On Calling Ladies "Lady"

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There's an intersection near my office leading onto Lake Shore Drive that attracts a lot of tomfoolery. Despite a sign with a pedestrian on it with a big circle-slash over it, folks just love to cross the street there, I guess because waiting for the proper walk sign is a drag. I get very impatient with these people because they're disobeying the law but more importantly, getting in the way of my not-being-at-work anymore. Sure, they are in physical danger as a car with the go-ahead could hit them, but more importantly, I just need to go home.

Most of the time when this happens (and it happens a lot) my husband expresses frustration from inside the car but rarely honks, despite my pleas that he do so. People need to learn that they're wrong (and I'm a polite honker, by the way. A simple "Hey!" sounding beep will suffice instead of blaring the horn).

I haven't been feeling that well this week and my day yesterday was not optimal so I was in full-crab mode, so of course it was one of the days when someone decided to be cute and walk where they're not supposed to. Steve as usual was too nice to honk the horn so I took matters into my own hands. I rolled down the window and yelled "That's not a crosswalk, lady!"

"Whoah!" Steve said, as we drove off. "'Lady'!"

Usually after an outburst like that I either feel ashamed for being boorish or kind of proud for standing up for myself, and I felt okay about that last night. Calling a lady "lady" isn't something I've done before. It's a little Jerry Lewis, a little 1950's cabdriver: "Hey lady, you in or you out?" But it's not really rude in and of itself, right? In general, I wouldn't mind being referred to as a lady so just "lady" can't be too bad. It's not as thuggish as "hey you" and it's certainly better than "bitch". If she were a guy, it wouldn't have been weird to say "Hey man, not a crosswalk!"

So I'm working on bringing back "lady", both negatively and positively. I just need to find a polite way to use it next, like "Excuse me, lady, but can you tell me where the ladies' room is?"