Airline Thinks My Wife Is A Man Because She Has A Ph.D.

Once upon a time, it might have been a good — but not sure — bet that someone with the title of “Dr.” was probably a man. But apparently no one told that to the reservations system at Singapore-based Tiger Airways, which has stuck one traveler with a ticket that bestowed a Y chromosome upon her — and which she’s going to have to pay to fix.

Consumerist reader Jacob says that he and his wife are planning their dream vacation in Southeast Asia, and booked two tickets for a Tiger Airways flight from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to Singapore.

He writes, “After submitting payment and reaching the final booking confirmation screen, I noticed that my wife’s passenger details described her as a ‘Male, Adult.'”

Did he fill in the wrong box somewhere along the line?

“Nope,” he tells Consumerist. “When filling out the personal information, a prefix was required (i.e. Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc.). My wife is a bad-ass Ph.D. Statistician, so I selected ‘Dr.’ — because that’s what she is. Apparently, in Tiger Airways land, only men can be doctors.”

Jacob says there was no mention of “male” or “female” until the final, post-payment booking confirmation. He provided Consumerist with a copy of this confirmation, which clearly lists both he and his wife as adult males, along with the “Dr.” prefix before his wife’s name.

He also attempted to contact Tiger via Twitter and its customer feedback form and received no response.

“I’d love to correct this before it causes all sorts of problems at the airport,” he writes. “But there is only one way to remedy the mistake — calling one of their international call centers. And then PAYING for the change.”

We’ve written to Tiger’s media contacts in the hope that they can remedy the ticket error — and update their system to be in line with 19th century gender standards.

Comments

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    1). Bachelor’s Degree
    2). MBA – Master of Bullshit and Abstraction
    3). Ph.D. – Piled Higher and Deeper

  2. Sertorius says:

    Certainly, this is not a good policy for the airline. It is antiquated and silly.

    But I consider this a fair karmic punishment for the ludicrously pretentious act of asking the airline to call a statistics PhD “doctor.” There are tons of professions with doctoral degrees: lawyers (J.D.), high school principals (often Ed.D.), some pharmacists (Pharm. D.) along with all of the varies college professors with their PhDs in this and that. Lawyers and high school principals don’t go around calling each other doctor, and neither should statistics PhDs – “bad ass” or not. Unless, of course, the “bad ass” stat PhD is going to jump in and perform CPR on the cardiac arrest victim in flight . . . .

    • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

      +1

    • Ben says:

      I hear that all the time from people jealous of my PhD. Get over it.

      • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

        Funny. I grew up in an academic community. Anybody who wasn’t an MD who tried to use Dr. would have been laughed out of the room.

        • crashfrog says:

          I also grew up in an academic community, which is where I learned that it’s appropriate to refer to PhD’d professors as “Dr.” unless they ask you not to. And, frankly, if we’re expected to refer to ministers as “doctors” by virtue of their completely non-medical education, then it’s appropriate to refer to PhD’s, JD’s, and holders of other doctorates by the title Doctor, which is from the Latin for “teacher”, not “surgeon” or “physician”, regardless of the common use.

          • VintageLydia says:

            Same here. My professors with PhD’s were always “Doctor” whatever unless they told us otherwise (but most won’t get angry if you messed up occasionally, although profs WITHOUT doctorates would remind you then and there to call them Mr./Ms./Mrs. if you accidentally called them Dr.)

            • akiri423 says:

              I don’t think I ever had a professor who wanted to be called by anything other than their first name… Hm.

          • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

            “PhD’d professors”

            You mean there were professors without doctorates in this academic community? That’s probably the difference right there. In the community in which I grew up, nobody used Doctor titles because it was a given that any faculty member had one.

            Also, I would never refer to a minister as Doctor.

            • VintageLydia says:

              Adjuncts are almost never PhDs at my school. And there is no doctoral level for some disciplines (a doctorate in Fine Arts is super super rare, for instance. Most fine art professors are MFAs.)

            • gigwave says:

              Not even Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

            • crashfrog says:

              Almost no universities award DFA’s except as an honorary degree, so you find that a lot of professors in the arts have an MFA, because that’s the terminal degree in their field. But they wouldn’t be called “Dr.”

            • PeriMedic says:

              Ministers are “Reverend Doctor” if they have a Doctor of Divinity degree. Not all do, so would not be called “Doctor”.

          • poco says:

            Ministers? Really?

            “Doctor of Iron Age Mythology” maybe.

        • crispyduck13 says:

          If someone has a PhD and you’re addressing them in a professional or otherwise none-familiar way it is absolutely appropriate to use the title “Dr.” Soandso unless they introduce themselves otherwise.

          Just because you didn’t learn a social skill doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

          • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

            I certainly did learn social skills. In the environment in which I was raised, referring to a PhD as “Doctor” would be a faux pas.

            • crispyduck13 says:

              Well then you run in a very small circle. Or else you’re just blustering on the internetz, which happens about as often as someone introducing a PhD in physics as “Dr.” (often).

              Congrats by the way, on your isolation from the rest of us “normies.”

            • MMD says:

              Are you on the west coast? Academic culture is often a bit less formal there. But I still have a hard time believing that using the title “Dr.” would that far out of the mainstream.

              • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

                Nope, not the West Coast. Ivy League.

                • MMD says:

                  Ok, now I have an even harder time believing you.

                  • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

                    Your problem, not mine.

                    As an example, in the official biography of Yale President Rick Levin, he’s referred to as Mr. Levin, not Dr. Levin, in spite of his PhD (from Yale, so it’s not as if they don’t know about it).

                    http://www.yale.edu/about/levin.html

                    • crashfrog says:

                      Because they call him “Rick Levin, PhD.” If he were a surgeon, they would call him “Rick Levin, MD.”

                      The title as a suffix is “PhD.” The title as a prefix, which is what we’re talking about here, is “Dr.” Per honor, you can use a prefix or a suffix, but not both.

                    • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

                      @crashfrog (site won’t let me respond directly).

                      They’re not calling him Rick Levin, PhD. The PhD is only there in the top item because it’s a Yale degree, to show that he’s an alumnus (note it’s formatted as ’74 PhD). If his doctorate was from Harvard, it would just list him as Richard Levin.

                      By comparison, look at Peter Salovey, the University’s Provost. He’s listed as A.B., M.A., Ph.D., because all of those degrees are from Yale.

                      http://www.yale.edu/about/salovey.html

                      So, the PhD is there in Levin’s headline solely b/c it’s a Yale degree – unless, of course, you think that Levin doesn’t hold a BA as well.

                • Michael Belisle says:

                  I’ve always encountered the situation where referring to to a PhD in an academic setting as Mr. (or Ms., Mrs., etc.) is a faux pax.

                  Do you by chance live in bizarro world?

        • ReverendLoki says:

          Does that include those with a DO or a DDS?

      • Michael Belisle says:

        It’s like when you’re jogging down the street, and drivers felt a need to yell something like “Run, Forrest, Run!” (back in the 90s, at least) because they’re too fat and lazy to be jogging.

      • lauren6318 says:

        i got 2 phD’s – One Post Hold Digger at the construction site and one pPost Hold Digger at home

        WHAMMY!

      • saralegal21 says:

        Um. Yeah. I have a Juris Doctor, so I am not jealous of your Ph.D. I think it is stupid to use pretentious titles outside of a professional environment. I sign my work documents “Esquire,” but I don’t expect anyone to address me that way and I don’t use it outside of work, particularly on an airline ticket.

    • Coffee says:

      They didn’t ask the airline to call her that…it was a pull-down tab that gave the option. And she didn’t spend six years in evil medical school to be called “Mrs.”.

    • namcam says:

      x2.

    • DA says:

      Doctor is a title. Physician is an occupation, which happens to use the title doctor. The use of Doctor as an academic title far precedes the use of it having anything to do with medicine.

      Also, it was a husband choosing the title for his wife — how is that pretentious? He simply seems proud of his wife’s accomplishments, those accomplishments being equal or greater to those of a physician.

      • nbs2 says:

        And, from what I understand, its usage with lawyers as a title precedes use by academics.

        • VintageLydia says:

          Which is funny because of everyone I know with doctoral educations, the lawyers never refer to themselves as “Doctor” (and would find it weird to be called such.)

          • spectacularisms says:

            Well, lawyers are technically “Esquire” once they’re barred . . . but I agree that I wouldn’t think of attempting to go by “Doctor” on account of my J.D., and neither did ANY of my professors in law school, no matter how highfalutin their educations/SCOTUS clerkships.

            • Derek Balling says:

              Technically “esquire” has no legal standing in any law. Lawyers tend to use it, but it’s custom, not any sort of “actual significance.”

              • VintageLydia says:

                I think it might be a regional/national thing? I heard that in England it’s far more common to use esquire but pretty much unheard of stateside.

                • Michael Belisle says:

                  “Doctor” is overdefined. This is why we have a super-long Wikipedia article on Doctor_(title).

                  Which is why the suffixes exist, to clarify just what sort of a doctorate a person has.

              • RandomLetters says:

                I am Bill S. Preston, Esquire!!

              • Difdi says:

                Lawyers are considered gentry. Esquire is simply a title that denotes a member of the gentry, pure and simple. Since the U.S. did away with feudal class distinctions, Esquire has no legal weight.

    • dolemite says:

      I have no problem calling someone with a doctorate “doctor” if they choose. I’d say there are more people with a doctorate in religion that prefer you call them “doctor” than people with you know…actual degrees like statistics that prefer you do the same.

    • Tim says:

      To me, almost all of those are fair game, especially the ones in medical and related fields (physicians, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, even veterinarians). PhDs are fair game too, as are principals. JDs, however, are never referred to as “doctor” in the U.S.

      I don’t see what’s wrong with it. If you did that much schooling, and are therefore an expert in your field, you deserve to be called “doctor.”

    • who? says:

      It sounds like you’re jealous that a girl got a PhD and you didn’t. Whatever.

    • Republicrat says:

      The people in my high school who had Ed.D.’s most certainly used ‘Dr’. in their name and expected to be called that. You don’t have to have an Ed.D. to become a principal, btw. I only had one principal with one that I recall. What I think about this specific degree is another matter, but this is how it went down at school.

      Our professors at University all were called “Dr” whatever unless they didn’t have a Ph.D. (in which case they weren’t professors – just lowly lecturers!).

      Not entirely sure what the rules are for this, but lawyers and I guess pharmacists are the only people who I never hear of as being called doctors. A statistician Ph.D. being called Dr. doesn’t seem out of the ordinary at all.

    • EllenRose says:

      I have a PhD in physics, thank you, and my kind were being called ‘doctor’ while the surgeons were still barbers cutting hair and doing bleeding as their main line of work. The higher-status doctors were called ‘leech’. This is a reference to the aquatic bloodsuckers, of course, which are still in medical use in reattachment surgery.

    • PadThai says:

      no female medical doctors either?

      • msbaskx2 says:

        Exactly! That’s what I think everyone commenting on the second comment is missing. Let’s say she had been a medical doctor. Her husband was going to make the same selection, and their system was still going to decide she was male.

        THAT is the problem. Not the difference between a PhD and an MD. Sheesh.

    • Derek Balling says:

      Spoken like someone who’s never been hanging around any sort of institute of higher learning.

      Ph.D. holders are called “Dr.” all the time.

      • matlock expressway says:

        Maybe the confusion is that you’d call your physician “Doctor” [full stop], but you’d rarely/never call your professor simply “Doctor”. You’d call them “Doctor So-and-so”. It’s pretty much never used as a standalone in an academic context.

    • SoFlaSnowMan says:

      Why am I reminded of this?

    • The Unincorporated Man says:

      Dr. So-and-so, Ph.D, Total Douchebag.

    • jebarringer says:

      You do realize the D in PhD stands for doctor, right? And your “all of the varies [sic] college professors” include those in mathematics or statistics or whatever dept their in?

    • kerry says:

      Uh, what? I know a lot of PhDs, in a lot of fields (including education), and they all use Dr. as their preferred form of address. It’s not common for lawyers, but they typically stick “esq” at the end of their names to indicate the whole lawyer thing. A doctor of medicine and a doctor of physics and a doctor of statistics and a doctor of education are all Dr.s in the eyes of 99.999% of humanity. Everyone but you, apparently.

  3. Black Bellamy says:

    This is why when I fly, I always put myself down as “Air Vice Marshal”.

    God bless you, British Airways.

    Check the “title” dropdown on this page http://www.britishairways.com/travel/inet/public/en_gb

  4. NeverLetMeDown2 says:

    Is the OP certain that that it doesn’t somehow classify everyone as male? So far, he’s booked tickets for two people, and one of them is male. Both were classified as male. What leads the OP to believe that the title he chose for his wife has anything to do with it?

    • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

      My thought too. Perhaps the OP missed the menu drop down to select that, and it was default, or maybe, like what happens to me, some adblock or script block software blocks an element because it matches something on the filter, so I don’t see it.

      • Michael Belisle says:

        I didn’t see a sex (yes, please) option on the passenger info screen. Just title, name, birth date, passport info.

    • Worstdaysinceyesterday says:

      That’s what I was wondering…

    • euph_22 says:

      To be fair, tiger would still be assuming everyone with the title doctor is a man. They’d just be assuming everyone else is as well.

  5. Abradax says:

    Boy when she shows up without a penis, they are going to be REALLY embarrassed.

  6. Nuc says:

    I know plenty of school principals who go by “Dr.” Same go for nurses who are (PhD) “Doctors.” Oddly enough, people like to use the titles they have earned.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      When I was in college, one of my classmates called the teacher by her first name – she snapped back with please call me Doctor [last name], I believe I have earned that right.

    • VintageLydia says:

      Yeah every principal I had was “Dr. So-and-so.” Most of the Nurse Practitioners I’ve met usually just go by Ms./Mr. so they aren’t confused with medical doctors in the same office, but I’ve never known one socially. It wouldn’t surprise me if they used “Doctor” outside of work. Basically everyone I’ve met with a Ph.D. is referred to as “Doctor” unless you’re calling them by their first name.

      • Tim says:

        NPs generally don’t have doctorates (they aren’t required for the job, in other words), so no, they probably don’t go by “doctor.”

      • who? says:

        Nurse Practitioners generally have Masters degrees, not doctorates, so they wouldn’t be called “doctor.” My wife, however, has a PhD in nursing, and does, indeed, use the title Dr.

        She doesn’t do direct patient care, however, so it’s not as confusing as it sounds….

  7. GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

    A man and his son are in a car accident and the man is killed. The boy is rushed to hospital. The doctor takes one look at him and says “I can’t operate on this child, he’s my son!”

    How is that possible?

  8. Ilo says:

    I’m an M.D., and I still never enter “Dr.” into airline forms, or anywhere else. I am “Mr.” unless the distinction is professionally necessary. For me, it is when I have to interview you in the hospital and ask questions like “Do you drink alcohol excessively?” “Do you use drugs? “Do you sleep with anyone else besides your wife?” All important questions when I’m trying to diagnose some illness. A Ph.D. statistician may have situations where the title “Dr.” is professionally necessary. (Teaching at a college? Speaking at a conference?). Using the title on an airline web page would be a conceit for both her and me.

    • MMD says:

      You can decide that for yourself.
      It’s not for you to decide that for others.

      • Ilo says:

        Definition of “conceit”: “an excessively favorable opinion of one’s own ability, importance…” Your honor, I point to exhibit A: “…bad-ass Ph.D. Statistician …” On a more nuanced level: What I call myself is up to me. What you call yourself is up to you. What I call you is up to me. However, what you demand that I call you can demonstrate a conceit. That is, in essence, what you are doing when you insist that someone use the title “Dr.” when it serves no useful purpose other than to flatter title holder and perpetuate the myth that they are a more worthy human being than the janitor sitting next to them on the plane. This airline chooses to cater to their passenger’s conceit. Funny, though, the whole exercise is pointless if they can’t get the gender right.

        • PeriMedic says:

          +1

          I like this answer. We are not in a hospital, university, or statistician office. We are on an airplane, off-duty. She is not more (or less) important or valuable than the janitor, housewife, or senator she is sitting next to.

          I don’t have a PhD, but I do have a Masters Degree and a dozen (not an exaggeration) of professional certifications that demonstrate years of hard work (national and state certified paramedic, teaching credentials in several states, FAA licenses, etc). They have nothing to do with me traveling on an airplane, making a dinner reservation, etc.

          I am VERY proud of them, but they only are mentioned within the environments to which they are applicable.

          • MMD says:

            Dr. is just as valid of a prefix as Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., Rev., etc. No one’s claiming anyone’s better than anyone else. If read into things that way, that’s a choice you’re making.

            People should be called what they want to be called. I guess I don’t see why others have such a big problem with that.

            • euph_22 says:

              Correction. “Dr.” Ilo suggesting that people who carry the title “Dr” are seen as being “more worthy” is a conceit. Honestly, a much, much greater one than using one’s proper title on a form ever possibly could be.

          • euph_22 says:

            You’re the one claiming her title, which she earned with years of intense study BTW, somehow makes her more important.

        • MMD says:

          “What I call you is up to me.”

          Really? If you called me “Jim” but I told you I prefer to be called “James”, is that also a “conceit”? And if you insisted on calling me Jim, you’re not being rude and disrespectful? Really?

        • euph_22 says:

          In essence, what you’re doing here, insisting that people who prefer to use their title are perpetuating the myth that they are more worthy is even more of a conceit. You’re implying that people who use the title “Dr.” will be treated differently.

          And they didn’t DEMAND that they address her as Dr., they asked. In a business form.

          Having more people use their titles and NOT being jackasses about it dispels the myth that Dr.’s deserve special treatment.

    • mikeMD says:

      +1

      I tell people I work in the “medical field.” I have found that when I say I am a physician I am treated to medical stories or the chance to offer free advice at inappropriate times and places. My Mother and Grandmonther (med school class of 1937, thank you for asking) are physicians as well. We have been on planes and heard the “is there a doctor on board?” call, I wonder if airlines like knowing if there are medical personnel on board, or if it just adds to confusion when someone passes out and then the attendant has to find out if they are a statisitician or have a DFA.

      On the other hand, if the OPs wife was a (bad-ass) neurosurgeon the point about the assumptions built into the booking software is still valid.

      • mikeMD says:

        Also, don’t order the fish.

      • euph_22 says:

        If the airline wants to know if there are MD’s on board, they should specifically ask. Especially since quite a few people who are travelling for their work would use “Dr.” when making travel arrangements.

        • euph_22 says:

          I meant “if they want to know if MDs will be onboard during the booking process” then they should specifically ask. Many, many other people carry the title Dr. (for example dentists and psychologists, who would also be of now professional help in an inflight medical Emergency).

          • PeriMedic says:

            I had a pilot tell me once, that during a flight from Africa, they had a medical emergency and asked if there was a doctor onboard. A gentleman came forward stating that he was a doctor. He proceeded to chant and sprinkle something on top of the patient.

            Further questioning ensued and it was determined he was a native healer, or “doctor” to his people. The pilot now is more specific about the kind of doctor they are looking for.

            This could be apocryphal, but does make the point of the importance of being specific…

  9. crispyduck13 says:

    This is sort of strange since every flight I’ve ever booked online has had a seperate pull down to identify my gender. Maybe that’s only for US flights?

  10. Sarek says:

    It’s Singapore. You’re ok unless you spit on the sidewalk or leave your gum there.

  11. haoshufu says:

    Ego problem. BIG EGO problem. They are travelling as husband and wife, I suppose. Why can’t it just be Mr. and Mrs.? The guy just wants to show off and end up in a cluster f***.

    Doctors (Ph.D.) like to be called “Doctor”. I guess this person is no exception and need to show anyone coming across the reservation that there is a “doctor” flying on board.

    • VintageLydia says:

      My husband and I are Mr. and Ms. ;) And our own names, too. Not this “Mr. and Mrs. [his first name] [last name]” business!

      How people want to refer to themselves if their choice, for the most part. Obviously, being called a specific title should be earned, but she has a PhD, so I’d say she has a right to be referred to as Dr.

    • crashfrog says:

      Why can’t it just be Mr. and Mrs.?

      For that matter, why can’t it be just Bob and Judy Johnson, or whatever?

      If you’re going to go with the formality of titles, then you have to follow the formalities. And the formality is that the holder of a doctorate has earned the title “Dr.” You can be formal, or you can be informal, but you can’t just make up a new rule that female holders of doctorates can only be “Mrs.”

    • euph_22 says:

      Why on Earth do you or anybody else would care what they are called. It should have no bearing on she is treated.

      And it’s a big ego problem to check a box on a form? It’s not like she interrupted the Clerk saying “EXCUSE, it’s Dr. [what’s her name].”

  12. Rhinoguy says:

    Doctor comes from the Latin and means “to teach”. It has nothing to do with medicine. Doctor as used for a medical doctor is sloppy but expected of a sloppy culture.

  13. conscious says:

    Sounds like they just need to have both Title and Gender questions and this will never happen again… I mean, if you’re going to have gender printed on the ticket, and you don’t ask for gender on your site, you’re bound to have issues. I bet this happens to them all the time.

  14. nickmoss says:

    I’ve found that having Sir on my credit card does get me better restaurant service in countries of the Commonwealth. Next time I’m going to renew with Lord.

  15. scoosdad says:

    This being Tiger’s mistake I think we have to give them the benefit of the doubt and not assume the change will cost Jacob any money. He’s the one who made that assumption apparently because I don’t see any indication from the story that he’s confirmed that as a fact with anyone there yet.

    I think he saw something about a ticketing change fee mentioned on their website and automatically assumed the worst. Yes, if you change your mind and want to change your flight time or destination or even rebook the seat under the name of a completely different person, but for a mistake that their system made?

  16. PeriMedic says:

    Why can’t I be called “Master” with my Masters Degree? Of course, with the first name Peri, people would be doubly likely to think I’m a man. Nevermind.

    • euph_22 says:

      You can be if you wanted. It’s not a commonly accepted title so you would sound at best a raging egomaniac, and at worst a lunatic. But you can certainly ask to be called Master [whatever you want].

      • euph_22 says:

        Actually on second thought, I might start have my students call me Master. Then again “Master Cook” sounds like a cheap rip off of a Gordon Ramsey show.

    • scoosdad says:

      If your name happens to be Bates, you don’t want to do that.

      • PeriMedic says:

        I don’t laugh out loud often, but I did now! As a former 8th-grade teacher, that would have never worked out well.

  17. DoctorDawg says:

    As I checked into a flight on Virgin Australia last week, there was a Tiger Airways counter right next door. A well-dressed lady walked up to the counter to check in, but was turned away because it was 40 minutes to flight time and they cut you off at 45 minutes. She had only one carry-on, and it took me only five minutes to walk from the counter to my gate, but they forced her to reschedule to a later DAY. Tiger Airways: cheapest flights to Phuket.

  18. QuadEddie says:

    I work with reservation systems every day. The system this airline uses maps titles to gender. They offer the title as a courtesy, but it has to map to a gender on the back end. This is done for weight and balance purposes. It’s a limitation of the system, it’s not meant to offend.

    • euph_22 says:

      Do you know if the gender classification has any actual effect for the Passenger? If this is just a problem for the airline, the OP and his statistician wife can sit back and laugh about how quaint tigers booking page is. If they will be turned away from the airport, then they need to get tiger to fix it’s screw up.

  19. NorthAlabama says:

    couldn’t the op use ms. just this once, and report the problem so it could be fixed in a future upgrage?

    are we really so concerned about titles that our time should be wasted with this post???

    • MMD says:

      The problem wasn’t known until *after* “Dr.” was put into the system. Ever tried traveling with a mistake on your printed boarding pass?

      This is about the airline’s refusal to fix the mistake without charging the customer. It’s only about titles if you choose to miss the point and make it about titles.

      I’d point out that you wasted even more time by commenting on this post, but I think the irony might be lost on you.

  20. JenK says:

    I think if you’ve earned a Ph.D in anything, you’re welcome to use the title Dr. Also, it may be a moot point in the case of the airline ticket, as if the wife’s id has Dr. ________ on it, it wouldn’t match the ticket if the ticket said Mrs. _________. Either way they’re stuck.

  21. Fishnoise says:

    People tend to have strong opinions about titles, and here’s mine:

    I normally limit my use of “doctor” to the medical context — physicians, dentists, and veterinarians. In grad school 20 years ago, I would call professors “professor” not “doctor,” a position reinforced when a particularly pompous newly hired tenure-track ABD insisted the teaching assistants all call her “doctor” because, she said, it was a term of respect we owed her as a faculty member. I didn’t finish that doctorate, but I did get a master’s. When I taught night college, I addressed my students as “mister” and “ms.” and they returned the favor.

    Later I went to law school, where the professors were, again, “professor.” Lawyers rarely use “doctor,” in part because states still are very strict about attorney advertising and potentially misleading clients into thinking you have medical expertise. (BTW, I went to law school with an ER physician and a captain of Marines, who were addressed by the faculty as “mister” and “mister,” respectively.)

    A lot of lawyers have started using “Esq.” as a suffix to indicate having passed the bar. There is nothing official in this. I think it’s silly and I won’t use it, seeing as we fought a revolution to avoid titled gentry (see master’s in history, supra). I also see the creeping use of “Hon.” a lot in pleadings as an inappropriate prefix for lawyers’ names, when it’s supposed to be reserved for judges.

    “Counselor” is a nice thing to call another lawyer when you’re picking her up at the airport.

    All that said, I recognize the right of people to call themselves whatever they wish. If you can pull off “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” the more power to you, and I might even call you that too if you don’t get all snooty about it.

  22. baristabrawl says:

    Also? I call my chiropractor “doctor.” So…yeah.

  23. GarretN says:

    I’ve seen no confirmation that its company policy to consider doctors male, at all. For all anyone knows, it’s just a bug with the website.

    The only thing known is that their support is terrible in that they haven’t been able to get in contact with anyone. Jumping the gun a little too early with this one.

  24. voiceofreason says:

    Jerry, I prefer to be called Maestro!