Home Mini Rants “And are you a Miss or Mrs?”

“And are you a Miss or Mrs?”

30th January 2017
“And are you a Miss or Mrs?”

I’m a feminist. There I said it. Accept it, deal with it and move on. But before you do, let’s clarify what this actually means.

In essence, feminism boils down to one common belief: that men and women should have equal rights. Do you fundamentally agree with this? If so, you’re a feminist too, so welcome to the club.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you about a little incident at a well known High Street fashion shop. Okay, it was Bonmarché if you must know.

I don’t typically shop at Bonmarché (pronounced Bon-marsh-eh if you’re wondering), but sometimes I have to. You see, I’m just a ‘half pint’ in real life: a whole 5ft and 1 inch tall. And us shorties never forget the extra inches.

Bonmarché is, dare I say it, a particularly good place to shop for us shorter girls – they have jeans in all leg lengths and styles, so naturally, to ensure a good fit (and because I don’t know how to turn up trousers), I usually get my jeans from there.

And because I’ve previously shopped in there I’m privy to their customer loyalty scheme, whereby I can earn stamps and receive discounts for being loyal.

The card that caused the problem

Anyway, loyalty card in hand, I picked the jeans that I wanted and headed to the till. The young girl (she couldn’t have been older than 23) asked me if I had a loyalty card and I handed it over.

After a few minutes of tapping at her till and looking puzzled, I could feel a ‘computer says no’ moment coming on.

“Er…it’s not accepting your card, so you’ll have to apply for a new one.”

“Oh…that’s strange”, I reply “It has worked before.”

“Yeah, sorry about that. I’m not sure why it’s not working. Have you shopped in here lately?”

Admittedly, I hadn’t been into the shop for at least six months, possibly 9 or 10 months, but if I could avoid having to go through the hassle of getting a new card, I was going to try.

“It must only be a few months since I’ve been in…”

“And are you a Miss or Mrs?”

Time passed and feet started to shuffle in the queue behind me. I waited patiently.

After what seemed like 5 minutes, but was probably just a matter of seconds, the cashier exclaimed: “No, sorry it’s going to have to be a new card” and promptly whipped a promotional loyalty card leaflet out of thin air for me to take. “Can I take your name please?”

“Yes, it’s Lauretta Wright” I replied, spelling it for her.

“And your title…. (and here came the killer line) – “Are you a Miss or Mrs?”

Er….do I have to have a title?

If truth be told, I rarely give my title as Miss or Mrs because I just don’t think it’s important that strangers know my marital status – end of.

What I’d really like to know is what difference does it make (knowing if I’m married or not) to buying a pair of jeans? And because of questions like this, if I’m filling out forms I’ll tick the ‘Ms’ box.

However, the cashier hadn’t actually given me the option of ‘Ms’. She wrongly assumed that I would want to be address as either Miss or Mrs. And I didn’t.

In my mind, I’m not being awkward on this – it’s just a personal preference. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the whole topic of my mini rant today.

Why are men just referred to as ‘Mr’, but women have to choose their title depending on whether or not they’ve got a marriage certificate? It seems unfair if you ask me. I’m a private person if truth be told, and the less people know about me, the better. And that includes whether or not I’m married.

So, going back to my verbal exchange with the cashier…

“Do I have to specify?” I asked her boldly. I wouldn’t normally take a stance on this seemingly trivial matter, but she had irked me slightly with her assumption that I would be a Miss or Mrs.

By this point I think she had clocked that I was being a little, shall we say…’fresh’ with her, and quick as a flash she replied “No, no of course not, that’s fine.”

Whatever happened to Ms? I felt like asking her. Does she even know what a Ms is? What is it they teach you about customer service these days?

The confrontation

And while I was silently asking her these questions, she continued to tap the till with her ridiculously long fingernails. More foot shuffling went on behind me and I heard someone tut. By this time other cashiers had stopped what they were doing and were peering at the screen with her.

“And are you a Miss or Mrs?”

“Don’t do what you normally do at this stage Lauretta” I told myself silently. This would typically mean that I would revert into a typical Brit, apologising profusely, giving her my title and probably buying something extra to alleviate the feeling of guilt.

But today I was feeling nonchalant. So I waited, silently and patiently.

And then, just as I was in the middle of wondering how she managed to wipe her backside with her long nails (I know right?!), she said: “No, sorry, the system says I have to input a title.”

Bloody hell! In this day and age the till was still saying no! Talk about a drama.

She looked at me expectedly and raised her eyebrows. I didn’t like the look.

“So is it Miss or Mrs?” she said, a little too abruptly. From the look in her eye I guessed that she was silently cursing me.

“Neither”, I replied, “It’s doctor.” I paused for effect. “Now who looks thick you dumb shit? Put that in your till and smoke it.”

Okay, so I didn’t actually say that last bit, but I did tell her that I was a doctor (I’m not if you haven’t already gathered), and I made sure that I told her in a voice a little louder than necessary. Just for full effect of course.

In fact, looking back, I almost wish I told her I was a Professor or even a Baroness, but given that I was in scruffy jeans and t-shirt with my hair scraped back and not an ounce of make-up on my face, this might have seemed a little far-fetched, even for someone who probably believed that Africa was a country (why do kids always get that one wrong?)

The look that said it all

I once read that if you looked someone square in the face without losing eye contact when you reply to their questioning, they are more inclined to believe your answers.

And this was now one of those rare moments when a useless bit of trivia suddenly comes into its own.

I steadfastly held my gaze with hers. My mouth didn’t twitch; my eyebrow didn’t raise and I didn’t start sweating. But I did give the tiniest hint of a smirk while looking straight into her eyes.

And it was a bit of a patronising look that said: “Don’t you feel a bit silly now?”

The next 30 seconds of the transaction were surprising. As if suddenly transported to a parallel universe, my young cashier finished up on the till, the other bagged my item (without slapping on a 5p fee) and ANOTHER cashier almost appeared out of nowhere to hand me a promotional leaflet – it was the same one given to me a few minutes earlier.

It was like watching ‘flies around shit’ as my mother would say. Except this time I wasn’t a turd; I was the master of this little exchange and I was commanding authority. And boy did it feel good.

On my way out of the shop I felt jubilant, victorious and, most of all, I felt smug.

And all because I told a little porky pie.

Mmmh….Baroness Wright …..it’s got a nice ring about it don’t you think? I have a feeling I’ll be climbing the ranks and using this one next time – who knows what special treatment I’ll receive then?

Enjoy this? There’s more where that came from! Join us!


Mini Rant: Are You A Miss or Mrs?

 

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59 comments

Kate Tunstall, The Less-Refined Mind 23rd February 2017 at 5:52 pm

I’d never really thought about it, despite being feminist. It just doesn’t bother me, perhaps because I’m proud of my husband, and therefore I’m proud to be his wife too, if that makes sense. But now you’ve pointed it out, I can totally see how it singles us out (or marries us off!) in a way that doesn’t apply to men, which isn’t really right!

Thanks for linking to #outsidemywindow, hope to have you back next time! x

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LaurettaCWright 23rd February 2017 at 7:43 pm

Thanks Kate – it’s just a personal thing…I just feel others do not need to know whether or not I said ‘I do’ so I can get their loyalty points. In today’s society I don’t even think gender should be raised when you do your shopping… by the way, I’d absolutely say the same thing for guys if it were the other way round. Being a feminist means equal treatment, not favouritism.

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Sophie 18th February 2017 at 5:35 pm

I have always opted to leave the title section blank on forms. My name is Sophie and I just want people to call me Sophie, or Soph, if you know me well. All the titles make me uncomfortable
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LaurettaCWright 18th February 2017 at 5:56 pm

Thanks Sophie – makes total sense to me.

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Laura H 7th February 2017 at 7:16 pm

I tend to pick either Miss or Ms whichever I feel like at the time but you definitely should’ve been offered a choice and not have been asked so rudely by that girl!

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LaurettaCWright 7th February 2017 at 7:17 pm

Thanks Laura! ?

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Nic 5th February 2017 at 2:39 pm

Ha ha Lauretta, so funny. Loved that post and absolutely 100% agree with you. I do object to notifying people as to my marital status and leave title sections blank when filling in forms. I am a Mrs. I did consider keeping my own surname when I got married but as with you, I changed it only to have the same name as my children when they were born. I have never understood why unmarried couples who have children give them the father’s surname. I have been told that if the parents subsequently get married the father has to officially adopt them if they don’t have the same name. However, I for one would give the children my surname had I not been married. Totally impressed with your stand on this one and the perseverance with the situation, wish I had been there!!!
Oh, and I can’t stand long fingernails, churns my stomach, now I have another reason to be repulsed by them, never going to look at a talon fingered lass in the same way again……..

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LaurettaCWright 5th February 2017 at 2:42 pm

Thanks Nic – good to have you on my wavelength! I could chat for hours about this! Thanks for the comment ?

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Anonymous 5th February 2017 at 3:08 pm

Me too! I even suggested to hubby that he took my name instead of the other way round when we got married, he looked horrified, so I didn’t persue it further. But that does highlight the in-ground inequalities of our society. Why if two people choose to unite themselves this way, should it automatically indicate an in-balance in the relationship. And while I do agree with double-barrelled surnames in principle, ours would have sounded ridiculous and it would get very messy a few generations down the line if this became the norm, ha.

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LaurettaCWright 5th February 2017 at 3:11 pm

I did exactly the same! How funny! In fact hubby didn’t realise I was taking his name until I made MY speech at our wedding. Yes – I had to make a speech of course – equality and all that! ?

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Nic 5th February 2017 at 4:02 pm

So reassuring to know someone who has the same views as me. More posts like this would be fabulous, especially if they make me laugh as much as that one. I have been inspired, you always have been a positive influence since I have known you. Keep being you.

LaurettaCWright 5th February 2017 at 4:39 pm

That’s really kind Nic – thank you…you’ve made my week. I’ll try and do more mini rants – and let off some steam every now and then! 🙂

Nic 5th February 2017 at 2:36 pm

Ha ha Lauretta, so funny. Loved that post and absolutely 100% agree with you. I do object to notifying people as to my marital status and leave title sections blank when filling in forms. I am a Mrs. I did consider keeping my own surname when I got married but as with you, I changed it only to have the same name as my children when they were born. I have never understood why unmarried couples who have children give them the father’s surname. I have been told that if the parents subsequently get married the father has to officially adopt them if they don’t have the same name. However, I for one would give the children my surname had I not been married. Totally impressed with your stand on this one and the perseverance with the situation, wish I had been there!!!
Oh, and I can’t stand long fingernails, churns my stomach, now I have another reason to be repulsed by them, never going to look at a talon fingered lass in the same way again……..

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Kara 3rd February 2017 at 12:53 pm

Personally I cannot abide the term “ms”, it seems pointless. You are either a Miss as a child of someone that is unmarried or a Mrs. Unless of course you are a doctor or other such term

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Lubka Henry 3rd February 2017 at 11:02 am

In the old times I’d probably be a feminist. In the modern days, I’m certainly not 😉
I understand where you’re coming from and your frustration from the question though.

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Kerry norris 2nd February 2017 at 10:48 pm

It does seem silly that we have to input a title for something like that

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Tanya Brannan 2nd February 2017 at 9:03 pm

Oh this made me laugh so hard!!! And to be fair it sounded like she needed a bit of comeuppance

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LaurettaCWright 3rd February 2017 at 12:54 pm

Thanks Tanya!

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Amelia Larsen 2nd February 2017 at 7:50 pm

It seems silly that you need to declare your marital status, for a few things I’ve signed up for recently you don’t have to enter it at all!

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Moderate Mum 2nd February 2017 at 7:40 pm

Oh brilliant! Quick thinking. I was a Mrs and took my husbands name, much to my friends disappointment but now I’m getting separated I’m a Ms and I like it better actually.

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Lisa Backsnbumps 2nd February 2017 at 7:18 pm

I’m a mrs but it took me years to get used to it. It’s crazy that you have to input a title but I imagine its just how their computer system works and can’t be over ridden.

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Angela Milnes 2nd February 2017 at 6:08 pm

ha ha! I am a mrs but prefer miss. This was an interesting post. My sister is a Dr and her initials are D R , so even if she wasn’t a doctor she is always DR lol.
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LaurettaCWright 2nd February 2017 at 6:10 pm

Oh how funny! I wouldn’t mind her initials!

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angela key milnes 2nd February 2017 at 5:59 pm

this is absolutely a good post, I enjoy reading this and so glad that you share this with us, such a informative post.

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LaurettaCWright 3rd February 2017 at 1:28 pm

Thanks Angela!

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Anosa 2nd February 2017 at 12:05 pm

Oh I love the entire exchange hahaha, I too prefer being address as Ms not Miss or Mrs lol. I will try Baroness next time too
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Fashion and Style Police 2nd February 2017 at 9:38 am

This post made me giggle. I would say Doctor for effect next time. Lol.

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nicol 1st February 2017 at 9:28 pm

i never would have thought a loyalty would ask for your title. it’s not an important piece of information. i might have to try doctor or go straight to baroness haha

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Charlotte 1st February 2017 at 1:22 pm

This made me chuckle! I always wonder that about long fingernails. 🙂 We should be able to be called whatever we wish! Be that Ms, Mrs, Miss, Doctor or Queen! xx
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LaurettaCWright 1st February 2017 at 1:43 pm

Thanks Charlotte! 🙂

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Rhian Westbury 1st February 2017 at 9:35 am

I totally agree with you, just because people assume women change their surnames when they get married means they need to change whether they’re a miss or mrs. What difference in almost all circumstances does it really make?! x

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KatrinaJeanCarter 1st February 2017 at 12:01 am

I am a Mrs but I personally don’t care either way lol I’m glad you stood up for what you believe in, though.

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Helen Costello 31st January 2017 at 10:25 pm

Oh you really must say Baroness next time you are asked -I love how quickly you came out with Doctor. Well done for standing up for our right to be simply a name and not a title.

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LaurettaCWright 31st January 2017 at 10:27 pm

Thanks Helen – it would be great if more of us made a point on this.

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Jessica 31st January 2017 at 9:52 pm

Here in the states we still have the option of Ms. I am a Mrs., but will get referred to as Ms. is people don’t know I’m married.

The store where you shopped sounds like a place I would shop because I am also short at 5’1.

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Leah Lander-Shafik 31st January 2017 at 9:44 pm

People associate Ms with divorcee’s and it’s not that, it’s for those women who do not want to be defined by their relationship status, like men, it was always a thing. I think it was men that said Ms was a divorcee, as if belittling it. Typical. I actually do use Mrs because of this but I might choose Lady from now on! x

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MELANIE EDJOURIAN 31st January 2017 at 9:19 pm

Lol, sorry couldn’t help but giggle. I’m curious still as to what happened to Ms? Can you shed any light on that Baroness White?

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LaurettaCWright 31st January 2017 at 9:51 pm

Happen to enlighten you… ? I always choose Ms as a title – to me it represents a neutral status where people can’t tell if I’m married or not. I couldn’t care less if some people think it’s for divorcees – imagine if that really was the case – women would be defined across all titles!! If we’re married, divorced or single! If we decided to change our gender they’d probably come up with a new title that we’d be asked to use for that!!! ? so for me – Ms it is.

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MELANIE EDJOURIAN 3rd February 2017 at 6:15 pm

They should do with the section and just have one like the do for men.

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hannah 31st January 2017 at 8:49 pm

Your title should be self defining. In one shop they have a customer record for me and i identify myself on it as sir.

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emma white 31st January 2017 at 8:40 pm

I suppose it really shouldn’t matter but yes your right everyone seems to want to know your status and I am a MRS but I am seperated but once divorced I will no doubt stick with Mrs

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Jo 31st January 2017 at 8:03 pm

I loved reading this article, it made me chuckle, you have a great way of writing. Addressing the serious note, I don’t get the title thing either. It annoys me that women are expected to change their name when they get married. I’ve double-barreled mine, but only on Facebook and my Morrisons rewards card! I don’t know if I want to change it anywhere else!

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LaurettaCWright 31st January 2017 at 8:08 pm

Ah thanks Jo – and good for you I say! The only reason I changed my surname was to match my kids!

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Ana De- Jesus 31st January 2017 at 7:33 pm

I always find it irritating when they ask me my title too as though it really matters. Why do we have to tell the whole world?

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danasia guyton 31st January 2017 at 6:15 pm

Those types of interactions are so annoying. I had someone ask me that when I was changing my address at the post office about a year ago and I was completely caught off guard.

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LaurettaCWright 31st January 2017 at 6:17 pm

Thanks Danasia – just don’t know why it’s required… bizarre!

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five little doves 31st January 2017 at 5:27 pm

Good for you!!! It really shouldn’t matter, but your response was spot on! I’d love to have seen that!

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LaurettaCWright 31st January 2017 at 8:09 pm

Thank you ?

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Sarah Bailey 31st January 2017 at 2:01 pm

Thank you so much for literally making me laugh out loud! Your response was fantastic and please do let us know if you climb the ranks next time and become a Baroness! There is no reason that a woman should have to disclose her marital status by choosing Miss or Mrs when men get to use the same title regardless of marital status. This should not be an issue in this day and age.

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LaurettaCWright 31st January 2017 at 8:10 pm

Absolutely Sarah … couldn’t agree with you more.

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Talya 31st January 2017 at 12:41 pm

Oh my goodness…you would have thought we had progressed past this in this day and age. Great post totally with you.

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Jen 31st January 2017 at 12:31 pm

I am astounded by why it even matters on something like this, whether you are Miss, Mrs or any such thing. Good on you for standing your ground; and you did make me smirk with your tale of how to outwit a Bonmarche cashier.

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LaurettaCWright 31st January 2017 at 8:10 pm

Thanks Jen – I rocked that day eh?!

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Mellissa Williams 31st January 2017 at 10:33 am

I have to admit, I don’t often say this but what a brilliant post, why the hell should it matter? You made me laugh too 🙂 brightened up my day ha ha.
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LaurettaCWright 31st January 2017 at 10:41 am

Thanks Mellissa – you’ve cheered up my day reading your comment – thank you!

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Lisa prince 31st January 2017 at 10:30 am

i hate it when they get things wrong lol but i would have loved t see the look on her face when you said doctor lol x

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LaurettaCWright 31st January 2017 at 10:43 am

I’ll paint a quick picture: she looked flummoxed, turned bright red and busied herself in the till. It made my day!

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Stephanie Merry 31st January 2017 at 9:55 am

Good on you! I have no idea what happened to Ms either! x

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LaurettaCWright 31st January 2017 at 10:00 am

?

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