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Monday, December 17, 2012

He Called Me Miss Instead Of Ma'am

Before we became grandparents, we would go to the movies, and our prematurely grey haired friend would get a senior discount. As I recall, he was insulted. We were not seniors yet, but due to his hair color he was. It is important to note that the average age of the cashier, at the ticket booth is 17.  At 17,  I was told never to trust anyone over 30. The young see anyone their parents age , or better as old.

As ticket prices have climbed, so have our wrinkles, and attitudes. I look for comfort in dressing for a movie. Sweats instead of heels and lots of make-up. I guess we don't look young, anymore. I am resigned to Ma'ams from everybody.

When I was teaching age was a great advantage. It was not helpful when I had to stand up , after sitting on the floor with my kindergarteners., but it was an advantage when I was giving advise to young teachers. It helped when I was talking to little children, and bonding with grandparents who were now reluctant caretakers for their grandchildren. I liked the wisdom, and experience age brought. At least the perception of wisdom.

I recently took a flight from Kennedy airport to Fort Lauderdale, with my mother. The young handsome steward called me "Miss". and asked if I needed anything? I was certain he was talking to some low jeaned, hair streaked honey, but there were none in sight. Next our driver, in Florida called me Miss. I can only guess in Florida it takes a lot longer to be considered old, then it does in N.Y.

There is still one place I am not a senior. My husband bought me a "senior" ticket on the Long Island Railroad. The conductor, looked at the ticket and asked me to show my medicare  card. Happily, I did not have one yet. I guess I looked too young to pass as a senior....

Another compliment I think, but he still called me Ma'am.


  1. Age is in the mind and bones and societal attitudes. "Senior" is 50, 55, 60, 63, or 65, depending upon the business or organization. I feel younger than my age mentally and older physically, but welcome any discounts that I can get. Often, the businesses don't ask for proof because they assume that folks would sooner lie about being younger, thus showing how our youth-oriented culture denigrates aging after 21 secures the legal right to drink and enter night clubs.

    But "old" is relative. In your mother's circle, you are a youngster and calling you "miss" seemed reasonable to the steward. At the same time, somewhere between our mothers and us is the time ladies stop referring to their friends as "women" and "ladies" and switched back to "girls."
    On the other hand, the Baby Boomers are a large enough group that we have the opportunity to change things. Many of my friends have gone totally gray but still wear jeans, while their moms dye their hair but wear slacks. Their mothers wore dresses but let their hair go gray. So our generation seems to be mixing it up between comfort and chic, old and young and allowing for more personal choices.

    Meanwhile, sections of the South and West refer to any woman who might be married as "ma'am," regardless of age. I was shocked at the first time I was "ma'am-ed." I was in my 30's, able to pass for 20's, but I was conversing with someone raised in the South, where "miss" was for teens and younger.

    Regardless, you look great. B.

    1. Thanks looking great is a whole different blog! Aging drains your time, money and energy. With old friends we stay young forever! Judy

  2. I enjoyed this. I went to the movies last weekend and when I asked for one senior the gal asked me for proof that I was a senior. Oh wow did she make my night. Oh, the gal must have been about 17 or 18.