Author Topic: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread  (Read 1101799 times)

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Ms_Cellany

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9000 on: January 31, 2014, 02:19:13 PM »
Mrs. is short for Mistress, which is just the feminine form of  "Master."

IIRC, a woman could become a Mrs. by heading a household, managing an inn, things like that. So "Mrs." did not necessarily mean "married" - it just meant "In charge."

It's just that the way things worked out, women eventually only became "in charge" of a household by getting married, so the two meanings became conflated.
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Slartibartfast

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9001 on: January 31, 2014, 03:05:50 PM »
Worth noting that "Ms." is the preferred form of address for business correspondence when you know you're addressing a woman but you don't know if she has a different preferred form of address.  It's also frequently used by divorced women (whether or not they use their maiden or former husband's name) to avoid the whole "I can't still be Mrs. Smith when my husband remarried and now there's a new one" thing.  Also useful for lesbians in committed relationships who don't have a good answer to the "are you married?" question (given the varying laws in different US states).

Re: the "Miss" thing:

In the US Southeast, children generally call adult women "Miss Firstname" except for their schoolteachers, who are usually Miss/Mrs./Ms. Lastname.  In the rest of the US, children call all adult women Miss/Mrs./Ms. Lastname unless told otherwise (like "dad's girlfriend" or "very close family friend").  Some of that carries over - I'm 32, but there are still a few adults I'd call Miss/Mrs./Ms. Lastname, because that's what I called them when I was a kid and it would be weird to think of them by their give names  :)

Katana_Geldar

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9002 on: January 31, 2014, 05:14:21 PM »
Someone told me, not sure if it's true or not, that in Emgland it was common to call the first unmarried daughter Miss LastName until she married and her sisters were called Miss FirstName.

So, with the Bennet sisters, Jane was Miss Bennet, and the others were Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mary, Miss Kitty and Miss Lydia.

daen

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9003 on: January 31, 2014, 05:37:36 PM »
Someone told me, not sure if it's true or not, that in Emgland it was common to call the first unmarried daughter Miss LastName until she married and her sisters were called Miss FirstName.

So, with the Bennet sisters, Jane was Miss Bennet, and the others were Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mary, Miss Kitty and Miss Lydia.

I have also heard that, and that it would be similar on the male side as well. So in an alternate universe, James would be Master Bennet, and the others Master Edward, Master Mark, Master Charles, and Master Lysander. After reaching the age of majority, they would become Mr. Bennet, etc.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9004 on: January 31, 2014, 06:22:24 PM »
Someone told me, not sure if it's true or not, that in Emgland it was common to call the first unmarried daughter Miss LastName until she married and her sisters were called Miss FirstName.

So, with the Bennet sisters, Jane was Miss Bennet, and the others were Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mary, Miss Kitty and Miss Lydia.

I have also heard that, and that it would be similar on the male side as well. So in an alternate universe, James would be Master Bennet, and the others Master Edward, Master Mark, Master Charles, and Master Lysander. After reaching the age of majority, they would become Mr. Bennet, etc.
And we wouldn't have had the novel, as they're all boys.

MerryCat

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9005 on: January 31, 2014, 06:28:42 PM »
Someone told me, not sure if it's true or not, that in Emgland it was common to call the first unmarried daughter Miss LastName until she married and her sisters were called Miss FirstName.

So, with the Bennet sisters, Jane was Miss Bennet, and the others were Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mary, Miss Kitty and Miss Lydia.

I have also heard that, and that it would be similar on the male side as well. So in an alternate universe, James would be Master Bennet, and the others Master Edward, Master Mark, Master Charles, and Master Lysander. After reaching the age of majority, they would become Mr. Bennet, etc.
And we wouldn't have had the novel, as they're all boys.

You don't think that young Mr. Edward Bennet might have run into Miss Darcy? Of course, in her case, as a female, I'm not sure if she'd still be the sole heir of the estate or if she'd have to share with her sister (and, of course, if Georgiana were George, then there goes Pemberly alltogether)

I'm not sure it would have been as good a book, but I'd pay to read it :)

Slartibartfast

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9006 on: January 31, 2014, 06:54:07 PM »
Someone told me, not sure if it's true or not, that in Emgland it was common to call the first unmarried daughter Miss LastName until she married and her sisters were called Miss FirstName.

So, with the Bennet sisters, Jane was Miss Bennet, and the others were Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mary, Miss Kitty and Miss Lydia.

That was part of the rules about titled gentry.  It wasn't just to be difficult; the social etiquette helped you know the moment you were introduced to someone exactly what their social standing was, whether they'd inherit, etc.  It was kind of a bigger deal than now because for those from the upper classes, there were really a limited number of potential marriage partners - no point wasting time flirting with someone whom you won't be socially allowed to marry in the first place.

lady_disdain

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9007 on: January 31, 2014, 07:24:36 PM »
Someone told me, not sure if it's true or not, that in Emgland it was common to call the first unmarried daughter Miss LastName until she married and her sisters were called Miss FirstName.

So, with the Bennet sisters, Jane was Miss Bennet, and the others were Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mary, Miss Kitty and Miss Lydia.

The eldest present would be Miss Bennet and the others, Miss FirstName Bennet. So, if Jane and Elizabeth were together, Jane would be addressed as Miss Bennet and Elizabeth as Miss Elizabeth Bennet. But if it were Elizabeth and Mary, Elizabeth would be Miss Bennet and Mary, Miss Mary Bennet. Of course, this was quite formal and was probably waved in day to day conversation, specially with more intimate acquaintances.

An etiquette guide from a little latter (mid 19th century) specifically forbids the use of Miss FirstName alone, without a last name. Only family servants would address family members that way.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9008 on: January 31, 2014, 10:33:19 PM »
Someone told me, not sure if it's true or not, that in Emgland it was common to call the first unmarried daughter Miss LastName until she married and her sisters were called Miss FirstName.

So, with the Bennet sisters, Jane was Miss Bennet, and the others were Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mary, Miss Kitty and Miss Lydia.

I have also heard that, and that it would be similar on the male side as well. So in an alternate universe, James would be Master Bennet, and the others Master Edward, Master Mark, Master Charles, and Master Lysander. After reaching the age of majority, they would become Mr. Bennet, etc.
And we wouldn't have had the novel, as they're all boys.

You don't think that young Mr. Edward Bennet might have run into Miss Darcy? Of course, in her case, as a female, I'm not sure if she'd still be the sole heir of the estate or if she'd have to share with her sister (and, of course, if Georgiana were George, then there goes Pemberly alltogether)

I'm not sure it would have been as good a book, but I'd pay to read it :)
Maybe, but as James Bennet would be inheriting the estate, as a younger son Edward and his brothers would probably be off to the clergy or the military.

Luci

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9009 on: January 31, 2014, 10:53:11 PM »
I was told years ago that beer is a good rinse/conditioner for hair because there is protien in the beer. No matter what was the reason, it never worked for me. (But enjoyed the side benefits of the experiment.)

Does anyone do that now?

Mental Magpie

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9010 on: February 01, 2014, 02:46:58 AM »
I was told years ago that beer is a good rinse/conditioner for hair because there is protien in the beer. No matter what was the reason, it never worked for me. (But enjoyed the side benefits of the experiment.)

Does anyone do that now?
I don't know about now, but my grandmother washed my father's hair with it until he was old enough to wash it himself.
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emwithme

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9011 on: February 01, 2014, 01:04:47 PM »
I was told years ago that beer is a good rinse/conditioner for hair because there is protien in the beer. No matter what was the reason, it never worked for me. (But enjoyed the side benefits of the experiment.)

Does anyone do that now?
I don't know about now, but my grandmother washed my father's hair with it until he was old enough to wash it himself.

Yes, probably once every six months or so, I'll give my hair a beer rinse.  It really brings out the shine :)

camlan

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9012 on: February 01, 2014, 01:29:12 PM »
Someone told me, not sure if it's true or not, that in Emgland it was common to call the first unmarried daughter Miss LastName until she married and her sisters were called Miss FirstName.

So, with the Bennet sisters, Jane was Miss Bennet, and the others were Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mary, Miss Kitty and Miss Lydia.

The eldest present would be Miss Bennet and the others, Miss FirstName Bennet. So, if Jane and Elizabeth were together, Jane would be addressed as Miss Bennet and Elizabeth as Miss Elizabeth Bennet. But if it were Elizabeth and Mary, Elizabeth would be Miss Bennet and Mary, Miss Mary Bennet. Of course, this was quite formal and was probably waved in day to day conversation, specially with more intimate acquaintances.

I think people in general were more formal back then. You simply wouldn't refer to your close friend Elizabeth as "Elizabeth" to any but an equally close friend or family member. To everyone else, she'd be your friend, "Miss Elizabeth Bennet," to distinguish her from all the other Bennet girls. That's why everyone calls Mr. Collins, Mr. Collins, and not by his first name, even though they are cousins to some degree.

You only addressed someone by their first name if they asked you to do so, especially if they were older or higher in social status. Until that request was made, you used Mr., Mrs., Miss, as required. First names were for your very, very close friends. Other friends and acquaintances, you used their title.
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lady_disdain

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9013 on: February 01, 2014, 02:21:52 PM »
Someone told me, not sure if it's true or not, that in Emgland it was common to call the first unmarried daughter Miss LastName until she married and her sisters were called Miss FirstName.

So, with the Bennet sisters, Jane was Miss Bennet, and the others were Miss Elizabeth, Miss Mary, Miss Kitty and Miss Lydia.

The eldest present would be Miss Bennet and the others, Miss FirstName Bennet. So, if Jane and Elizabeth were together, Jane would be addressed as Miss Bennet and Elizabeth as Miss Elizabeth Bennet. But if it were Elizabeth and Mary, Elizabeth would be Miss Bennet and Mary, Miss Mary Bennet. Of course, this was quite formal and was probably waved in day to day conversation, specially with more intimate acquaintances.

I think people in general were more formal back then. You simply wouldn't refer to your close friend Elizabeth as "Elizabeth" to any but an equally close friend or family member. To everyone else, she'd be your friend, "Miss Elizabeth Bennet," to distinguish her from all the other Bennet girls. That's why everyone calls Mr. Collins, Mr. Collins, and not by his first name, even though they are cousins to some degree.

You only addressed someone by their first name if they asked you to do so, especially if they were older or higher in social status. Until that request was made, you used Mr., Mrs., Miss, as required. First names were for your very, very close friends. Other friends and acquaintances, you used their title.

Of course - I meant shortening the full Miss Elizabeth Bennet to just Miss Elizabeth. In Sense and Sensibility, John Dashwood refers to "Miss Lucy Steele" several times (as he is not well acquainted with her) but Lucy Steele, sir John, Mrs Jennings, Fanny and Coronel Brandon refer to her as "Miss Marianne" when in more intimate company.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #9014 on: February 01, 2014, 03:49:39 PM »
Didn't husbands and wives address each other formally too? Mr and Mrs Bennet refer to each other as that, even in their own home when Mrs Bennet was whining at him. The same happened with Scarlett's parents in Gone With the Wind.

The only time I can recall the Bennet girls being addressed by their first names was by close friends, their parents and each other.

In Emma, right at the end Mr Knightley offers to Emma for her to call him by his first name after they get engaged. She refuses.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2014, 03:51:14 PM by Katana_Geldar »