I was unintentionally rude the other day. I was standing in the liquor store, pondering which bottle of wine to buy, when I suddenly became aware that someone was speaking to me. I looked up to see a woman standing at a small table, evidently handing out samples of some promotional cocktail. And evidently, she had said the same thing to me several times:
"I see you don't yet have a drink in your hand, young lady."
It wasn't that I didn't want to sample the signature cocktail. It was just that hearing the words "young lady" automatically made me assume she couldn't possibly be talking to me.
You see, I have officially accepted that I'm well out of "young lady" range and deep into "ma'am" territory. It's not ideal, but it's certainly a vast improvement on "sir," which I was called at the grocery store immediately following the liquor store incident.
The woman brandishing booze was likely using the phrase to sweeten her pitch. However, I will take even insincere flattery with the same delight as when I get carded. Any time a server asks to see my ID, I simply think, "You're adorable."
Or perhaps she was being super ironic, like calling a fat guy "Slim," or a tall guy "Shorty," or a woman on the wrong side of 30 "young lady." I don't know! I didn't detect any sarcasm, just the faint whiff of alcohol and ginger ale.
I turned her down as politely as I could, and then made my wine selection. The guy working the register was not fooled. I didn't even get carded.