Thursday, April 7, 2016

Mrs. Then - Mrs. Now

I think I have written about this before. If I haven't written about it before, then I guess I'm just recalling when something similar happened in the past. I didn't like it then about two years out, and I don't like it now six years out.

So consider this a public service announcement.

Please don't call me "Ms. Labrador."


I am Mrs. Labrador to those who don't call me by my first name.

Thank you.

Losing my husband...

Becoming a widow...

Did not make me "Ms. Labrador."

I don't know "Ms. Labrador."

According to Emily Post, you should refer to a widowed woman as "Mrs." if you don't know the widow's preference. The default is "Mrs." Easy peasy!

I have had multiple professional correspondences with another Mrs. this year, and despite the fact that I always sign my correspondence with "Mrs. Labrador" this person continues to address me in written form as "Ms. Labrador". However, she has referred to another colleague (whose husband is alive) as Mrs. So-and-So. She's making a judgement call based on whose husband is here and whose husband is not.

I lost a lot when I lost Michael, but I didn't lose my "Mrs.". Widowhood painfully redefined who I am in many ways, but my "Mrs." is not something that has changed.

Update: Speaking up was a good thing. I don't think I'll be addressed as "Ms. Labrador" again, and the other person was very apologetic and understanding. I should have said something sooner - I could have saved myself a lot of aggravation!


  1. Straight!
    I think it is rude to assume anything else. Unless something has changed, or America is different from the British Isles, Ms. is for women who never married, or those who are divorced, that is all. ( I don't like it and avoid it at all costs for some reason it sounds matronly to me and I'm not owning it either but I SHOULD, you should NOT)

    1. Thanks for understanding! It might seem trivial to some, but it matters to me. All my students call me Mrs. Labrador. If I don't know a parent's (of a student) marital status, I just default to Mrs. So-and-So. If someone wants to correct me, and prefers to be Ms. So-and-So, fine.


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