Women are entitled to whatever title they choose

February 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Names, women | 1 Comment
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I was thrilled to discover, on reading this article in the Guardian yesterday, that French official forms will no longer require a woman to state whether she is a Mademoiselle or a Madame.

I’ve written on this topic before, and my views haven’t changed. A customer came in once, and when I asked her if she was ‘Miss, Mrs or Ms’, she replied, ‘My name is _______’. Well, good for her, I say. It’s about time (say, fifty years too late?) that a European country took a stand on the sexist requirements of bureaucrats.

You can just call me Amy Pirt, but Madame will do just fine also.

Oh na na, what’s my name?

February 21, 2012 at 6:57 am | Posted in Names | Leave a comment
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Recently, I received this in the post:


Yes, on this occasion, it was quite an apt, amusing misnomer, as when the man at 3 kept calling me ‘Miss Pritt’, confusing me with a certain well-known brand of adhesive stick.

But get my name wrong when you really should be getting it right, and I won’t be happy. Example: I phoned 3 the other day to try to negotiate a discount, as I have had no signal whatsoever in my house for the past two weeks, and mostly no signal in the whole of Deal. Anyway, the first time I corrected the man when he called me ‘Miss Smith’, and told him I’d told a colleague of his already that I was ‘Miss Pirt’ now. The second time he called me ‘Miss Smith’, however, made me think that perhaps he wasn’t actually listening to me at all, and therefore could not only not get my name right, but he also couldn’t get me any discount. Trust me: get on the wrong side of the customer in the service industry, and neither you nor they will be happy.

To be honest…I’d rather you weren’t honest

February 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Children, Jewellery, Names | 2 Comments
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In general, I’d rather people were honest with me. If I’m doing a bad job, or am being unfair in some way, yes, I’d rather you told me. Honesty is certainly the best policy in the workplace, particularly in retail, where bad decisions can mean bad sales.

But how should you react when a friend/customer/random tells you their new baby is called Limerick/Crocus/Whoopie Pie? Pull a shocked face? Vomit? Express concern for the child’s future? No, reader. The only sensible reaction is to smile and say, ‘Oh, ok’ in a friendly but non-committal manner. Because people who name their children unusually will be suspicious if you pretend to be excited at the prospect of a baby Poppy Honey Lana Del Ray.

Similarly, when I showed someone my new cameo ring today, I neither a) asked for an opinion; nor b) welcomed their honesty when she said she thought it was ‘horrible’. But then, it’s a mark of intelligence and class if you know when to be honest, and when to be polite, don’t you think?

What next? Orange Wednesday?

January 27, 2012 at 8:34 am | Posted in Children, Names, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I was reading my local paper yesterday (I always turn to the Family Announcement pages first to see if anyone I know has died/had a baby), and I noticed that a little girl had been christened Orange Blossom. ¬†I respect the right of parents to name their children what they like, but come on – Orange Blossom? Wouldn’t Raspberry Leaf Tea have been more appropriate in the circumstances? ¬†Sometimes I wish we had a law like das Vornamensrecht where German parents may not name their children anything ‘absurd or degrading’.

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