i was at a (rather fancy) dinner last night, and was in the position of introducing someone (who i'll call XYZ) to someone else. it turned out that the spouse of XYZ (who i'll call ABC) happened to be better known in that particular context. so my introduction went like this:
"you know ABC who holds such and such positions? well ABC happens to be married to XYZ".
well, XYZ was very happy with this introduction and appreciated it so much more than being introduced as "ABC's spouse". he felt that it gave him much more of an identity in the way that i put it.
of course i'd not made any kind of conscious effort to word the introduction this way, it just happened to come out like that. but maybe it's something that came about from watching other people introduced in a similar manner, and knowing how much they hated it. at present, the people who suffer most from this are my parents, who are invariably introduced and recognised as "anjum's mum" or "anjum's dad" in a variety of settings. they take it good-naturedly, but i know that they have their own identities and very considerable achievements, which tend to be denied with that kind of an introduction.
so it was nice to have done the right thing, be it ever so inadvertantly. and it was nice of XYZ to be so vocal in his appreciation. in fact, it was lovely evening all round.