Monday, September 06, 2010

Honorific Killing

On being ma'am'ed:
The argument that ma'am is a term of respect, and that women should be proud rather than ashamed of having reached a certain age, also falls flat. It's not that we're self-hating old people. It's that our non-nubility isn't something we feel needs to be acknowledged in a greeting, especially, as Angier points out, when men who are no longer fit 19-year-olds don't get a special term of address. I could think of any number of descriptive terms that would bring up other visible-at-first-glance qualities I'm not ashamed of but don't need announced: 'here, short person with very pale skin and very thick if frizz-prone hair, here's your iced coffee.'
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