Author Topic: I am not a "Miss"  (Read 4179 times)

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Jones

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2012, 08:59:36 AM »
If it makes anyone feel better, the first time I was "ma'amed" I was 16 and a customer was asking me for assistance. I figured from that point that Ma'am and Miss were pretty interchangeable in some people's minds.

scotcat60

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2012, 09:14:20 AM »
Being called Ma'am makes me feel old, probably because we were supposed to call the lady teachers Ma'am when I was at school, the married ones anyway. It's not general to be called Ma'am in the UK, though I have been. Usually one is Madam, if assistants in shops etc. address you. As for being Miss, I alwasy put that on forms, as I am a Miss, being unmarried, though I could also be spinster of the Parish of  St Whosits in ecclesiastical terms.

WillyNilly

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2012, 10:00:04 AM »
I don't think they were using "Miss" as a title but rather were simply reflecting your gender.  This wasn't mail or being used with your last name as a title, it was a generic way of addressing a total stranger who happened to be female.  I bet your DH goes by "Mr" as his title but in stores and restaurants is called "sir" - its the same thing.  He's not a knight and you aren't unmarried, and really neither fact makes a hoot of a difference, because it not being used a a title, its being used in lieu of a name.

Girlie

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2012, 10:17:58 AM »
I don't know where you're from, but in the southern U.S., "Miss" and "Ma'am" are often interchangeable, and are more a reflection of gender than they are a sign of respect, marital status, or age.
It is not uncommon to refer to older, married women that one has been close to as "Miss FirstName." It is a sign of respect to do so in that instance, because calling them "FirstName" only could come across as rude or forward.

As a mid-twenties year old married women in the customer service business in the south - I use both (and get both), and do indeed find myself scratching my head on the rare occasion when a customer takes offense to either one. 

Jones

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2012, 10:21:39 AM »
I don't know where you're from, but in the southern U.S., "Miss" and "Ma'am" are often interchangeable, and are more a reflection of gender than they are a sign of respect, marital status, or age.
It is not uncommon to refer to older, married women that one has been close to as "Miss FirstName." It is a sign of respect to do so in that instance, because calling them "FirstName" only could come across as rude or forward.
As a mid-twenties year old married women in the customer service business in the south - I use both (and get both), and do indeed find myself scratching my head on the rare occasion when a customer takes offense to either one.
This makes sense to me. I worked in a south-western state for a while and coworkers all called each other "Miss Firstname" or "Mr. Firstname". I fell into it because everyone did it, it was the culture of the office. Felt very cordial.

twiggy

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2012, 10:26:58 AM »
With your ring on your right hand instead of your left, I'd assume it was not a wedding ring and that you were not married.  Is the right hand the norm where you are?

POD.

whoops, I apparently forgot how to tell right from left last night. I actually wear my wedding ring on my left ring finger.

After sleeping on it, and reading through the responses, I think the reason it's bugging me is that I associate "miss" with young girls. I kind of feel, well not exactly talked down to, but maybe less respected? Just a weird, uncomfortable sensation that's hard to put into words. Especially since, to me, the term was just kind of tacked on. The first server could have just asked "and what would you like?" or even "and for you?" The Miss is unnecessary. Same with the older gentleman at the hardware store.

I know that this is my own hang up, but is there any reasonable way to adddress this without coming across as a crazy lady and making some poor service employee's day darker? It shouldn't bother me, and obviously this is a YMMV issue, but it keeps happening, and it's leaving a bad taste in my mouth where these businesses are concerned. Not enough that I would avoid them, or boycott them, but it would be a tiebreaker if I was considering 2 different restaurants.

Girlie--I live in the Southwest. Specifically, Arizona
In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children.  The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted.  The result is unruly children and childish adults.  ~Thomas Szasz

Giggity

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2012, 10:39:21 AM »
I know that this is my own hang up, but is there any reasonable way to adddress this without coming across as a crazy lady and making some poor service employee's day darker?

Honestly, I don't think there is a way. Speech habits, especially small unconscious ones, are difficult to change, and it's not like they're calling you something everyone recognizes as rude or insulting. I'm not trying to sound mean, but this is one of those things that I think lies within you, not in trying to correct other people who aren't wrong in the first place.
Words mean things.

Yvaine

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2012, 10:51:00 AM »
I know that this is my own hang up, but is there any reasonable way to adddress this without coming across as a crazy lady and making some poor service employee's day darker? It shouldn't bother me, and obviously this is a YMMV issue, but it keeps happening, and it's leaving a bad taste in my mouth where these businesses are concerned. Not enough that I would avoid them, or boycott them, but it would be a tiebreaker if I was considering 2 different restaurants.

I'd say just ignore it. I mean, it's your right to use it to decide between two restaurants, and goodness knows I've stopped frequenting restaurants for silly annoying reasons (there was one I quit going to because a waitress kept expressing awe at how much food I ate, when it was not really a ridiculous portion or anything). But there's nothing you can say to the service employee that won't be over the top. If you genuinely believe it's a corporate policy, you can write a letter to someone further up the ladder, but they may still not change anything.

Jones

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2012, 10:54:22 AM »
Girlie--I live in the Southwest. Specifically, Arizona

I'm going to say it's a cultural thing. I was working in New Mexico, very close to the Arizona border, when we all called each other "Miss", regardless of age.

rose red

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2012, 11:02:16 AM »
I'm in my 40's and unmarried and get Miss, Ms, Ma'am, Mrs.  I don't care as long as the tone is respectful.  I may point out my preference to people I will see again, but strangers calling me by the "wrong" title doesn't bother me.

If you really want to address it, just give a nice smile and say "Oh, I'm Mrs. Smith."
« Last Edit: November 21, 2012, 11:04:59 AM by rose red »

Thipu1

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #25 on: November 21, 2012, 11:06:21 AM »
I got my first 'Maam' when I was about 25.  Now that I'm in my 60s and look it, I'm finding that more and more of younger shop assistants call me 'Miss'. 

It's amusing in a way but also mystifying.  Many of the young people who do this are African American.  I wonder if the dimishing use of 'Maam' is due to the widely believed but incorrect,idea that 'Maam' derives from 'Mammy'.

Yvaine

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2012, 11:13:45 AM »
I think I've told this story here before, but the only time I ever really got annoyed was when I was working at a restaurant, and a customer started to call out "Ma'am" and then added "...sort of" as I got closer to her table!  ;D At the time I thought that as I got closer she decided I looked like a dude, but in retrospect I think she revised my age down as I got closer (I was about 23) and she wished she'd have said Miss. But she sure had an awkward way of putting it! Other than that, if they're using a polite tone, I don't analyze it too much--people were raised and/or trained with a variety of different habits and "defaults" and it's really the intent that's important here. It's all in the tone.

Acadianna

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2012, 11:24:08 AM »
One of my math students calls me "Mrs." (without my last name).  He's trying to be very respectful, and it always sounds so cute to me.

mbbored

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #28 on: November 21, 2012, 11:36:53 AM »
Clearly I'm going against the trend here, but I'd rather be called ma'am. In my mind, miss is for teenagers and young girls. Once you become an adult, ma'am is more appropriate for women. (For the record, I'm from North Carolina.)

RebeccainGA

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Re: I am not a "Miss"
« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2012, 11:47:28 AM »
Clearly I'm going against the trend here, but I'd rather be called ma'am. In my mind, miss is for teenagers and young girls. Once you become an adult, ma'am is more appropriate for women. (For the record, I'm from North Carolina.)

I agree - except that it also becomes appropriate again when you are elderly, in the South. I call my MIL "Miss Marie" and it's totally appropriate for the relationship - and I've been told all my life to add that honorific to elderly women's names, the same as my FIL (were he alive) would be Mr. Claude.