How should we address you?

I’m comfortable with my name(s). I’ve never used a nom de plume, and I prefer it when people call me by my first name. I know, from when I work in schools, that most teachers prefer the more formal, Miss, Mr or Mrs, but I’m happy with the children calling me Colin. However, I’ve never liked being addressed by my surname. “How are you, Will?” doesn’t sound right, although one of the more eccentric members of the choir I used to sing in always greeted me that way. Mr Will’s OK in most formal circumstances. If it’s a professional thing, then it’s Dr Will, because that’s who I am, but it’s seven years since I retired from my profession, and the ‘Dr’ isn’t used much these days. I was told it’s good to use it when booking airline tickets, because it gives you a better chance of upgrades, but I’ve never done that, because I have visions of an airline steward asking me to look at a sick traveller, and I doubt if my knowledge of information science would help with a cardiac infarction or a pulmonary embolism.

I remember when my my parents moved house they discovered their new neighbour was a Brigadier. “How should we address you?” they asked.

“George,” he replied.

I like that.


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
This entry was posted in names. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How should we address you?

  1. Rachel Fox says:

    I seem to remember being told at school that Quakers don't like titles of any kind and that they would rather be called the full two names (say, Colin Will) than anything like, say, Mr Will. We thought that was very funny ('hello Rachel Fox, how are you?' 'I'm fine Colin Will, how about yourself?') and I don't think I've ever heard anyone doing it in practice.

    I stick to first names mainly…but I use several different ones…for different places/parts of life!

  2. Crafty Green Poet says:

    When I was in Malawi a few of the teachers in the school were quite formal and one insisted that his first name was Mister….

  3. BarbaraS says:

    The last bit made me laugh. I'm like that too, just call me Barbara, or if you know me, call me Babs. Formally I hate Miss, Ms or Mrs, & prefer just Barbara Smith. A lot of people assume I'm Mrs Smith which gets my goat as I didn't take my husband's name when marrying – he's O'Reilly. I just like the simplicity and no-nonsense of being a Smith.

  4. Titus says:

    I still call my father-in-law Mr McKay. And he's a very nice man.
    I like titles.

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