When I was a kid I remember learning about the title "Ms." and I believe it was explained to me by my father as a title for women who and not married and are ashamed to not be a Mrs. and are too old to be called Miss any longer. (Thanks for that one, Buzz.) I remember having a distinct image in my mind of what this "Ms." looked like: tall, gawky, horn-rimmed glasses, leopard-print wrap dress (wah?), and eyes that were too shy/ashamed to meet your gaze. And I remember deciding immediately that I would never be a Ms.
Today I was filling out an online subscription and when it gave me the drop-down menu for "title" I proudly chose "Ms." Somewhere along the journey of my life I decided to change my definition of what it meant to be a Ms. and I'm darn proud to be one now! Anyway, I'm short, sassy, don't wear glasses and always look people directly in the eye. (I could totally get down with the leopard-print wrap dress, though! ) "Ms." is just who I am! I think I stopped being a "Miss" about 20 years ago and although the secretaries at Rahul's school and some of his friends like to call me "Mrs. Smith", that's my mom, not me. "Ms." means power and freedom and wisdom and experience. It means confidence and mystery. I love that it looks the most like "Mr." of all the choices for women, but it retains the feminine "S". I love that it has the "zz" sound -- I think that's where the leopard print dress image came from all the those years ago! I like being not just Renee, but Ms. Smith. It reminds me that I deserve respect and that I am a grown-up, even if I don't feel like one all the time!
But as much as I love being Ms. Smith, you can call me Miss Jackson if you're nasty.