Thursday, March 02, 2006

What's in a name? Or, a whinge on a peeve

Emily Post (1873–1960). Etiquette. 1922.

Chapter XXVII.

Notes and Shorter Letters

Never under any circumstances address a social letter or note to a married woman, even if she is a widow, as Mrs. Mary Town. A widow is still Mrs. James Town. If her son’s wife should have the same name, she becomes Mrs. James Town, Sr., or simply Mrs. Town.

Dear Mom,
I know you mean well, and that you make every effort to be proper and to do the right thing. All that said, I can bite my tongue no longer, and must let you know that I most passionately disagree with Emily Post’s letter addressing etiquette, and would much rather you address me using my own name, rather than that of my husband. Consider it a matter of practicality in this modern age. The only form of identification I have that has my husband’s name on it is my marriage license, and I normally don’t carry that with me. When an item of mail requires a signature receipt, the postmaster must see some form of identification to ensure that the individual receiving the post is, in fact, the intended recipient.

My husband might be able to sign for the letter. Although the postmaster will surely recognize that he is not, in fact, Mrs. Cool Cat Gadget.

I could try to sign for the letter, but as I mentioned earlier, I’m not accustomed to carrying my marriage license with me.

Perhaps the thing to do, to avoid any wasted trips to the post office, is to go together. That way we could explain that I am the Misses and he is the one named Cool Cat Gadget. Ah, but it is not very convenient to visit the post office as a couple. After all, the post office is closed by the time he returns from work, and since he works on Saturday, we can’t go then either. He does have Mondays off, but then I work. If I could make it home on a Monday before the post office closes, I could get my letter.

You see, if you would address the letter to Sueeeus Gadget, there would be no question.

Using my name is no insult to the man I married. Using his name when addressing me is an insult to me. I took his name (in retrospect, perhaps I shouldn’t have, considering the hassles this decision has spawned), but I didn’t want to lose myself in the process. Etiquette, schmetiquette! I don’t care what Emily Post has to say on this matter! I wouldn’t mind so much if I received something addressed to Mrs. Cool Cat Gadget from a complete stranger, but when it’s from my own mother (and grandmother), it is most annoying and insulting. I’m sorry to say it, but that is how it is. I am still ME! I am not a shadow of the man I married. He is not my provider, he is not my protector, he is not my guide. He is my partner. Partner! Please. Please use my name.

Sueeeus Gadget


Blogger Sharon K said...

I so enjoyed your post and keep up the good work. Have a good weekend.

5:38 AM, March 03, 2006  
Blogger Sarah Ann Smith said...

Somewhat conversely, I didn't get along with my dad. Add that to the fact that my "maiden" (ugh what a detestable phrase) name was either (a) unpronouncable (if you saw it written) or (b) unspellable (if you heard it), I was quite eager to get rid of my "first last name" and take on Smith. It's nice when "Sarah" is the hard one to spell. And I figured if I were stuck with a man's name, I'd just as soon it be of the man of my own choosing.

So we both get to get to be Sueeus Gadget, and I get to be Sarah Smith. And hopefully both our moms can manage to remember that. Ahem. Failing that, make good friends with someone at the post office.......toodles, Sarah the tired

4:43 PM, March 03, 2006  

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