Becoming a Lady.

“Oh my God, you totally just scared that poor lady!”

“Excuse me, but there is a lady waiting to be helped.  You can clean that spill up later.”

These are the sounds that I have heard lately.  The sounds that won’t let me escape the undeniable fact that I am positively…

Becoming a lady.


See, now I always kind of thought this right here was "lady" status...

I’m only 29, I honestly had no idea that I was treading on “lady” status, that is, until I was referred to as a “lady” not one, but two days in a row.  I’ll admit, the first time I thought it was a fluke.  I was in line at Starbucks trying to get an iced coffee, and there was a teenage barista and his twenty something year old manager working behind the counter.  The Justin Beiber-esque looking boy was in the middle of cleaning up an entire jug of iced tea that fell out of the fridge, and the manager was restocking cups near the coffee machines.  I walked up, with no one else behind me, and patiently waited for a few moments.  Then, the manager says, “Excuse me but there is a lady waiting to be helped…You can clean that spill up later.”  I almost bursted out laughing…“lady” moi?  You cannot be serious.  “Girl” maybe, but “lady?!”  C’mon people!  Then, the teenage boy stops what he’s doing, leaves the rag on the floor, and proceeds to come up to me and say, “I’m sorry ma’am.  Sorry for keeping you waiting.”  I couldn’t help it, I chuckled a little.  First “lady” and then “ma’am?”  I thought it must be a coincidence, no doubt about it.

That is, until…

Directly the next day I was having lunch in the food court of the mall, where a group of six or seven teenagers were loitering.  They weren’t eating, they were simply “hanging out” at the mall.  They were no older than fifteen or sixteen, and the group consisted of mostly boys and two girls.  One of the girls had the most obnoxious laugh I have heard in my life to date.  It was this obscene cackling that occurred every ten to twenty seconds, and the worst part was, it wasn’t even a genuine laugh.  How do I know this?  Every time I looked over at her, I saw her staring out of the corner of her eye at the boy sitting next to her before she would bust into one of the cackles.  Also, her mouth wasn’t smiling, she was basically just shooting out sound, for the sake of shooting out sound, in an attempt to laugh at the boys jokes.

But whatever, this is normal teenage stuff so far…

I actually got up to move because I was on the phone with a friend, and her laughing was so ridiculous that my friend couldn’t hear me.  As I walked passed the group, the teenage girl decided to suddenly scream in the boy’s face, I guess she was trying to be funny or something, and I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I jumped a mile, because it startled me to the core.  A cackle I would’ve expected, but a shriek?  No.  A different girl who was sitting across from the boy and girl with the cackle said, “Oh my gawwwwwd.  You totally just scared that poor lady!!!”

That was it.  They couldn’t have been talking about me!  Could they?  I looked behind me, and my question was validated.  The whole group was staring off into the direction I was walking away, and when I made eye contact with the girl with the cackle, she immediately looked away.  I could not deny it any longer that they were in fact talking about me.  And to top it off, she looked at me in the way you might look at an adult, that you were afraid was about to reprimand you.

And that, my friends, is how I became a lady.

~The End.

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51 thoughts on “Becoming a Lady.

  1. I started getting ma’am about five years ago, which is really annoying because I’m only 28 and I’ve always heard 30+ is ma’am (which actually seems so young now! ha!) and under 30 is miss. I prefer miss! Lady is the worst. I’m sorry! Right there with ya lady!

  2. Well, My mom is 40 and she looks like 25+, so I have no problem with hanging out with her and this one time there was this huge concert in town, but I suck when it comes to relationships, so I either would of invited my friend who has the special talent on getting so drunk that being around him would be compared to getting slapped with 5 different religion books or take my mom.

    I took my mom and unfortunately (or fortunately) there was a lot of people there from my work. That resulted in the next day of all the women in office asking “So who was that hottie you were with? Girlfriend?”. I was too blown away from the reaction so I smiled and didn’t respond. I don’t know how is that related to this article, but that’s about the only thing my mind came up with. I’m 19 and unless I do a sex change, I personally will not be hearing the “Lady” or “ma’am” thing in like, ever.

  3. I think it’s great that these young people are showing you some respect. I’d hate to hear “There’s some hag waiting to be helped” or “You totally scared that poor bitch.” Being a lady is a good thing! It’s got more to do with respect than age. Own it!

    • You know, I think you’re completely right. It was actually impressive that they showed me such respect. It definitely could have been said worse…

  4. That is hyseterical and sadly true. Last March,found me in AZ. To visit my family the first time I heard myself refered to as ,”mam” I looked to the person sitting next to me to see if they were refering to them. Um,yeah ,she was six….so no such luck. I went from Miss to Ma’am by the time the trip was over. ***Sshh,don’t tell my East Coast contingency,but, said within moderation, I kind of like it.

  5. I can’t even tell you how much I related to this. I know I’m only 18 years old, but I have ALREADY been called “lady” and even “ma’am” more than once recently…should I be offended by that? haha…great post!

  6. Be glad the kid at the coffee shop didn’t call you ‘sir’! LoL!!!

    Oh the tides are rising my friend – how long before you become a grand dame??? 🙂

    Love and hugs!

    Prenin – fifty one and loving it!!!

    • That’s true about the “sir,” but I think I should rather like being called “grand dame….” Just sayin’. 🙂

  7. I know this is perverse, but I actually kind of like being called ma’am now. But that’s because I have kids and it seems respectful. Weird, because that’s not the mom I expected to be!

    Lady, however, still holds a negative connotation for me.

  8. I’ve been called “Ma’am” lots of times and I’m only 20. It makes me feel so old, I wouldn’t mind being called “Miss” but “Ma’am” just makes me cry inside.

    • After writing this blog, I’ve discovered that they all pretty much bother me. Call me by my first name I guess? Ha! I don’t even know anymore…

  9. At least you don’t live in the South where every male under the age of 25 would call you “ma’am”. Are you done with the copier? Yes, ma’am. It’s all yours.

    Excuse me, but are you waiting in line? No ma’am.

    I am definitely not a ma’am!

  10. I’m only 24 and whenever I get called lady there is a ‘young’ in front of it so I can handle that. But I get m’am all the time. Maybe it’s just Midwestern politeness, but I cringe whenever it happens.

  11. Aw, this is something that doesn’t bother me at all. Of course, I work with little kids who are all shocked and amazed to find I am over the age of 18. “Ma’am” sometimes feels a little awkward, but it depends on whether or not you can tell the person really means it in a “you’re so old” sort of way or as just a knee-jerk polite reaction. My BIGGEST pet peeve (which goes as a topic on my someday-blog) is when people call me/write “Miss” rather than “Ms.” I feel like, WTF, I’m an independent lady who works my ass off on a daily basis after far too many years of school so call me “Ms.” dammit! And that’s my mini-rant about that!

    • I agree with you about “miss” its a bit juvenile, and I learned that there is a very big difference between “miss” and “ms.” while filling out wedding invitations!

  12. I read this post earlier today, and then at work I noticed how many times I got called “Miss” or “yo”…. URGH! I work in a high school. These boys often call the girls “ho, slut, bitch, playa, nasty, nigga, or dirty little whore” and all of these are accepted as fun loving terms of endearment. I heard every single one of these today! So let’s take Lady and Ma’am and run with it…. 🙂

    • Okay, first of all what?!?! Haha! Well, to each their own I guess. By the way, I agree with you…in your case, we should definitely take “lady” and “ma’am” and run with it!:)

  13. I remember in high school, calling my besties my bitches, but jeez it seems like no word is off limits any more! So all day as I listened to this banter, I kept saying “where are those kids who say ‘Lady’?” LMAO

  14. I think they just refer girls as “lady” to be nice. At least you’re not being called old-timer or elderly woman (not that you are elderly if you’re only 29). I’m barely 19 and a bus driver called me “ma’am” one time. Have you been continuing to get referred to as “lady”?
    Hilarious story by the way. 🙂

  15. Haha! In small towns in South Africa (and mainly Afrikaans ones) it’s a sign of respect to say ‘aunty’ before the name of an older person. Imagine my (english) surprise when kids started calling ME Aunty Jolene 😮 oh hell no!

  16. When Ryan & I were on our honeymoon, I called the hotel’s front desk to ask for disposable razors. (I could lie and say they were for Ryan, but no, they were for me. I forgot to bring my effing razor on my effing honeymoon.) Anywho, I asked the guy for the razors, and he answered, “Certainly, Mrs. McAllister…”

    I don’t remember much of the response after because for the first second I thought, “Who’s that?” The next second brought a dawning: “Oooohhhh, that’s ME!” 🙂

    Missus at 21 years old. Wrong on so many levels.

  17. This post completely fits my own experiences with the ‘lady’ term. I haven’t yet hit 25 years of age, but I can handle being called ‘lady’ by teenagers who clearly don’t know any better (as in the case of the ones you encountered at the mall). But when people my OWN age starts referring to me as ‘Madam’ I throw in the towel. No, I am not 87 years old, nor do I wear comfortable shoes and my name is not Phyllis. Don’t you ‘Madam’ me!

  18. I have been referred to as a lady a few times in my younger days! The first time I think I was almost 20, a student in the class I was subbing said, “yes ma’am” and wrote, “Mrs. instead of miss” I thought to myself, “oh, if they only knew how close to their age I really am, they’d walk all over me!” Becoming a lady and being called a lady or ma’am has become a compliment to me. Being in the south, and being a southern lady…I have no shame! Thanks for the blog post, I really enjoyed it!!

  19. ha ha ha ha ha…oo dat was hilarious. omg. Lady…!!!
    U wont imagine, even i was too surprised some days back……in a garment shop, i was looking for some trendy tops and a gal arnd 20-22 yrs old was watching me from d start and liked my choice of choosing clothes. Suddenly she comes to me n says, “hello ANTIE, pls help me choose some for me also..” and i was like :O..huh, O HELLO..m only 27, how cud u call me antie….
    Sarah, i can feel how is the feeling to be recognised as lady or antie. 😀
    Sarah, i can feel, h

  20. As someone has mentioned, in the South we teach our boys that anyone older than them is to be referred to as Ma’am and it’s nicer to say “Lady” than woman. I remember when I was in my early 20’s and working in retail, having just moved to Nashville from Ohio, and I was always referred to as Ma’am or “the nice lady.” It was really strange. I was married when I was 21, so I was no longer “Miss” – which is what any unmarried girl is referred to as here – so I was Ma’am. I felt so old! But now that I’m the mom and I’m teaching my son to be a respectful young man, I can see why the men and boys here called me that.

    Great, fun writing, btw!

  21. So funny. I moved from Philly to the south…the worst adjustment is everyone calling me Ma’am. I hate it. They all say ” Yes ma’am…to be polite! Its totally obnoxious.

  22. What until they start calling you hon’. I don’t understand why I am a hon’. I think, “Is it because I’m young looking and thus beget that mama thing and they want to help me out?” to thoughts of “Am I in some kind of southern parallel? Do I even look like or talk like I’m from the South?” Lady, Ma’m, or Miss–those I can deal with. Hon’? I’m not going there.

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