var _informq = _informq || ; _informq.push(["embed"]); DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I decided to hyphenate our names when we were married. However, people still address me, both in person and in writing, as “Emily Jones” or “Mrs. John Jones,” even though my preferred title is “Ms. Smith-Jones.”
Judith Martin When this happens, I usually smile and say “Actually, it’s Smith-Jones.” Most people apologize and immediately begin using the correct name from that point forward, but some continue to refer to both me and my husband as “The Jones Family” or “Mr. and Mrs. Jones.”
What can I say or do to get people to call me by my name?
GENTLE READER: Not much. Miss Manners advises that you accept that these people are either forgetful, or are slaves to the patriarchy and trying to keep Related Articles
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you down. (She suspects that you have concluded the latter, and cautions you against invoking any subtext or smugness in that initial, smiling correction.)
In any case, pressing the matter beyond your smiling correction is likely to result in an unpleasant and ultimately futile conversation.
There are so many possible name combinations in modern-day use that it is difficult to keep track. And while that does not mean that we should not all still make the effort, slip-ups should be forgiven, probably ignored and definitely excused without taking offense. So introduce yourself and sign your preferred name, but resist correcting anyone more than once.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a friend from high school who has become a professional artist in NYC. I haven’t spoken to him in years and we were never particularly close, but I’ve been following his career through our Facebook friendship and I genuinely love some of his work.
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I like it so much, in fact, that I am considering purchasing a piece. However, I have no idea what it’s worth and I don’t know the right way to broach the subject.
I’ve never bought art before, and don’t know what to offer or how to ask. I don’t know what any of it has sold for. I’m afraid if I offer too little he’ll be offended, but I’m also afraid he’ll tell me it’s worth more than I can afford, which would also be embarrassing. How should I handle this?
GENTLE READER: Ask him. This is a business transaction and not a social one — an important distinction that Miss Manners finds more frequently violated in the reverse (with hapless co-workers forced to socialize in the name of “good business”).
If your friend is truly a professional artist, then he is used to these proceedings. Or would dearly like to be. Tell him that you have fallen in love with one of his pieces and want to purchase it. Then ask him how much it is.
If it is out of your price range, tell him so. There is no shame in this. But if it also inadvertently turns into a bargaining tactic, so be it. Attention to the social situation merely dictates that you just not enter the negotiation with that intent.
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