Today I learned that people take offense to being called “ma’am”. Like, serious offense.
I narrowed it down to women specifically from the Northeast and Midwest who claim, “when someone calls me ma’am, they’re either carding me – or think I’m a helpless old lady.”
I had to think back to my childhood. I was raised in the midwest and you know what? I don’t recall saying “yes sir” or “yes ma’am” to anyone other than maybe my teacher or grandparents. So there’s some validity to taking offense since it’s not part of the regional vernacular.
Down south, you’d be slapped across the back of the head for not “minding your sirs and ma’ams”. (I’m guilty of doing this to my son when he talks back to Miss Tara.) Speaking of Miss Tara, you better prefix your friend’s parents, teachers, and anyone slightly older than you with a “Mr.” or “Miss”. It’s just part of the dialog and is as southern as sweet tea.
Part of being a gentleman (and a decent human) is being respectful of other’s feelings, so I’ve made a mental note to “mind my sirs and ma’ams” with those who aren’t accustomed to hearing it.
I will end by saying, that I’ve spent half my life in both the midwest and the south; I think the world could use some more “sirs” and “ma’ams” and even more “mr’s and “misses”. Not only is it (very) polite, but it’s also a sign of respect. Something this world could use a little bit more of.