Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wham, Bam Thank You Ma'am!

Yipes, what the hell happened! It seriously feels like last year I was complaining about getting "Honey'd" and now my big gripe is getting "Ma'am'd" all over the place. I clearly recall (not that long ago) turning to friends and saying things like, "Did you hear that? The girl working at Macy's just called me Honey" or "Should people younger than me call me Honey?" Now, every time I buy a cup coffee, pay for something at the grocery store, or call the phone company I get, "Thank you very much Ma'am" or "How can I help you, Ma'am?"

One time while I was playing poker at the Wynn, the dealer addressed me as Ma'am and I gave him a scornful look. One of the guys at the table spoke up and said, "If I was a woman, I would NOT want to be called Ma'am." The dealer replied, "Well, then what should I call her?" Without skipping a beat he said, "Call her Foxy!" So, for the rest of the time I was in Vegas, if someone called me Ma'am I would tell each person, "If you have to call me something, call me Foxy!" That was real fun and it definitely livened things up a bit.

Asking the guy at the phone company to call me Foxy doesn't work in the same way as it did in Las Vegas. Geesh, Barbara Boxer was called Ma'am and then she was ridiculed for saying something about it. I have no idea how to address the problem. I have tried a few things, but most of them have backfired, like with Barbara. For instance, if I say something like, "Hey, there is no need to start Ma'aming me" they simply inform me that they are merely addressing me with respect. No matter how compelling I think my argument is against that, they are not convinced. They think it shows respect and that is all that counts. I have tried calling the Ma'amer Sir (if male), but I quickly found out that guys like being called Sir. It is not really on equal footing with Ma'am. Calling someone Mister is getting closer, but unless they are a doctor or a general, it seems to go right over the offender's head. Most of the time, if I say anything about it at all, I just look like a raving, mad, bitch.

So, my new thing is to just Ma'am them back. For instance, if someone asks me, "May I help you Ma'am?" I reply, "Yes, you may Ma'am." This totally freaks the offender out, especially if the person is a man. If it is someone at a utility company, by the time the conversation is over they had stopped calling me Ma'am, Honey, Miss, or anything derogatory. It works like a charm. Every once in a while the person says something about me calling them Ma'am. I tell them, "Calling me Ma'am is just as inappropriate as addressing you as Ma'am." Then I'll add (just to turn the screw a little bit more) "Thank you very much, Ma'am."

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