Sunday, March 28, 2010

Etiquette (EP): Names

What is in a name?
A lot apparently.

According to Mrs. Post's book - back in the gay 90s (1890s, that is) Charles Dickens ridiculed Americans a little after visiting the US because of some very strict name rules. And yet, the overuse of first names is also something to be warned against.

So here are some rules:
* the "name of safety" for the family is simply what relation they are to you. (my mother, my aunt, etc)
* One should not introduce a spouse as Mr or Mrs - rather by "my husband" or "my wife"
* For close friends and family, it is ok to be call a friend's spouse by their first name, but to employees, mere aquaintances or strangers it is the more formal Mr or Mrs that should be used.
*In general, it is impolite to call people by their first names without having permission to do so - this is especially true for children in regards to adults!
*On the phone, one should always introduces themselves by both names for practical identification reasons, although the invention of caller id made that almost pointless

There apparently is no rule when it comes to refering to in-laws and step-parents. What do you call them? Well, that depends on the person. Some people prefer first names, some titles, and still others (and I think I like this a lot) call them Mother or Father (last name). I don't know why, but I find that so quaint. But I guess hardly anyone uses those names in these days. But I guess it is a bit oxymoronic because it implies a familiar formality (mother or father being the familiar, and the formality being the use of last names).

This one I found interesting - only because I have never really known anyone to do this: No matter what the circumstances are (barring witness protection program etc) if a person legally changes their name, to avoid any possible embarrassing situations, (?? I don't get that) social and/or business associates should be sent an announcement. Post suggests something like this: Mr & Mrs (Last Name) announce that by permission of the Courts they and their children have taken the name of (New Name). Now -I don't know what to make of this. I can understand contacting some business associates in the case of a wedding, but who changes their name unless it is for secrecy purposes? Moreso, can you imagine recieving a note like that these days?

This really isn't discussed in the book - but it is something I have always wondered. We are taught that the most common titles for people are Mr (married or unmarried), Miss or Ms (unmarried), and Mrs (married). I have always been confused and have wondered about this. Mr and Mrs are pretty straight forward. But when does one go from Miss to Ms? Post does not mention Ms at all - so is that a later developement? And is there an age limit?

This, as you can guess, really goes with my ponderings/feelings on being called by my first name in the workplace. Like I said, I hate nametags with my first name printed on them. Wouldn't Miss work just as well? Why do they have to know my first name? I am a pretty casual person, and I don't mind being called by my first name - although no one really does anymore. Only mere aquaintances call me Teresa anymore. Friends mainly call be Teej. Now that I think about it, hardly anyone calls me TJ anymore except for my family.

This is going to lead me off into a tangent, I am sorry. When I was in elementary school, I was Teresa (except for TJ to my family) As I got older, it was half Teresa, half TJ - and then when I was a junior or a senior, suddenly some people began to fuse TJ with some E's in there and it was Teej. When I got to college, I never pushed the name situation, but in a few very short months I went from Teresa (first introductions and to formal people - like professors) to TJ (which was what I told them my nickname was) to Teej again (somehow they just came to that conclusion by themselves as well). Very quickly, that nickname grew on me - and I believe Robert Thomas and Jess Lubbers were the first to start calling me Teejie Weejie. I kinda liked that, so to close friends I quickly became Teejie or back to Teej for short (and somehow more formal). And now, hardly anyone calls me Teresa. It now sounds strange to me. As far as Miss Rankin goes, I have only ever had a few teachers, some telemarkers, and friends in jest call me that. But it does have a nice ring to it. Sorry - like I said; a tangent. But it kinda makes you wonder about the evolution of a name in your life. For some, it doesn't change at all. But I'm not finished, I also have some other nicknames: Mouse, Miz Mouse, or Baby Mouse - these are mostly for mom and dad, and only on paper. Auntie J from the kids - they couldn't get Auntie TJ out, so they fused them together. And there is Fifi (only my sister calls me this & I'm not that fond of it). Grandpa Gaskill called all of us girls "Sug" as in sugar. To this day hearing someone call me that brings a little tear to my eye (God rest his soul, I miss him!). Last and least, to my ex-boyfriend I was Baby Doll (a name which I now can't stand to hear!)

All of that considered - what is in a name? Think about all the different types of names we have for the people in our lives. There is a least 5 that I know of for mom (in english only). What is the real difference between Miss Rankin, Teresa, and Teej - is it just formality? Or is it respect? A mix of the two? And why is it that I perk up when being called Teejie by some people, and for others it is just another name? Why would Miss Rankin sound so wonderful coming from someone, and so cold coming from someone else? If that is the case, then does it really matter what you are called?

Got way off track, but still on the same subject, so I think we're at least relevant. Good night everyone! And if I don't have dreams of naming baby Jesus I will be surprised. Here's why:

I was searching for an image to put with this entry about names and I came across this. It made me laugh, so I had to include it. Hee!

No comments:

Post a Comment