Q.This is serious: I just called my architect. I identified myself as Leonora Rogers. The (new) secretary said: "Leonora, he's in a meeting right now. Could I have him call you?"
Was I wrong? Should I have said "Mrs. Rogers"? I know that she was wrong, but I am sure nothing will change.
About a year ago, I was seeking mortgage money. A man from the company called me by my first name. Two weeks ago, a bus driver practiced the same effrontery. It was a tour, and he saw my name on the contract.
I work in a government office where use of first names is the practice, but I know these people. Yet it is unsettling.
I realize that you have written about this, yet the problem is still out there. Please attack again.
Miss Manners will offer you a bargain. She will attack again, and keep on attacking until this dreadful problem is solved, provided you help out, at least by refraining from conceding that "nothing will change."
She knows from her mail that a tremendous number of people hate the instant use of first names. Far from making people feel comfortable, as is claimed, the phoniness of using the forms of friendship where no friendship exists is highly offensive.
And by the way, this should include business relationships. Nobody today knows the thrill of using formal forms in the office and then intimate ones to the same person at an outside rendezvous.
Please take the care to correct these people gently. You identified yourself correctly to the architect's secretary, but you could have then told her, "Be sure and tell him that it was Mrs. Rogers who called." The mortgage company representative and the bus driver should have been informed pleasantly that "No, Leonora is my first name. My last name is Rogers. Mrs. Rogers."
You do your part, and Miss Manners will promise to go on doing hers.