Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why Ma’am is OK With Me and Men Should Still Read This

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Scared of the Dark

Scared of the Dark (Photo credit: jbelluch)

There we were, two friends, standing in line to get popcorn for a long ago forgotten movie. As we stepped up to get our chemically enhanced butter flavored popcorn, the punk behind the counter looked at us and used the word that The Huffington Post declared as the ultimate no-no for (a-hem) mature women.

According to The Post, which is always right about everything, women hate the word Ma’am.

Ma’am, according to those polled, (and who allows that to happen in public, let alone admit to it just so that generalizations can be formed?) is reserved for women not only past their prime, but so far beyond it that they would require a GPS device to return to the half way point.

In keeping with every poll ever taken, no one has asked my opinion, probably because I don’t answer phone calls unless I recognize the name on the caller id and try to look busy when people try to catch up with me at the mall; this strategy consists of walking as if I have a purpose and frowning lightly.

This works apparently, as once, as I walked through a hotel lobby, a man stopped me to ask about the establishment. When I asked what made him think I would know, he told me that I walked with a purpose and that was true, as the hotel gave out warm cookies and I wanted to get to my room so that we could have some alone time before it cooled off, which is generally the purpose of hotels if you exclude sleeping.

Anyway, my point, and I did have one, is that I no longer consider myself a miss. The last time I thought of myself as a miss was a long off yesteryear when I was still dewy with youth (which is a good name for a band,) and, since that time I have found the cure for the dewiness and it isn’t matte makeup (well, it can be, but for my purposes, just go along with me.) The cure, unfortunately, is a few decades of living, especially if you engage in shenanigans and less then stellar behavior.

So, back to the counter and the kid whose world was about to be rocked and not in a good way. This excuse for a nearly completely formed human being, who was mostly made up of acne and brace and who is probably a bank president by now, had the outright gall to call one of us, ma’am. (I’m pretty sure , it was my friend.)

Okay, breathe, majority of people who answered the Huff Post poll. Breathe! You’re going to hyperventilate.

In response, my friend leaned over and took this puzzled piece of nonsense by his crooked clip-on bow tie and…

Actually she leaned over and said, “Just a tip. Women don’t like being called Ma’am.”

Now, this is where this story goes right off the rails, so, as Dave Letterman says, hold on to your wigs and keys. I elbowed my friend aside and said, “Here’s another tip. Some women don’t care.”

I know. This is the equivalent of a man telling a young girl that men can be less than sincere when it comes to, you know what. And then another telling her nothing of the sort is true.

Actually this is nothing like that at all. This is the equivalent of women having different opinions on things, which many men seem to interpret as pure lunacy designed to confuse them.

It might be easier for the opposite sex, ie: dudes, if we all thought the same on every subject, but in all honesty, I don’t have the wherewithal to take a world-wide opinion poll and then point out the error of everyone’s ways. The grading process itself would be a real time suck, so you’re just going to have to live with the idea of a vastly divergent female gender, unless you’re gay, in which case you’re just going to have to live with that because women still exist outside of a man’s sexual interest.

And, here’s the thing. This preponderance of diverse opinion is not specifically gauged to confuse our male counterparts. If I were really trying to confuse the male gender I would teach all women to ask this question: Are you worried that I’m getting fat?

Any male readers who have not yet wandered off to find the TV remote are now beginning to sweat profusely, because, although they don’t know the correct answer, they sense danger, kind of like a gazelle wandering into a lioness bar.

(Those of you which are still reading, stop sweating on your laptop, it’ll kill it and it won’t be my fault.)

Back to the secret answer; as every woman has probably guessed, there are two answers far as men are (wrongly) concerned; no or yes. And here’s the scenarios as these two answers are played out.

Gal: Are you worried that I’m getting fat?

Trembling guy: N-no?

Gal: “So, you’re not worried about how fat I’m getting?”

(At this point the man in question will burrow around his brain through the sports and ways to burp the national anthem and, without thinking it through, will make the following fatal mistake.)

Quivering wreck of male gender: Yes!

At this point, the woman can make several choices. She can hold back tears before clapping her hand over her mouth and bolting from the room or she can try the classic,“Are you saying I’m fat?” It is entirely up to her. Have fun with it.

The answer of course is “You are simply perfect, my little dove, in every way. Do you want chocolate?”

Now, there are some women who are angry at me for disclosing this, as angry as they would be if they’d been called Ma’am at the popcorn counter and I may be vilified for it, but I have a very good reason for parting with this knowledge; I’m the mother of a boy and I like it when he’s not having nervous break downs, so I actually drew up this lesson in order to give him a leg up on other guys.

(Turns out , according to a recent poll, most guys hate when other guys put their legs up on other guys, so this may be a bad idea all around.)

In full disclosure, I also told some of my son’s friends about this, but, in my defense, guys don’t talk to each other about relationships and they forget everything women tell them, almost immediately. So, I’m not really giving away the store.

Finally, back to the whole ma’am thing. There are two choices when youngsters are trying to be polite to women; one is to say Miss and the other is to say Ma’am. To me, calling me Miss is like a handsome young man telling me I’m spry for my age. We both know that I’ve long ago past the finish line on the Miss thing and my feeling is, if a young man wants to compliment rather than patronize me, he has to acknowledge that I’m a fully formed female human being who has lived too long to be to let foolish flattery turn my head and not long enough to think those days are completely behind me.

So, young men, here’s what you say: Yes, Ma’am. Whatever you say, Ma’am. Here’s some chocolate, Ma’am and, want a massage Ma’am? And we’ll get along just fine.

Anyway, since my son has shown no signs of returning to the days when mommy was the sun and the earth revolved around me, (and wouldn’t that be creepy if he did?) I’ve decided to throw my energy toward preparing him for life with a woman.

I don’t want to overstate this, but I believe I have come up with a single question which encapsulates the land mine that exists in the heart of many women and have offered it to my son as practice if the future mother of my grandchildren tricks him in to marriage.

Are you worried about how fat I’m getting?” Can you taste the genius? I’ll wait while you ask your male significant other, (it may work for gay couples, someone will need to research this and get back to me) the question that will cut all mystery away from the husband/wife dynamic. Go on. Print it out if you need to. I’ll wait.

So, you asked? And he presumable replied yes or no. (Gazing at you in abject terror doesn’t count. He has to answer.) The treasure is not in the asking of the question, or even the answering of such. The gold comes in your reply.

Most will say, something along the lines of, “No?” in a small but mandatoryily terrified voice. Here’s what you will reply: “So, you’re not worried about how fat I’m getting?” He will most likely try to rectify this answer with the opposite answer having forgotten what the original question was. His face will light up and he will proclaim the word he hopes will save his life, “Yes!”

At this point, you’re on your own. You can either hold back tears before nodding, clapping your hand over your mouth and bolting from the room or you can reply, “Are you saying I’m fat?” Either way. You can even improvise from this point on. It’s all for the sake of education, after all.

You may wonder, not that it matters, if there is a reasonably safe answer to this question. Of course. That answer must be, without deviation: “You are simply perfect, my little dove, in every way. Do you want chocolate?”

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Why I’m Always Right

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I am right about everything and here’s how you can tell; this is in print, which means this is a one-sided conversation where I control what’s being said. Also, everything in print is correct unless I deem it otherwise. Same goes for television and radio. I doubt you care about my exceptions to the rule, as you are convinced that I must be correct, but there is a list available as soon as I write it up.

The above is a phenomenon known (by me) as The Petrie Law. Those of you with good taste will have, at some point in your life, watched The Dick Van Dyke Show, considered by many, (not just me) as one of the finest comedy programs of all time.The show, written by the hilarious Carl Reiner, concerned a TV comedy writer named Rob Petrie.

 (Those of you not crying, Ohhhhh Rob!, are of the wrong generation, because I say so.)

His wife Laura is the “Oh Rob,” declarer of the show, which many times followed her hijinks and her capris pants, which were very risqué at the time. (I’m serious, look it up. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054533/trivia?tab=tr&item=tr0621492)

Anyway, Rob and Laura had neighbors and friends with whom they interacted, and a child who eventually ended up in juevie because his parents paid little to no attention to him, what with their hijinks and shenanigans.

On the episode which gave rise to The Petrie Rule, Rob and Laura had a very cute argument and proceeded to describe it within the boundaries of their self-righteousness. Rob told fellow comedy writers; the New Yorky Sally and Buddy, while Laura told Millie, the wacky neighbor, over coffee and ignoring their children.

Rob’s description is played out as he returns from a hard day at being funny. He veritably inhabits Fred Astaire, dancing throughout the home as he seeks out his wife who doesn’t even have the courtesy to meet him at the door dressed in nothing but Saran Wrap. Once found, she is a shrew in capris pants, laughably claiming her life as the more difficult what with, the cooking, cleaning, laundry…um…doing, mothering, not to mention the amount of coffee she makes.

In Laura’s version, she met her husband at the door decked out in what the modern wife would describe as, “stuff I wouldn’t wear unless an expensive dinner was involved,” and offering up that same dinner made with her own finally manicured hands, which were only attended to because Rob is a tyrant who demands it. (I made that manicure part up.)

Of course, the truth came somewhere in between. In that vein, I’d like to describe an incident which happened recently when my husband and I went out for dinner with two our friends who happen to be of the gay persuasion.

Now, some of you are thinking, “The Gay Persuasion! That must have been Fabulous!” No, although they’re really great guys and one of them goes by the name of one of the few rappers I recognize, and not in a “call me by the name of one of the few rappers you can recognize” sort of way, but because Jay Z doesn’t own the name, it was simply a lovely evening.

We covered a variety topics, none of which included Neil Patrick Harris or Cher, so it was sort of like we were out with normal people.

Suddenly, the conversation took a troubling turn when the couple became openly hostile, which is to say they disagreed with me on a subject I am always right about. Guys. And everything else.

The matter at hand was a cutie pie who had walked behind me en route to the facilities. How did I know he was of the cutie pie variety when he was behind me? Well, I noticed my companions, who were facing me, were becoming distracted,  following something I couldn’t see, their eyes synchronized, left to right, while trying to seem engaged with our conversation.

They reminded me of cats staring down a laser point pen and, continuing with the metaphor, choosing to believe the red pinpoint on the wall is actually prey and therefore willing to smash into a wall to prove it.

The smashing into a wall question was; is said cutie pie gay?

Of course, there was no way to tell for certain, short of a fixed game of spin the bottle followed by the yuck factor or my opinion.

My friends were adamant, however and ticked off a number of talking points about why the fellow, who would most likely be mortified to know his most personal predilections were being discussed by four strangers (some of us were stranger than others,) in detail, with no information ( to my recollection which is the only one that counts,) other than the designer jeans he wore; the ultimate criteria of gayness according to our dinner companions.

The conversation, despite the details, was about gaydar and whose equipment was more sensitive. (I’m not going to sink to the level of spinning a double entendre of that last sentence, but you should feel free.)

I don’t think I should be penalized because, as a teenager I dated two men who grew up to be gay. I choose to think they chose the gay lifestyle, despite what reality has to say about that, because I was no longer interested in pursuing a relationship with them.

Also, I was pretty sure Jodi Foster was a lesbian, (even before I knew what that meant) before she kind of came out at The Oscars while rambling on about her lack of privacy as it pertains to her sex life, so, more points for me.

In the end, the lady’s man left the restaurant, having never known that his straightness had been weighed and, incorrectly found wanting by two out of three diners, (my husband abstained.)

Soon after, we agreed that I am always right, which I can say because this is my laptop and my blog and because I’m correct, after which dessert was had by all and order was restored.

In all fairness, however, after reading this piece over, I realized the Petrie Rule insinuates that I overstated my half of the experience to convey a sense that I was being less than fair, thereby giving the impression that I was not completely correct. And I was completely correct.

Hey, nobody’s perfect.