What Do I call My In-Laws?

Dear Old Dad
What do you call your in-laws? Let's say I already have a Ma and a Pa, or a Mom and a Dad, and I am not all too comfortable calling anyone else by the same moniker. Let's say the in-laws are the old fashioned types. Let's say they are not all that comfortable with my using their first name and think it too cold if I call them Mister and Missus. What is the alternative?

For example, Mother Ohara is too old fashioned. Father John? Too religious sounding. And not very Jewish. What about padre? Eema? Père? Auntie? Sire? Duchess? Capo? Colonel? оте́ц?

Should they be insulted if I don't call them Mum and Dad?

"Surely son," my future father-in-law may say, "You must feel close enough to us by now?"
And I might reply, "Yes. Yes, I do. And don't call me Shirley."

While pondering through this dilemma of titles, I started wondering why only the military, doctors, and members of the clergy are regularly referred to by their proper titles. You can include royalty in the above list but since I do not know too many blue bloods, I will move on for now.
A title is an honorific. But what about other professions? Why not Postman Jones? Television Repairman Davidson?
"Hi my name is Collection Agent Jorge."
"Very nice to meet you, I am Ballerina Tom."


  1. For me, definitely their first names. Hell, in Finland, I'd even call the President by his first name. We're not too formal. ;)

    I do remember you saying something about participating in a certain 30 Days of Photos challenge, but I've yet to see you.... ;)

    1. Hey Ziva,
      The old fashioned types definitely won't go for first name basis. But you did give me an idea. President Niinistö!

  2. LOL!
    Ballerina Tom...

    Don't forget Optometrist Phil, Telemarketer Chris, Burnt-Out-Rock-Star Keith, and Proctologist Ebenezer.

    1. Janna, Is it too much of a stretch if I tell you about Proctologist Dick?

  3. I guess it's better than Axe-Murderer Dick.

    Well, maybe.

  4. I think "Hey You" is always appropriate.

    1. "Hey, you!"
      "No, not you. The other one!"
      That could work. :)

      Or Paula, I can just wait until they look at me before I start speaking to them.

  5. I would just say Mum & Dad, but with less feeling!