On changing names - about as OT as you can get

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Wed Mar 12 02:15:45 EST 2003

On Wed, 12 Mar 2003 01:19:18 -0500 (EST), johanna wrote:

>> Blimey - remind me to never ring you up. I hate being snubbed... and I
>> really hate not knowing if a couple cohabiting are (a) married, but
>> using different surnames (b) unmarried and using different surnames or
>> (c) sharing a surname. It shouldn't matter, but as aforesaid - I don't
>> like to be snubbed and it happens if I get the wrong end of the stick. I
>> mean... several couples I know slightly may or may not be married... how
>> would I know, if they don't (a) display wedding pics or (b) tell me?
>Yeah, but why would this matter if you were just going to call them on the
>phone? One presumes you know their first names. And then as you got to
>know them better & felt comfortable asking, you could do so.

To me (and I feel the same as Sally on this) it's because when I call
someone I don't know well, I will not refer to them by their first name
unless I've been invited to, whether formally or through the course of
becoming acquainted.  I consider it extremely rude behavior, and I hate it
when people do it to me (mistakenly thinking that it will make, for example,
the doctor-patient relationship all buddy-buddy.  It just pisses me off).
And if I get the person's marital status wrong, it's because I made a
mistake or was misinformed, not because I was trying to be rude to them.  So
if I get that kind of response, it feels like an overly sarcastic and
undeserved snub.  And I hate that, especially if I'm already feeling bad
about making the mistake in the first place.

>I wish more people would use the convention of speaking of their
>SOs/spouses/whatever as their "partner." It's so wonderfully inclusive &
>doesn't assume marriage status or sexuality (although at this stage,
>people tend to assume the latter if you use it--me being bisexual throws
>them off even more *g*). And then you don't have to worry about getting it

I refer to my husband as my husband because I am married and it's accurate.
I do like it when people who are in a long-term/permanent non-marital
relationship use "partner" because it lets me know how they are connected
and to what degree--plus it does cover a lot of ground. "Boyfriend" and
"girlfriend" seems so transitory, not to mention overly youthful.  But I see
no reason for me to use the word as well, referring to my own relationship,
because it will likely give the impression that I'm *not* married.  Why
wouldn't I want people to know that?  I've surviv--enjoyed eleven years of
wedded bliss, and given some of the things we've gone through, I'm fairly
proud of that fact.

Mrs. Proffitt  :)

English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, hits them over the head and goes through their pockets for loose vocabulary.

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