There are few words that spark such a strong reaction among middle-aged women than “ma’am.” Most say it makes them feel old. But what other names do those over 50 never want to hear? We asked our Facebook fans and received a massive response. According to them, here are the top six things you should never call someone 50 or older. What do you think? Let us know in comments.
1. “Honey or Sweetie.”
“I hate being called ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie’ by people younger than me. It’s like I’m a sweet old lady. I guess that’s better than ‘old bat’ though,” wrote Nancye Hernsmith Bright. Being called “honey” also upsets Chrissie Johnson, who wrote: “It sets me off coming from strangers! I don’t know them and, at that rate, they will NEVER know me!!!”
“Old. Call me anything else but that. I’m good.” wrote Lois Rubin Gross.
“I like ma’am actually, but can’t stand ‘madam’. I turned 50 a few months ago so I am still getting used to it… eek,” wrote Nadia Ashkenazy-Jones.
“I hate ma’am, but am suspicious of their motives when they call me ‘miss.’ And I’m neither elderly nor a senior citizen yet!” wrote Kimberly Palmer Wright. (However, Pam Jessurun Williams felt the opposite, writing that: “When in doubt, always use ‘miss’ — we love it! Or ‘assie’ — I like ‘lassie’.”)
Our readers have told us before that every woman should be addressed as “miss;”then it’s the woman’s prerogative to correct the person.
“I hate the word ‘elderly’. Elderly is someone 20 years older than me, no matter how old I am,” wrote Janice Fleming Morgan.
“One of the things that really bothers me is being referred to as ‘guys.’ In restaurants, waiters and waitresses constantly refer to customers this way, saying things like, ‘are you guys ok? can I get anything else for you guys?’ Well last time I checked, I sit to pee, so that rules me out as a ‘guy.’ Whatever happened to proper etiquette such as ‘can I get you anything else? Is everything ok here?’ I am almost 60 years old, not an 18-year-old ‘guy’. You might think of showing a little respect for us older folks, and you might get a better tip if you address me properly,” wrote Lorraine Rosen.