Spo-fans occasionally ask me if I prefer being addressed as Dr. Spo rather than Spo; do I want nay demand my title be used and recognized? The usual answer is you can call me anything so long as you don’t call me late for dinner.  I have little need or interest in being addressed as ‘Doctor’ outside of work. At work it is different.  There I prefer being called Dr. Spo but this due to my fondness for proper manners not proper titles. I dislike calling my patients by their first name so I use Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. or whatever and I hope they do likewise. [1]

I despise immediate first name familiarity often used these days by brazen telemarketers, waiters, and young people. ‘Mister’ is what’s required by these sorts unless I give permission otherwise which is not often.

Someone and I as a set can be a bit ticklish. When we are out and about I don’t use “Doctor and Mister” nor “Doctor and Mrs. Doctor”. I adore the old-style two gentlemen caller plural “The Messers” which makes us “The Messers Spo and Someone”. Alas Babylon! No one uses this pre-Cambrian title anymore more’s the pity. I have to just hope people have the proper manners to reciprocate my self-introduction ‘We are Someone and Spo” with the proper ‘It’s nice to meet you Mr. Someone and Mr. Spo”. [2]

One of the drawbacks of using Dr. Spo in public is it inevitably gets the question “what sort of doctor are you?”.  I say “The P word” and the questioner either starts telling me their woes or they run away or tell my what’s wrong with my profession. [3]

Women have it worse off (don’t they always?) when it comes to titles. I recently learned some countries have banned the “Miss” equivalences like ‘senorita” “fraulein” and “mademoiselle” so all women are “Senora” “Frau” and “Madame” regardless of age or marital status. I like Ms. as convenient to ‘cover all” like Mr. does.  I also recently discovered there are new titles for folks  who are trans or sexually uncertain or just not thinking it was anyone’s business.  It’s all a bit confusing.  On the other hand one needed worry about what title to use if you use your words and ask the person in front of you “How do you wish to be addressed?”.  Just don’t use my flippant often-used response of “God Emperor”  as you will no doubt get dirty looks – worse than if you had said you are a psychiatrist.


[1] Work is a bit awkward the staff call me Dr. Spo but they want to be addressed by their first name. I still call them Mister or Ms. or Mrs. trying to keep things at the same level of formality. They find this amusing: they think I am being British.

[2] Fat chance of that.

[3] They like to tell me what is wrong. If I play along I put on my more obvious “I am analyzing this” demeanor and reflect back something guaranteed to make them nervous.