And DON’T Call Me Ma’am

A couple of weekends ago, a friend of mine used her Facebook status to declare how she doesn’t like being called “ma’am”.

I couldn’t agree with her more.

In fact, I personally LOATHE it.

Example: At least three times a week, I frequent this sandwich/salad bar in the food court attached to the building I work in.

Sometimes, I get the staff member at the cash register who calls me “miss”.

Sometimes, I get the staff member who barely opens her mouth to say “hello”. (I don’t think she likes me much – I get a weird vibe from her.)

And sometimes, I get the staff member who is obviously the woman in charge of running the place. She’s really nice. But she’s got this tendency to say “ma’am” when she addresses me.

Whaaaaaat?

I’m pretty sure I don’t scowl or bark at anyone when I approach the register. So why is someone who’s at least 20 years older than me, calling me “ma’am”?

(I bet women who are actually 20 years older than me hate being called “ma’am” as much as I do.)

I don’t know why, but whenever I hear “ma’am”, I imagine a homely, dour schoolmarm-ish type, with her hair in a severe bun and a floor-length skirt and a high, lace collar with specs. Sort of like the image I have of my mother’s paternal grandmother (who I never met). 

Not me. Unless I’ve really let myself go. 

Am I truly old enough to be called “ma’am”? Is there any age at which that’s appropriate?

To put myself on the other side of this, I’m not completely obtuse. I know the woman behind the counter is just trying to show good customer service by saying “sir” and “ma’am” to her customers.

But sometimes, I just want to say , “Until I earn it (which I hope I NEVER will), don’t ever call me that again.”