Recently, I have found myself more and more frequently addressed as “Ma’am” by salespersons, waitstaff, etc. While I am glad to know that there are still polite individuals in this world, I am not exactly flattered that these people think I fall into the “old enough to be called “Ma’am” category. I think the question of whether or not you should refer to someone as Ma’am is the like asking a woman if she’s pregnant. You don’t do it unless you know the answer is yes.
I don’t feel older than late 20’s. According to the calendar, I’m mid-thirties. By the mirror, I am probably some where in between. So, when did I become old enough to be called “ma’am?”
I don’t mind being in my thirties. After all, I earned them. But, of course, I do miss some of the care-free days of my “misspent youth.” (“Misspent” being a matter of perspective, since I was a pretty responsible and level-headed young adult.) There’s just something about the 18-25 years: your first real job, taking spur of the moment vacations, all-nighters with friends, all-nighters at work, parties for no reason, shopping sprees, your first new car – no one even considering calling you “ma’am.”
I know that the relationships and career I have and enjoy now are from the seeds I planted in my young adult years. And, no, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Now I find myself in that unique stage of life where I am paying off my education while saving for my daughter’s – which apparently coincides with the time when people start calling you “ma’am.” For now, when I hear that word, it is it bit jarring and it takes me off guard. I almost reflexively say, “who me?” as I look to see if there’s an old lady behind me.
Since this isn’t really a topic that has much depth to it, I guess I will call it quits here. Besides, my back and knees are stiffening up; I need to go get some ice and Bengay cream.