Since I'm feeling a little bummed out and generally on the icky side of life, I figured I'd write about something a little more interesting than my depressing deployment issues. =P
The age issue is always a touchy subject with us women, and quite often the word "ma'am" is identified with age. I read a blog post or two in the last couple weeks about being called "ma'am" and women thinking they were "too young" to be called that. I remember a time when I felt that way myself, and I say this as a 24 year old. =P
I don't remember when it was, but I'm fairly certain that it was in the last couple of years. I mentioned to Joe that someone had called me "ma'am" and I said, "I just can't believe it! I mean, do I look old enough to be called 'ma'am?!" I'll never forget his response: "I should hope he/she called you that! It doesn't mean you're old or young. It's a sign of respect." I'd never really thought of it that way before, but it's definitely the truth. I think the reason it's associated with age is because most people respect (to a degree) people older than they are. But shouldn't we respect everyone, no matter what their age?
I've since realized that the "yes, sir" and "yes ma'am" customs are generally held only in the South. When I flew home over the holidays, I found myself saying those exact things to men and women who were probably my age. I guess I never realized that those...manners had been drilled into me. I suppose they're drilled into most kids raised below the Mason-Dixon line, though.
Ever since Joe had reminded me that it's a sign of respect, I've warmed to the idea of being called "ma'am." Of course, the only time I ever hear it here is when I'm at the gate having my ID checked. I love it, though. It doesn't make me feel old, and I know that I don't look old. I highly doubt that anyone would mistake me for someone over the age of 20. I have a baby face. Always have and probably always will.
It's a sign of respect, and I'm not going to balk at being respected! I miss the days when men (other than my husband) would hold open doors for me simply because it was the polite thing to do. I miss walking into a room full of cussing guys only to hear them trip over their words because they know not to say such things in front of ladies.* Believe it or not, those days aren't that far behind me. I think it's a cultural thing, though. These are just things that happen on a daily basis where I come from.
So to all you ladies who are afraid to be called "ma'am," don't take a trip to the South anytime soon. ;-)
Do you love or hate being called "ma'am?"
*That's happened to me a lot, including this past Christmas when one of my brother's friends came over. My family could care less, but I love that his friend refused to cuss in front of me.