Tuesday, December 11, 2007


When I was 22 I started working in downtown Chicago. I was your typical commuter putting on my business type clothes, getting on the train, and walking to one of the many tall buildings that populate the area. I would generally go to lunch sometime between noon and one with all the other downtown working types. Sometimes, after work, I would do a little shopping and was often accompanied by other after work shoppers. It was during this time I began to be referred to as Ma’am.

It made sense, I was obviously a grown-up. I worked in a grownup area, wore grownup clothes, and traveled during peak grown-up hours. Even as I got more comfortable at work and the grownupness of my clothes may have become a little more casual I was still a member of the grownup team.

I hate being called Ma’am. Granted, at this point I am pushing 30 and maybe the term applies. Even if it does apply I still think it is gross. However, at 22 I don’t think the term ever applies. The thing is I have never looked particularly old. I think I look my age. Some people tell me that I look younger but I think they are either just people who look older than they are or people that think we are still in the times of Love Connection when 21 was the new 40.

Now that I work primarily on a college campus filled with undergrads the terminology has changed. I have become Miss again. It is entirely awesome. Yesterday I went to pick up a prescription and handed the pharmacist my new insurance information. “Is this in your name or your parent’s,” he asked me. I almost fainted. I haven’t been eligible for my parents insurance in almost seven years. It felt wonderful. I walk down the street or stop into a shop and it is Miss this and Miss that and I don’t feel like an old lady anymore.

The perks of this job just keep on coming.

As Monica guessed almost everything on the shuffle yesterday here are a bunch of new songs.

1. We are two mariners/ Our ships sole survivors/ In this belly of a whale. _________, The Decemberists. Partially identified by Identified by Monica

2. To me/ Coming from you/ Friend is a four letter word/ End is the only part of the word/ That I heard

3. I let the beast in too soon/I don't know how to live/ Without my hand on his throat/ I fight him always and still

4. Have mercy on me sir/ allow me to impose on you/ I have no place to stay/ And my bones are cold right through

5. I’ve never known a girl like you before/ Just like in a song from days of yore/ here you come a knocking knocking on my door. A Girl Like You. Edwin Collins. Identified by The Doc


Monica said...

OK, first of all, I'm not guessing anything because of yesterday but I will say that I do love the Empire Records soundtrack ;)

Anyway, we are lucky that we look young. I think we look our ages but we definitely look young. It's a blessing, man.

The Doc said...

The thing that got me wasn't "sir", which was a little weird, but when people started labelling me "Mr." THAT was weird. The first time it happened, I instinctively looked around for my father.

And Monica might not be guessing, but I will. #5 is "A Girl Like You" by Edwin Collins. As for Empire Records, I only have four words to say: "IT'S REX MANNING DAY!"

Mom said...

Aw geez, I was all set to guess #5...

IMO, no one -- at any age -- needs to be called Ma'am (except maybe in the South). But that's really cute how you have suddenly become "undergrad age" again!

Monica said...

oh rexy you're SOOOO sexy

Kiyotoe said...

oh yeah, down here in the dirty south, most women older than me are referred to as ma'am. But i'm from JERSEY!

But i was raised by a house full of women and the matriarch is from Tenn. so, that's how we were raised. "yes ma'am, no ma'am"

But I'll stick to calling you Nat if you want ;-)

Eve said...

I hate ma'am too. Grr.

When I was 23, I went to France and EVERYONE called me madame. I was like, hey! I'm mademoiselle, dammit!

Natalie said...

It took me a long time to figure out why you were talking about empire records because I actually own an Edwin Collins CD and forgot it was in the movie. we are lucky. Lucky and adorable.

The Doc- Mr. is totally the male version of Ma'am as far as feeling old goes. I heart Rex Manning Day.

Mom- I know! How much does that rock?

Monica- Best line ever in a movie of timeless wonderful lines.

Kiyotoe- You better call me Nat because I'm not older than you. At least I don't think so...

Eve- I'm glad to see I'm not alone.

Phil said...

When waiting tables, and in life, but I learned it waiting tables, I only use 'Miss." Women love it.

My guess.

#2 Cake - Friend is a Four Letter word.

#5 Willie Nelson, Placido Domingo, etc. To All The Girls I've Loved Before.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been called ma'am yet. I do still get "Miss" on occassion, but mostly I just don't get called.
(enter faint weepy violin)