Southern Way

Southern Way

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Little Lord Fauntleroy

I don't get my knickers in a knot when I receive a wedding invitation that is not engraved or is pink or purple - to each their own. And, I am past the point of worrying about one using initials in the address in lieu of full names. I realize folks these days are busy and don't have the time or are not willing to take the time to get their guests' full names.

However I do find it, especially in the South, unnerving when the forms of addresses are incorrect. One of  my pet peeves (to borrow a favorite phrase from my Mama) is the use, or rather misuse of the title "Master". Addressing a young boy as "Master" evokes portraits of the little one dressed as Little Lord Fauntleroy.



And usually, when someone refers to their son or grandson as such they have no doubt subjected the young lad to a portrait sitting costumed in the required get up of velvet breeches and a wide lacy Victorian collar. I dear say some may still be in therapy due to such get up and humiliation.

Amy Vanderbilt stated "that in the USA, unlike the UK, a boy can be addressed as master only until age eight, then is addressed only by his name with no title until he turns 18, when he takes the title of Mr. although it is not improper to use Mr. if he is slightly younger. "Mstr." is used as a prefix for boys on the UK Passport Service online application form." 

Robert Hickey, deputy director of the Protocol School of Washington, stated that "use of Master [as] an honorific when addressing boys is considered old fashioned outside of conservative circles."

Basically in the United States, the use of this term is considered honorific at best and old fashion at worst. In my estimation (ie my humble opinion) it is arrogant. Little boys should just be little boys. John McCall Pillaster VI, should just be that, John McCall Pillaster VI - isn't that enough. 

And, yes, little girls are still referred to as "Miss" until they are married or choose "Ms." or become a doctor of some type. Perhaps unfair that McCall's little sister is "Miss Margaret Pinckney Pillaster" from the day she is born (in formal address) but such is life. 

So as I said, I only get my knickers in a knot when mothers dress their darling sons in them with the wide Victorian collars and then insist they are "Masters". If they want their little boys to be a "Master"they  should have been British and there they could have enjoyed the title until age 8. 

But then as my dear Aunty used to say, people in Hell wants ice water.

No comments: