It's a very polite, very Southern thing to say. I have now lived in the South for consecutively 6 years, this weekend is my Southern anniversary.
I love to hear people say "yes, ma'am" to older ladies. But at what point do you become a "ma'am"?
I know when I became a wife because I said "yes".
I know when I became a Mama (also very Southern) because I gave birth.
I know when I became an adult because I turned 18.
But when do you become a "Ma'am"?
Does it happen when you become a mother? Because then there would be some 14 year olds being called ma'am and that just seems crazy.
Does it happen when you get married? Then there would be some 18 year olds called ma'am.
The other day at the pool, some big boys (teenagers) were playing with the rings my kids dive after. I went over to them and said, "Hey can we have those back? They belong to my little kids."
The very polite, nice teenage boy looks at me and said, "yes, ma'am"
WHEN DID I BECOME A MA'AM?!?!?!
Because let's be honest, I would rather not be a Ma'am. Makes me feel like I'm old and wrinkly...guess maybe to that 17 year old, I am old...but I'm not wrinkly, am I?