Thursday, September 8, 2011


About thirteen years ago I moved from an L.A. suburb to the coast.  I went to a temp agency, because it was the end of a school year, so I couldn't get a teaching job.   The interviewer hired me, and proceeded to tell me that I didn't have to dress up quite so much... things are much more laid back on the coast.

What?  You don't like my creamy blouse, black pencil skirt, pumps, and pearls?  We aren't in Boston, and I can't dress like Sharon McKendrick? 

Fine then, I'll learn to dress more like Susan there on the left, but I am not cutting off my hair!

So I bought a couple Roxy T-Shirts, flip flops, and capris and tried to look more coastal.  I get it.  I had to adjust a little to the culture around me so I didn't look like a complete freak. The Sharon in me is still very much there, but I try to at least tame her a bit.  Maybe I should be a librarian so I'd have an excuse.

Titles, however, have still really bugged me after all these years. Kids around here, for the most part, call their elders by their first names.  When I had kids I just went with the flow, trying to adapt to the culture again, but it makes my skin crawl a little bit.  It just seems so wrong.  Maybe I have a Southern Belle deep down inside me... I just don't remember ever calling adults by their first name when I was a kid.  Heck, I can't even bring myself to call my doctor by his first name, even when we are in a non-clinical setting... and he is my peer.

I guess it's just an issue of respect.  Or maybe I'm being too picky.  Or maybe I just want to hear my last name being said more often, because it is awesome and it starts with a "Z."

What do you think about the whole Mr. and Mrs. thing?  Is it different in different parts of the country?  Is everyone going casual?


Two Cent Sparrow said...

I grew up (in California) using adults first names. However I REALLY wanted Landon to use Mr & Mrs and a last name. I think kids need to show respect to their elders in that way. But RJ wouldn't hear of it. He hates anything too "formal". So we compromises and Landon calls adults Mr. First Name or Miss Linda (Mrs Linda or any first name just sounds odd).

Denise said...

i have been thinking about entitlement this week, but the entitlement kind not the title kind.

i love the description of susan & sharon.
there is a sharon mckendrick in me too. i'm learning again to embrace her... even if i do live in the laid back mountains.

i don't mind that my children refer to elders by their first names.
i'm more concerned that they show their elders respect than with what they call them. in addition there is so much to train them in i just don't need to bother nagging them about this one.

so don't be offended when they meet you and call you linda. although i think i will start calling you by your last name because it is SUPER cool. i'm jelous of it.
when i was a teodosio i made kids call me ms. teodosio all the time because i just wanted to hear it.

btw- we haven't moved out yet. camp'n out for a couple more days.

Flor said...

I'm in CA and it's pretty typical to use the first name.. however, in my culture (mexican) we always addressed a person as Senora/Mrs. So that's how I've raised my kids... But I will say that nowadays so many more things are considered "normal".. it's crazy.

hannah singer said...

i grew up in the heart of mississippi. my daddy reminded us every time we headed out or had company in, "yes ma'am, no ma'am and yes sir, no sir". mr. and mrs., that was understood. i will never shake the habit;)
my godmother(also southern) always had us call her by her first name. i could only barely allow myself to, and not until i was grown! ha!

love this post, linda! xo (and i adore susan and sharon!)

Linda Z said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has wrestled with this little thing!

Denise... I think we should just call ourselves by last names then. Like dudes on a sports team or something! :)

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