Monday, January 3, 2011

That's not my name!

I remember agonising on my honeymoon. Not so much to be or not to be but 'Who can I be?' was the fundamental question. I had had my own surname for 27 years. I had not gained any great fame or notoriety but it was mine. Everything I had ever done was in that name. Also having only a sister, who had already dumped our name for something much more salubrious, I felt it was down to me to carry on the family name. I felt that if I had called myself Mrs H I would be abandoning something of myself and there was already a mother-in-law called Mrs H. I didn't feel there could be two. I kind of liked the idea of double barrelling. It had a nice ring to it.  A ring of the counties to it. What Hubby-to-be said about it sounded a bit like 'counties' and he refused. He also refused to wear a wedding ring so I refused to take his name. Maybe in doing that I didn't so much save myself as not fully embrace who I now was. A married woman!
It has caused me problems. I couldn't be Mrs S or Miss S. I had to become what most people sneer at... A Ms! Men don't have this problem. They remain a Mr whatever their marital status. Something a little unequal there! It used to take some explaining to the kids I taught. No I am not Mrs, yes I am married, not not to Mr S... It didn't fit well with them.
When we had kiddies the question came up again. Who will they be? I was glad I hadn't gone for a double barrel. It could have got very ridiculous for them in later life if they  met someone double barrelled too...Doesn't bear thinking about. I still didn't know what surname I was going to give my little daughter when I went to register her birth. I opted at the 11th hour to give her Hubby's surname. I figured she may drop that when she gets married. So both my children have the glorious middle name of my surname. They may hate me for it when they grow up but they cant discard it easily!
This all jars with me in America. As I met people around the pool and made friends I noticed something strange. When the adults referred to me with their children or the children spoke to me they called me Miss Daisy! I felt like a weird Southern Belle! Some adults introduced themselves to my children as Mrs... I asked if this was usual. I was told it was. The Miss thing is a southern thing. The person I asked disliked it too but for different reasons. She thought it too informal and preferred to be called Mrs.... I frequently get called Mrs S and haven't got the will to correct them with 'no.. I'm a Ms but you can call me Daisy!'  I get the mark of respect in this and it has its place but I don't like such formality with 'friends'. When I was young we often called family friends Aunt or Uncle to denote the closeness. I don't do that with my friends kiddies, I guess it is old hat now but the sentiment is the same.  My friends and their children are part of our extended family. I feel the formality here in the USA puts up a barrier for my children to be able develop such relationships. Referring to someone you know well as 'Mrs'  kinda prevents them giving the adult a hug or a kiss or even feeling close to them. I probably annoy friends and neighbours because I don't refer to them as Miss or Mrs to my children and certainly never encourage their children to call me anything but Daisy. 

*Daisy isn't my real name but it amuses me - because of the film - Driving Miss Daisy!!!


  1. Im Uncle Jez to Matt's kids...... I like that...... bit old school British..... :-) but Matt living in Atlanta....... has taken up the how are you 'Mr Keith' for neighbors etc....... it seemed odd at first...... but hey in the end it feels nice :-))

    Cheers Jez XXXXXXXXXX

  2. From now on I will now call you Ms Jane!