noun \ˈmam, after “yes” often əm\
—used to politely speak to a woman who you do not know
—used to speak to the Queen or to a woman of high rank in the police or military
It has come to my attention that to the general public I am no longer a Miss but a Ma’am. Since I turned 30 I have been referred to as Ma’am quite frequently. I cringe when the word rolls off someone’s tongue and onto me. In my mind I am not a Ma’am but still a young and sprite MISS! I know I have a ring on my left hand and now a child on my hip; but don’t I still deserve to have the much sweeter title of being a Miss to those who do not know me?
I studied in Paris my senior year in college and I adored hearing the French use the title Mademoiselle and Madame when addressing women. Being called Mademoiselle made me feel fresh, young, pretty and slightly mysterious for some reason. Entering into the phase of life where my title no longer refers to “youth” might be what I’m struggling with.
While on a run the other day (I do much of my deep thinking while running) the idea came to me that I definitely need to make peace with being called Ma’am, since every sales clerk or stranger that gives me that title does not deserve stink-eye. I processed past memories of when I would have been called Miss and then more recent ones of being called Ma’am. Why did it bother me so much and why did I detest the sound of that word? My answer is pretty simple, it’s aging. I need to accept that although I am not old I am getting older. I am no longer a single, young 20 something. Then the lightbulb when off! I don’t want to be a single, young 20 something! I’ve been there and done that. Now if you are a young, single 20 something please enjoy it and love where you’re at in life. Do it for me, please sleep in and enjoy the freedom you have, be yourself and travel as much as you can. The time will come soon enough for more responsibility.
Back to my ah-ha moment, I realized that I like my age. I’m more confident then I was when I was in my 20′s, I’m actually more fit and have more endurance and I’m more settled in my career. I have arrived at a moment life where I am the most secure in myself than I have ever been before. That is priceless.
After some light research on the subject of social graces, I learned that being given the title of Ma’am is actually one of respect and dignity. Ma’am isn’t demeaning in any way! It does not mean a woman is less beautiful or fun. She has earned this title because she is more refined and perhaps has a tad bit more wisdom as well.
I’m still getting used to this new title and I’m trying not to cringe when I hear it. After all, Ma’am is the polite term to use when addressing a queen or woman of distinction.