I'm letting the secret completely out in order to ask a question.
Could someone please tell me why I receive so many letters addressed to Herr Gretchen LastName?
I'm pretty certain that Gretchen is only a girl's name. I have never met a man named Gretchen. And it shouldn't be a cultural confusion thing because Gretchen is Germanic. Indeed, Gretchen is a prominent character in Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the pre-eminent work by one of the most important German writers in history.
So what am I missing? Why do so many people think that someone named Gretchen should be addressed as Herr?
UPDATE 8 APRIL 2008
My German teacher came up with the most logical theory. Apparently our last name is confusing to some German speakers who assume it to be a man's first name. So they wonder if Gretchen might be my last name.
Nope, not going to post the last name. Enough disclosure.