Did You Just Call me Ma’am?

Ma'am in the mirror
“Thank you, ma’am.”

Ma’am? Ma’am? Did she just call me ma’am!!!???

I remember the first time someone called me ma’am. I was at a store purchasing clothing and after I finished paying, the teenager called me ma’am. I immediately told her, “I’m not a ma’am!” and stomped out. Talk about a life changing moment! These days, ma’am doesn’t phase me. I’m actually appreciative of how respectful it sounds.

But then, my son told me about a shocking experience he had last week. He was buying dinner at Chipotles when the guy called him “sir”. Right away he demanded they not call him “sir”. When they asked what he wanted to be called, he said, “I don’t know, dude maybe, but definitely not sir.” As he explained his frustration, it threw me back right into the first ma’am moment.

Oh crap! Now I have a son that is a sir!

The last straw was on Monday when I took a class in finances and the thirty-something instructor looked out across the room and referred to us as an “older” audience.Β And then, she talked about us seniors who would soon be retiring. That was over the line!


Just because AARP has been sending me solicitations for five years now, doesn’t mean a thing.Β I tear each one up. Pretty soon I’ll be taking the blank documents and returning them in the postage paid envelopes. There…that’ll teach ’em.

I’ve decided I’m drawing the line. I’m not a senior! I’m defining senior as sixty-five…or at least until someone offers me a worthwhile senior discount. Then, I might just reconsider.

Emelyn Morris-Sayre

The best deal out there for “Seniors” is a lifetime pass to all National Parks and monuments for only $10! You qualify at age 62. This active senior has visited 9 parks in the past year and plan on adding many, many more!

Cathy Chester

Ah, yes. That first time. I was in Nordstrom’s pushing my son (now 21) in his stroller and the clerk in the children’s department called me “Ma’am” and I shuddered. After all, I was only 34!

As a Mary Tyler Moore Showaholic, the second episode of the first season was about Mary being called “Ma’am” for the first time. She was 30!



That’s one discount I’m looking forward to, Emelyn! Okay…I’m redefining senior to 62, although you don’t look as if you could be that age. πŸ™‚


I have no problem being called ma’am. I dislike being called madam as it sounds like I run a whorehouse. I joined AARP at 50. I take every discount I can get and am actually looking forward to next year when I’ll hit 65 and medicare. My insurance costs for the last 9 years have been awful. Hubster hits 65 in August and he will be getting his own supplement insurance so I can drop him from my policy – that’s a $950.00 a month raise I’ll be getting!


URGH I hated that first “ma’am”. The fact that it also came with me noticing grey hair did not help my self esteem in the least!

Rena McDaniel

I don’t have a problem being called ma’am. But now a couple of weeks ago my mother and I were in Joanne fabrics and the sales lady said how nice that we “sisters” got out and shopped together?!? Really….I’m 44 she’s 78!

Tom Witowski

Until there’s a legitimate “cure” for getting older, I’m thankful that people, especially younger folks, have the respect to call me “sir”. I’ve earned that right and respect over my 60+ years and do not take any offense. I do use the terms “sir” and “ma’am” when addressing younger folks as well as people my age. Maybe it’s a southern thing, or the way I was raised or trained in the military, but RESPECT is the name of the game until the individual is not worthy of my respect. Just my opinion.


LOl, wait till you get junk mail from funeral homes instead of dating services. That cracked me up big time! In retrospect, ma’am and sir aren’t so bad.


I deal with people on a constant basis and as a rule in general I try to never call people mam or sir simply because it seems so impersonal and rude.

Rebecca Einstein Schorr

This can also be regional.

When we moved from Southern California (where I was a “Miss”) to Pennsylvania, I discovered that the cultural more was to use “Ma’am.” It definitely took a while to become accustomed to the term as I was barely 40 at the time.

Just two-and-a-half years later, it barely registers as anything other than a sign of respect.


Many of my patients call me ma’am. It took some time getting accustomed to the term but realized for many of them it was a term of respect for them. Since I am from Pennsylvania and reading the comment from Rebecca maybe it is a regional term.


You go, Sue! I don’t mind it anymore. The first time was just such a shock. Your “raise” should mean more amazing trips or beads. πŸ™‚


Feel free to offer your opinion at any time, Tom. Respect is important. I like it much better than when a much younger person calls me “Hon”. That drives me crazy!!


Ouch!! I haven’t received any junk mail from funeral homes, yet. Although I did tell my son that the assisted living place is just a few blocks away when that time comes. I hope it’s many years away.


It’s always a shock the first few times, Tara. After that, I think we all get used to it.


Could be, Kathy. I’m a Colorado girl and have never lived any place else. It’s ma’am here.

Melanie Shebel

Haha, I’m at my mom’s and right now you’ve sparked a discussion about the first time being called ma’am. We don’t specifically remember our first time, but there’s definitely a pang of “ouch.”


I wish I could listen in, Melanie. It is one of those “firsts” that are so shocking. πŸ™‚


I wouldn’t mind at all, Jillian. Please link back to me and my blog. Thanks for visiting.

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