Stayed at work for another late night today and on my way home I noticed that The Habit near my house that has been under construction for the the past year has a huge Open banner hanging in front! My heart (belly) skips a beat. I immediately turn the car around and bee-line it there despite having a dinner of leftovers waiting at home in the fridge for me.
Upon entry, I notice the place is crowded and I proceed to get in line. After waiting for a couple minutes on my phone, the customer in front of me, says. “Excuse me ma’am, the line actually starts over there.” “Oh it does?” I gasp, and apologize profusely to the people who were behind me, and take my place in line. Then it hits me, the asian man who had politely told me where the line was, called me “ma’am”, and I instantly cringe.
I do not like the sound of this word, nor have I ever liked this word. Born and raised in Northern California during my youth when we visited any service oriented places I was never greeted by the ma’am moniker, it was always “Excuse me miss” and it was flattering in the same way that appeals in the video. Miss is young, vibrant, and colored in a way where we should be sipping on Cristal in some sexy club. Ma’am jolts me into a reality where I’m at a burger place, and it makes me feel ancient in context and connotation.
I understand perfectly how this term is supposed to be polite and cordial, and also derives from Madam of British origin, which is the address by which queens and princesses were spoken to. Nevertheless, I would much rather prefer Madam to Ma’am, which sounds like the bastardized slang version of this more formal title, and culturally within my upbringing referenced to older individuals.
Perhaps had I grown up in a world where there was no transitional period from Miss to Ma’am this would be more common place, and I would ignore it, but this is not my experience.
As polite as things are, I have to say I hate you Ma’am.