M: Miss or Ma’am?

I’m on the road!  The laptop is in full action…on the top of my lap, in the car.   Don’t worry…I’m not driving. 

Right now, we’re traveling through the Virginia countryside and just passed through Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia.   The campus is gorgeous. 

UofV Walkway

UofV  UofV Building

The University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819.  I’ve been to Charlottesville once before, but school wasn’t in session.  Today, however, there were students everywhere. 

As I strolled through the campus square, someone called, “Excuse me…ma’am?”

Who, me?  Did someone just call me ma’am?  I didn’t care who said it, but instantly my mind thought… I’m not a ma’am…I’m a Miss!  Ma’am sounds old.

I’ve been addressed as ma’am many times before.  The first time it happened, the prefix was uttered in my direction by a grocery store checker.  Poor boy.  I glared at him with the evil eye and said, ‘You meant to call me Miss, right?”  I was in my twenties then. 

I realize that being called ma’am is a sign of respect.  It’s the proper use of address for a married woman my age, especially in the South.  However, I’m more flattered when someone calls me Miss.  It’s sort of the same as being asked for I.D. at a bar. 

Who, me?  Did someone just ask for my I.D.?  Sweet! 


14 responses to this post.

  1. Unfortunately I never had the privilege of attending university. I did, however, get to walk on a campus about three years ago – a university that has probably also existed for a 100 years or more. It filled me with such an sense of awe; a feeling that ANYTHING was possible! What a gorgeous campus.


    • Hello Miss. Liane! I hope you get to take more walks across more campuses in your lifetime. They do have a sense of energy about them.


  2. Posted by Jenny on April 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I’m stopping by via A to Z. Great blog!

    The campus is beautiful. But I’d almost rather be called ‘hey, you’ than ma’am.


  3. Posted by Debbie on April 15, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I got carded yesterday buying beer. I’m 37. Botox is cool.
    The guy also told me to go into the cooler and get the case myself. On the other hand, maybe he is not mentally there??


  4. Yee-ouch!

    Actually, I’m not sure which is worse. Being called ma’am by somebody who doesn’t look old enough to drive, or being called miss the same type of person who I’m pretty sure is just sucking up to me. Or lady, as in, “Excuse me, lady, could you…”


  5. Posted by Rae on April 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I’ve been called a lot worse! lol
    I’ve been watching B&W westerns lately and they call all the old guys “old timers”. I would hate that!
    Ma’am is better than “hey, old lady!”


    • A lot worse – Bwhahahahaha! If someone called me an old lady, I think they’d get an old fashioned slap, like in the classic movies.


  6. Posted by suzicate on April 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    You just passed through my stomping grounds! And ma’am is meant with the utmost respect!!!!!!!!!! It’s a southern thing at any age…that boy was brought up well…his mama would be proud!


    • Cool! That part of Virginia is very beautiful. I’ll take the ma’am as a sign of respect and send out this SHOUT OUT to his mama.


  7. Just shows you how region affects choice and meaning of words across America. Be thankful they don’t use the degrading terms for women used in Rap music.


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