Us Yorkshire folk have never thanked the Lancastrian folk for a great deal but today I heard the term 'wassock' used on the radio (and it wasn't a term of endearment) and I think it's a great word which originates from Lancashire, so begrudgingly, thanks to the dark side from west of the Pennines. Wassock is pronounced wazzock with emphasis on the 'zz' rather than the 's' sound and in simple terms it refers to a gullible fool, or a village idiot, with elements of pomposity. So its not just that someone is daft - its means that they are pompous too - they have a sense of excessive self-esteem or exaggerated dignity.
There's been a debate on the radio recently about how to address a woman - Mrs (Mesdames) Miss (Mistress) or Ms. It seems that the feminist lobby are up in arms about it because it's pigeon holing someone to be called Mrs or Miss. Ms is neutral as it were and of course us guys are different, we are Mr (Mister) no matter what our age, social or marital status is, so of course we are treating women differently. My wife on the other hand, a married woman (what else?) hates to be called Ms and she tears up any correspondence addressing her as Ms without even opening it. She is comfortable with being pigeon-holed.
What we call people is important though and we should of course be considerate. But being considerate and calling someone Miss or Mrs by mistake isn't being disrespectful at all, it's just society is confused about helping us say the right thing. I'm sure other languages are much more simple. In modern German speak, Frau is given to adult women while Fraulein is the address for a younger girl - seems like a solution to me.
Being a letter writer, I hate receiving a letter from someone who doesn't give their 'title', particularly women. When receiving a letter from someone you've never met and about who you know nothing when all she signs herself is 'Sarah Jones' presents me with a dilemma: How do I respond? Dear Miss Jones, Dear Mrs Jones or the neutral Dear Ms Jones? Either way, you have a 66% chance of really cheesing her off. Dear Sarah seems too personal to me and rather presumptive that calling her by her first name is acceptable.
And today's story: A man was invited for dinner at a friend's house. Every time the host needed something, he preceded his request to his wife by calling her "My Love", "Darling", "Sweetheart", etc., etc.
His friend looked at him and said, "That's really nice after all of these years you've been married to keep saying those little pet names."
The host said, "Well, to be honest, I've forgotten her name."