It seems like since the day I turned 25, everyone around me was alerted that I’m in my mid-twenties. Like the universe was sent a collective post card that read “Attention All – Stephanie is no longer a young girl. Do not act like she is.” Or something. I don’t get carded hardly at all, the preschool Mom’s at my workplace say things like “Tell the nice lady goodbye,” and teenagers at the mall look at me like I’m well, in my twenties. All of this is okay, really. It’s totally inconvenient to fish out my ID when I just want a Blue Moon. “Nice lady” is really cute when the person is 5. Teenagers should look at me like I’m in my Twenties. I’m badass. Envy me and my awesomely, independent adulthood. However, I’ve had a few more reminders of my age over the last few weeks that I do not like.. particularly, and apparently, I’ve gone from Miss to Ma’am.
On Friday evening, upon ordering some carboliciousness from Panera, the high-school girl behind the counter told me to “have a nice night ma’am” after I thanked her for my meal. Ma’am?! Shock came over me as I made my way to the nearest two-seater. I shook my stunned head as I sipped on my unsweetened tea, trying to collect myself.
Up until that moment, I felt like Ma’am was reserved for women in their 40s, or the old bitties playing bridge at the local country club. I didn’t think I looked like a Ma’am – I didn’t feel like a ma’am. I mean, dressed up in my business clothes – sure, I could grasp the concept, but Friday night, I was not dressed like a Ma’am. I had my long (NOT GRAY) hair pulled back into a pony tail, and was decked out in my finest zip-up hoodie and sweat pants with chipped nail polish and no jewelry. I felt like I appeared to be a college student. Apparently not.
As I collected myself at the table, I realized, this young, innocent girl was right. I’m no longer a Miss. I am not a teenage girl buying slogan-clad t-shirts and day-dreaming about Prom and Justin Bieber. I no longer shop in the Misses section on a regular basis. I am no longer a Miss.
In fact, I’m pretty sure all my mail should be address Ms. at this point, right? I’m 25 and unwed. I think that makes me a Ms. But it’s not like you go around saying “Have a nice night Ms,” so technically Panera Girl was right to refer to me as Ma’am. But really, couldn’t there be something better?
I appreciate the fact that she didn’t call me Hun, Dear or Sweety. I hate nothing more than a young person calling an “elder” by pet names. Calling any stranger by a pet name is only okay if you are a blue-haired lady serving breakfast, or a super hot guy serving beer, and at that point, I prefer to be called something like Hot Stuff or Sexy, thank you very much. (P.S., I can’t remember a time that has actually happened, ever. Damn.)
Maybe we should come up with something else to call Twenty Something women. Something in between Miss and Ma’am, that doesn’t make us consider purchasing anti-aging creams at our still very young age. Something that reflects our badassness. Something like “Have a nice night Awesome.” or “Thank you very much Magnific.” or “That’ll be $5.95 at the first window Fairest One of All.” Fairest One of All, that’d be cool. That would make me feel like a young, hip Twenty Something with the whole world at her doorstep.
Ma’am groups us in with our Mothers – our Grandmothers. While they are superbly wonderful women we would be lucky to emulate, I really don’t wanna be socially grouped in with them.. yet. I’m still way too young for that!
I guess I’d better get used to this new “title.” I’m not getting any younger, it’s true. It’s just hard to wrap my head around the time that has passed. I still feel like the 16-year-old Miss. But alas, in the eyes of this world, I’ve officially gone from Miss to Ma’am.
XO – Stephanie