Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ma'am & Sir

All my life I've been taught to say ma'am or sir when talking to someone. Mainly when I say yes or no...Yes ma'am, no ma'am, yes sir, no sir, you get the idea. It's a way of showing respect to that other person. More often to someone older then you or in a place of authority over you.

But I have gotten into the habit of saying it all the time. I will say it to my sisters just added to the yes or no part of the answer. As well as saying it at other times such as to people at market, goat shows, church, etc.. And it's not just me, my sisters do it as well as other people I know, all my age, younger or older then I.

I never really noticed how often I say sir or ma'am until I got up here to New York and it's not said that often. My first week people kept saying "Don't ma'am (or sir) me!". Others would comment on how nice & polite I am, while other commented on it in one way or another. I don't know if I say it more often then other people around me do, but I do know I say it and apparently I say it alot.

And I have people say it to me. I have no problem when children I am teaching, baby siting, or who are younger then I am say it to me. I said to people who were over the age of 20 when I as under the age of 10. :D What really throws me off is when someone my same age says it to me. "Umm...Did you really just ma'am me?!?" Yep for some reason I can dish it out but I can't take it.

Now I'm up in New York where I have gotten so many comments about saying ma'am and sir to people that I can't even remember them all!

"Did you just ma'am me?"
"Don't call me sir!"
"When you call me ma'am it makes me feel old."
"Do you always have to say ma'am?"
"Oh, she's polite."
I even had someone at market tell me "Oh, you don't have to call me ma'am my name is ____, I know it's habit for you but it's OK of you just call me by my name."
And the one that really threw me for a loop..."When someone says ma'am or sir we feel like they are trying to be rude or flippant. Now when you say it we know you aren't but it sometimes gets annoying!"

Oh really? And where I come from we think they are rude when they don't say ma'am or sir. Since I've come up here it's obvious to everyone that I say it a lot and I've tried to curb it a little...To the point where I say "Yes ____" (the person's name) I don't do it all the time. In fact I do it one in every twenty tries. But, then saying ma'am & sir is something I've been doing for the past 21 years, so of course it's going to take more then two months to change...In fact I think it might take more then 4 months to change.

But, when I get back to Texas & say ma'am or sir and no corrects me or comments on it I will be very happy and enjoy it! lol Ah, the little things in life you tend to take for granted and not even think about...


Abigail said...

Wow! It's rude?? That's a new one for sure!

I once got an almost identical remark about it being a habit, although it made me sound more like a dog: "I know you'll keep saying it because that's how you were trained, but I just want you to know that you don't have to." :P

Anonymous said...

It's the Southern side of you. :)

Katarina said...

lol Abigail, that's what everyone says to me "I know you were taught to say ma'am and/or sir. But you DON'T have to say it to me. :)

yes 'Anonymous' (which sister is this?), it is. In fact that was the title I had for it at first "Southern Manners".

Sarah Chips said...

At least you have an excuse - you were raised where it is "normal" to say. Me on the other hand? Nope. Yet for some reason I still have the habit. No one around me ever says it. My parents didn't demand it from me growing up. Yet somehow I picked it up and I "ma'am" and "sir" people all the time. It definitely makes for confused looks when I tell people I'm from Chicago. heehee
It has gotten to be a "bad habit" of mine as of late, however, because I tend it use it as a cop-out as a cover because I'm too lazy to or can't remember the person's name e.g "howdy sir!" instead of "hi !". I do use it as a form a respect though when asked or instructed to do something.
But alas, I have no excuse as for why I say it as you do. You can be thankful you at least have a reason. lol
(ok, loooong comment. as if you didn't know. haha I am almost tempted to make it way longer but I shall refrain. You've probably got better things to do than read crazy long comments on your post, like writing up a new post! haHA!)

Jonathan H said...

I agree; it seems weird coming from someone my age or older. When I worked with the military years ago, guys 20 years older than me called me Sir and it felt odd to say the least!
P.S. In case you haven't figured it out, I'm reading your archives and commenting along the way. Have a great day!

Katarina said...

Jonathan, I'm glad your enjoying the newer(and more boring) posts to go back in the files & read my older posts!
Thanks for leaving the comments, I like to see what people think of the posts, even if I found them lacking. :D