It’s my real name, and I’m tired of the insults

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am female, but I have an androgynous name often associated with a dog or a male.

I work with the public, and many times I am confronted with rude questions, such as, “You’re named after a dog?” “Did your parents hate you? Why are you named that?” “What is your real name?” and so on.

I struggle to find an appropriate answer, as I do not want to sound rude, but am tired of people insulting my name.

GENTLE READER: “Yes, my given name is Pooch” followed by a pleasant but defiant smile that says, “You got somethin’ to say about it?”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is there a gender-neutral alternative to “sir” and “ma’am”?

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