Saturday, 8 January 2011

I've reached a point in my life...

...where "Ma'am" and "Madam" have clearly become appropriate terms of address. Which is weird.

I look young for my age. I'm not boasting (although I might be if this trait sticks around for another ten/twenty years or so!), it's just a fact. I used to hate it and think it was embarrassing, and I still get annoyed when people make assumptions about my ability/knowledge/understanding/experience based on the fact that I often get confused for five or tens years younger than I am. But frankly, it is a good thing, and one to embrace while I can.

From my journey into work this morning

So imagine my intrigue when around the time of the student demonstrations in London I was Christmas shopping, and stopped a policeman to ask for directions around a blockade. I got "Now is not the time, Ma'am" from him, and a hasty "sorry madam, we're just a bit busy" from his colleague.

Then a little while ago at the shop a man came in looking for a gift and said "excuse me madam, but could you suggest something for my wife?"

This evening, I was sitting on the train, deep in thought as I battled to count the stitches on the scrumpled up graph paper of my scarf pattern, and the conductor came through the carriage checking tickets. Upon presenting mine the conductor responded with a very serious, "thank you ma'am" accompanied by a very serious nod.

Now, really, I know I've recently had a birthday, and okay, I haven't been getting as much sleep as I usually would (thank goodness the Ashes are done and dusted, as it's positively rude to hold cricket matches in a time zone that means I have to stay up all night to watch them!), so those dark circles around my eyes are a bit darker than usual, but is it really time for me to embrace "madam" and "Ma'am"?! I was hoping I had a good few years to go!


  1. I'd be flattered! Like you, I look young for my age. I've got used to being singled out from friends and asked for ID everywhere we go and having to work that bit harder in my job to convince people that I am older and responsible. My friend Jem and I even have an ID league going. Her best so far is being asked for ID at the age of 28 for purchasing a cheese grater! My best is being asked for ID for party poppers! Embrace the madam!

  2. This made me laugh, because I felt ancient when a young girl in the supermarket recently asked me for advice about choosing baking ingredients. I felt even more ancient when she said, "You looked like the person who would know!" That would be middle-aged and comfortably bun-shaped???

  3. It's funny, when I was 11 I shot up to my full adult height and so I looked about 18. I used to get the strangest looks at barbecues and school concerts when I was running around with the kids my age (and got hit on by sleazy old men! I felt like wearing a tshirt saying "I was born in 1981" on it!! Ugh) But as I've got older, I've found that people think I'm younger than I am! Which just makes me laugh, given that when I was a kid I wanted nothing more than to be older - for my age on parchment to match the age I looked - and now I am very happy and flattered when I'm asked for ID when buying wine or other things that require you to be of a certain age!

    Embrace the "madam" and all that comes with it, I say. A good way to gauge is go to Paris and see if they call you "mademoiselle" or "madame"! (I got both last time!!) :)

    Happy new year! x