VinnyC and SWOLE, my oldest son is a Firefighter in Cove, so we've got a bit of a triangle here based on our locations... Most of the Brothers in my Lodge, and surrounding Lodges call me Hippie. It's a name given me some 30 years ago by a local judge when I came here from Austin. Something about Austin, loud Harley, and long hair and beard... He was a Mason, and we became good friends. I had not petitioned at that time, but many years later. I have no problem with the nickname, it's those around me who are many times offended by it... Get a life is all I can say. It's been used many times in court, all the way from Municipal to U.S. District. I spent many years as a Texas Peace Officer, and was addressed by the Prosecutors, or defense attorney's by the name. I also have a small body shop, and many times get a check with the name Hippie on it. The local bank cashes it for me, or I can deposit it. I guess ya' gotta' be here. Anyway, before the meeting, I am addressed as Hippie. During the meeting, I have been addressed as Brother, Brother Munsel, and Brother Hippie. I realize the latter is not really an accepted way, but never the less, it happens. This year, it is much easier on everyone, as I am the Worshipful Master, so during the meeting, instead of trying to remember my real name, the Brethren can address me as Master, or Worshipful Master. Nest year, I should get to go back to being me
We are in a rural area, and pretty laid back, but still try to maintain the proper etiquette. I think a lot of it depends on where you are, and what is expected. In your case, as many have mentioned, it is best to ask what is preferred. You can spend a few minutes with the WM, or Sec., and discuss it with them, and not be embarrassed about it. But, by all means, enjoy the time, learn as much as you can, and join in as soon as you can. It's a GREAT group, and I wish I had petitioned many years ago.