Wednesday, June 05, 2013

names and titles

Working as I do in customer service I spend a lot of time talking to people who don't actually listen when I tell them my name. Which means I get a lot of "ma'am". I also get a lot of "Sharon" and "Michelle" (don't ask me where Michelle comes from but I get it a lot). For the most part I don`t really care - call me whatever you're going to call me. But last night someone hit a nerve and I realized there is one title that I don't enjoy being called at all.

Miss. I am not "Miss" anyone, anymore. When I was unmarried I was just fine being called Miss but at this point? It makes my blood boil. Personally I choose to go by the title Mrs, but I'm also completely ok if someone defaults to Ms. But "Miss" has started to carry all sorts of new implications in my head.

Somehow when I was called "Miss" (multiple times, which just increased the blood boiling) I felt so belittled. I felt like it was a put down, implying that I'm way younger than I am (and granted I do sound young on the phone), implying I'm too immature to be married and doing all these things I do in my life. It was as if someone was trying to treat me like a little girl and it felt so very, very condescending. My mind was exploding in anger as this gentleman asked me his questions.

Of course in the context of my work where we don't release our last names or identifying information over the phone there was nothing telling this customer whether I'm married or not, so an assumption either way is just that, an assumption. Makes an ass out of you and me, sort of thing. Would it have been so hard to use "Ms" or "ma'am" though, something that doesn't imply anything about my marital state? And I'm also a little tied in that this is the sort of environment where I can't say anything and just have to sit there and talk with a smile in my voice. But oh was my blood boiling.

I find it kind of funny that I have such a strong react to that, given my general wishy washy-ness over getting my act together and actually doing the paperwork associated with changing my name. But there it is. Don't call me miss, or I might just flip my lid.


  1. We are in the same line of work! So yeah I get when people strike a nerve which you didn't even know it excisted :)


    1. It's hard with those. I always want to react as a person and with my genuine emotion at those instances but I'm being paid to keep my outrage to myself.