Disclaimer: Believe it or not, this is NOT the somewhat-annual February identity crisis posting (see also Feb 2010, Feb 2009, and belated Feb 2007, aka June)...because it's March. (ba-dum!)
What is it with our generation that makes us uncomfortable being Mistered? You know, when someone with children introduces you to them as Mr. or Mrs. X? *
I always pause when my kids meet a friend of mine/ours, and ask what I should introduce them as, and the response is the same every time. There's an awkward laugh, followed by "Mr. X is my father! They can call me Stan!"
Growing up, I can recall only one friend that was cavalier enough to ask what my mom's name was. "Mrs. Power," I said. "No," she said. "Her first name." Boy, was I shocked. And awed, when she actually called out, "Mary." And relieved when Mom pretended not to hear her.** That was in Grade 3, but I still remember it. All of my parents' friends and friends' parents were Mr. and Mrs., all the way through high school, and that was just how it was. I was even intimidated by people that called their aunts and uncles by their first names, without even adding in the "aunt" bit. How daring...how cool.
So what has changed? Is it partly because we don't want to confuse the kids? Everyone has different last names, due to unmarriage, remarriage, divorce, or feminism -- this confuses even me (how the heck am I supposed to address Christmas cards to Mr.-and-Mrs.-you-have-different-last-names-and-family? You know who you are.), and don't tell me I'm antifeminist or misogynist. I prefer the term simplistic. That being said, kids have an amazing ability to absorb information without questioning, so that can't be it.
Is it just that our generation is full of Peter Pans, not yet ready to grow up, hanging tenaciously onto youth, if only in name?
If I may speak for every North American in the 30 - 40 age range, based solely on my own feelings and experiences, YES! THAT'S IT! I didn't ask to age out of my twenties far too soon! And don't tell me that 40 is the new 25. We both know that's crap.
(what? you think this is the just-about-to-turn-35-crisis post? Now I'm offended.***)
How did our parents do it? They adopted being grown up so much more naturally, it seems, and with it, all the trappings (cars, mortgages, children, and mistering) that my generation accumulates so much later, and with so much less pride.
I'm sure there's a lot more to delve into on this, but I've no idea why we all seem to be so resistant to being mistered. Any thoughts or ideas from any and all generations are welcome...
*Possible follow-up post: Hell hath no fury like a woman Ma'am-ed.
** Or maybe she didn't hear her, but it was a HUGE deal to me.
*** That should be much, much, MUCH worse. Stay tuned.