A What (Not) To Say Post
It happens to all of you at some point. You are going along out of habit and start out a conversation with, “How are you Missssssssssssss” and deflate into awkward silence because you aren’t sure if it’s still okay to call me Mrs. Bain. Or, you meet me at an event, knew Dan, and make the connection and start out with, “Oh, you’re Dan’s wiiiiiiiii” and get the deer in the headlights look because you aren’t sure if you can still call me Dan’s wife. Or you get ready to send a formal invitation and don’t know how to address the envelope.
Well, worry no more, your answers are here. Unless your W remarries, the following apply no matter how much time passes (and yeah, pun intended):
Technically I am still Mrs. Bain and have no problem with you using it. I still do when making reservations or filling out forms. Miss Bain is inappropriate in this situation since it should be reserved for young unmarried women. Ms. Bain just doesn’t sound right, at least not to me, but etiquette says it’s acceptable, and I won’t freak out if you use it.
For a formal invitation (think weddings), proper etiquette says you are free to use either Mrs. Daniel Bain or Mrs. Lisa Bain. Addressing it to Lisa Bain without the Mrs. prefix is too casual for a formal invitation, but fine for Christmas cards or any other correspondence. Unless of course, your W has her own title (Doctor, Honorable, Her Majesty, etc.) in which case you should have been using it anyway. You are free to refer to me as Your Royal Pirateness if that’s easier for you.
Wife or Widow?
And yes, you may refer to me as either Dan’s wife or his widow. Both are correct, at least according to etiquette rules. Enough time has passed that I’m comfortable with the word widow and won’t burst into tears, but each of us is different.
So here’s the kicker. Just ask your W what she prefers. Honestly, I know it’s uncomfortable for most of you to navigate the landmines of what to call me, so it doesn’t bother me what you choose. (Those of you laughing right now that you can think of plenty to call me can just shut it). Although if you address me directly as The Widow Bain, or any variation of The Widow, I may throat punch you. We don’t live in a Dicken’s novel, so I call that one off limits. When in doubt, Lisa works just fine.
See how easy that was?
The Wandering Widow
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