That's Dr, not Mr, Thank You Very Much

Titles are not a big thing in Sweden. We actually do have knights, barons, counts, and dukes. And I do believe that at least the baron title can be inherited. Nobody is ever knighted here that I know of, and the duke titles are handed willy-nilly to members of the royal family. I think the same goes with count titles.

The thing is that they don't mean anything. There's no privilege or honour attached to them. They just... are... If I were to greet someone with "Good morning, Mrs Old Aristocratic Name" they won't reply with "That's Countess Old Aristocratic Name, actually." That's just pompous and silly. I don't even know if any of them are protected by law or more or less free to use by anyone.

Some professional titles are protected by law as they either require a license to practice (medical doctor, nurse, dentist, and similar) or have just traditionally been in high standing (civil engineer is the only one that comes to mind).

To my generation it even seems silly to differentiate between Mrs and Ms (and I've been led to understand that Miss is a third one, but I don't know the difference). To many of us, and even more in the younger generation, it hardly ever makes sense to use any title implying gender at all. It's not like you'd go up to someone and say "Male John, meet Female Jenny."

Imagine my surprise when I was traveling in Australia back in the day and found a fourth title available when booking airline tickets. Not only were the pointless Mr, Mrs, and Ms present: they'd added the even more pointless Dr! It made me wonder which titles had been left out, why they had, and why this particular one was included. Most importantly it made me wonder if there are requirements to meet to be eligible for that two-letter prefix on my boarding pass. And if there were, then who checks it? My best guess was "none" and "nobody," respectively.

I guess this was a long-winded way of saying that I've been Dr Björn Andersson on a handful occasions while flying. (Yes, I was Björn Andersson before getting married and taking my wife's surname)

Maybe I can introduce myself as Baron Björn Wärmedal henceforth. Hmm.

-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal