The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Grab Your Underpants By the Elastic

children mentioned towards the end...

While I was out running errands today, I decided to do something nice for myself. It was sort of one of those make-your-own-garden-grow, Candide-like moments of wanting someone else to show up with a treat but knowing that you have to put on your big girl panties and buy your own candy sometimes. The other thing that brought out the self-pinook* was finding my school's Wikipedia entry and finding almost every single one of my classmates names under famous alumni AND NOT MY OWN. Which really wouldn't matter that much to me except for the last time I was up at my grad school for a conference, I was staring longingly at everyone else's books while I had to stand there saying, "nope, I put writing to the side for a bit. Just doesn't go that well with fertility treatments."

I am a famous alumni, damn it. The people at my local food store treat me like a rock star. The people at the post office know my post office box number before I say it. How much more famous can you get?

I swung by an organic market and picked up a bar of dark chocolate with orange peel as well as a no-foam latte at Starbucks. As I was ordering, my conversation with the 14-year-old barista went something like this:

Barista: What would you like, Ma'am?
Me: I'll have a no-foam latte.
Barista: Ma'am? What size?
Me: Oh...a grande. A grande no-foam latte.
Barista: Thank you, Ma'am. Ma'am, that will be $3.56.

I have many pet peeves and perhaps I will list them in a different post, but towards the top of my list is people calling me "ma'am." Ma'am conjures up steel-haired uni-boobness (you know what I'm talking about--that matronly breast shelf?). My hair is far too greasy and far too covered with a bandanna to be called ma'am. I am wearing non-sensible shoes that are as far away as you can get from ma'am. This should count for something.

I'm not sure what I would rather be called, but I can say with certainty that I would rather be called Snatch than ma'am.

Barista: What would you like, Snatch?
Me: Hit me with a no-foam latte.

Being called ma'am ages me at least fifty-eight years. I need those 58 years. According to my graduate school's Wikipedia entry, I haven't done jack yet.

The Wolvog decided this afternoon that he would like to give up his diapers. Which would be a great thing if I had finished Elizabeth Pantley's No-Cry Potty Training Solution. I was planning on reading the book during Pesach. But when a man decides to grab his underpants by the elastic and declare his ability to control the flow of his urine, you listen to him. You throw caution to the wind and slap on a pair of underpants and then follow after him asking if he needs to urinate every 8 minutes.

We got through dinner and jumped into the car, still diaperless. As we drove home, I proudly thought to myself, at least one thing has gone easy. Why were you stressing so hard with this? I called back to him a few times, "how is the underpants situation unfolding?" and each time he barely looked up from his Playmobil catalog to mutter, "fine."

I was still pretty pleased with myself as I unbuckled his seatbelt; that is until I saw the large wet spot against the hip denim Britax Roundabout.

He is in bed now. I've been soaking his pants. Thank goodness that this Snatch bought herself some chocolate earlier today.

*pinook: there really isn't a word like it in English. It means special care. TLC. Someone help me out with a better translation.


Antigone said...

Even worse when a cute 25 yr old male barista says it. *sigh*

ms. c said...

Yes, "ma'am" is the WORST. We don't use that here in Canada. I only get ma'am-ed when I'm in the States. Weird.

Good luck with the potty training, enjoy the chocolate, and just to re-inforce: you are pretty darn famous in MY books.

katd said...

"Ma'am" is horrible. Just horrible. Glad you found "Snatch" to get you through it. :)

SarahSews said...

You are famous to me and I love the Wolvog decided he was done with diapers. LOL. And then wet his carseat. I'm still cracking up at the picture in my head. Good luck with that!

Vacant Uterus said...

Everyone gets "ma'am"ed in the Air Force, regardless of age. I was getting "ma'am"ed at 23. At that age, I thought it was cool. I felt authoritative. Now, on the cusp of 30, I feel OLD. Snatch is way cooler.

(Takes a time out to sing in her head: "Who is the chick that won't cop out when there's pee all about? Snatch! Can you dig it?")

You are so beyond famous to me. I told my mom all about your book and we both agreed we can't wait to buy it. You can't be un-famous when people are telling their moms about you.

Jess said...

Oh Snatch, you crack me UP! I LOVE IT!!

GL with the potty! At leat he want to try!!

Jen said...

Oh, no. I was called "babe" by a nineteen year old waitress the other day.

What school, so that we can go into Wikipedia and change it? You know that anyone can edit that! I'm on it!

Ah, potty training. I have successfully potty trained ten children. (Day care teacher, I don't personally have ten children.) And the fun we had along the way... Poop on the stairs, poop on my jeans... ah memories.

Denise said...

I hear ya on the "ma'am" thing. This exact conversation came up at lunch today with some female coworkers when a server called one of us "ma'am." We decided Miss will suffice even when we are old(er) and gray(er). There really isn't that distinction when talking to a man, is there? Sir, Mister? Nothing denoting young versus old. Weird.

JuliaS said...

Thank you Vacant Uterus for helping me find a reason to snort dt. caffeine free pepsi all over my computer monitor today. That Snatch song was just too too much!

Yes, Ma'am is just so - I don't know. I went through a biker babe phase for pete's sake - I had hip high black leathers boots. I have a ZZTop keychain (still do as a matter of fact) I was HAAAAAAAAA-ot! Now if they even acknowledge me at all, it's with "Can I help you ma'am?" Why don't they just call me grandma, get me a wheelchair to cart me off to geriatrics and just get it over with . ..

Or at least offer me the senior citizen discount.

luna said...

ma'am ages me too. yuk.

hey, when you publish the book, what name will you use? maybe then you will be considered famous by those who don't know you.

darling story about your boy. hope you enjoyed your big girl treat. ~luna

Tina said...

Oh, I hate ma'am.... HATE IT, HATE IT. Happens a lot at work with the visitors who come from outside the US.

Good luck with the P/T stuff...if Wolvog is really into it. Ask me about my Martin Luther King weekend in January...never have I done soooo much laundry in one weekend!

PaleMother said...

Thanks for the laugh this morning, Mel. I think the Wiki will catch up to you sooner or later. I'd put money on it.

You put a new spin on the ma'am rant for me this morning ... when you mentioned uniboobness ... I involuntarily glanced down at my chest to make sure my status hadn't changed. That keeps-me-in-my-place voice in my head started to sneer at me. If I have to check, can utter ma'amness be far behind? I think I am one level ahead of you. You are still (rightly)indignant. I am getting to the place where I'm afraid that I might actually deserve it.

**sigh** I think Victoria's Secret is having a twofer this week ... talk about self-care.

beagle said...

I used to hate being called "girl" (sexist, degrading, etc. blah blah rant of a twenty something) now I grin with glee if they call me girl instead of ma'am.

Ma'am should be outlawed.

Remind me when it's my turn why a boy peeing in your car is not funny. Because right now, I'm laughing.

Do you like me anyway?

Andria and Co. said...

mmm-hmm... I know what ya mean about the ma'am thing.

A.M.S. said...

Standing at a bar, trying to get drinks before going to shoot pool. I get, "What can I get for you ma'am?" Then, the bartender turns to Shannon, takes his order for a Guinness and cards him. I wasn't sure who I wanted to dump my drink on more...the bartender with the confused look on his face or my husband who was falling to the floor cracking up.

hope548 said...

My husband and I went to get some beer and hotwings last weekend and the waitress repeatedly called me ma'am. She did not call my husband (who is balding and has a red beard peppered with white) sir even once. I am usually mistaken for being younger than I am. I was not demanding in any way, I always treat servers with great respect because I waited tables in college. I hate being called ma'am, but I love dark chocolate!

hope548 said...

Oh and by the way, you are certainly the most famous infertile blogger!

Rachel said...

My husband doesn't understand why I hate being called ma'am so much. He thinks it is respectful. The worst was when I was about 20 and my 17 year old cousin that I only see twice a year called me ma'am. I am pretty sure it is against the law to call your cousin ma'am.

Kathy V said...

Yeah I am not completely fond of Ma'am either. It does make me feel so....old.

What, you aren't listed as famous? I can't believe it! If nothing else, your accomplishmenhts in this community make you famous. You labor over the Friday Blog round up. With great time requirements and a lot of effort, you put together the l and f everyday. You write your column for Blog her all while writing your book and taking care of the Chickienob and Wolvog. Not to mention everything else you do. You are absolutley famous!!!!

loribeth said...

Ms. C is right, you don't hear "ma'am" as much here in Canada as you do in the States, but I have been "ma'amd" & it makes me feel positively ancient. Same whenever I get called "Mrs." Ummm, that's my (step)mother-in-law, isn't it??

I used to frequent a Starbucks in an office tower near mine... it was a bit out of my way, BUT it was staffed with several hot, flirtatious (no "ma'ams," thank God) young baristas (college student types with spiky hair & goatees). I knew I was almost (but not quite) old enough to be their mother, but their smiles & winks over caramel macchiatos made me feel 20 again myself. Until they inevitably moved on. Oh well, it was harmless fun while it lasted.

As for being famous, it's all relative, & you are most certainly famous in our world!! (Why am I reminded of the line in Mel Brooks's version of "To Be or Not To Be" -- "He's world famous... in Poland." lol)

Elizabeth said...

This is one of the most hysterically funny things I have read all day. Funny enough to e-mail to my husband :-)

Kim said...

Ugh! The ma'am thing drives me crazy too - almost as bad as being called lady! FYI - stores that carry baby items sell something called a Piddle Pad - only about $7-8. It is a waterproof pad shaped to fit in a car seat - there is even a flap that comes up between the legs so that the strap there doesn't get wet. There is nothing worse than changing car seat covers! It has saved me many times.

Bea said...

This post didn't smell, by the way. I'd tell you.

I get Ma'am all the time here. It seems to be a cultural thing - it's what you're supposed to call the English-speaking customer. Kind of smacks of colonialism, but I think it's just words now, without any grim classist undertones.


LJ said...

Ma'am. Yeah, don't need that at ALL.

nutmeg96 said...

I disagree. It's worse to be called "sir." Happened to me a couple of months ago! And I have long hair and wear makeup! I'll take ma'am over sir anyday.

Julia said...

Dude, what do you have against the foam?
Ma'am, however, is not right. Do you think calling her a pipsqueak would've helped her get with the program?