When you think of ladies you probably think of women who grew up with silver spoons in their mouths and jewels dripping from their fingers. While I did lead a somewhat charmed life as a child, I was raised to be industrious and never received an inheritance as opposed to the common misconception. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know I had the right to be a lady (or a baroness in the future) with a title until I moved to England. How does that happen, you ask? Well, it goes something like this.
My family used titles for generations until they eventually decided it was pointless to continue their use in America. I fell in love with the English culture and while studying in Oxford, decided to research more of my family history. That’s when I stumbled upon the realization. Imagine, if you will, living in a foreign culture you admire and having to learn how to use your title for the first time. Adding on the title to the back of my name is still peculiar to me. Seeing it on degrees seems equally odd. Majority of my life was spent using given name/ surname without the ladyship added to it. The first time someone curtsied or called me “her ladyship” I was mortified. I don’t believe someone should receive preferential treatment because of something as trivial as a title. Honestly, if I tell someone to address me as lady it is probably because I am pissed and they have crossed a line.
What does my life look like day-to-day? I work an 8-5 job and like other 20 something’s my age, I have a hefty student loan to pay off. I cook, clean, and grocery shop like everyone else. I compare prices of items before buying because despite the delusion, a title is only the right to a word conjoined to name. I rarely dress up unless it is a special event, though I do enjoy it. (I’ve only worn my formal attire with the chain of office and tiara once so far that I can count). I have my own personal coat of arms (for those of you who don’t know it’s the frilly stamp with animals and a shield on it from forever ago) that I use in my work and personal life. I don’t know any other people with titles and I don’t run in socialite clubs. I do however, have friends like everyone else and insist on people calling me Danielle. Not much has changed.
So what does one do with a title exactly? I’m still trying to figure that out. In the mean time, it’s my connection to England and a life that my family once lived. Now if I could just courtesy properly and stop smiling so bloody much… As everyone but me knew when I took my official portraits, a lady does not simply smile.