How I Became a Doctor in 23 Seconds

A few months back, I was setting up a new iPad, and had to create an account in order to complete the setup.  They didn’t ask for terribly much information, but they did ask for one piece of information that I was not able to provide.

They asked for my “title”.  It was a required field, my choices were

Mr.
Mrs.
Ms.
Dr.

and it would not let me continue setting up the account until I had selected one of those.  Which, for me, was a problem.

I am not a Mr. and I am not a Mrs.  I have chosen for decades to not use Ms. and I wasn’t about to start just for the sake of an iPad.  My preferred “title” when I absolutely have to specify one is Miss.  To me, that translates as “female child born to parents of this name, whose marital status is none of your goddamned business”.

(What I’d really prefer is Ma’am, which to me translates as “female child born to parents of this name, who is now old enough to both warrant your respect and not put up with any of your shit” but sadly that’s not an accepted honorific.)

So there I was, wanting nothing more than to read e-books and listen to music while working out and perhaps look up the occasional recipe online without having to kill a tree printing it, wanting to set up my iPad, and having a “required field” demanding I supply a piece of information from a multiple choice list, knowing that, no matter what I chose, I would be lying.

If I had to lie in one form or another anyway, I figured I might as well go big.  And just like that, I became a Dr.

(I then spent a good half hour on WebMD to validate my new credentials.  Pretty much everything is cancer, indigestion, or a virus nobody had ever heard of until it was trending on Facebook.  You’re welcome.)

Today, I saw this photo posted on a friend’s Facebook page.

And while I recognize and applaud the progress it represents, I still have a bigger question: Why is a “title” a requirement for anything?

Last time I checked, we each had a name.  Is it crazy to think we could just use those to address each other?  Almost like it would add a personal note to our dealings with each other as… personal persons?

You want to use titles?  That’s fine.  Call your doctor Dr. YourNameHere.  Let teachers be addressed as Teacher Chang or Teacher Wilson or Teacher WhateverYourNameIsHere.  Nurse Ramirez.  Attorney This and Accountant That and Postal Carrier TheOther.  Recycle Pro Anderson (who is actually fine with being called “Steve” but doesn’t object to you fancying it up a bit).  In situations where you want to keep a bit of distance, whether to denote respect for that person or simply to maintain your own mental personal space, by all means use a title.

And if you want to use Mx. or Ms. or Mrs. or Mr. to keep that same bit of distance, that’s entirely between you and the person you’re talking to.

But do not make the slapping of a label on myself a “required field” for anything.  And if you do, next time you’d damned well better supply a custom field where I can designate “Emperor”.

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