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Old 03-30-2011, 11:39 AM
 
24,781 posts, read 26,180,157 times
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Well, there is something to your question.

Southerners tend to be a hospitable, welcoming sort. But there are caveats.

1. As a transplant myself, I am amazed at the number of Northerners who move here to seek economic opportunity, and start complaining fifteen minutes after the moving van is unpacked. Weather, schools, how people talk, etc. etc. This is particularly true of Northeasterners. To me, the issue is cultural in nature. Southerners are less apt to complain, whereas it seems woven into the culture elsewhere. So what a Northerner might just see as the normal way of having a conversation, a Southerner might see as a bit of a reflection on where he lives.

2. Southerners have a palpable culture. One embodiment of that is in their manners. If I moved to Japan, for example, I would pay careful attention to the etiquette there. Yet a lot of people move to the South and expect to treat people in precisely the same way that they'd treat people in their hometowns of Cleveland or Bridgeport. And, let me tell you, that dog won't hunt.

I'll give you an example. Last summer, we were at a neighborhood party. Some new folks in the neighborhood from Connecticut came. We were all making polite conversation when the host's son was introduced to this woman. The son answered her questions with a polite, "Yes, Ma'am" and "No, Ma'am." To this, the woman said, "Oh, don't call me 'Ma'am.' It makes me feel so old. The host smiled and said, "Oh, I know you mean well, but please don't undo all my hard work. It's so hard raising children to be polite as it is." The woman in question got the message.

3. Midwesterners and Southerners tend to get along pretty well, because their attitudes towards community and society are generally the same, with minor variations. Midwesterners tend to be a little more loosey-goosey on the manners front.
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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Just curious "ma'am" and "sir" are used in the North right? Who are they used towards? Really old people? Because every time I've used it in the North, I've gotten a similar response as in the story above "Oh, don't call me 'Ma'am. It makes me feel so old." So is it actually used towards old people, or not used at all? I've noticed that cashiers & people in restaurants often use it towards their customers, but never vice versa, like you'd see in the South
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Rome, Georgia
2,255 posts, read 1,783,005 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smtchll View Post
Just curious "ma'am" and "sir" are used in the North right? Who are they used towards? Really old people? Because every time I've used it in the North, I've gotten a similar response as in the story above "Oh, don't call me 'Ma'am. It makes me feel so old." So is it actually used towards old people, or not used at all? I've noticed that cashiers & people in restaurants often use it towards their customers, but never vice versa, like you'd see in the South
I've wondered the same thing, having gotten that response nearly every time up north. Not so much with sir though.
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:58 PM
 
Location: a bar
2,091 posts, read 2,563,736 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smtchll View Post
Just curious "ma'am" and "sir" are used in the North right? Who are they used towards? Really old people? Because every time I've used it in the North, I've gotten a similar response as in the story above "Oh, don't call me 'Ma'am. It makes me feel so old." So is it actually used towards old people, or not used at all? I've noticed that cashiers & people in restaurants often use it towards their customers, but never vice versa, like you'd see in the South
As a mid 30's male from Boston, I wouldn't refer to a woman as "ma'am" unless she was atleast 30 years my elder. Even then I'd think twice about it. I may refer to male of similar age or older as "sir" but's it's more folksy than formal.

Either way, I don't think anyone up here would be offended by either.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Pure Michigan!
2,977 posts, read 3,535,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Well, there is something to your question.

Southerners tend to be a hospitable, welcoming sort. But there are caveats.

1. As a transplant myself, I am amazed at the number of Northerners who move here to seek economic opportunity, and start complaining fifteen minutes after the moving van is unpacked. Weather, schools, how people talk, etc. etc. This is particularly true of Northeasterners. To me, the issue is cultural in nature. Southerners are less apt to complain, whereas it seems woven into the culture elsewhere. So what a Northerner might just see as the normal way of having a conversation, a Southerner might see as a bit of a reflection on where he lives.

2. Southerners have a palpable culture. One embodiment of that is in their manners. If I moved to Japan, for example, I would pay careful attention to the etiquette there. Yet a lot of people move to the South and expect to treat people in precisely the same way that they'd treat people in their hometowns of Cleveland or Bridgeport. And, let me tell you, that dog won't hunt.

I'll give you an example. Last summer, we were at a neighborhood party. Some new folks in the neighborhood from Connecticut came. We were all making polite conversation when the host's son was introduced to this woman. The son answered her questions with a polite, "Yes, Ma'am" and "No, Ma'am." To this, the woman said, "Oh, don't call me 'Ma'am.' It makes me feel so old. The host smiled and said, "Oh, I know you mean well, but please don't undo all my hard work. It's so hard raising children to be polite as it is." The woman in question got the message.

3. Midwesterners and Southerners tend to get along pretty well, because their attitudes towards community and society are generally the same, with minor variations. Midwesterners tend to be a little more loosey-goosey on the manners front.
Do you think that this has to do with the fact that there are so many people with Southern roots in the Midwest? You would be amazed at how many Southerners or children of Southerners live here in Michigan, mainly because of the migration in the mid-20th century to work in the factories here. I've never heard of a great wave of Southerners moving to the Northeast at any time in history, and I can't imagine that there are many people there today with Southern roots. Culturally and politically, the two regions are so different, and so many of the posts here on C-D attest to that.

BTW, I am a woman in my mid-forties and I take no exception to being called "M'am", in fact, I find it very charming.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by canudigit View Post
Do you think that this has to do with the fact that there are so many people with Southern roots in the Midwest? You would be amazed at how many Southerners or children of Southerners live here in Michigan, mainly because of the migration in the mid-20th century to work in the factories here. I've never heard of a great wave of Southerners moving to the Northeast at any time in history, and I can't imagine that there are many people there today with Southern roots. Culturally and politically, the two regions are so different, and so many of the posts here on C-D attest to that.

BTW, I am a woman in my mid-forties and I take no exception to being called "M'am", in fact, I find it very charming.
I know so many people here in TN who were born in Michigan, used to live there, or have parents from there. They aren't recent transplants either (as Memphis doesn't have many transplants in general), it seems that most of them left Michigan awhile ago. Most of these people are very Southern now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff Clavin View Post
As a mid 30's male from Boston, I wouldn't refer to a woman as "ma'am" unless she was atleast 30 years my elder. Even then I'd think twice about it. I may refer to male of similar age or older as "sir" but's it's more folksy than formal.

Either way, I don't think anyone up here would be offended by either.
I say "ma'am" to almost any woman, unless they are obviously younger than me. I even say it when ordering at a drive-thru. "Sir" is different. I use it in more formal or professional settings. It sounds too military-ish to use all the time with any older male, so I dont use it nearly as much as "ma'am"
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Pure Michigan!
2,977 posts, read 3,535,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smtchll View Post
I know so many people here in TN who were born in Michigan, used to live there, or have parents from there. They aren't recent transplants either (as Memphis doesn't have many transplants in general), it seems that most of them left Michigan awhile ago. Most of these people are very Southern now.
Cool, I didn't know that.
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:05 PM
 
Location: a bar
2,091 posts, read 2,563,736 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smtchll View Post
I say "ma'am" to almost any woman, unless they are obviously younger than me. I even say it when ordering at a drive-thru. "Sir" is different. I use it in more formal or professional settings. It sounds too military-ish to use all the time with any older male, so I dont use it nearly as much as "ma'am"
Now would I be considered rude if I didn't say "ma'am"?
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:21 PM
 
3,544 posts, read 4,668,463 times
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Originally Posted by Cliff Clavin View Post
Now would I be considered rude if I didn't say "ma'am"?
umm, well if the woman was much older, it would sound rude, if she was closer to your age, it might not be taken as rude at all, or it might, just depends. I dont think it's rude though. But for me, simply saying "yes" in certain situations just doesn't sound right. If i dont say "yes ma'am" I would say "yes please" or something else attached to "yes" And if i'm in an informal setting, it's always "yeah" Maybe I'm just weird, but "yes" by itself doesn't sound right to me, same with "no"
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:38 PM
 
Location: a bar
2,091 posts, read 2,563,736 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smtchll View Post
But for me, simply saying "yes" in certain situations just doesn't sound right. If i dont say "yes ma'am" I would say "yes please" or something else attached to "yes" And if i'm in an informal setting, it's always "yeah" Maybe I'm just weird, but "yes" by itself doesn't sound right to me, same with "no"
Sure I agree. I'm the same way. Always "yes please", "no thank you" etc. The "ma'am" part just wouldn't pop off the tongue easily for me. I'd have to make a conscious effort to get it out.
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