Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Call me doctor

So yesterday I did a thing that makes me feel... a bit smarmy.

I referred myself as Dr. Dad.

In public.

While making reservations for dinner.

To be fair, they wouldn't accept my reservation the first time I called. Strangely, when I called back they had room for me, but only after I introduced myself as a doctor. While I suppose it's possible that in the five minutes it took to call back there was a cancellation, but I think it might have something to do with me waving my title in the face of the hostess.

The problem I have is that I was always taught to be modest and humble. That everyone was equal. Maybe it's my Midwestern upbringing, but I feel that I should be noticed on the merit of my work and personal interactions, not the letters before or after my name. I sure as hell know that the piece of paper that will eventually be hanging on my office wall does not show what kind of person I am.

And yet I didn't hesitate to call myself "doctor" to ensure that my wife and I (the kids are being blissfully watched by a neighbor) have a needed night out.

And you know what? I'd do it again in a heartbeat if it helps me get what I want.

Have I changed? Or learned the system? I'm not sure I know.

And I honestly don't know if I want to know the answer to that question....


  1. I do that when people disrespect me because I'm small, female, and cute. (Generally right after they've said something patronizing and followed it up with, "Mrs...?" or "Miss...?" No, actually, "Doctor.") Around here they take the credential much more seriously than they do in the Midwest, which generally bugs me a little bit, but helps when people are trying to exert their white male privilege at me (something that also happens more here than in the Midwest).

    That's completely separate from me giddily clicking the "Dr" choice when setting up all my frequent flyer programs the year after I got my degree. There I was mainly happy I wasn't in graduate school anymore!

    1. I think the key is respect. I've noticed a general trend in certain circumstances, and those are the situations where I will now preemptively call myself doctor. Although I feel so awkward about it that if pressed I'll tell them that I'm not the kind of doctor that they are thinking of....

      I forgot to mention that I also started using my title when I was fighting for my son at his school. It didn't help much, but it did signal to the administration that 1) I knew what the heck I was talking about and 2) education is important to me. And when they stopped listening I had no problem emphasizing my degree (e.g. "This is Dr. Dad. Is Mrs. Teacher or Mr. Principal available to speak with me?")

      I'm also glad to see that I'm not the only one who used their new credentials when they signed up for Southwest Airlines. Although in my case it was my wife who was giddily clicking "Dr." - she was the one who set up the account and she was uber excited that I was finally done (we met as I was preparing applications for grad school, so constituted a good portion of our lives).

  2. baa haa haa at K yesterday a kid asked me if my name was Mrs X, I said no it's Dr X, but you can call me First Name. Like the kid cared or knew the difference between Mrs and Dr.

    1. Sometimes it's not whether the kid knows the difference, but whether anyone overhearing knows the difference. I'm just sayin'....

  3. The only time I refer to myself as Dr. SP is when I call the idiots of tech help at my institution. If they know you are an instructor only, they won't give you the time of the day. My Chair has had to call so they come and fix a computer at one of the instructors' office. I learned after they told me I could fix my computer problem with a paper clip. My reply wasn't nice. And I work in the Midwest!