Back in April, I wrote a blog post about Glee's Mark Salling and how the folks in LA were giving him a hard time about using "ma'am."
This past Sunday, I had lunch with two old friends, one of whom now lives in San Francisco while working on her doctorate. When I asked Candace if she missed anything about the South, one of her answers was manners.
She explained that in many parts of the country, use of the word "ma'am" is really a f*** you; it's something you say to old people to get them off your back or out of your face when they're complaining about something or droning on and on.
Huh. "Ma'am" as a f*** you. It never occurred to me that someone might use it in such a capacity. I suppose it should have; after all, depending on the situation, "You have a nice day now," might be legitimate good wishes or it might really be "I hope you get hit by a bus and die a slow and agonizing death."
When I was handling calls for the Maytag dishwasher recall (BORING!), I was criticized by the QA people for using "yes sir" too often instead of using the caller's name. In this case it was intentional on my part - there was no way I was going to pronounce his name correctly and I thought he would be less offended with a "sir."
What do you think? Are we odd and archaic in the South for observing social niceties? Is the rest of the country rude in actuality or are they just straight forward? Be sure to let me know what you think!