I am again having nostalgia for things I never had. One of those things is a certain amount of formality in life. I never lived in the era of hats and gloves. I don't know what I am missing. And since obviously, a blog is one of the most informal means of communication there is, I'm not practicing what I preach at all times. But I do think there is a time and place for formalities.
One way I get this in every day life is in my day job. We call the judge "your Honor" even at a chance meeting seeing the judge get a gyro for lunch. We use business cards. (I love business cards. They are like calling cards.) We dress up. We frequently refer to people we don't know or don't like as Mr.___ or Mrs. ___. I like all of this.
With our kids, we are following the example of a friend from the South. Her children refer to all adults as Mr. (first name) or Miss (first name). I like this too.
All in all, it's nice at times not to be overly familiar with others, especially those you don't know. Formalities are an elegant solution to maintain a dignified distance when wanted.
As a side note, in languages such as Spanish and French, formalities are built into the language and a handy way of ordering life. Tu or usted? Vous or tu? All in all, another elegant solution.