I fought my way to the only open seat during rush hour and then felt my lower lip spontaneously protrude as another woman slid right in just before me. Sigh. Such is the life of the public transportation commuter. When the man next to her stood up, she joked, "You don't have to get up; we can both sit here!"
His response was surprising. "No, Ma'am. Not when there's a lady who's standing." He then turned to me and offered his seat, "Ma'am?"
I can't remember the last time I was referred to as Ma'am, especially by someone older than me. When I last checked, I didn't think I looked like a senior citizen, nor was I pregnant (unless the Baskin Robbins bulge of my belly counts). Usually, being handicapped by living a stylishly painful life in heels is not enough to warrant my bootiliciousness coming in contact with a Metro seat. In the slightest state of shock, however, I thanked him and planted my rump.
The lady whose seat I originally coveted observantly stated, "You must not be from here."
"No, Ma'am. But I would still give up my seat for a lady if I lived here."
"That wouldn't last very long."
"Yes, Ma'am, it would. My mama would come find me if I didn't mind my manners."
His fellow visiting companions laughed that, "You just about gave these women a heart attack! You're going to be the talk of the water cooler when they get to work!"
I repeated my thanks, to which he responded, "You just tell them that a Lousiana [he named some animal which I can't remember] showed you some Southern hospitality!"
Then the group proceeded to debate whether or not DC/Maryland/Virginia is considered part of the South, considering their relation to the Mason Dixon line. And then they had another conversation about "Y'all" and some other state that says "Y'allses" or something like that.
Southern gentleman chivalry is something I didn't get to experience in California - that's for sure!