Last week I was exposed to two cringeworthy comments, both made by men to women, one of whom happened to be me.
The first, flung in my direction, came courtesy of a white-haired man, probably about 60, fit, well-dressed, and unruffled despite the clinging heat. I made the mistake of catching his eye, and he took it as an invitation to say to me, “Excuse me, ma’am. Are you a registered Republican?”
I don’t know which one of those two sentences offended me more. I don’t know if I was more put off that he called me ma’am, especially considering he had at least 20 years on me, or that he thought I would be a Republican.
“No!!!” I barked ever so lady-like, through a democratic half-smile, and rushed down the sidewalk.
The second instance occurred not ten minutes later, while I was at CVS, in line behind a woman who probably could have been the white-haired guy’s mother. As she handed the young (I’d say he wasn’t yet 30) cashier her money, he said something like “thank you”, which was all right, of course … but then he tacked on “young lady”, which was not.
Knock it off with the shallow old-fashioned pseudo-pleasantries. Don’t call me “ma’am”, no matter what age I am or how old or young you are. Save the “young lady” crap for little girls who can’t wait to grow up. If you really want to be nice and show respect, just speak to me kindly without the frilly affectation.
(And never call me a Republican.)
Thank you, sir.