names. It is old, boring, nonsense and plain daft.

mummytime Wed 09-Oct-13 13:35:35

Actually it can cause big problems later on. We paid for my DS to have a remark, as his grade went up we got a refund of the cost. But the school (which up to then had always got it right) made the check to "Mr and Mrs DH's name". We couldn't cash the cheque, as our bank account is in the names "Dr DH name and Dr Mummytime"; actually the bank also said they needed initials to cash the cheque too.

So its not just the whim of a rabid feminist; it is important that people get names right!

I am shocked a school wouldn't use the normal system of addressing the letter to "Parents/carers of child name" it is much better with the tricky family relationships around nowadays.

Takver Wed 09-Oct-13 13:37:10

I'd be very surprised - I have always had 'Parent or Guardian of Miss Takversdaughter' from any official body. I thought that was the norm these days?

Sahmof3 Wed 09-Oct-13 13:37:39

YANBU

CloverkissSparklecheeks Wed 09-Oct-13 13:43:10

I just wouldn't think about emailing the school about it as you will never be able to please everyone. I may not like the more modern ways of addressing (I don't really mind either) which you are requesting the school use but I wouldn't email and ask them to address me in the traditional way, my friend is often called Mrs DHsname as teachers know they are married but she doesn't really worry about it as is a genuine mistake . I just don't think the schools can win either way.

I do understand that it is fine to worry about the small things as well as the big things but this just doesn't actually affect anyone, it may grate slightly but really doesn't mean anything and the school are not actually trying to offend anyone.

If it is for a cheque or something surely good practice would be to check who you are addressing it to. A cheque should full names or initials on so that is a silly mistake to make.

I agree that parents/carers of X is much better though.

clr2014 Wed 09-Oct-13 13:45:37

I think they will think you suit the surname of 'bonkers' when they read your letter! YABU!

MissStrawberry Wed 09-Oct-13 13:52:57

grin at the number of posters who are posting as if the OP's real name is Bonkers!

DamnBamboo Wed 09-Oct-13 14:00:15

YADNBU.

But you'll have loads on here who will say you are being unreasonable and that you should just accept it and that it's tradition and etiquette etc..

Yawn!

bonkersLFDT20 Wed 09-Oct-13 14:02:41

Just to clarify, my name is not actually Bonkers (thank you MissStrawberry).

I have rather a nice married name and an even better maiden name.

Christ! The amount of posters getting their knickers in a twist because the OP has dared to challenge the great and mighty patriarchy. hmm

25 years ago is was apparently correct and right that a husband couldn't rape his wife, does that mean that it should always be so? 50 years ago it was apparently correct and right that a husband could give his a wife a couple of slaps and punches does that mean that is should always be so? Over 120 years ago women weren't allowed to divorce their husbands or vote, does that mean it should always be so?

I took my husbands name when I got married. I did so because I didn't like the surname given to me at birth, which was my father's surname. I didn't suddenly take my husband's first name as well. Jeez can you imagine the confusion? Both of us with the same first and last names. hmm So I certainly wouldn't find it acceptable to addressed in a letter by my husband's initial.

OP YANBU! Ignore the patriarchy slaves, one day they might just be able to think for themselves instead of letting all those superior men do it for them. hmmgrin

amicissimma Wed 09-Oct-13 14:09:11

Well, I envy you having the energy to care. If it really matters to you, you can let them know.

I think it is polite of the school to resort to using the traditional form of address if they don't know you have a preference. I don't think many people in real life would bother about whether some people who use an internet forum consider something 'modern' or not.

SoupDragon Wed 09-Oct-13 14:10:55

because the OP has dared to challenge the great and mighty patriarchy

How? By changing her name to that of her husband? confused

Bowlersarm Wed 09-Oct-13 14:11:30

I like to think, that people having a laugh at the name 'Bonkers' do actually have the intellect to know it is fictitious. I certainly was, so don't lump me in to those you think are so gullible to believe it is the real name.

Anyway, I still think YABU. A lot of fuss about something so trivial.

bonkersLFDT20 Wed 09-Oct-13 14:13:53

I do have lots of energy amicissimma. I am a runner but am injured at the moment so think I am using some of my time and energy on things which I might otherwise just drop.

Could be worse I suppose, I could be ram-raiding cash points.

I get quite old-fashioned about addressing people blush so I'd be more offended at being addressed as Mrs H Drelincourt than Mrs M Drelincourt. I am Horatia Drelincourt, or Mrs Marcus Drelincourt. Kindly do not muddle the two. I will also twitch if you address something to Marcus and Horatia Drelincourt.

So on that basis YANBU to care about how you are addressed. You might be wrong but YANBU to care.

On the other hand, I think YWBU to ask the school to change how you are addressed. I expect it's actually a database issue. Making a change for just you could be nearly impossible; addressing people more carefully might involve a quick change to one database field ("addressto") or to the letter blank (using "father'sname" and "mother'sname" instead of "addressto"), or it might a major rebuild that's LA/countywide and therefore beyond the school's capabilities.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Wed 09-Oct-13 14:57:23

I wouldnt have even noticed that detail myself. If I had done it is very likely I wouldnt have given a shit, much less bothered to say anything about it. It is however very oldfashioned.

MrsBW Wed 09-Oct-13 15:22:28

OP YANBU! Ignore the patriarchy slaves, one day they might just be able to think for themselves instead of letting all those superior men do it for them.

ODFOD and stop being so patronising.

TheRealHousewifeOfSomewhere Wed 09-Oct-13 15:31:08

Bloody hell I am so out of the modern thing. I didnt know official etiquette had changed. When did that happen?

Stuff like this has never bothered me (thats probably why it has passed me by). I just thought it was formal etiquette to address envelopes this way full stop. It has never ever occurred to me to get het up about being called Mrs hubbys initial surname.

I get loads of official post addressed to me in this way and it has never occurred to me to be offended. All our bills are in joint names to save hassle when DH deployed and most are addressed this way.

If stuff like this goes against your beliefs then why change your name on marriage?? I have a couple of friends who have kept their maiden name upon marriage and I kind of get that but if you go down the route of becoming Mrs hubbys surname then why does this offend you so much?

Its just the way it is - like you become Mrs once married, its just a tradition that I just cannot see the offence in at all.

MrsBW Wed 09-Oct-13 15:33:59

But would you email the school about using "more modern ways to address the parents" MrsBW? That is the bit I really don't get

Personally, no... As I said, if the OP wanted to correct the school on how she was addressed, fine... But not everyone objects to this particular tradition (and most people can tell the difference between the issue of, say, marital rape and taking their husbands name on marriage, too)...

clr2014 Wed 09-Oct-13 20:48:30

FTR I didn't think your name was actually 'bonkers'. Just that the school will think you are acting bonkers and so you have suitably named yourself grin.

Spikeytree Wed 09-Oct-13 21:06:03

We have a section on SIMS for 'Parental Salutation' which tells us how parents/carers want to be addressed. If they do not fill in the data collection sheet with their preference, it defaults to the technically correct salutation.

Once we've had dealings with some parents, the way they are referred to in the staff room might not use the technically correct form anymore.

littlewhitebag Wed 09-Oct-13 21:35:07

I use this way of addressing envelopes when sending Christmas cards etc to married couples. This is what I was taught at school.

formerdiva Wed 09-Oct-13 21:42:45

<applauds Jesse>

YADNBU. Ridiculous, outdated, demeaning practice.

ChanelTunel Wed 09-Oct-13 22:02:01

Less of the Violet Elizabeth Bott,and more of Malala Yousafzai,might stop some men regarding some women as inconsequential.

cardibach Wed 09-Oct-13 22:13:34

People do get het up about names. I am an English teacher, so I do get that the medium is (or can be) the message etc.etc., But I'm not sure quite how it's this great feminist statement to keep your maiden name. Your maiden name is your dad's name, right (for most women, anyway)? So why is it more feminist to stick with one man's last name than another's?

PrincessWellington Wed 09-Oct-13 23:01:07

I want your name to be Mrs U R Bonkers. Please.
grin

edam Wed 09-Oct-13 23:10:18

Cardi, the thing is it's your name, on your birth certificate. It may be shared with other members of your family, but it is your name that belongs to you and that has identified you your whole life. Changing it just because you've fallen in love and decided to spend the rest of your life with someone is odd, given that it has never even occurred to Mr Someone to consider giving up his name for you.

Also, you've got to start somewhere.

There was one woman who made a stand by giving up her surname - just refusing to use a surname at all. I think it caused quite a bit of difficulty but last I heard of her she was sticking by her principles.

edam Wed 09-Oct-13 23:16:52

(Just remembered, I think the woman with no surname is called Margaret.)

JassyRadlett Wed 09-Oct-13 23:51:04

I'm really, really pleased that people do have the energy to pipe up about the tiny, seemingly inconsequential things that don't do much, if anything, on their own to the status or perceptions of women. Because there are bloody hundreds if the buggers and if they're not painstakingly and (hopefully) politely challenged they won't go away. Because it's a spectrum that tumbles over a lot of 'it's tradition/that's just the way it is' points on its way past expecting women with children are going to ask for part time working, but that's never a question if a potential male employee, all the way up to some of the most egregious sexism in our society.

And yes, the big stuff needs taking on. But the teeny, tiny irritating things that signal 'to the outside world, we consider your identity to be wrapped up with your husband's, while his is not with yours', matter, whether we gloss over it as 'tradition' or 'correct etiquette' or 'well that's not how I perceive it, so it clearly has no external impact' or whatever. It's all semiotics, which inform and underpin the bigger and more egregious stuffs.

LadyBigtoes Wed 09-Oct-13 23:56:43

I know someone who changed her name so that her middle name became her new surname – so she doesn't have any man's name. By the time I heard of this my name was too important for my career for me to do the same, or I would have.

Remember when a man was born he also got his dad's name – most of us down't have our own name, but usually our father's or occasionally our mother's. So when you marry a man you both bring these (probably patriarchally passed down) names to the table. If a woman just gives up her name and takes the man's she's not just swapping one man's name for another - she's sending out a message to everyone that as a woman she is automatically subsumed. That the man just is more important, is the "senior partner" as someone above said. She doesn't have to consciously think this for it to be the case. The action sends the message.

This is why I can't see it as something a true feminist could do (I know I'll get flamed). For me it's an acid test. Because it's not just about your choice and preferences, it's about the message you're sending, and if you change your name (unless you do it equally somehow, eg combining both your names into a new one) it's a message of inequality. That you are giving to your DC, and everyone around you, and so helping to promulgate inequality.

Musicaltheatremum Thu 10-Oct-13 00:14:05

I loved being Mr and Mrs A sadly I am now Mrs J * as Mr A * has died. Life is too short to worry about these things.

LessMissAbs Thu 10-Oct-13 00:23:17

Quite right. God knows why people ignore archaic sexism but object to racism.

ICameOnTheJitney Thu 10-Oct-13 00:25:14

LadyBig Me too! About the acid test I mean...I can't fathom it and was very disappointed when my best friend changed her surname.

maddy68 Thu 10-Oct-13 00:32:08

It's the 'correct' way of writing a formal letter
If you object to it why take your husbands name?

MsJupiterJones Thu 10-Oct-13 01:56:58

I think anyone who thinks there are 'true feminists' or an 'acid test' has fundamentally misunderstood the concept of feminism.

SugarHut Thu 10-Oct-13 02:39:27

I actually love it, DP and I are not married, but people always presume we are. When I get called Mrs Bloggs I don't correct people, (namely because it's a little awkward and unnecessary of me to do so) when I get called Miss SugarHut, it makes little difference. We get invitations to Mr and Mrs J Bloggs, and I like it, proper English. It's not archaic, it's just old fashioned written etiquette. It probably could be modernised, but it's nothing to lose sleep over whilst it isn't. We won't get married, as it's something we've both done before and for our own reasons both don't want to do again...but I will change my name to his. I'm very proud to be his partner, why would I get in a twist over a letter addressing me correctly (if married) as part of that couple? Also, I don't see that I have given up my sentimental lifelong family name for him, he hasn't held me at gunpoint, I've changed it willingly. If my family name was so important to me I would keep it. Just because I'm no longer a SugarHut on my passport, doesn't mean I lose any of the identity of my past/present of the SugarHut family. Bizarre concept.

Timpetill Thu 10-Oct-13 02:45:36

Hear, hear Jassy

StopDoingThat Thu 10-Oct-13 02:53:38

David Tennant's married?!?

;)

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 10-Oct-13 03:01:44

Yes, indeed, Jassy.

YANBU, OP

Twiddlebum Thu 10-Oct-13 03:04:47

Wow, I never knew this was even an issue!! I always send out mail addressed in the old fashioned way to married couples and never thought anything about it!!! I agree with others, why change your surname if you're going to get so upperty about this??? (I'm married btw)

unfortunatedischarge Thu 10-Oct-13 03:05:43

Why would you be unreasonable to ask them to not call you by a name that isn't yours?

ICameOnTheJitney Thu 10-Oct-13 03:12:44

Twiddle It's "Uppity" and people can get uppity about their name all they like. Maybe some regret changing their surname...and maybe they'd like to stop the subsequent loss of their FIRST name too! FFS it's not hard to grasp.

unfortunatedischarge Thu 10-Oct-13 03:21:06

Lol at everyone posting on this thread being to busy and to concerned about real issues to send an email

Driz Thu 10-Oct-13 05:59:50

It's not really about the time taken to send the email, more that the OP is complaining that being addressed by her husband's initial is not modern enough for her liking...but she changed her name to his! That is not at all modern either, so why bother complaining?

Oblomov Thu 10-Oct-13 06:05:02

Wouldn't bother me.

Jinty64 Thu 10-Oct-13 06:26:33

I don't sweat the small stuff anymore.

curlew Thu 10-Oct-13 06:47:26

"Less of the Violet Elizabeth Bott,and more of Malala Yousafzai,might stop some men regarding some women as inconsequential."

This.

Bowlersarm Thu 10-Oct-13 06:51:17

ICameOnTheJitney that was a rude comment to Twiddle.

Some people may regret changing their surname. Therefore they should change it back if it means that much to them that if they get addressed by their husbands initial it causes them annoyance.

How do you suggest anyone writing a letter determines whether the recipient doesn't want to go down the traditional route, having taken their husbands name in the first place?

StayAwayFromTheEdge Thu 10-Oct-13 06:54:18

I really wouldn't care about this, in fact I doubt I would even notice.

I would much rather the school got on with the job of educating my children than updating databases.

curlew Thu 10-Oct-13 06:55:51

"I would much rather the school got on with the job of educating my children than updating databases."

You talk as if it's an either/or!

StayAwayFromTheEdge Thu 10-Oct-13 07:06:55

I'm sure the admin staff have much better things to do than this - My secondary school had 1500 pupils, updating a database of that size would take days, especially if they were going to go down the route of asking parents how they would like to be addressed.

We have letters through the door every day - I have no idea how they are addressed, I am confident enough in who I am to not worry about such trivial matters.

maddy68 Thu 10-Oct-13 07:25:15

I would be more offended if they didn't use correct English and address me in the correct manner

A school should know how to write a formal letter and it looks like your school does.

This is how they will teach your children.

If you don't like it tough. It's not a feminist or outdated issue. It's standard protocol.

Anything else would be wrong.

shock

jamdonut Thu 10-Oct-13 07:44:07

I get irritated by the "to the Parent/Guardian" letters, only because it implies one parent, and I am not single!!! But not enough to actually send an e-mail.
Good grief.
It is hard enough for schools with all the different surnames in a family these days,to use a form that isn't going to upset someone somewhere, especially on mail shots.hmm

ICameOnTheJitney Thu 10-Oct-13 07:51:07

Edge it's not trivial though. It's an offensive hang back from yesteryear.

jam it does not imply one parent, it assumes one parent will open it and read it...I don't think many couples open letters as a pair.

StayAwayFromTheEdge Thu 10-Oct-13 07:59:12

Offensive? Really? No, sorry, I can't agree with that.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 10-Oct-13 08:09:56

Yanbu OP.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Thu 10-Oct-13 08:19:48

What irritates me about this is that many people assume none of us want to take our DHs surname. Some of us (and quite a few on this thread) have said they do and are happy about it so i do not want anyone to stop addressing me in the 'correct' way.

In all honestly I really couldn't care if people address me wrongly or not but I am my own person, have my own identity, have a professional career and am also married to a man who's surname I have. I actually changed it by deed poll before we were married as we had DCs first so we all wanted the same name.

I have no idea how the school are supposed to know that I am happy to be address Mr and Mrs X Xxxxxx but the OP is not. I would assume they then use a default format, my DSs school ask who regular corerspondence should be sent to but for formal stuff it always says Mr and Mrs X Xxxxxx, one of my friends at the school receives hers as Mr Y Yyyyyy and Miss W Wwwww as they are not married.

JassyRadlett Thu 10-Oct-13 08:25:40

People keep talking about etiquette and what's 'correct' (as if what's correct hasn't evolved over the years anyway). So I had a quick look at Debrett's.

The old, family is known by the man's name, form of address is recommended except where the wife is a doctor, an ordained minister or an Hon, Lady or other title - explicitly, if she 'outranks' him.

So a woman is worth singling out in an address if she's highly educated or very posh. Otherwise, husband's initial, because he automatically outranks her (their words, not mine). How is that not either illogical or a wee bit fucked up?

Interestingly, some other (non-British) etiquette guides are suggesting that it is increasingly based on the preference of the couple themselves (which you can often pick up by looking at the back of any letter they've ever sent you). This makes sense to me.

As for database management - if you ask for and input the right details at the get-go it's pretty straightforward. And you can avoid this whole minefield by setting up your mass mailouts to avoid titles altogether, which might be a helpful option for institutions such as schools where they will be dealing with myriad family situations.

LadyBigtoes Thu 10-Oct-13 08:27:37

I think anyone who thinks there are 'true feminists' or an 'acid test' has fundamentally misunderstood the concept of feminism.

OK MsJupiter but you can't just baldly state that without explaining the concept of feminism as it should be to us! I stand to be corrected about how you can be a feminist and change your name to your husband's. I have spent a lot of time wondering. (Also I should add that I respect the right of my friends and acquaintances to be known by their married name if that's what they want – I would never harangue them or call them by their "maiden" name to make a point.)

I don't think feminism is an all-or-nothing mater - every little helps and I welcome it when I see it, however "lite". But to me feminism is about equality, and the tradition that a woman loses her name and gets her husband's name is about the opposite.

plantsitter Thu 10-Oct-13 08:27:53

I came on to say what jassy said but I'm sure I wouldn't've been so eloquent.

Those of you saying things along the lines of 'stop worrying your pretty head about something so silly' - are you aware you sound like 1950s advice columnists trying to keep society in its proper moral (paternalistic) order?

thebody Thu 10-Oct-13 08:29:44

amazed that the school assumes you are married.

all the schools my 4 have been to address us as parents/carers of child.

did you send then to a posh private or top grammar? if so what did you expect? [grin��]

thebody Thu 10-Oct-13 08:30:21

grin oh dear too early.

curlew Thu 10-Oct-13 08:30:50

"What irritates me about this is that many people assume none of us want to take our DHs surname. Some of us (and quite a few on this thread) have said they do and are happy about it so i do not want anyone to stop addressing me in the 'correct' way."

So you will understand how incredibly irritating it is for me when people assume that I do want to change my name- and change it for me!

I don't think the OP is saying nobody should be addressed in the way the school addresses her, is she? Just that she doesn't want to be. Which the school could change very easily. Just as my ds's school changed from addressing us as 'mr Hisname and Mrs Myname" to "Mr Hisname and Ms Myname" A couple of keystrokes- done.

samu2 Thu 10-Oct-13 09:01:28

It wouldn't bother me.

I just get addressed as the Parent/Carer or Samu2's kids.

Three of my children have a different surname than me and I have been called Mrs theirlastname a few times and even that didn't really bother me.

boardcreche Thu 10-Oct-13 09:05:45

Well you did change your name to Dh presumably so in that case YABU. If you really wanted to be modern you would ave kept your own name??

ICameOnTheJitney Thu 10-Oct-13 09:06:48

Curlew hits the nail on the head.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 10-Oct-13 09:07:37

Those who are happy to be addressed as Mr & Mrs John Smith or Mr & Mrs J Smith, would you be unhappy to be addressed as Mr & Mrs Smith?

Snatch I'm fine with Mr & Mrs Smith but there are a lot of Mr & Mrs OurSurname about so it can get muddling grin which is why I prefer Mr & Mrs HisName Surname or Mr & Mrs H Surname.

BurberryQ Thu 10-Oct-13 09:16:57

the OP has dared to challenge the great and mighty patriarchy
er ...noooo....she has had a whinge on mumsnet about some school using her husband's initial when addressing the two of them. Not quite the same is it?

Thants Thu 10-Oct-13 09:20:17

It's stupid but if you care about issues like this then why change your surname when you married? It's just a small extension of what you have already accepted; that your husband is more important than you.

bonkersLFDT20 Thu 10-Oct-13 09:33:17

The school haven't replied BTW.

The school is a comprehensive.

Floggingmolly Thu 10-Oct-13 10:16:14

They probably have better things to occupy themselves with than engage with this nonsense...

bonkersLFDT20 Thu 10-Oct-13 10:27:37

Yes probably. It's not such a big issue that I would follow it up. No harm in speaking up though.

MrsBW Thu 10-Oct-13 10:57:29

I don't think the OP is saying nobody should be addressed in the way the school addresses her, is she? Just that she doesn't want to be. Which the school could change very easily

But the OP suggests that that is exactly what she is saying...

The OP didn't ask to be called a different name... She asked that they 'use a more modern way to address parents', i.e. she is speaking on behalf of all parents.

Hopefully the school will adjust how they refer to the OP... as they absolutely should now that the OP has highlighted her annoyance. On this, no one could argue that the OP is BU, surely?

Tell you one thing that really makes me chuckle sometimes though. Women fought through the centuries for the right to be heard, counted and their opinions and decisions respected. And now, I get told I'm 'demeaning myself' by making a conscious choice to change my name to my husband's? It's implied that basically, if I choose to do so, I'm a bit thick and simply don't (or can't) understand the issues? And I'm told this by other women??

Bubbles1066 Thu 10-Oct-13 11:08:36

We get 'to the parent/s or guardian/s of child's name.' You can't get more modern than that!

At least it isn't "Mr and Mrs U R Bonkers!"

bonkersLFDT20 Thu 10-Oct-13 11:11:59

My letter is worded as such "While this format is accepted, do you not think it is rather outdated and that the school should adopt a more modern way to address parents?"

So actually, I'm not asking them to change how they address me or anyone else, just posing a question.

I chose to take my husbands name for our family. We discussed it. There was absolutely NO expectation from him that I would take his name.

I contacted DS2's teacher recently and signed the letter,

"Kind regards, Jane and John HusbandandChildren's surname" I don't like my husband's name and haven't taken it, but it was easier given I hate typing on the ipad.

What annoyed me was that she replied to:

"Dear Jane and Jane Husbands...name"

Surely she should have addressed it to "Dear John and Jane" or to "Mr and Mrs Husband" Pedant I know.

BurberryQ Thu 10-Oct-13 11:16:34

i think you are expecting too much of class teachers to expect them to remember how each one of thirty kids' parents likes to be addressed....they are teachers fgs, let them teach....

JassyRadlett Thu 10-Oct-13 11:18:22

Plantsitter, thanks! I'm assuming that they are reasonable points based on the fact no one has bothered to take issue with them. Equally, no one seems to have taken them on board...

'Because the etiquette book says so' just seems like an incredibly weak argument.

FlapJackOLantern Thu 10-Oct-13 11:23:47

Well said Burberry! - spot on.

MadderHat Thu 10-Oct-13 11:44:03

What does Debrett's say if both partners are Doctors? (We both have DPhils, so the same level of doctoring too; it would be clearer if one was a DLitt or similar.) I don't use my married name - that is to say that I didn't change my name on any official documentation, so I am Dr Hat. However, I'm perfectly entitled to use Mrs NotHat whenever I want it's just that the banks etc don't have it recorded and I don't choose to... then again the background check forms have my alternative listed just in case.

CloverkissSparklecheeks Thu 10-Oct-13 13:23:11

curlew I absolutely agree it is irritating both ways round but the OP said in her post that

I've just written to them suggesting they use more a more modern way to address parents

This said to me she was asking them to change it for everyone to the modern way which actually is not necessarily how all parents want to be addressed, I would have completely understood if she has written to them saying please can you address us in this way in future.

Obviously she has now said differently in her most recent post however I still feel the way it is worded is suggesting everyone wishes to be addressed differently.

bonkersLFDT20 Thu 10-Oct-13 13:46:33

clover you are right and I hold my hands up.

In my mind I only wanted them to consider looking at how they address parents (maybe it's been like that since the 50s and no one has ever thought about looking at it.....fine, it's not a major issue for a school), rather than insist they make a special entry in the database for me.

More, "this bothers me" than "this is really important to me". However, I realise that's not how I came across in my email to the school and I'll remember that when/if I contact them again.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 10-Oct-13 13:59:54

The letters won't be sent by the teachers, the addressee list is almost certainly electronic and OP at the least will be quickly updatable by, for example, putting " " in any addressee initial field. If parents got divorced, or married, or widowed, changes could certainly be made, this is not a big ask.

(Another whose school just goes with Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of DSname)

CloverkissSparklecheeks Thu 10-Oct-13 14:10:57

Something more generalised would be better I imagine (not necessarily traditional nor modern), it must be very complicated as there is regularly more that 1 surname within a family so I imagine the school can get it wrong quite a lot. I am sure Parent/Carers of x will still offend some though grin

ScarerStratton Thu 10-Oct-13 14:16:41

But, but, it's correct. All the fretting about addressing wedding envelopes correctly, but then an envelope takes been addresses correctly according to the precious rules of etiquette, and everyone's upset?

I'm confused.

Mrs is actually short for Mistress which means 'The wife of'. So Mr and Mrs R Bonkers means Mr, and the wife of R Bonkers. It's correct etiquette and the school aren't being demeaning or rude... just using good English.

If they wrote Mr R Bonkers and Mrs A Maiden name, they would be addressing you as 'the wife of A Maiden name' which would be wrong (implying you're married to yourself).

I always address envelopes in the 'old fashioned' way. Even if I'm sending a card to just the woman I would write Mrs R Bonkers, where R is her husband's initial. My bf once told me to stop doing it as it drove her nuts, so when I send her a birthday card addressed Mrs A Maiden name I want to scream 'It's wrong it's wrong'.

I'm actually quite a feminist but I just can't get over the wrongness of addressing something incorrectly.

Right... where's my tatting?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 10-Oct-13 14:32:11

The correct way to address people is how they prefer to be addressed.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 10-Oct-13 14:33:32

Don't most people who've kept their birth name go with "Ms A Birthname", ff?

Thants Thu 10-Oct-13 14:41:40

MrsBW you talk as we have won equality. We haven't and a clear signal of that is women changing their name. You say you made the choice to change your name but you were raised in a culture that pushes you every day to be subservient to men and see you changing your name as the norm. I don't think we can call it a choice until we live in a fair, equal society. One small way of fighting for equality is to see your name as a equal to that of a mans and not something you give up because he wants to marry you.

Ms is fine apart from the fact it makes my teeth itch.

"The correct way to address someone is how they prefer to be addressed"

YY to that Doctrine.

Perhaps schools could ask, though I notice that ours doesn't use what we put down (on original entrance form). I sometimes think about pointing it out (one of us is Dr but they just put Mr and Mrs - not sure which initials they've used). Possibly they are moving towards Parents/Carers of X. Probably because anything else is fraught with difficulty!
(Though also agree should it be so hard really, for school office with database ?)

2tiredtocare Thu 10-Oct-13 14:45:18

I've only just clicked on that your surname isn't actually bonkers! blush

But why would you want to have a name different from your husband's, and then which name would you give your children? A surname is just a family name. It's not something you have to bow and scrape and 'accept' from your husband as he takes away all your rights.

ScarerStratton Thu 10-Oct-13 14:46:19

Err, I changed my name, when I got married, so that our future children would share our name, and to signify we were a family unit.

Nothing wrong with that. It signifies united strength, and has nothing to do with any outdated ideas of belonging to anyone.

"Even if I'm sending a card to just the woman I would write Mrs R Bonkers, where R is her husband's initial. My bf once told me to stop doing it as it drove her nuts, so when I send her a birthday card addressed Mrs A Maiden name I want to scream 'It's wrong it's wrong'."

I get over this by addressing things to A Maidenname (no salutation) - I know Mrs R Bonkers is correct, I don't like it when people do it to me (I don't violently object to Mr and Mrs R Bonkers though) - for friends who have chosen not to change names I address things to "A Hisname and B Hername", and family things to "The WhichevernametheDChave family"

All "official" things in my name only are down as Ms S Squiggle and I do get a little annoyed when people don't use that.

I agree it can be done (changing surname on marriage) more in a spirit of having a shared family name (which DCs will also have) than with a sense
of taking your husband's name.
I still think assuming a woman is happy to be called by her husband's first name as well as using the surname or family name is a step too far in the 21st century!

ooh - etiquette people can answer me this - two PhDs married to each other - Drs A & B Bonkers - is that right?

campion Thu 10-Oct-13 14:58:37

Some people would say that using 'Doctor' or whatever outside your job is being a little bit precious, a bit like 80 yr olds insisting on Wing Commander.
But whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

I'm with farewellfigure; technically you are Mrs husband's initial surname in any formal written address but few people would use that. It's still correct to leave out your initial if you're both being addressed but, if you're bothered about it, ask school to do it as you wish. They'll probably be a bit hmm in the office but they'll do it.

I like The Doctors Bonkers personally. But your's is right too smile

MrsDeVere Thu 10-Oct-13 15:00:32

I got a letter like this and I complained (mildly) to the school and asked them not to do it.

Its rude.

Why anyone thinks its ok to refer to a woman by her husband's name is beyond me.

Its outdated and unnecessary.

We have changed many conventions wrt letter writing. I am all for keeping things formal but you can do that without being rude.

Jan49 Thu 10-Oct-13 15:12:08

I'm amazed that anyone thinks it's "technically correct" to address a woman by her husband's initial and surname. Maybe according to a 1930s book of etiquette but we live in 2013.confused

Do children still get taught that 'Yours sincerely' goes with 'Dear person's name', and 'Yours faithfully' goes with 'Dear Sir'? Shall we abandon that too and all sign off our formal letters with Cheers, or Wotcha, or Lots of love?

Sorry, I know I'm being pedantic and formal, but I can't see anything wrong with doing something RIGHT. It's not rude or outdated, it's just correct. It's the same as decent punctuation and grammar.

I am the wife of Mr A Bonkers, therefore I would expect my letters to be addressed to Mr and Mrs A Bonkers. It doesn't matter if it's 1930 or 2013 or 4,000 years in the future. It doesn't make me any less of a feminist to be addressed that way. It's just right! I'm still Mrs A Bonkers ie the wife of A Bonkers.

I love that the OP's name is still being used as the example.

I'm with MrsDeV rather than ff here.

Basically I think either the school should ask how you'd like to be addressed and make the effort required to follow that, or just address to The parents/carers of Child'sName.

Either titles matter a little to their owners (so lets get them right, according to person's own preferences) or let's not use them at all !

JassyRadlett Thu 10-Oct-13 15:17:28

Farewell, at what point though does something that feels outdated and irritating to large numbers of people move from 'right' to 'optional' to 'I can't believe I accidentally addressed that letter to Mistress Farewell, that's been archaic for years'?

Who decides?

Etiquette isn't set in stone - always interesting to look at the news/feature stories about what's changed when a new edition of Debrett's or Emily Post is published. I frankly find the ethos behind it troubling - these guides pint out that the idea is that addressing is done in order of rank. A man outranks a woman. How are even tiny signals or overtones of that OK?

CloverkissSparklecheeks Thu 10-Oct-13 15:18:10

I think it is different to address a woman on their own as Mrs 'husbands initial' surname, I think it is unnecessary as there is no reason not to use their actual initial, but Mr and Mrs 'husbands initial' Surname is surely not rude, its just a collective address.

farewell I don't think much with regards to letter writing is taught by schools, the poor efforts at letter writing when I have been looking at school leavers job application covering letters have been dismal.

JassyRadlett Thu 10-Oct-13 15:21:04

Campion, your post was a little ironic. People are precious for wanting their correct title (eg Dr) but technically correct (husband's initial for a woman) is expected and accepted and people would raise eyebrows if you don't want to follow the 'technically correct' form?

Either you buy into the 'technically correct' rules or you don't.

I guess optional is OK and if it offends people they have the right to ask to be addressed differently. I would find it really hard to change how I was taught though (I had parents who were very keen on good English, grammar etc and I thank them for it). I still think it's wrong.

I worry though that one day we'll all forget how to use apostrophes (etc) correctly as someone will deem it outdated. It's the slippery slope.

And don't even get me started on compared with, different from and similar to. The number of newsreaders who compare stuff 'to' something else. It makes me want to scream. And while I'm at it, 'There's 10', or 'there's lots'. 'THERE ARE, THERE ARE'

But that's a whole different thread. I'm going to make a nice old-fashioned cup of tea.

Campion - I don't think it's precious. It's earned. What titles are not "precious" by your definition, then - Rev? Sir/Lady? Prof?

One friend does use Dr Maidenname and Mrs Marriedname interchangeably to keep her work and home personae separate. That works too bloody confusing though.

JassyRadlett Thu 10-Oct-13 15:29:44

Call me old-fashioned but if I'm writing to someone I want that communication to be received as positively as possible by them. Which means thinking about how they prefer to be addressed.

Yes, which is why I don't address letters to my bf as Mrs A Bonkers any more as I know it upsets her. I'm happy to do what people ask of me, but it's still wrong! Mrs means wife of, and we can't just change the meaning of a word because we feel like it. Can we?

I think we can and do change the meaning of words all the time farewell? Any new edition of a dictionary will include many updates in meaning and usage.

And I think Mrs has almost evolved to the state of being the female equivalent of Mr has it not ?

In which case it would make perfect sense to be Mrs SugarAndSpice Surname and not Mrs SlugsAndSnails Surname grin

campion Thu 10-Oct-13 16:08:04

Well stealth, I did say that some people regard it as precious, not necessarily me.
I had in mind a friend with a PhD and a stellar career who refuses to use the 'Doctor' title except at work.

There are certainly some titles that I don't feel are particularly earned- more right place right time sort of thing -but that's a whole other conversation.

'Almost evolved' juggling, but not in this house where I shall stick my stickler stick of stickiness in the ground and refuse to budge, holding onto it for grim death until you will find my half-worm-eaten body shouting, 'It's wrong, it's wrong' until my dying breath.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 10-Oct-13 16:12:16

"But why would you want to have a surname different from your husband's..."

Because DH didn't want to change his name to mine. Git. grin

You could always have gone double-barrelled grin

curlew Thu 10-Oct-13 16:16:46

"But why would you want to have a name different from your husband's, and then which name would you give your children? A surname is just a family name. It's not something you have to bow and scrape and 'accept' from your husband as he takes away all your rights."

A surname may just be a family name- but it's his family name.

grin

Regarding the "almost evolved" ... it's a bit like how if a man says "My wife" it doesn't quite have an equivalent meaning to a woman saying "My husband" ... To me "My wife" still seems to suggest a slight air of ownership .... hence I prefer to say and hear "partner" but DH seems to like the word "wife" - bless him.

nowwearefour Thu 10-Oct-13 16:23:15

This REALLY bothers me too. I took my dn surname as I wanted us both to our docs names. I did not take his first name, and I just cannot bearer when people say it is correct to do it. It is not correct and I ask anyone who does it to me to change how they address me. Not sure it is that outdated to have a name all together as one family- we chose dhs as it was nicer- but my initial is my initial!

bonkersLFDT20 Thu 10-Oct-13 17:06:32

Just got a reply from the school.

"Dear Mrs Bonkers,

Thank you for your email. I note the comments you have made that this way of addressing letters is outdated but I would point out that this particular format is grammatically correct. As a school, we will continue to use the correct way of addressing letters.

However, I have amended your salutation on our computer system in the hope that future correspondence will be addressed to you in your desired format.

Kind regards

XXX
PA to the A. Headteacher"

I think this is a good response. Acknowledge my feelings, tell me what their policy is but amend my salutation.

bonkersLFDT20 Thu 10-Oct-13 17:08:01

Any one want to make bets on whether the next letter will be informing us of a detention or informing us of brilliant work? It tends to be one or the other with DS1.

I changed my name with similar thoughts to yours nowwearefour
- I liked the idea of us having a family name.
And using DH's surname is a long standing tradition - what all my ancestors have done before me. I'm very interested in family history and have a strong sense of tradition.
I do feel I've always been a feminist too.
The system isn't perfect and everyone makes their choices within that.
But I didn't sign up to losing my first name - that feels very different to me

Not a bad response and glad you're pleased with it bonkers, but I think they could have been slightly more generous in the way they put things.
The other way is not "grammatically correct" IMHO.
They may consider that it is socially correct, or that it's correct etiquette.
But I think you're right that it's now an outdated form of address, and IMHO etiquette changes !

SatinSandals Thu 10-Oct-13 17:30:42

I can't say it bothers me- no one means anything by it. I would rather miss out the initial, I am not going to write out the surname twice when it just gets thrown away.

SatinSandals Thu 10-Oct-13 17:31:41

I thought they generally wrote 'the parent or guardian of Ruby Bonkers' anyway.

bonkersLFDT20 Thu 10-Oct-13 17:49:09

I'm talking about the envelope. I can't find the actual letter now, so I'm not sure what the salutation was. General letters are indeed addressed to "the parent or guardian....".

Joint bills seem to be Mr. R Bonkers and Mrs M Bonkers.

Jan49 Thu 10-Oct-13 18:04:53

What a depressing thread for women's rights. I'm "old" and when I worked for a mortgage company in the late 1980s, all correspondence had the couple's separate names on it, never Mr and Mrs R Bonkers. I also got married and kept my surname in the 1980s and thought that was what most young women would do and I could never have dreamt that 30 years on, women would still be taking on their husbands' surname. We seem to have gone backwards.sad sad

JassyRadlett Thu 10-Oct-13 18:08:12

Farewell, it's wrong to you, and Debrett's. It's right to an increasing number of people who think the way you and I were taught it (I, like you, by stickler parents) is wrong and outdated. Both sets of people are right, in their own way, because these things are very personal.

Interestingly, my hugely conventional mother who has always been a stickler for form has decided in the last few years that, actually, her marital status isn't the business of anyone in officialdom and she would like to be addressed by her own first name and officials. She and my dad continue to be happily married but her view was that times and her role have changed and she wants to be addressed in a way that reflects that. I was really interested and surprised by this - and a bit impressed.

I'm very much the wife of my DH, but I'm not a Mrs and we don't share a last name. So what's the 'correct' way to address me? (Our DS has another name again and we feel very much like a single family unit; if we'd felt the need to all have the same name both DH and I would have changed our names as neither of us was keen on taking the other's name.)

And for goodness' sake, it's form and etiquette, not grammar. Quite cross about a school suggesting it might be.

JassyRadlett Thu 10-Oct-13 18:10:07

Bonkers, I'm not that sure why we need titles on envelopes anyway. I often just put R & M Bonkers (though obv only if I'm writing to you).

SplitHeadGirl Thu 10-Oct-13 18:21:42

YANBU!! My own mother sent me and DH an anniversary card with it addressed in exactly the way youdescribe...despite her KNOWING that I kept my own name and that I am a feminist. To me, it is being called some completely random name, for it is NOT my name!! Very irritating and disrespectful to me as a separate human being of EQUAL importance to my husband, no less.

I dunno...to me it is quite an important thing.

JassyRadlett Thu 10-Oct-13 18:35:28

SplitHead, I'm so very tempted when people send something to Mr & Mrs DH Lastname to send my next letter to them addressed to Mrs and Mrs Wife's MaidenName. Which would be just as correct.

I have resisted the temptation so far.

MrsBW Thu 10-Oct-13 18:45:16

MrsBW you talk as we have won equality. We haven't and a clear signal of that is women changing their name. You say you made the choice to change your name but you were raised in a culture that pushes you every day to be subservient to men and see you changing your name as the norm. I don't think we can call it a choice until we live in a fair, equal society. One small way of fighting for equality is to see your name as a equal to that of a mans and not something you give up because he wants to marry you.

I don't see my maiden name as my name. I see it as my father's. I know some people will argue with me to kingdom come that it's 'my' name, but to me, it's a constant reminder of a man who walked out on my mother and her new born baby leaving her struggling with severe mental health issues and I will never agree it's 'my' name and not his.

I couldn't wait to get rid of that name. It was a positive choice to change my name to my husband's and have our own family name.

I know very well that we haven't achieved equality. But for people to tell me I shouldn't change my name, rather than afford me the choice, seems to be a real backward step. I would never - in a million years - have chosen to keep the name given to me by my father and yet there are those that would tell me I should have and because I didn't I can't believe in equality?

I think that response from the school is a good one too.

unfortunatedischarge Thu 10-Oct-13 18:46:36

Ladybigtoes, what a load of bs. What constitutes a real feminist? Not shaving our bits? Not shaving your pits.? Never wearing lipstick? Boycotting all shops who use sexist advertising? Moving out of society and having a feminist commune.? Noit sleeping withthe enemy and embracing political lesbianism?
Who gets to decide who is feminist enough?

MrsBW Thu 10-Oct-13 18:48:27

One thing to add though... Just because I'm happy to be addressed as Mrs BW, I don't assume everyone is.... And I would absolutely refer to people as they requested, not simply follow conventional etiquette.

thelittlemothersucker Thu 10-Oct-13 18:55:02

I prefer 'Jane and Reg Bonkers' myself

eurochick Thu 10-Oct-13 19:00:58

I don't think I would have been terribly satisfied with that response.

First, as another poster has already pointed out, it has nothing to do with grammar. It is a social construct and, in my view, a wholly outmoded one. I can remember my mother (now in her 60s) bristling about this when I was a child. She had taken my father's name on marriage, but very much objected to receiving mail adressed to Mrs Michael [surname]. She had never changed her name to Michael.

unfortunatedischarge Thu 10-Oct-13 19:04:46

I am mshisname

I changed my name, but get the rage when I'm called Mrs. I never took on that name. Ms is correct as it only means a woman-marriage status unknown or none of your business.

I suspect that we do get some letters addressed to Mr and Mrs Hisname Oursurname - I haven't noticed, because it wouldn't worry me too much - but that is my personal opinion, and I will l defend anyone's right to hold a different one, and to ask for their choice of address to be used by their dc's schools or wherever.

OP - I am glad you have a satisfactory response from the school.

somewherewest Thu 10-Oct-13 19:18:03

A bit late to this thread, but I had no idea anyone apart from aged grandaunts addressed letters to Mr & Mrs His Initial His Surname any more? I forgive it in anyone over ninety but get The Rage otherwise.

SplitHeadGirl Thu 10-Oct-13 19:23:15

Lol yes Jassy...I think I might do that too. I satisfied myself by swatting my mum over the head with the envelope!! grin It kept it goodnatured but at the same time I felt exasperated at how she doesn't see the bigger picture and the message this kind of thing sends out.

I was just glad she was able to hand deliver it so the postman didn't see it!! Hate little things like that, which perpetuate the rubbish that women are secondary to men/their husbands, as the norm.

LadyBigtoes Thu 10-Oct-13 19:38:29

Ladybigtoes, what a load of bs. What constitutes a real feminist? Not shaving our bits? Not shaving your pits.? Never wearing lipstick? Boycotting all shops who use sexist advertising? Moving out of society and having a feminist commune.? Noit sleeping withthe enemy and embracing political lesbianism?

None of these. This is exactly the problem. When feminism gets bogged down in whether this or that or the other is OK, it always runs into contradictions (e.g, if you say women can't do something because it's not feminist, you are limiting them which is not feminist, etc.) and becomes illogical and falls apart.

Feminism is about equality. It's not about being feminist enough, it's about being feminist at all. If you embrace a tradition which is all about reflecting, embedding and continuing an essential inequality - that is not a feminist thing to do because the concern of feminists is to replace inequality with equality – to act and live in a way that requires and embodies equality between men and women.

If you think it's fine because you are a feminist and you do want equality but you just took his name because it's no big deal, you need to see that these evaluations of men as more important than women are deeply ingrained, and not necessarily conscious. If you can't see that one person in a marriage getting to have their name become the name of the marriage and the family while the other loses their name, and that the loser just happens to be the women, is a big deal then think again. Deep, ingrained acceptance of inequality like this underpins and props up all kinds of much worse, more dangerous manifestations of sexism. It is things like this that make many men think, deep down, that they don't have to pull their weight. That they can be an EA. That hitting her was her fault. Not all men - but that acceptance that men are more important, on the part of all of us, is what we should be trying to get rid of.

To me, it's like saying you're not racist, but it should be fine for black people to take the names of their employers because it's traditional and what happened under slavery, so it's no biggie.

LadyBigtoes Thu 10-Oct-13 19:41:35

To put it another way, ask 100 men who are about to get married if they are going to change their name to their wife's and point out that around 50% of them should be doing so. How many of them will just happily do it without question because it's no biggie?

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 10-Oct-13 19:50:00

Grammatically correct? It is nothing to do with grammar; it is a social convention. "Mistress" does not mean "wife of." It is the feminine equivalent of "Master" from which "Mr" is derived. At one time married and unmarried women were called Mistress and it was abbreviated "Mrs."
The Mrs. Hisfirstname Hissurname convention is sexist. Word usage conventions (and grammar for that matter) change as times change.
The school's response is very pompous.

And why should it be a continued convention that a woman's title conveys her marital status and a man's does not? Give me Ms. or better yet, no title at all (as in the Quaker practice).

curlew Thu 10-Oct-13 19:52:21

"I know very well that we haven't achieved equality. But for people to tell me I shouldn't change my name, rather than afford me the choice, seems to be a real backward step. I would never - in a million years - have chosen to keep the name given to me by my father and yet there are those that would tell me I should have and because I didn't I can't believe in equality?"

Nobody says you have to keep your father's name- you could have changed it to anything you liked as soon as you were 18. Why wait unto you got married to shed a name that had such bad associations for you?

marriedinwhiteisback Thu 10-Oct-13 19:52:31

I am equal in every way. If I hadn't been proud to take my husbands name then I wouldn't have married him. The school is correct. At work I am first name, last name and no title except for that which describes my job role. At home I am Mrs His Initial, His last name. If I were addressed as Mrs my first name, his last name it would denote that I was divorced and I am not.

Don't understand why it's such a problem. If he gets a K I'll be delighted to be Lady his first name, his surname. Goes to brush hat and check gloves grin

curlew Thu 10-Oct-13 19:53:29

Lady BigToes, your post of 19.38 is fantastic.

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 10-Oct-13 19:57:12

If I were addressed as Mrs my first name, his last name it would denote that I was divorced and I am not.

Only by outmoded and sexist conventions that are happily dying out.

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 10-Oct-13 20:02:03

Deep, ingrained acceptance of inequality like this underpins and props up all kinds of much worse, more dangerous manifestations of sexism.

Yes, this.

teatimesthree Thu 10-Oct-13 20:05:18

I agree that Mr and Mrs R. Bonkers is outdated and sexist.

But I have a question related to the subsequent discussion about changing names. Why do some women feel their maiden name is their father's name - but they don't seem to feel that their husband's name is their FILs name?

Or put another way, why don't more men say, "my surname is just my father's name, and he's a bit of a crusty old codger, I'll take my wife's name when we marry"?

curlew Thu 10-Oct-13 20:14:40

"Or put another way, why don't more men say, "my surname is just my father's name, and he's a bit of a crusty old codger, I'll take my wife's name when we marry"?"

Because people are being disingenuous when they say "it's no big deal".

It's also important to remember that women tend to have last names that are ugly, clumsy, difficult to spell and don't go with their children's first names. Men's last names, however, are always euphonious, easy to spell and sound lovely with the children's first names. True fact.

teatimesthree Thu 10-Oct-13 20:24:39

grin

TheDoctrineOfSpike Thu 10-Oct-13 20:28:22

Married, I thought the usual etiquette argument was that Ms meant you were divorced?

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 10-Oct-13 20:35:29

Ms. does not mean you are divorced. Where did that idea come from?
It means that it is nobody's business what your marital status is.

That email from the school really pisses me off. I would be so tempted to write back something along the lines of:

"The usage you refer to is not a matter of grammar; it is a matter of societal convention. In lieu of 'grammar,' I commend to the school a bit of history: the societal practice of a woman's name completely disappearing into her husband's is a vestige of the common law doctrine of coverture, whereby a woman's legal existence was entirely subsumed in her husband's when she married; in other words, she became his property."

But to be honest, I probably wouldn't do it while my children were still attending the school. smile

curlew Thu 10-Oct-13 20:40:06

Of course Ms doesn't mean you're divorced!!!!!

But if it did that would be even worse! It would mean that there was no way a woman could be addressed formally that didn't involve revealing her marital status. While men.......

marriedinwhiteisback Thu 10-Oct-13 20:41:25

I didn't say Ms indicated one was divorced. I said Mrs my first name, his last name did and it does.

The bit that really interests me is the comment about a woman's legal existence being subsumed by her husband. When I married I was earning six figures, owned my own home in London, etc., etc.. I would not have married if I had not been sufficiently confident in my husband's decency and niceness to have allowed myself to be subsumed by his presence. I married of my own free will and was entirely independent. Had I not been entirely confident in the union I would have said "NO". That is what equality is about. Objective, independent choices and it is they that empower women not flammery about taking names, etc.

TheDoctrineOfSpike Thu 10-Oct-13 20:43:19

Scone, I know it doesn't. But it's quite often said in here that it does and I've never heard of Mrs HerFirstName HisSurname being supposedly a divorcee before.

unfortunatedischarge Thu 10-Oct-13 20:44:32

This is why I can't see it as something a true feminist could do

So a person who changes their name is not a feminist this is what you have said. SO I am just asking you to continue to define what makes a feminist. All of the things I mentioned in my post are things that prop up the patriarchy, but I have frequently seen Glorida Steneim in make up... I'd love to see her reaction if someone said she wasn't a feminist.

Make up is designed to make women look a certain way and isn't an expectation of men.

Shaving legs/pubes/pits is designed to make women look a certain way and not expected of men..

So I am asking you are women who consider themselves feminist but wear make up and shave their legs true feminist?

I don't wear make up because I don't want my daughter to feel wmen need to.. I dont shave for that reason too despite being practically 80% chimp I am not going to say a woman who does shave can't be a feminist. I would expect her to understand that her choice to shave is not a feminist choice.

Every time you shop in a major grocery store you are supporting a system that advertises men are idiots that cant do the shopping and that mothers women should be martyrs to the cause.

Many of us make choices that could be seen as unfeminist for the sake of an easier life and I am more than happy for you to debate whether or not changing my name was a feminist choice.. I agree with you. It wasn't. I really debated with myself abut it and often wish I hadn't. The decision to do it was specific to my needs though and wasn't because it was an ugly name or any other excuse. My father was an abusive ass hole too.. it wasn't his name though it was my name. I won't make excuses for my name but I will argue that I am a true feminist to the fucking end. because I am.

ringaringarosy Thu 10-Oct-13 20:47:28

I always put peoples first names on letters,never even thought about all this shit!

I remember asking mil to email me all dhs side of the families addresses so i could send them christmas cards,she did the whole Mr and Mrs intial surname thing,i tohught fuck that,and just put John and Tracy,Karen and Sean,etc.

unfortunatedischarge Thu 10-Oct-13 20:50:41

I do wonder why so many people insist on thinking Ms means divorced..argh drives me crazy. I wonder if the creators of Ms. Magazine realize people think it's only for divorced women

SconeRhymesWithGone Thu 10-Oct-13 20:58:50

Ms. certainly does not mean divorced in the US. It tends to be the default title, especially in a business and professional setting.

You know, the correct way to address someone is actually by the name they choose to use.

Those of you saying that the correct way to address a married couple is Mr and Mrs HisInitial HisSurname are only correct if the couple themselves choose to address themselves in that way.

I choose to use Ms, as I feel that my marital status is my concern and no-one else's. Why should a woman have to publicly display her marital status when a man doesn't?

And I still have the name I was born with. Might be my dad's surname, but as our society is in the process of changing, then changes need to start somewhere. A few generations and no-one will be worrying that women are carrying a man's surname.

And I think that now I've had this name for 45 years, it's rightfully as much mine as it is my dad's.

(As an aside, I've never heard of the idea that Mrs HerName HisSurname indicated a divorced woman; round here it simply indicates that women prefer to use their own first name)

Chunderella Thu 10-Oct-13 21:15:07

Yanbu, although yabu to be pleased with the school's response. It is simply incorrect to suggest that this is the grammatically correct way of addressing you. Grammar, unlike etiquette, tends to be black and white, and in this case grammar has nothing to do with it. That was some passive aggressive shit and what's more it was wrong. As, of course, are all the people in the thread claiming that there is some technically correct form of address, or that what's traditional is correct. Actually, the idea that there is one 'traditional' form is also flawed. Mr and Mrs Husbands Name is less traditional than lots of other naming customs we have had in this country. It is no more technically correct to use that than to reject a surname altogether. If people wish to use the custom that was in vogue in the 50s, be my guest, but don't pretend it's accurate in a way that other choices are not.

I'm also rather worried that a school is wasting time and money on a database of this kind. All letters should be addressed simply to parent/carer. I hope it wasn't a state school, I resent taxpayers money being used to pay someone to do this when it could be spent on something useful. It's funny that all the people who find it so funny that you care what you're called haven't made this point yet.

LifeHuh Thu 10-Oct-13 21:32:30

I thought the schools reply was patronising - we are correct,but hey,you want us to do something else,we'll try...

Our (state secondary) school letters come to Mr G and Mrs C Lifehuh - not difficult really.
I use my married name professionally,but wouldn't dream of working as Mrs G Lifehuh. My name isn't G...

I'm well aware that in the past Mrs C Lifehuh would have indicated I was divorced or widowed,but times change and usage moves on.My grandmother and her generation used it like that,but my grandmother was born when Victoria was still on the throne,so I don't feel that says a lot about how we should address each other now. smile

TheDoctrineOfSpike Thu 10-Oct-13 22:34:37

"That was some passive aggressive shit and what's more it was wrong."

<adds to MN quote book>

grin

TheDoctrineOfSpike Thu 10-Oct-13 22:41:11

Well, whaddya know, Debretts do suggest Mrs HerFirstName HisSurname for a divorcee.

But they also strongly advise that you ask the recipient how she wishes to be addressed. Which seems like a good idea.

debretts

bonkersLFDT20 Thu 10-Oct-13 22:42:00

Shall I just cut and paste this thread in my response to the school's reply? wink

I was just going to thank them for taking the time to respond, but now feel I want to correct them on the grammar/etiquette thing.

I might just thank them for changing my salutation and ignore the rest. I suppose if I feel strongly I should take it up with..I don't know...the governors, Michael Gove? wink

TheDoctrineOfSpike Thu 10-Oct-13 22:42:56

Ringa, why were you responsible for getting names and addresses and sorting out cards for your husband's relatives?

<tangent>

TheDoctrineOfSpike Thu 10-Oct-13 22:44:00

Michael Gove is married to Sarah Vine. He might get it (first time for everything).

PumpkinGuts Thu 10-Oct-13 22:45:35

Ringa, why were you responsible for getting names and addresses and sorting out cards for your husband's relatives?

whole other bloody thread ^ that

Bowlersarm Thu 10-Oct-13 22:47:58

Yes OP, cut and paste.

I really want to keep to tradition.I took my husbands name. Am very happy with the traditional use of his initial too.

Please keep Mr and Mrs DH Bowlersarm on your correspondence to me.

JassyRadlett Thu 10-Oct-13 23:18:31

Bowlersarm, I'm genuinely interested why tradition is so important to you?

treaclesoda Thu 10-Oct-13 23:27:20

This thread has been playing on my mind since I first read it.

The thing is, I was taught as a child that it was staggeringly rude to send a letter without a title on the envelope, to address a married woman as Ms, or to address an envelope to a married couple as anything other than Mr & Mrs R Bonkers (to use the OP's example). And before anyone asks if I'm 105, no I'm not, I'm only in my 30s wink

Until reading this thread yesterday I had no idea that by doing so I could be offending anyone, because I have been taught that this is just good manners. So what on earth do I do now? How do I work out who wants to be referred to in each way? How does everyone else do it? I mean, its easy to say 'well, change to the 'modern' way of doing it, because that's the right thing to do' but then I'm just offending different people. This is a total minefield.

LadyBigtoes Thu 10-Oct-13 23:41:29

Hmm I'm not sure make-up and shaving are the nub of the issue though. As I said, feminism is not about shaving, it's about equality.

Men shave. Men wear make-up. Men titivate and enjoy clothes. We should be working towards equality in these things so that no one is pressured into or expected to do particular things but everyone feels equally free to (within what's reasonable/not harmful to others etc. obviously.)

I would argue that tweaking and primping your body in various ways and caring about your appearance is part of being human for most people - as you would probably agree if either a male or a female colleague of yours didn't wash, clean their clothes, brush their teeth, do their hair etc for a few days.

It's madness to go down the road of saying a woman shouldn't care about her appearance because it's all for men's benefit and therefore not feminist. Firstly, that's bollocks - it's not all for men's benefit as anyone who is into fashion (or indeed lesbian) could tell you.

Secondly, if men are allowed to choose the clothes they like and drag a razor across their skin because that's how they want to look, so should women be.

It's about equality - equality of status, respect and opportunity, equality in law, financially, at work and socially. It's not about being or not being allowed to do thing a, b or c.

Flatiron Thu 10-Oct-13 23:50:31

I'd always thought of 'Mr. and Mrs. <husband's initial and surname>', as just a simple convention, like 'Dear <name> + Yours sincerely' or 'Dear Sir/Madam + Yours faithfully', rather than a contentious issue, up until now. confused

I often find this happens. Things to which I'm normally completely oblivious are drawn to my attention, and I start to fret about whether it's right or not!

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 11-Oct-13 00:20:42

bonkers I do think you should respond to that email, perhaps not to the level of my snarky example upthread, but they really do need to know, in their obvious desire to be excruciatingly correct, that this is not about grammar.

PumpkinGuts Fri 11-Oct-13 00:25:25

Bless you lady, its really quite sweet that you keep patronising everyone and telling them what feminism is.

JassyRadlett Fri 11-Oct-13 00:51:21

Treacle, I get what you mean. When I get personal letters or cards I make a note of the mode of address the sender has used on the back of the envelope. I figure they're happy with that. I think many people these days are happy with both their first names, though.

curlew Fri 11-Oct-13 03:34:50

"Bless you lady, its really quite sweet that you keep patronising everyone and telling them what feminism is."

Well, obviously someone has to!

daisychain01 Fri 11-Oct-13 05:12:07

I am definitely changing my name by deed pole to Mrs R Bonkers.

YANBU to prefer not to be your DHs "chattel" in this enlightened day and age. The wife used to be the husband's possession in the olden days. Not nice. Although I admit I do address Mr and Mrs using the DHs initials. i should know better, I think it is just ease <aka laziness>. Must be more aware in future thanks for highlighting.

DSSs school always just say dear parent on all their bumff.

jamdonut Fri 11-Oct-13 08:01:46

Having read all this post now,and all the arguments about right and wrong, I'm beginning to wonder if "Etiquette" has any place in our society these days, something which I notice many here on MN seem to get very wound up about. It is not something I think much about ,generally, except on here

How can anybody be expected to know what 'correct etiquette' is, if everyone has very differing views and nobody wants to be bothered by tradition.

'Correct etiquette' seems to change with the wind...whether it is to do with addressing an envelope, tipping,party bags,weddings etc,etc.

bonkersLFDT20 Fri 11-Oct-13 08:09:33

I don't how to reply w/o looking like I'm trying to get one up on them.

Is this OK?

"Thank you for taking the time to respond to my email and for changing my salutation.

While I recognise it is the school's perrogative to address parents and guardians using whichever format you choose, the one you have chosen is based on tradition and etiquette rather than grammar."

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 11-Oct-13 08:10:54

Yanbu - why can't they just address the letters to Mr and Mrs Bonkers?

When I'm writing letters to clients who happen to be married couples it's never even crossed my mind to address it Mr and Mrs mans initial Smith. Never.

However all the posters calling women who take their husbands names "slaves to the patriarchy" are being rude and offensive. Just because you chose not to does not make that choice the only right one. Smacks of "women have the right to make their own choices as long as I agree with them". Which is something often seen on MN.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 11-Oct-13 08:12:18

bonkers

I wouldn't even bother trying to explain it them. Just thank th for the response and state you anticipate letters in future being addressed as per the salutation you have requested.

brandnewcock Fri 11-Oct-13 08:12:37

This thread has made me decide to get some of the address stickers made up to put on the back of my Christmas card envelopes this year - might clear up the confusion some of our (mostly mine, actually) relatives have about whether I changed my name when I married. DH will be annoyed I don't include his Phd title though - but that's a whole other thread! grin

ZingWantsCake Fri 11-Oct-13 08:28:28

we always have them address as "Parent/Guardian of ZingBoy"
(DD is only home)

but it would not bother me, we are Mr & Mrs Y Zing!
I really don't see why it is a problem. It's just the custom, you get the same for a wedding invite etc.

I got a letter yesterday addressed to me as Miss X Zing yesterday. I'm not a Miss. I'm a Mrs.
should I be annoyed?wink

LadyBigtoes Fri 11-Oct-13 09:04:42

Bless you lady, its really quite sweet that you keep patronising everyone and telling them what feminism is.

How sweet of you to patronise me too. We're quits!

I was asked, quite aggressively:
*What constitutes a real feminist? Not shaving our bits? Not shaving your pits.? Never wearing lipstick? Boycotting all shops who use sexist advertising? Moving out of society and having a feminist commune.? Noit sleeping withthe enemy and embracing political lesbianism?
Who gets to decide who is feminist enough?*

So I answered that explaining feminism as I see it, in a way that deals with the very problems that para expresses so neatly. IMO, the idea tat "feminism means you can't shave your legs" and similar is a myth put about by people who hate and fear women and feminism. It makes it seem like it's about belonging to a weird enclave and having to follow restrictive rules. It's actually very anti-feminist. Think about it logically and you realise men are allowed to care about their appearance/shave/whatever so women should be too.

There's a debate on this thread about feminism so I've been saying what I think. What I think is my opinion, however I am also pointing out that some ideas of feminism seem to fall down logically and go around in circles, and that some of those ideas actually run counter to the idea of gender equality.

What feminism is is of course up for debate. For me equality in all things is the key. Here's the first dictionary definition that comes up on the web.

fem·i·nism
/ˈfeməˌnizəm/
Noun
The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I can't see anything about not shaving, and indeed that wouldn't make sense, as men shave.

Also please note that nowhere have I said that I don't think women should be allowed to change their surname to their husband's when they get married. And I said that I respect friends' rights to be known however they want to be.

What I said is that doing so is not a feminist thing to do and I can't reconcile feminism with doing this thing which runs directly counter to the pursuit of equality.

curlew Fri 11-Oct-13 10:37:53

The fact is that just because a woman makes a choice, that is not therefore automatically a feminist choice.

Women can make anti feminist choices if they want, obviously, but it seems to me that it should be an informed choice. "I know that this thing I am about to do is, in however small a way, perpetuating outdated and misogynist social structures, but I want to do it and I am going to do it anyway" is better than "it's the way it's always been done so I am going to do it too"

Pendeen Fri 11-Oct-13 10:38:33

"While I recognise it is the school's perrogative to address parents and guardians using whichever format you choose, the one you have chosen is based on tradition and etiquette rather than grammar."

Bonkers, have you sent that?

If so I suspect you have just added to the general level of amusement in the school office because, as well as simply being your interpretation of correct grammar, it does appear rather pompous.

BurberryQ Fri 11-Oct-13 10:40:54

um what does grammar have to do with it?
I actually pity teachers....

bonkersLFDT20 Fri 11-Oct-13 11:10:01

No, I didn't sent that reply. I simply said ""Thank you for taking the time to respond to my email and for changing my salutation."

I didn't feel at all comfortable sending the other one. I would much prefer to have a conversation like that with someone in person, not with someone I've never met and via email.

sashh Fri 11-Oct-13 11:15:04

StopDoingThat

With kids too. Although he did, sort of, marry his daughter

PumpkinGuts Fri 11-Oct-13 14:05:55

I apologise, I halloween NC in the middle of convo, I was the one who asked you (aggressively apparently) about what makes a feminist because you very clearly stated someone wasnt a feminist on this count.

And I think that's a great sweeping statement to make. I disagree whole heartedly regarding shaving as men are not required to shave at all and dh can happily go to work with out shaving without anyone batting an eye, where as if I am seen to be rocking fur trim on my swim suit I get looks/comments. The more women shave the more women are expected to shave (as in the amount of body hair). I think women separating their ass cheeks to a stranger to have their crack waxed and the idea that is becoming standard if you don't want be seem as "gross" is far more of a concern than my surname. But I won't say that someone who submits to this because of social conventions but still believes in equality is not a feminist.

However my point was and this is to curlew as well, I realise I made one unfemnisit choice as an adult (out of many I am sure) with other concerns.. feminism is there to improve the lives of women.

I am still a feminist. I am also a democrat but might consider voting for a particular candidate one day who is not a democrat because they happen to represents certain ideals I have.

Interestingly my "maiden" name is actually a slave name and has nothing to do with my family. There's a quandary for you. Is a slave name more equal than a husband's name? And does every woman who changes her name need to explain to you why she changed it to prove she is feminist enough?

I'm going to leave this here, because you have a very blinkered view where you believe you own feminism. And I am sorry but you really don't.

I was asked, quite aggressively:
*What constitutes a real feminist? Not shaving our bits? Not shaving your pits.? Never wearing lipstick? Boycotting all shops who use sexist advertising? Moving out of society and having a feminist commune.? Noit sleeping withthe enemy and embracing political lesbianism?
Who gets to decide who is feminist enough?*

So I answered that explaining feminism as I see it, in a way that deals with the very problems that para expresses so neatly. IMO, the idea tat "feminism means you can't shave your legs" and similar is a myth put about by people who hate and fear women and feminism. It makes it seem like it's about belonging to a weird enclave and having to follow restrictive rules. It's actually very anti-feminist. Think about it logically and you realise men are allowed to care about their appearance/shave/whatever so women should be too.

There's a debate on this thread about feminism so I've been saying what I think. What I think is my opinion, however I am also pointing out that some ideas of feminism seem to fall down logically and go around in circles, and that some of those ideas actually run counter to the idea of gender equality.

What feminism is is of course up for debate. For me equality in all things is the key. Here's the first dictionary definition that comes up on the web.

fem·i·nism
/ˈfeməˌnizəm/
Noun
The advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I can't see anything about not shaving, and indeed that wouldn't make sense, as men shave.

Also please note that nowhere have I said that I don't think women should be allowed to change their surname to their husband's when they get married. And I said that I respect friends' rights to be known however they want to be.

What I said is that doing so is not a feminist thing to do and I can't reconcile feminism with doing this thing which runs directly counter to the pursuit of equality.

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 11-Oct-13 14:09:29

I lived for a while in Philadelphia where many people use Quaker forms of address, which are based on equality. (There is story of a Quaker in the court of Charles II who addressed him simply as Charles Stuart.) As a feminist, I find ithe Quaker practice very appealing, and it solves many problems.

Anyway, the Quaker form would be for the envelope to say Marigold and Reginald Bonkers (or both names written out in full) and the salutation would be "Dear Marigold and Reginald Bonkers" (or both names written out in full).

OP, I provided first names for purposes of illustration. Hope that's ok. smile

comingalongnicely Fri 11-Oct-13 14:25:04

FFS you've got what you wanted - they've acknowledged your request & are going to change how they address the letters.

Anything else will make you sound like a smartarse with nothing else to do with their time except pestering people that have real work to do.

You'd be better off spending the time looking for a frame to put your first "correctly" addressed envelope in when it arrives....

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 11-Oct-13 14:31:59

Well, perhaps, as an educational institution, their "real work" could include knowing the difference between grammar and social conventions and not perpetuating sexist practices.

FlirtyGurty Fri 11-Oct-13 14:54:25

This one seems to have passed me by at the grand old age of 40. My life must be so full of shit its never even entered my head to take offence at an envelope (which ends up in the shredder moments after being ripped open)before. Seriously concerned that I dont take 5 minutes out of my life to find the time to think about shit like this.

I assume those offended to not include Alison and Andrew Boggs who also would be addressed as Mr and Mrs A Bloggs - or would it?

Really do think some people look for offence sometimes. Do you all clutch your pearls when these evelopes land on your door mat??

The whole point of etiquette is that when you dont know what to do (IE: unsure of how to address someone) you follow etiquette.

Honestly - some people need to wake up and start thinking about some real shit going on in the real world rather than petty shit like this.

PumpkinGuts Fri 11-Oct-13 15:15:57

and yet flirty, you've just wasted the head space ranting against worrying about something. So you have time to get annoyed that others get annoyed about different things. It's an odd stance to take I'd say.

FlirtyGurty Fri 11-Oct-13 15:25:16

Oooh took all of 30 seconds to type my post and did I rant???

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 11-Oct-13 15:31:16

some people need to wake up and start thinking about some real shit going on in the real world rather than petty shit like this

To which I quote once again LadyBigtoes:

Deep, ingrained acceptance of inequality like this underpins and props up all kinds of much worse, more dangerous manifestations of sexism.

bonkersLFDT20 Fri 11-Oct-13 15:35:29

scones do you honestly ONLY ever think about "real shit" in the "real world"? Really?

bonkersLFDT20 Fri 11-Oct-13 15:36:32

coming my response to their reply was to simply thank them. I am glad I wrote to them.

PepperGrinder Fri 11-Oct-13 15:42:20

The Quaker form of address is my favourite, although I didn't know it was Quaker and as an atheist I feel a bit meh about that... grin

In my world there would be no titles, and if people wanted to express their unit-dom they would legally have to adopt a made-up surname. I suspect people would find a way to function with their original names when faced with two lots of name-changing paperwork. hmm After all it is a piece of piss really.

MrsDeVere Fri 11-Oct-13 15:45:15

Flirty
My daughter is dead
My husband has a progressive neurological disorder
One of my sons is disabled.

Yet somehow at the grand old age of 46 this petty stuff does bother me.
Enough for me to ask the school to revise their policy.

Anyone who churns out the 'omg don't you have anything to worry about' crap

really needs to think.before.they.type.

ZingDollyChops Fri 11-Oct-13 16:21:46

MrsD as always thanks

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 11-Oct-13 16:24:13

bonkers I was quoting coming in the bolded part of my post and then taking issue with her on that point. I was trying to make the point that I don't consider your issue with the school "petty shit."

Hi MrsDeV,
Did you get a good response from your DCs school on this ?
Are you going to the meet-up - I'd love to see you there this time - you escaped before I found you last year smile
Always remembering Billie flowers

Pepper - did you know you can be a Quaker "non-theist" or atheist these days ? Those early Friends (Quakers) were ahead of their times in a few ways!

MrsDeVere Fri 11-Oct-13 16:31:09

Hi juggling,

I m planning to go to the meetup. smile

The response was meh. They thought I was objecting to them including OH on the envelope at all hmm

So they sent me a rambling reply about having to keep both parents informed.

Once I had got through to them they sort of went 'oh. ok'.

Mind you I have bigger fish to fry with that school atm.

bonkersLFDT20 Fri 11-Oct-13 16:33:05

Sorry scone blush

Searching for the quote though, I think it was flirty not coming.

MrsD thanks

PepperGrinder Fri 11-Oct-13 16:37:01

Oh Juggling, no I didn't. Thanks smile

SconeRhymesWithGone Fri 11-Oct-13 16:41:29

Thanks bonkers. And yes, it was Flirty, sorry coming. blush

grovel Fri 11-Oct-13 16:43:08

I think you were right to take on the name Bonkers.

DD's school does take the trouble to address letters about DD to Mr HisFirstName HisSurname and Ms HerFirstName HerSurname. They'd asked for these details from everyone at the start so that's what they use.

DS's primary send all letters addressed to Parent/Carer of DS Full Name.

edam Fri 11-Oct-13 23:29:51

I'm amazed there are so many women on this thread stoutly defending the Mr and Mrs hisfirstname hissurname 1950s ettiquette. Every other thread there has been on MN about people writing to 'Mr & Mrs R Brown' has been very much the other way round, with loads of people objecting to being addressed by their husband's first name.

Good grief. Even my Godmother, in her 80s, had moved on enough that by the time she married again, after being widowed, she added her new husband's surname to her own, instead of changing it entirely. And she is very, very, very keen on and experienced in using all formal etiquette. Sort of person you could rely on to sort out all the placement at a formal dinner party for 60, with guests including bishops and professors and peers and so on.

curlew Fri 11-Oct-13 23:32:46

"I'm amazed there are so many women on this thread stoutly defending the Mr and Mrs hisfirstname hissurname 1950s ettiquette."

There are always plenty of women ready to leap to the defence of misogyny in all it's manifestations large and small.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 11-Oct-13 23:45:49

It's just outdated now. A one off random letter I could put up with but I wouldn't if it would be repeated year on year.

I do plan to take my dp's name when we marry next year. However that has a lot to do with me preferring his surname to mine (it is highly amusing to some). If I had a surname that didn't seem to invite both men and woman to make hilarious comments I probably wouldn't.

BlueStones Sat 12-Oct-13 18:29:03

Awful lot of minimisation of sexism here. "It's no biggie", and so on. Just what the old-school sexists want you to believe.

head-to-desk manoeuvre

And those who are "proud" to have taken on their husband's name ... given that it is an equal partnership, was he not equally "proud" of you, and hoping to take your name on? Did you deny him the honour of showing his pride in this way?

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