We want our children to show proper respect for the adults in their lives. Therefore, we do our best to instill in them proper manners such as looking an adult in the eye when spoken to, not correcting their elders, answering with “Yes, Sir,” and “No, Maam,” and using adults’ last names, eg. Mr. Jones, Mrs. Smith.
In The Penguin Classic Baby Name Book, Grace Hamlin writes of the changes in social customer regarding the use of first names.
One of the more puzzling aspects of Victorian manners to modern readers is the importance placed on the use of the first name. Anthony Trollope managed to write an entire novel (He Knew He Was Right) about a man who nearly loses his sanity because an old family friend calls his wife “Emily” after her marriage.
The use of a first name among adults was a badge of intimacy. Male characters, even fast friends, tend to call each other by their last names. Women are more free with first names, but reaching that stage of closeness in a friendship is a distinct event, never something to take for granted. And when a single man calls a single woman by a first name, it is usually a sign that he intends something warmer still. Trollope’s novels are full of moments when intimacy is established or refused or even unexpectedly maintained. Lily Dale, for instance, continues to call John Eames “John” long after she refuses to marry him, in both The Small House at Allington and The Last Chronicle of Barset. By doing so, she is paying him a significant compliment.
So, pay me a significant compliment, just call me Kevin.