I went to breakfast with Carter, Stephanie and Bink this morning. I was staring at my favorite breakfast sandwich when Stephanie asked the waitress for hot sauce.
After the waitress left, I asked Stephanie, "What do you think of Ma'am?"
"Most men," I said, "don't mind Sir, and some even like it, but I don't know any woman that likes Ma'am."
"Ma'am used to bother me when I was a little younger," said Stephanie, "but it doesn't bother me too much now."
"What would you use instead?" said Carter: "Madam?"
"Same thing," said Bink, rudely, "unless you're at a cat house."
Bink believed that if the people around him weren't offended, he wasn't properly speaking his mind. I wondered which one of us invited him.
"How about just, Woman?" I asked.
Bink snickered and Stephanie politely shook her head.
"Some people use Honey, or Sweetie," said Stephanie. "It works depending on who's saying it."
"Yeah?" said Bink. "If it only works for some people, it doesn't solve the problem, does it?"
"Ms was big forty years ago," I said, "but it didn't seem to stay."
"Too political," said Bink.
"Or southern," said Stephanie.
"Yeah," said Bink. "You mix the libbies of the sixties and seventies with the Daughters of the Confederacy and you end up with something everyone's going to hate."
I focused on finishing the last of my BLT, an under-rated breakfast food that's done superbly at Mary's Gourmet Diner.
I wondered if it would taste better without Bink beside me. "You'd think we'd be able to find a word that women like."
"How about Madame?" asked Carter, pronouncing it like the French do?
"I don't know," said Bink. "Americans trying to sound French are like dogs walking on their hind legs. They can do it for a few steps, but they can't do it all the time, and they're just asking people to laugh at them."
"I don't know," said Carter, who seemed to be as annoyed with Bink as I was.
"Yeah," I said. "How about concierge and rendezvous?"
"There's no English word for concierge or rendezvous," said Bink, "and no Frenchman would say we pronounce them properly."
"Alright, Mister Wise Guy," I said. "Why don't you come up with a word to replace Ma'am that women would like?"
"That's easy," said Bink.
Stephanie nodded her head. "Goddess."
I gotta stop having breakfast with Bink.
Speaking of breakfast, this song has been in my head all week. Make it stop!