OK. I'll say it. I used to be cool. Like, really cool. I worked as an on-air DJ for a mega-rock radio station. I met celebrities. I hung out with them and partied with them. I even had 6-pack abs in my mid-section. I also kick-boxed for fun. FOR FUN! Flash forward: today, the only cool music I hear is on the Today Show. The only celebrities I meet are Ben and Jerry in the ice cream aisle. And the last 6-pack I saw was in a beer cooler at a pizza joint. But, none of this bothers me. What does bother me is the 16-year-old at Barnes and Nobel. That little ingrate is on notice!
Guess what he said to me today in the checkout line? "Thank you, Ma'am." Ma'am? Oh, I don't think so! My mother is a Ma'am. My grandmother is a Ma'am. The ladies who live in southern Georgia are Ma'ams. I am not a Ma'am! Ma'ams are older ladies. They have turkey necks. So, as the ring of it was still hanging in the air, I corrected him.
Funny thing about verbally editing the youth of our nation – they don't like it. It makes them feel all wonky inside. It's like taking away their smartphones and then giggling with careless abandon. So, obviously, the acne faced youth – the offender of whom I speak – got all mad at me and glared his youthful glare. He put it best when he snorted in contempt, "Well, what should I call you, then?"
Ya know what? He had me. What do I want to be called by strangers, retail clerks and people who don't know me? What's the protocol? So, I dug deep and accessed my data base of titles. Vixen? No. Too trashy. Babe? Nope, Richard Gere ruined that one in Pretty Woman. Miss? Well that just sounds girlish and stupid. Lady? Senorita? Goddess? GACK! We need a word! What word says something other than the geriatric Ma'am and all that it implies? Thus, my mission began...
Turns out, ‘Ma'am’ is a derivation of ‘madam’ (madame, my lady). It is the female equivalent of ‘sir’, an expression of respect, originally toward women of the upper classes or nobility. Well, I call bupkis on that! Know what a 2013 woman hears when you call her Ma'am? She hears this: “Hey, haggard woman who is clearly NOT hot and vibrant. YOU are OLD! Also, no one would confuse you with a MILF! And I just called you ‘old’ without any repercussions. No, I will not lose my job or get in trouble. In fact, I can smile and say ‘Ma'am’ all flipping day! I can do it snarky. Aloof. Annoyed. Bored. All while hating my job. And, ya know what? They cannot fire me. EVER! I am veiled in the act of politeness. So there, over 21 lady!"
Eyes lowering on you, angry retail hobbit.
After countless hours of pacing the floor, irritated at this loophole, I hunkered down and came up with a fool-proof solution to this conundrum.
For males, you shall forevermore salute every female you encounter with, "Hi, gorgeous!" Or, "Hello, beautiful!" For females, address the males with the same sort of positive salutation. I betcha, by the end of summer, you will not only see happier people, but also a spike in sales. Imagine the transformative effect! I must say, if I was in line buying a gallon of milk (or a gallon of wine, whatever), some stranger smiling at me and calling me ‘beautiful’ would SERIOUSLY change my buying habits. I might just become a milk junkie (or an alcoholic) based solely on the positive affirmations! You know I'm preaching to the choir here.
So, the next time you are standing in line and some 16-year-old calls you ‘Ma'am’, REBEL! Tell them, "NO! I am gorgeous!" Perhaps we could start a revolution? Or maybe you will choose to silently rebel. You will say to yourself in your head, "They didn't just say ‘Ma'am’, they said ‘AMAZING’!" Or ‘Marvelous’! Or some other word that is descriptive of your fine, spectacular self. Obviously, they have no idea how cool you really are.
But I know. You RAWK! YOU are AMAZING! Yeah, YOU! And you are nowhere close to being a Ma'am. That's for your mother... or grandmother... duh!