Friday, March 20, 2009


The bride
Originally uploaded by PhylB
I blogged last year about the hassle value of changing your name in this day and age. The BBC was discussing it today too.
Having got married two weeks ago and not changed my name, I am finding a bit of a shortfall in the English language. Maybe it's to do with the unpronounceability of 'Ms'? I tell people my name is Phyllis Buchanan, as soon as they ask my marital status, I am instantly addressed by people as Mrs Buchanan. She's my mother. I am Ms Buchanan or Mrs Widmann, but I am definitely not Mrs Buchanan. Whole professions, such as teaching in the UK, which still uses the formal Miss or Mrs address cannot cater for women getting married and not changing their name. If I become a teacher tomorrow, the kids can't address me as Miss Buchanan because I am not Miss, they won't necessarily know my married name so would I become Mrs Buchanan again?! It definitely doesn't work any more.


peter said...

I know what you mean about Ms v. Mrs, but if the state of education there is anything like it is here, and I think it is, it wouldn't be a problem because the kids would just call you Phyllis.

Phyl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phyl said...

That's the solution they used in Denmark but no - here is still very formal - you would never address a teacher by their first name, not even at state nursery. My kids are currently being taught by Mrs McKeown, Mrs McDougal and Mrs Sinclair - first names unknown. Also I had a call yesterday from the Doctor's secretary about some cream for Léon's dry skin. "Which cream is it you want a prescription for Mrs Buchanan," she asked? I am a mum and my name is Buchanan so I must be Mrs Buchanan! Same happened when I recently bought a garage - all the paperwork came back for Mrs Buchanan - nice middle class lady with kids must be married so if she's calling herself Buchanan she must be Mr Buchanan's wife. We need to drop the formal address system in favour of first names or come up with a Mr equivalent that everyone accepts.

The Scudder said...

Please Miss, please Miss ,, Can I leave the class !!

Shona said...

I know exactly what you mean! I am sick of explaining that I am NOT Mrs Allan! Her, however, it gets even better when they try and call me Mrs Dr Allan.