Can We Talk #4



I’m a little cranky.  I’ll cop to it right up front.  And you know what that means…

We need to talk again.

The subject of this particular conversation is:

Things You Just Never Really Want to Hear

1) Me, to my husband, when getting ready for an evening out  “Do you think I should straighten my hair or wear it curly?”

My husband “Whatever’s faster”

WHATever’s faster???

2) Waiter in a nice restaurant, removing an empty cocktail glass “Whoa! Looks like you needed that. Can I get you another?” (that was actually to my friend, but still)


I’ve saved the worst for last.

It’s almost too embarrassing to share actually. But I will.

3) A valet helping you (OK, me) get out of our car, with hand outstretched, “May I help you Dear?”

DEAR!! D  E  A  R  oh  my   gawwwwd  SERIOUSLY?

I told a younger friend of mine and she said “don’t worry-I was called ‘Mrs’ the other day”

Like that’s half as bad. That’s not even close my friend. ‘Mrs’ is like a fricking wolf whistle compared to “Dear”

Am I right??!

OK, I shared.

Your turn now.  Try and beat that.  We all know misery loves company  😉

I’m off to yoga. I haven’t been in months.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 5.00.49 PM


I hope there will be somebody there to help me out of my car.



Can We Talk  posts 2 and 3


Photos both via Pinterest.



  1. hilarious and oh yeah I’ve been there . . . just thinking if that’s you ^ in the green outfit ~ who helps you outta that position ?

  2. Well in my land they ma’am you to death. The first time it is shocking but now that I am 64 and teaching kindergarten I have heard it all. One girl did my portrait with railroad tracks streaming from my mouth. And I don’t do needles around my mouth. No ma’am.

  3. OK, I can so beat that! I live in the Caribbean and down here they call you Mommie.
    Yes, it matters not if you are 30 or 60 or 90, they will say ” Mommie can I help you with that?” That makes you feel at least 100! It’s a sign of respect. Right.

  4. Ma’am stings a little too. I don’t feel old enough to be placed in the ma’am category. You sure as hell don’t look like a “dear”!

  5. Hey Slim, I am just about to start the 5:30pm class, so put that cocktail down and come on down. I am running out to the parking lot to see if you need any help. MoYo and I miss you!! xoxo dz

  6. The first time I was called ma’am threw me for a loop. Was I really old enough to be called ma’am. Guess by an early 20 something I was.

  7. I am sure others have heard this: “Miss”, and “Young lady”.
    ; (
    Lately, the courtesy clerks at the grocery store caution me about how heavy my grocery bag is (with the Julia Child saying on it). THIS, after I just swam my mile, fresh and glowing from my workout. AND, after putting on all the unguents to keep up the skin and hair!
    And another thing, didn’t happen to me, but was out to dinner, nice French place, and I overheard the waiter say to the person across from me: “Oh, drinking your dinner?”
    : (

  8. I was shopping with my 86 year old mother and slim blonde 54 year old sister and the sales clerk said “your daughter is wanting your opinion on what she has on…”
    I am 59! I cringed…I think I have a right to be a wee bit upset.

  9. I had a guy at the cash register ask for my I.D. once and then look at me, look at the photo, look at me and say “looks like your having a bad hair day today “, I told him men had been shot for saying things not as offensive as that!

  10. Dear?? No wonder you’re cranky. I recently had a waitress call me sweetie. I told her off in no uncertain terms (as in “I’m sorry do I know you? Please don’t call me or anyone else sweetie. No one likes that.), left no tip and gave the restaurant a bad review on Yelp – talk about getting cranky!

  11. Not as bad as being called Mam when you
    We’re in your 30’s!
    Of course that was
    another Century ago.

  12. “you know we have a senior citizen discount” WHAT! I don’t even have a gray hair or a line on my face yet! Seriously, ruined my week. Ruined everyone else week as well, as I constantly asked “how old do I look to you” 😉

  13. I was told by someone once, I train lots of older ladies! Seriously!!!! I am 51 and ride four to five days a week. In the best shape I have ever been in! Not ready for the old retirement home yet!

  14. I also hate ma’am. Granted it’s not as bad a ‘dear’ but I was once ma’am’d by a young male grocery store checker. I was so overwhelmed by the experience that when he started ringing up my wine purchases I told him I that I was going to have to go home and drink an entire bottle just to get over it. I thought he was going to die 🙂

  15. Well–how do you feel when you reach the grocery clerk at checkout and she says” I was sure to give you your SENIOR discount” which was accurate but completely uncalled for.

  16. Just thinking about those “incidents” raises my blood pressure, but OK: drawing up to a fine restaurant, thinking that I am looking “young for my age” and “lively” and have the attendant at the sidewalk say:” Let me help you out of the car”. The thought of being the life of the party coming up inside — that balloon flying high – deflated on the spot.

    Another quick story printed by Staying overnight at a Chicago hotel (“my city”), I was unaware that Steve Jobs had died. It is 6:30 in the morning and I am on a run down Michigan Avenue, crossing to the Apple Store side, trying to flag down a cab. Suddenly the sidewalk is a sea of cables, networks interviewing, in front of the store – but I didn’t know or care why. I wanted the cab. I tripped — how could I not — and I fell into the large floral tributes that banked the entire front entrance, purse flying and now posies covering half my body. I instantly became a hippie at a shrine to Steve Jobs without knowing it, lying face down, arms spread wide in homage, not able to get up, embarrassed – well, you know the rest. People said the usual: “Are you all right?” (Am I all right? I am bleeding from my face and legs, so NO!) Men were much more attentive — the one high point: “Can I help you up? Here is your handbag.” Photos were taken of me face down amidst all the flowers of his shrine — but stunned, hurt, they were filming a woman who didn’t know Steve Jobs, had no idea he had died, and had been trying to flag a cab. The cables, the hoopla, resulted in an emergency room visit with ambulance — which tended to vy with the reverence that was trying to be shown in early morning for Steve Jobs.

    P.S. I wrote my article on a hospital computer while I was pretty out of it, and WOWOWOW. com published it by noon. It was so relevant, up to the moment, that it got RAVES. And I could walk without crutches in about 6 weeks – how about that?

  17. Oh, and another thing, a husband thing.
    When asked about a fashion/putting myself together choice for an outing,
    he will say: “you look good no matter what you do”.
    What does that mean?
    Don’t try?
    Bass ackward compliment?
    I think it’s akin to the Q: Do these pants make me look fat?
    A no win for our beloveds.
    Thanks for the mini-rant, SP

  18. As I am walking into a furniture store…”Can I help you little lady?” LITTLE LADY?? I’m 5’7″. I am not little and I am NOT a “lady”. ARGH!

  19. “Not a problem….”
    This expression is horrifically abused and misused in social, shop keeper, client conversation that I know people forget what they are stating. Examples:
    “May I also have mustard with my burger?”
    “Not a problem…”
    And I think to myself…’what is the problem with mustard’? Or ‘Is it a problem I am asking for mustard?’

  20. I did have a drive by “ma’am”ing the other day. SO tragic. And this evil little woman with the most unfortunate hair said to me while shopping – “don’t go. let me give you something to treat your eyes.” Apparently, in my mid-40s’ I look like the crypt keeper … sigh … hang in there, girls, hang in there…

  21. No……try “Ma’am”. Is that how you spell the evil salutation? “I gave you the seniors special price today, ma’am. the first time you hear that word is as unforgettable as the last time you were asked to show ID when ordering cocktails. Sheesh!

  22. 1) Hairdresser referred to me as ‘Dear.’ I was 55. I thought I looked like my younger old self. I guess I was wrong…more like my older self. It was just awful.

    2) Checker at supermarket never could make up her mind about applying senior discount on Wednesdays. Some days she gave me the discount without asking and other days, she asked if I was eligible for any discounts.

    3) Absolute WORST is when I am called by my FIRST name by youngsters at the bank or customer service center reps. I am old now, and I don’t like the informality.

    Best moment was at Gelson’s Santa Barbara when a youngster bagging groceries referred to me as ‘Miss.’ Bless his heart.

    And my third and maybe biggest

  23. “May I help you”? Would have been sufficient, maybe what the guy really wanted to say was “May I help you honey, and can I get your number”? Yes, I am sure that is what he meant to say!

  24. Dear? What, are you kidding?! You look way young. I don’t like being called any of the typical names youngsters call women they think are of a certain age. Miss is bull—-, and mamm simply irritates me. Now that I think of it, I’m not sure what I want the people that don’t know me but address me, to call me. I say we smile and dismiss the ignorance of those that can’t buy a clue.
    I hope your weekend is wonderful.

  25. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Welcome to the club, beautiful! Years ago I was walking thru Ceasar’s Palace to see a prize fight. My sister was a step behind me and she heard a guy say to his wife, “Look! There’s Bo Derek.” The wife said, “She wishes!”

  26. Walk into a salon in Beverly Hills to splurge on a haircut with a fabulous stylist I’ve known in the past… Upon seeing me, he greets me with a “Oh! Are you here for color?” He doesn’t do color. 🙁

  27. I have to say this post and the comments gave me the best laugh tonight. All too familiar! And whatever happened to Ms.?? Does no one use that anymore?? I also love the makeup people ready to sell me all extreme anti-agers! Okay already. Don’t feel bad about the husband comment. My husband’s usual response is to going out is, “What you have on looks good.” Oh golly be still my heart! :p xx

  28. It’s happened to me at least twice! Being told that I remind them of their mom. Really….you gotta say it out loud… :/

  29. Oh yeah! I am still trying to recover from a FB post where my sister-in-law’s friend posted to her wall that “it was nice meeting your “mother-in-law” while on our trip to Tahoe”. Mother-in-law! I’m her sister-in-law! To make matters worse, the whole family thought it was hilarious and the dumb jerk didn’t even have a clue that he owed me an apology for his “slip of the tongue”. Talk about cranky! I was fuming for days!

  30. I never received “Can we talk” #1, 2, or 3. And I hate for the waiter/waitress to ask “Are you still working on that?” “No, I am eating it.”

  31. Love, love, love Stubbs and Wootton!
    YSR was out of this world in every sense of the word: ambience ( lower patio), food, service and wine. Can’t wait to return! What an evening! Xx

  32. Slim, the first time I was called ma’am was when I was TWENTY-SIX and looked 18! by a grocery boy. I said, “Excuse me? It’s MISS.” I come from Minnesota, ma’am is reserved for older ladies, as mostly like is true in Canada, as well.

    That’s all I can think of right now. DEAR, smh!

  33. It was always Mademoisselle this and Mademoisselle that. I didn’t consider the more proper reference to married/unmarried, my husband usually with me, but rather interpreted it more as age-related. Then two, 2, years later, EVERYONE greeted me as Madame. The first time it was as though a rock thrown to my forehead! Everyone had collectively aged me.

  34. I’m right there with ALL the woman who CANNOT STAND Ma’m. Hate it.
    I have finally learned to NOT ask my husband “how do I look”? Usually the answer is very, very positive. However, when it’s not, all my efforts and mojo go flying out the window, and I feel that I need to start over again although it’s time to GO! UGH!!!
    Thanks for the yoga idea…moi aussi.

  35. Funny, funny stuff! Speaking of *petiquette*, does anyone know of a gentle way to let your husband know his style selections are…um…hideous?

    • Go shopping with your husband, and buy him a subscription to GQ! If your husband is wearing stripes with prints he might very well be color deficient (color blind). My father had severe red/green color deficiency and we always had to make sure his clothing choices didn’t clash. Good Luck!

  36. there are so many funny stories, I was at a fashion week party in Paris many years back, Madonna was coming so I was asked to wait to make sure she had easy access, I was dressed in a fabulous white sequin outfit (it was late 80s) and a famous stylist came out, she thought I was the car valet!!!! depressing…

  37. While waiting in line to purchase wine at the liquor store, the cashier carded everyone ahead of me. When it was my turn, I pulled out my license and he said, “Oh, that won’t be necessary, Mam.”

  38. I live in the south so mam is pretty commonplace. I ignore it. I have a neighbor and dear friend who is 7 years younger. People often ask if we are sisters. Not once, not twice, but three times people have asked if I was her mother. I’m in my late 40s. Seriously people? Needless to say, I don’t go shopping with her anymore. I’ve also been asked by the grocery store clerk if I wanted my senior discount. I was about to go into a deep depression until my very youthful looking iron womanesque friend told me she was asked too. The same caution that applies to asking someone if she is pregnant — unless you are absolutely positive she is — should apply in all of these cases. I have to LOL when my sons ask me questions like: Were toothbrushes invented when you were young? How did you get to school when you were a kid? Were cars even around then? Enough said.

  39. When I was in my 20s and married I looked like a Miss (or Mademoiselle), but the correct form of address for a married woman is Ma’am (or Madam). It is a polite form of address, and so as decades go by I never feel it is a put-down. I prefer “ma’am” to other forms that are well-intentioned but too familiar coming from strangers–honey, sweetie, dear. Now that I’m in my 40s, I’d rather be called Miss by someone who is older and Ma’am by someone who is younger.

  40. Okay Slim, I am always a hard worker at the office. Whenever I work hard, my co-workers always tell me to:”Calm down! You are going to get a heart attack!” I hate being told to “Calm down” especially when I am in a hurry! 🙁

  41. I am a slim, 5ft nothin, athletic 61 year old, with cute gray hair that I let show. (Everyone my age has it, but most don’t let it show). I was at the doctor’s office getting a physical. She asked me if I had fallen lately. I thought back and then said, “Oh Gosh, yes! It was in March, I went head over heels over head over heels, I tumbled and tumbled!! Arms and legs flying everywhere.” The doctor looked up at me from her paperwork. I saw the look of horror on her face and so to help her out and let her know I was responsible, I added, “Thank God I had my helmet on.” She said, “Helmet?” I said, “Yes, I was on a ski slope going 50 mph and caught an edge.” She sighed with relief, looked at me differently, made a few scratches on the paper and said, “So you ski?” As I left the office I looked around the waiting room and realized that I could ski the pants off of all those octogenarians!! ha!

  42. I was in a restaurant having a salad for lunch and about seven months pregnant. When the waitress took my plate away, she announced to the table, “Boy, she really scarfed that down!”

  43. I’m from the south and think y’all need to lighten up. Children here are taught to address any adult as ma’am or sir. It’s considered polite behavior and learning one’s manners. If you’re old enough to have children then anyone younger is likely to call you ma’am. And don’t be surprised if older waitresses call you dear or sweetie. But for a man to call you dear? Only my husband calls me that when he’s being a sweetie :-).

  44. There is a lot of wisdom here…
    Am enjoying it as I recover from a flu shot.
    I’ll add a positive one.
    Waitress at our local diner calls me M’Lady.
    I love it.
    Very Carson-esque.
    Her Ladyship indeed!

  45. What a fun thread! The railroad tracks wins, in my mind. It also reminded me of a time when I worked at a non-profit that served mostly native American youth. Although I was a clerical worker, everybody pitched in when it was time to get the kids bundled up to go home. As I knelt to tie a little boy’s hood, he reached out and stroked my upper lip and said in a wondering voice: “Hairrrrrrrr.” That was the days before wax and I just used bleach. Also around the age of 26 as in the above story. I mention the little boy was native because they don’t have much facial hair, especially the ladies.

  46. sigh…After being called, lady, ma’am, dear, darling, miss, mrs, and the one that I hear with a grate that makes me want to screech back…’little lady’…oh, sure state the obvious! I’ve theorized that at a certain age, there must exist a big, fat “O” on our faces that we cannot see, and that stands for OLD. The skin is great, the makeup ok, the hair not too done, the dress, well, youthful, I tell myself, but there is the quintessential something that glares out of our being that betrays, goes against the grain in each of us, dismissing that we, each, feel 20-something in our hearts and souls. My mother confirmed that inner-self of youth when she was 85. Don’t let yourself feel besmirched at the seemingly distasteful remarks of those who haven’t been ‘there’ yet…just smile, all the while wanting to scratch their eyes out while uttering the perfect comeback.
    Let us know when you figure out what that is!

  47. I’m from the south, so ma’am doesn’t phase me. In fact, it’s actually considered good manners when it’s said to you here. Isn’t it funny the difference in geography! But “dear”? Well, oh dear. That is a hard one to take. HOWEVER, it’s not the random store clerk or waiter who has dropped the most painful “truth bombs” on me ~ those were innocently said by my children when they were little! They weren’t trying to be rude, just being honest, but OH sometimes their honesty would hit waaaay too close to home. And with perfect timing for your post today ~ I saw a funny segment on CNN today about a Mom who has done a short YouTube video of all the “truths” {insults} her little 4-year-old daughter has said to her. Sad to say, I heard my children say some of the very same “truths”. Here’s the link ~ maybe watching it will cheer you up after hearing too many ma’ams and dears!

  48. Rudeness knows no boundaries.
    I was “OFFERED” a senior citizen discount today at the drug store! I didn’t belt the gal, but did sign up for the 25% off for my entire purchase.
    Her loss…she didn’t ask me to prove I was old enough. I went straight home to a stiff drink. OK, 2 of them.

  49. Okay I’m a guy so maybe I’m intruding but I was walking through Bloomies the other day – their perfume section – and a beautiful woman steps into my path and says “oh sir! You don’t have to go through life looking like that! Let me give you something for those wrinkles …” About “ma’am” I learned that in the military but I unlearned it as soon as my wife heard me say it … I now say “Miss” to every female I meet … but I still hold doors open and stand when my wife leaves the table at a cafe …

  50. I worked many years in Texas and Ma’am was the standard, no matter a woman’s age. When I moved to the West and answered my first female work-related phone call, I was verbally attacked by the woman I called Ma’am out of what I thought was politeness. Never made that mistake again. I’m about to turn 50 and I really don’t care how I’m addressed– I always appreciate somebody making an effort rather than the sub-human grunts emitted by the twenty-somethings of today. Or they say nothing at all, never thanking you for your patronage. THAT is an affront to me.

    **Here is my question– if women hate being called “Ma’am” so much, how do you prefer to be addressed? And please keep in mind that these are probably people in the service industry who don’t have the time or memory capacity or desire to learn your name!

    • Probably the business one is working for should set the policy…
      I waited tables while working my way through college.
      I made a point of learning the names of our clientele.
      If not that, would a simple “May I help you?” and eye contact do?

  51. Several years ago when I asked my husband how I looked , he responded with the following: “I don’t know what to say. If I tell you great/beautiful/stunning you always say I’m telling you what you want to hear. This is a no-win situation so I’m not answering that question ever again!” He was more than right. He nailed it. I did respond that way to his compliments but one of the nicest things about aging is reaching that stage where you know exactly what you look like and feel GOOD about it – absolutely no need to ask – you just know. ( He compliments me all the time now without my asking. Life is good!)

  52. well living in brentwoodi am invisable at 58…really you could walk right through me….at the gym…an actress…maybe 10years younger…said after she bumped into me….sorry ma’am you ok…..then once in tiny wonderful store no room in dressing room and the sales woman asked if i wanted to share….with CINDY CRAWFORD…uh no ..i’m good..just trying to hang on here… just have to keep going forward…geez….

    • Yes Leslie, I’m 58 also and I can totally relate to that “invisible” feeling. I am starting to get used to it now but, it is still strange. On the upside, being “incognito” is okay sometimes! On the downside, getting “older” can be challenging in so many ways. We’re all just trying to hang in there and do the best we can. Take Care!

  53. Live in fear if you dare call me DEAR.

    Can so relate… I was all of twenty (way back when) with an ear infection so acute I ended up in the ER. Agony!! The nurse assisting me was obviously having a long night and her patience must have been running thin. She was abrupt and cold which did not bode well with me given all I was after was someone who would knock me out or take away the pain. She asked me a question and ended it with a condescending DEAR. It was like a bell ringing in my already overloaded ear… I angrily chimed back to her “Don’t ever call me DEAR!” My now husband was a little taken aback at my snappy response, however it did the trick and her attitude shifted. To this day if we ever hear a “dear” we are taken back to that ER room and have a laugh.

    Love this post Slim.

  54. I take care of my friend’s parrots when they’re traveling – every morning when I feed them, they look at me and say, “Hello, Love!” Does it get any better than that?

  55. I have never laughed so much in a long time. Very funny! When I was 30 something and the Knoxville Worlds Fair was on I said to my mom, 57 at the time, “Mom you get in with a senior citizens discount, since you’re past 55!” OMG the look on her face! My granddaughter got me back the other day. We were out front making a scarecrow your our Fall display and I said “I wish I had some ol men’s garden gloves for the hands.” (7 years old.). She said, “All we have around here is old women’s garden gloves”. Grandma, I bet you were smiling up in heaven!

  56. This comment may make you feel positively delighted about being called, “Dear”. My sister and I were dining together one evening at a lovely restaurant while on vacation. The server addressed my sister first, ” Would you like to start with an appetizer, Miss?” She ordered her food and then the server turned to me and said, ” And what would you like, Sir?” I looked at my sister when he walked away and said, “Did he call me, Sir?” We then had a fit of laughter over this because my sister and I look so much alike we have often been asked if we are twins. The server apologized when he brought our food and said he didn’t know why he called me a man.

  57. Then again, when I think about it, I am 70…so maybe that’s why…but I still like it!

Would love to hear from you!