True story: during one of my mom’s first job interviews, the interviewer asked her which magazines she liked to read. She really liked Ms., but just as she was about to say so, she realized she had no idea how to pronounce the word (it was a new word at the time). “Ems” she said, “I like Ems.” The interviewer looked taken aback for a second, and then went through the rest of the interview each time pronouncing it “Ems.” My mother didn’t actually figure out the word’s pronunciation until she got home, but once she did, she never forgot it.
Nor, it seems, did most women in her generation. Now, there are many women who not only know how to pronounce the word, but are irritated when they’re referred to as anything else. And perhaps they have a good point.
It is odd that women’s marital status should be revealed as soon as they introduce themselves, whereas men’s isn’t. If you really wanted to know someone’s status, couldn’t you just check for wedding rings? And, given the number of people who live with a partner without being married, marriage may not mean what it did 50 years ago. It seems a little absurd and totally unnecessary to attempt to define someone by their marital status.
Still, I like being called Miss. Probably because I like being grouped in the same catagory as Miss Marple and Miss Daisy and Miss Golightly. In popular culture Misses seem like cool, independent women, often with interesting accessories. I’m a little harder pressed to think of good Ms-es to emulate, other than Gloria Steinem. And frankly, I don’t mind advertising my single status, because I think my single status is awesome (I have disposable income and can eat a pint of phish food ice cream for dinner while watching bad girly TV, yay!) If I get married, I imagine I’ll be equally happen to openly advertise that status.
That’s certainly different from Erica Jong’s point of view , who seems to feel that Miss or Ms is fine – just as long as you don’t go by Mrs.
Personally, I’d prefer it if there was just some equivalent title for unmarried men. I’m thinking something with a sassy flourish like “garcon.” But then, maybe I just need a few more Ms-es in pop culture to convince me to switch over to the Ms. side. Which title do you go by?