Friday, October 21, 2011

Howdy, Ma'am

We live in New England, where people don't use formalities.  We don't tend to call people "Miss" or "Mister".  But I've noticed that people are calling me "Ma'am" more and more lately, and I don't like it.  

I'm 39.  Am I really a ma'am now?! 

I guess 39 qualifies for ma'am status. I remember the first time a cashier called me "ma'am."  It was soon after The Boy was born.  It was right around my 29th birthday.  I had a difficult labor and recovery, and The Boy would. not. sleep. He also cried a lot.  So, I'm sure I looked like death on a cracker.

But once I finally started getting more than two consecutive hours of sleep, this kept happening.  "Have a nice day, ma'am."  "Can I help you with that, ma'am?" 

I blame The Boy.

This photo was taken in 2010, so unless I've aged terribly in the past year (and I may have, for all I know), this is pretty much what I still look like:

According to The Free Dictionary, there is a second definition of ma'am:

ma'am [mæm mɑːm (unstressed) məm]
short for madam: used as a title of respect, esp for female royalty

Yeah, that's it.  They are referring to me as royalty.  (Never mind that ma'am is only used like this in England.)

Handy Man thinks this is funny.  He has a young face, so he got carded when buying alcohol until just a few years ago.  Of course, I reminded him that in New Hampshire, if you don't look like Yoda, you get carded at the liquor store. 

Once he stopped getting carded as often, he blamed facial hair.  "When I shave, I get carded.  When I look scruffy, I don't get carded," he said.

Does this man look old enough to buy a bottle of vodka?  I say yes.

How about you?  Do you get called ma'am?  Do you live in a place where women are regularly called ma'am?


Suesan said...

I don't mind when I'm called Ma'am so much as when some teenager calls me "Honey" or "Sweetie" at places like the bank or the electronics store. If they called me that at a diner, I'd be okay with it, but the bank? Not so much. It's just too out of context for me.

I like to call them "Schnookums" or "Dearie" in retaliation.

Sherry@ Ties2ThePast said...

I live the the South but am from Iowa. I get ma'am'd all the time!
I just got used to it!

Sam @ The Junk House said...

I'm 25 and I get called ma'am in the grocery store all the time!

Just One Donna said...

LOL. I just knew what your post was going to be when I read the title. It must be us New Englanders who equate Ma'am with age. I hate it as well, even though I certainly qualify from an age perspective. I much prefer Miss, even though I'm not...

Grammy Goodwill said...

I'm from the South, so I've been ma'am forever. (And I've qualified for it forever, too.)

SmalltownOntario said...

Where we live...very small town in Canada a lady is not called Ma'am until later on in life. You do not look like you are almost 40. But the most important part is how you feel and that should be good. Always feel good about yourself! Even on a bad day when you have to eat chocolate to help it along.

Scrappy Gal said...

How about going to dinner with your 2 kids, husband and BIL (who's 27) and the waitress thinks BIL is YOUR SON!!!! WTF??? It's all in the perception I think. My hubby & I are 33....clearly don't look old....or maybe we do?? LOL....I got carded the other day and the woman said "You have a VERY young looking face!", again, all in the perception I think.

Amanda Kuzak said...

I hate it when people call me that!

Diane said...

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of ma'am either.

Zev said...

Think of it as a sign of respect! :)

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