Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 17:51:44 -0500
From: Alan Baragona baragonasa[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]VAX.VMI.EDU
Subject: A new use of Ms?

Okay, this is a new one on me. In a research report on gender in
language, a female exchange student from Texas A&M who is also a native
Texan wrote: "Something that is normal for my generation, such as the
marital status title Ms., is not normal for my mother's generation.
Until you're married, you should be identified as Miss, and if you are
homosexual or divorced, you should be identified as Ms."

We're on Spring Break now, so I won't be able to ask her about it until
next week, but I wonder if anyone out there, especially anyone in Texas,
is familiar with a usage development like this? I've seen signs that in
common usage "Ms." is simply replacing "Miss" and thus losing its
initial purpose as "Mrs." has made a comeback (if it was ever really
gone), but I've never seen a distinction like this one. Is this a
fantasy that this girl has concocted, or are there really groups out
there who use Ms. only for gays and divorcees (no Fred Astaire pun

Alan B.