DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I decided to hyphenate our names when we were married. However, people still address me, both in person and in writing, as “Emily Jones” or “Mrs. John Jones,” even though my preferred title is “Ms. Smith-Jones.”
When this happens, I usually smile and say “Actually, it’s Smith-Jones.” Most people apologize and immediately begin using the correct name from that point forward, but some continue to refer to both me and my husband as “The Jones Family” or “Mr. and Mrs. Jones.”
What can I say or do to get people to call me by my name?
GENTLE READER: Not much. Miss Manners advises that you accept that these people are either forgetful, or are slaves to the patriarchy and trying to keep you down. (She suspects that you have concluded the latter, and cautions you against invoking any subtext or smugness in that initial, smiling correction.)
In any case, pressing the matter beyond your smiling correction is likely to result in an unpleasant and ultimately futile conversation.
There are so many possible name combinations in modern-day use that it is difficult to keep track. And while that does not mean that we should not all still make the effort, slip-ups should be forgiven, probably ignored and definitely excused without taking offense. So introduce yourself and sign your preferred name, but resist correcting anyone more than once.