Hey Pops, bring me a diet coke

May 27, 2008 at 8:06 pm (plays well with others)

He sauntered up to take our drink order, writing down everyone’s iced teas and cokes before turning to me:

“And what would you like ma’am?”
My eyes shot up from the menu I’d been reading. He was about 15, still baby-faced, and still smiling eagerly in my direction. “Ma’am?” I said under my breath, “Ouch, kid.”
I mumbled something about a diet coke and turned to my mother.
“Did he really just “ma’am” me? Did that actually happen?”
Thing is, he’s not the first. It always angers me – as if someone were pointing  out a zit that just showed up on my nose. He said “ma’am” and I heard, “you’re old.” Am I just being too sensitive? Has “miss” disappeared entirely? Would it have been too much of an effort to steal a glance at my left hand? Did I cross some invisible age barrier beyond which miss is no longer the appropriate term for an unmarried woman? My mother is a ma’am. My grandmother is a ma’am. I am not a ma’am. I’m not even thirty!
Does this bother anyone else or am I completely off my (apparently age-appropriate) rocker? 
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2 Comments

  1. NH said,

    Well… the glance at the left hand part may mean that I am not qualified to answer your question (although I am not yet 30 either!!). Personally, I don’t mind ma’am. I think the only time I use the term miss is if I’m saying, “Excuse me, Miss?” – if I have a question or someone drops something and I want to point it out. I hope I’m making some sense here….

  2. NH said,

    Well… the glance at the left hand part may mean that I am not qualified to answer your question (although I am not yet 30 either!!). Personally, I don’t mind ma’am. I think the only time I use the term miss is if I’m saying, “Excuse me, Miss?” – if I have a question or someone drops something and I want to point it out. I hope I’m making some sense here….

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