Sunday, 19 July 2009

identity

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.

3 comments:

moz said...

That is nice.

I tend to introduce as "this is Mel Smith, whose partner is X famous person". Just on the basis that the introduction is about the person who's present.

One of the "small community" down sides is that everyone grows up being "Bob's son" or "Sam's daughter" rather than having much of a distinct identity. It can be nice to have the link, but it's also uncomfortable if you aren't too fond of the well-known parent as I was. It's not really the terminology so much as having to live down the reputation. Same problem for the younger siblings at school...

Boganette said...

I'm always introduced as "T's daughter" at work because my dad is in the same industry as I am and he's well-known.

It drives me insane. I've worked in this industry for six years. Most of the time they don't even use my name. Just "T's daughter". It makes me feel like a child on work experience or something.

Bastards.

Hugh said...

I have the same problem, Boganette. Except since my father and I both have the same surname, and it's not a very common one, even people who don't know us personally can figure out we're related. :-(