I address people with "sir" and "ma'am" quite frequently. I can't help it, it's simply ingrained in my nature. Amazingly enough, I was not trained as a young monkey to say "please", "thank you" or other such etiquette driven ideals. Quite the opposite in fact, it is a reaction to the lack of it's use among denizens of my generation. Unfortunately, it has the unexpected result of making some people feel absolutely archaic! This is not my intention.
If I happen to refer to you with any sort of honorific title please be aware I'm not attempting to instill in you any illusions of grandeur, and you are not in fact an ancient beast, it's merely because I like you and I am paying my respect in the manner I think suits you best. If it truly bothers you I'll stop of course. Just say so. I'm good like that.
This made me think, perhaps I'm not as progressive a person as I perceive myself to be. I suppose the stigma associated with this type of polite behavior is a direct descendant of an oppressive and deceptive by-gone era. I can understand this. It's probably why the number of people in whom I encounter gentlemanly behavior are few and far between. But I will still call you "sir" even if you are rude to me. I am the king of avoiding confrontation, if you couldn't tell already.
That must be part of my problem. I dwell in the notions of chivalry and altruism too much and indeed it backfires sometimes. I make no qualms that mannerisms do carry weight in the minds of others. But I don't wish it to be simply a facade to pull off successfully, I hope it to be an active part of my identity. I would be pleased to be known as a "Gentleman Rebel." Respectability within activism. Dignity coupled with change. Maybe the two aren't so mutually exclusive as we might think. It is a new century after all.
Of course, this might mean I'm in for some serious trouble when my monkey's rebel.