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punxsyjim

What do I call her??

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Our housekeeper is a jewel of a lady, just past age 45. She's never married, lives at home with her Mother.

Is she a Senora or Senorita?? I've read that at some point in age, the former designation is appropriate.

I've avoided it by using her first name, but stumbled when introducing her to guests. And I sure don't wish to insult her!!

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I would ask her which she prefers.

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Cedros' advice is good.

Age 45 is right around the breaking point in the US for "miss" versus "ma'am." None of us gals ever forget our first "ma'am."

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See, way back when in the feminist movement, we tried for "Ms." So smart. Can there be in a way to address a woman in Mexico without worrying about her actual marital status so we don't make a mistake and offend? It's possible that this is already being discussed in the Mexican community. Wish I knew. Hey! MoreIliana. . .

Lexy

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Our housekeeper is a jewel of a lady, just past age 45. She's never married, lives at home with her Mother.

Is she a Senora or Senorita?? I've read that at some point in age, the former designation is appropriate.

I've avoided it by using her first name, but stumbled when introducing her to guests. And I sure don't wish to insult her!!

never been married call her Senorita, no matter the age

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The designation is more complex than simply an issue of marital status and indeed the use varies from Hispanic country to country. I've checked with Mexican family and Mexican friends, here at the lake and elsewhere across the country: unanimously all responded "señora". It has more to do with level of life-experience; here in Mexico, "señorita" isn't used much at all, not even by students to address a young teacher. Looking up some cultural references also, it seems to refer to "age of maturity (sexual) and experience" as a descriptor.

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The designation is more complex than simply an issue of marital status and indeed the use varies from Hispanic country to country. I've checked with Mexican family and Mexican friends, here at the lake and elsewhere across the country: unanimously all responded "señora". It has more to do with level of life-experience; here in Mexico, "señorita" isn't used much at all, not even by students to address a young teacher. Looking up some cultural references also, it seems to refer to "age of maturity (sexual) and experience" as a descriptor.

My across-the-street neighbor in Ajijic, a never-married woman fast approaching 70 years old, gets very offended if someone calls her 'Señora'--"Soy señorita, por favor!"

Students almost always call their female teachers 'Maestra', not Señorita or Señora.

In city newspapers, in the funeral home ads, names are listed with their honorifics or their professional titles, no matter the age or gender. For example:

  • Sra. Angelina Muñoz Córdoba, a los 76 años
  • Srita. Josefina Villahermosa D'Ávila, a los 98 años
  • Ing. Marcos Díaz Lizárraga, a los 45 años
  • Niño Belisario Juáregui Amores, a los 8 años
  • etc.

IMHO it is always better to err on the side of accuracy. Given that you KNOW that she has never married, she is señorita until she asks you to introduce her by something else. I'd go with that.

Having said all those things, it is common among among a certain class to call a woman "Seño", which acts as 'Ms' if you do NOT know her marital status.

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My across-the-street neighbor in Ajijic, a never-married woman fast approaching 70 years old, gets very offended if someone calls her 'Señora'--"Soy señorita, por favor!"

Students almost always call their female teachers 'Maestra', not Señorita or Señora.

In city newspapers, in the funeral home ads, names are listed with their honorifics or their professional titles, no matter the age or gender. For example:

  • Sra. Angelina Muñoz Córdoba, a los 76 años
  • Srita. Josefina Villahermosa D'Ávila, a los 98 años
  • Ing. Marcos Díaz Lizárraga, a los 45 años
  • Niño Belisario Juáregui Amores, a los 8 años
  • etc.

IMHO it is always better to err on the side of accuracy. Given that you KNOW that she has never married, she is señorita until she asks you to introduce her by something else. I'd go with that.

Having said all those things, it is common among among a certain class to call a woman "Seño", which acts as 'Ms' if you do NOT know her marital status.

Years ago, I was kind of scolded by a woman "of a certain age" for calling her Senora. If she's never been married, she is assumed to be a virgin, therefore Senorita. When a young girl starts menstruating, they say, 'Ahora es senorita" (no longer a liitle girl.)

As MoreLiana says, at least here in Ajijic where many still still maintain "country" manners, I am often called "senyo" (sorry, this laptop is in English so don't have the tilde) by people who do not know if I am a sra. or srta.

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An unmarried woman may or may not prefer to be called señorita; I've heard Mexican men address women of, shall we say, that indeterminate age where these decisions become difficult as "seño" - leaving off the last part so as not to put their foot in their mouth - fence-sitting if you will. Apparently calling them either señorita or señora is risky unless you have "the facts" and they aren't always available.

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