Your First Schma’am.
There is an unwritten rule in the world of non-aging: never address the elephant in the room. Things work so much better when we all pretend we are the same age. That is why so many of us remember that first, monumental moment. It was at the makeup counter, grocery store or the worst possible location: when you were trying on clothes.
You walked in the door of your local department store, just like any other day, thinking you were still a “Miss.” You went over and perused the same racks you always do, maybe finding a pleasant surprise when you found that they added lycra to your favorite brand and you’ve suddenly become a size smaller. Happy to pay the extra ten dollars, because it’s a size smaller, for Pete’s sake, you walk up to the counter and offer your credit card.
“That’ll be $49.50. MA’AM.” It’s not the fact that you just paid that much for a t-shirt that already has a pinhole and a questionable stain that really gets you. Because it’s a size smaller, for Pete’s sake! It’s the fact that someone has acknowledged, publicly, that you are no longer under 25. How. Dare. They. Your previously soaring spirit hits the floor with a thud.
You will have to find a way to leave this place unnoticed, in case someone else heard and catches on that you are, in fact, past the “Miss” age and have entered into the matronly phase of “Ma’am” without so much as a kindly pat on the head.
After you slink out to your car (thankfully unseen by other MA’AM producing contacts) you swallow your pride and realize it might work out. There are some advantages to leaving Misshood. Aren’t there? Does anyone named called “Ma’am” ever get carded when buying drinks with x-rated names? Would a “Miss” be able to ask for help carrying groceries to her car, just because she felt like it? You might be able to return to your regularly shopping haunts after all. Until someone asks if you need the AARP discount, then all bets are off.