Originally Posted by stormy
I guess this is for the gals here...being called ma'am?
I was at the pharmacy today and the pharmacist called me "Ma'am"!
My first thought was "Good God, when did I get old?!"
Today wasn't the first time I've been called ma'am but it always takes me by surprise.
I never minded being called "miss" because it's sweet and innocent sounding...but ma'am...
I don't know whether the gap here is one of gender, age, calendar or geography. Perhaps all the above.
When I was a child here in Texas I was expected by my parents to address any female presumptively an adult as "Ma'am." This was expected of a gentleman by those of both sexes. Failure to do so resulted in immediate punishment by way of a switch I had to fetch from the garden, and it darn well had to be of appropriate size and strength.
I expected the same of my three sons, and still do, and the youngest just turned 40 years of age. I expect the same of my grandsons. They would not have to fetch the switch, but none of them wish to see my disappointment should they fail to extend this courtesy to our ladies.
This had, and has, nothing to do with the age of an adult female -- it is only a gesture of the respect we of my generation were expected to extend to our ladies. Nor does it have anything to do with the relationship of the lady to whom we owe this gesture of respect -- my dear wife Ann is still addressed by me as "Ma'am."