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Old Miss

I was nineteen the first time someone called me ma'am without irony. I was horrified. I was nineteen, nineteen! I was not a ma'am! My chagrin lasted for several years, as the ma'am-ings became more and more frequent. At some point, I ceased to notice, probably because there was no longer any way for me to deny my ma'am-ness.

And then this morning, Owen and I stopped at the paint store, and as we were leaving the clerk said "thank you, miss." Miss! I'm thirty-five, I was sporting copious matrimonial hardware on my left ring finger, and I was hauling my two-year-old along with me. I am no more a miss now than I was a ma'am at nineteen. I think the realization of my absolutely ineligibility for miss-ness is the first thing that has ever really made me feel like an adult.

What first made you feel like an adult, or are you still waiting?

Comments (18)

It wasn't the FIRST thing, but it was a BIG thing: when my mother-in-law was visiting and Paul told me he could smell the brandy on my breath and I was horrified and panicked (WHAT IF SHE'D NOTICED??)---and then I remembered that even if she HAD noticed, I was an adult and allowed to make my own decisions about drinking, and that I couldn't "get in trouble" from "a grown-up" for it.

I am still waiting. I go into help with my girls classes and I am fearful of being called to the principles office (not that I ever went there as a child). Every once in a blue moon I get a little glimpse of what it must be like when I hear things my mother would have totally said come flying out of my mouth. I wonder when it will finally hit me?!

I think buying softener salt made me feel like an old, old person.

Or maybe the guy that asked my dad, when I was 12 and still had the body of a 6 year old, if I was his wife.

I'm kind of still waiting.

i got recruited in an Abercrombie & Fitch store on my 27th birthday, which felt pretty damn good. The next time i went in, i got called Ma'am. Doh. aaaaand, that was 5 years ago...

I don't remember the first time I got "ma'am"ed, but I do remember the first time I got called "lady". It was by a 4 year old in a fast food restaurant, and I was 18. It was incredibly alarming.

I'm not sure what I am haha. I mean I'm old to be a miss, but I don't think I'm really old enough (or married or mother enough) to be a ma'am!
Also, because I like shiny things I kinda want to see your copious matrimonial hardware.
(That sounds vaguely dirty.)


The first time it hit me was actually recently. I am 21. I began working at this government job in September. I cover for people when they are out, and on one particular day I was covering several stations at once. I had alot of work on my desk. My boss sent out an e-mail saying "Please help Sara out today, she has more work than any one WOMAN can handle"

and all I could think, reading that, was... she called me a WOMAN! Weird!!!

The first time I had to sign some school-related thing for my stepkids. I was officially signing under "Parent Signature". Dude.

I still don't feel like a full blown adult (at 30). But I have my moments. Like when I found out I was pregnant (at 21). When I'd call the doctor in the middle of the night due to a fever my daughter had. When I bought my house. And the first time I invited my parents over for dinner (where EVERYTHING was homemade) I felt so damn old. I still have moments when my daughter (nearly 9) calls out to me and I think "Holy SHIT, I am someones MOTHER!" But the majority of the time, I still feel like a kid.

Still waiting on that one.

I'm also keeping track of at what age I stop getting carded. Being 38 and being consistently carded may not be a big thing, but it feels damn good.

The moral of this story is that there's really no pleasing you.

Grownup, buying our first home. I like Miss, Ma'am makes me feel like a Grandmother. Someday, I might appreciate Ma'am, but it makes me feel much older than I am when I hear it.

One word: colonoscopy

Amazingly, buying my own home didn't do it...however, suddenly NOT being mistaken for a student on campus has made me realize that I really am a grown-up, even if I technically still am a student. Now, I am never mistaken for anything but a professor.

Bring on the ma'am!

I don't know that "ma'am" has really ever bothered me, but I did feel really weird when I returned to Texas and waitresses (who I'm sure were younger than me) started calling me Sweetie and Hun. Sweetie? Seriously? I think TWELVE is the cut-off age for "Sweetie."

It was at a friends BBQ... there were about 8 pre-teen and teenagers running around and I overheard one of them ask "Where did that lady go?" and he was referring to me. Lady?? What?? That's how I referred to "old" people to my friends...

Also, Magazine ads are solidifying the "adult" factor since all of the models look 12 to me!

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So the Fish Said...

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