Originally created 11/12/06

Divorced woman is allowed to be a Mrs.

Dear Carson: Is it proper for a divorced woman to still use the term "Mrs."? Should she not use the prefix "Ms." after a divorce? Thanks for your help. - Divorce Designation

Dear DD: A divorced woman may continue to use the prefix "Mrs." with her given name. She should never use her husband's name, as in Mrs. John Doe. It should be Mrs. Jane Doe. A prefix of "Ms." before a woman's name is a relatively new practice.

It came into being with the feminist movement, which espouses equality in the professional workplace.

Just as a man's marital status is of no concern in the workplace, a woman desires the same anonymity in her professional life.

Dear Carson: I went to two weddings recently at which the mother of the groom, who is divorced, got in line with the young, single women to catch the bride's bouquet, and at another one the mother of the bride did likewise. Both the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom succeeded in catching the bouquet.

Don't you think this was in very poor taste? Please let me know your opinion. - Groom's Mom's Manners

Dear Manners: I do think that these two mothers acted in poor taste when they chose to catch the bride's bouquet. There is not so much wrong with this arrangement other than it is in exceedingly poor taste. This tradition is mainly for young, single and never-married women.

Dear Carson: I have a question and would like your clarification. When I am out to lunch with a group of women, one or more of them might place her pocketbook on top of the table. Is doing this OK? - Pristine & Proper

Dear Pristine: Handbags and other paraphernalia should not be placed on any table where food will be served. In certain cultures it is taboo, and in others it is frowned upon. When one really thinks about where these items have been and the dust and germs that might adhere to them, this rule of etiquette makes sense.

Dear Carson: What is the protocol on tipping the person who assembles your takeout food when you pick up from a restaurant? - Tipping for Takeout

Dear Takeout: In response to this question a year or so ago, I was really taken to task by some waiters. Their point was well-taken when they pointed out to me that they had to take time out from doing work that would earn them a tip to assemble a takeout order.

Because a customer is not taking up space or using linens or any of the usual accoutrements, I would say that a normal 15 to 20 percent is a little steep, but that a 10 percent tip should be appreciated and fair.

Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, Ga 30903-1928. Send e-mail to askcarson@comcast.net. Carson Elliott's web site is www.theproperthing.com.


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