Sunday, December 20, 2009
Don't ever call me ma'am
There are certain mysteries that I will never understand: the meaning of life, quantum physics, and why it is that I’m unable to get my 11-year-old daughter to call me ma’am, but a 25-year-old woman will?
It happened last night at a Christmas party – a Christmas party, mind you. Women, you know what this means. I was bringing my A game – boots, new sweater, just-right jeans, big hair – I think the big hair might have been my undoing.
Anyway, I see a woman standing in the midst of a group of men (That should have been my first clue), but instead I think, “Poor girl. She doesn’t know anyone, and she is stuck over there talking to those guys.”
So, I walk over and introduce myself, and ask her some question which I’ve long since forgotten, and the woman, who is a foot taller than I am, looks at me and answers, “Yes ma’am.” Yes freaking ma’am. Sorry, losing my composure a little.
Now, in case you are wondering, it’s not the first time I’ve been called ma’am.(If you’d like to read about that painful experience, please click here). However, it’s the first time I’ve been called that by a woman I’m trying to socialize with at a Christmas party, a woman who is dating a neighbor of mine, a woman who should be my equal (or vice versa).
If I had been wearing a hideous Christmas sweater and polyester pants and had gray hair, then, okay, I would understand, but I had my black boots on, for heaven’s sake.
I felt like I had been slapped in the face.
“Ma’am? Why are you calling ME that?”
“That’s how I was raised. That’s what my parents taught me.”
“Yes, that’s wonderful. IF YOU WERE TALKING TO AN OLD PERSON!”
I was beginning to draw a crowd, so I stammered and stuttered my way on to the next polite question but not before I hissed in a threatening tone loud enough for only her to hear, placing emphasis on each word: “Don’t–ever-call–me–ma’am.”
We got along just fine after that.