HOLD YOUR TONGUE
"Lady" is about as bad. The first time I heard "lady" in reference to me was just as jarring to my ego. "Hey, lady, do you know that's dog poop you just stepped in?"
I looked around. Surely he can't be talking to me, then I looked down at my feet!!!! ECH!!! I had just stepped into the mushiest, smelliest pile of poop. Which just that alone was bad, but in front of the supermarket!!!! I was travelling at hyper speed to get in and get out of the market and get back home before the afternoon traffic. When I think about it I have to laugh....not that I stepped in poop but that I live around the corner from the market and it literally takes me fifteen minutes just to get out of my subdivision, sit at the longest traffic light in history, (3 minutes) wait for a hundred cars coming from the other direction and get in the parking lot of the market. Try finding a close parking spot, not on this day. Anyway, when the young man called me lady, I looked around and I didn't know he was talking to me. But since he was looking straight at me, and since I did indeed step in the poop, I figured the title must have been intended for me.
Men don't have this problem. Addressing a teenage boy as "sir" is usually considered a compliment. You can be a sir at six as easily as at sixty. We women, however, aren't in that much of a hurry to get to the "ma'am stage," so don't rush us. I suppose it all evens out when we get into our senior years. People go back to callin us "sweetie," "hon," and "Hey, you!" again.
We might even get a few "Hey, babes" tossed in our direction. I wouldn't mind that. It would remind me that I've still got it. Now, if only I could remember what "it" is and where I put it!