Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Death to “Ma’am!” (or, Release Your Inner Vixen)

It just hit me: I've been having sex for more years than the cute guy who bags my groceries has been alive. There I was, admiring his behind, visions of scented oils dancing in my head, when he suddenly turns around and flashes me a mouthful of braces. “Ma’am?” he asks, concerned, “Ma’am, are you all right?”

Don’t you “Ma’am” me, whippersnapper!

Up until that moment, I foolishly believed that the world could see past a few extra chins to the Fabulous Vixen I Truly, Truly Am. I mean, I could still be considered “fair game" -- all I would need to do is sling a backpack over my shoulder, wander onto any college campus and I'd blend in. I might even get my own still-fine behind checked out, right? Right?

But then I thought about it: that one-night fling someone may have had after the A Flock of Seagulls concert (ahem!) could have resulted in someone who now shaves, drives a car and votes. And that young stud’s lovely behind? Could have been one I diapered.

When did all this happen, exactly? The buildup is as gradual as a new laugh line, and just as hard to get rid of: I simply don’t know how or when things got this way until I was in the middle of it.

To make matters worse, it turns out that when Mother Nature turns up the heat on our hormones, she winds up scrambling a few brain cells as well. On the same day I was entertaining lewd thoughts about the bag boy, I simply could not remember what time I was supposed to pick my kid up from karate -- or is it music lessons today? Meanwhile, the song stuck in my head is the one Wilma and Betty sang to Fred and Barney when they disguised themselves as car hops -- and I know every word (“Here we come, on the run, with a burger on a bun -- ” Oh, you get the idea). If anything, my long-term memory has gotten sharper -- I could be blindfolded and find every light switch in every house I’ve ever lived in, all the while reciting dialogue from “Gilligan’s Island” -- yet I can’t remember where I put my car keys FIVE MINUTES AGO. It’s as if an invisible finger hit the “Delete” key in my brain, vaporizing vast stores of vital information (the names of co-workers or, for that matter, my children) and letting useless factoids, like the name of the Brady Bunch’s dog, stick like ticks. (It’s Tiger, by the way.)

What is going on?

It’s Mother Nature, is what. You would think a mother would be more sympathetic to women as they age. I ask you: would you put a woman who checks out guys at the checkout stand, who can‘t find her car keys but can sing the entire theme song from “My Mother, the Car”-- in charge of children? Or worse still, teenagers?

Mother Nature would. Mother Nature does.

Mother Nature is not a nice lady.

Well, two can play at that game. What I lack in the way of sex appeal or short-term memory, I more than make up for in attitude. From this day forward, the Fabulous Vixen I Truly, Truly Am will no longer be silenced. And my first act of Fabulous-ness is to declares that the dreaded “Ma’am” is hereby banned from the English language. Can I get an “Amen“ on no “Ma’am’s?“ Truth be told, I’d rather be called “Sir” than “Ma’am.” Yes, well, at least “Sir” connotes a British title and entrance to exclusive clubs and some serious swag. Yeah, now we’re talkin’. Hey, if Elton John can be a “Sir,” I can darn well be one, too.

Ooh, wait, I take that back: call me “Miss Thing.“ According to the Urban Dictionary, “Miss Thing” is a “gender-bending slang term used by male homosexuals,” who, bless them, know everything before the rest of us do. Apparently, it can be used both negatively (“Miss Thing thinks she’s All That!“) and positively as the gay equivalent of “homie” (“Hey, Miss Thing! Look at you, girl!“). I would rather be called “Miss Thing” than “Ma’am” any day. With “Miss Thing,” there’s some wiggle room: was it said out of admiration or spite? Let's face it, there‘s nothing ambiguous about “Ma’am” -- it can only mean, “Hey, you with the cellulite: pay attention.”

But more to the point: I want to be called Miss Thing because, honey, I am All That.

I know, I know: I sound like one of those pathetic older broads trying to sound hip and with-it by using the expressions the kids use today (do they even say “hip” and “with-it” anymore?), but I freakin’ earned that title.

I say: “Miss Thing” or Nothing!

Because if you call me “Ma’am,” frankly, you’ll just get what you deserve: I’ll just freakin’ ignore you.

Either that I genuinely won’t hear you. Miss Thing’s hearing isn’t what it used to be, honey.

*This is what I thought this was the real title of the song, “Release Your Inhibitions.” I like my version better.