Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Don't Mention it, Ma'am

I addressed a female colleague by this honorific today and was told it was "terrible" (not by her but by another lady who was listening.). I call women 'ma'am' all the time. (Women who I know, not strangers.) I see it as a mildly humorous term of respect. I wouldn't mind anyone calling me 'sir'-- in fact, I love it.

I see on the internet, having looked it up just now, that 'ma'am' is disliked because it implies the lady so addressed is old. Sheesh. It has nothing to do with age.

I think it's sad how the little courtesies of life become so fraught.


  1. Casting through my mind, I come to the conclusion that the only people who can ruin that perfectly cheery word are telemarketers. "Are you the person who makes the financial decisions at this number, ma'am?" In that case, the word seems almost to grovel, if it is even alive enough to grovel. But the rest of the time, I hold, it is a pleasant form of address. -Molly

  2. I'm glad to hear that, ma'am. Now, would you be interested at all in our line of Irish Papist tea-towels, bubble-bath, Bard's Apprentice action figures, snow globes, and much much more?

  3. I'm ever so glad I had already swallowed the sip of morning beverage I was drinking *before* I read that. -Molly