It’s a fact. All women are caught off guard and deeply offended the first time they are called “ma’am” by a stranger. I don’t remember WHO said it to me first, but I do remember scolding them and strongly suggesting they slow their roll to “Miss.” After all, the title Ma’am suggests bags under your eyes, flaps under your arms, and, more than likely, capri cargo pants and a pair of Naturalizers.
So it struck me today when, after paying at Whole Foods, the cashier said, “Have a good day, ma’am,” I balked– and then sighed.
Today is the first time I deserved the Ma’am.
My mother-in-law recently broke down the key factors of any episode of Judge Judy for me, and she explained that Judy doesn’t tolerate any “I thoughts” or editorializing. She just wants to hear the facts. So let’s examine them:
FACT: I was a good ten to twelve years older than the cashier.
FACT: I had a baby with me.
FACT: I was buying radishes.
FACT: My wallet was brimming with old lady things, like Costco, Petco and any other place that ends in “-co” membership cards.
FACT: Every single item of clothing I was wearing was purchased a place called “Insert Mall Store Name Here” Outlet.
Did he draw the right conclusion? Yes, ma’am.