Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pleased to Meet You

I have a bad habit of overthinking things that could be classified as unimportant and then making big decisions without really thinking about them. My college decision was based on the golf coach. The golf coach who retired before I started college. We bought our house (or the dirt where we would have the house built) on the first morning of our house hunt. We didn't even make it to the suburb where we were planning to look.

One of the seemingly unimportant things that I spend lots of time thinking about is how to introduce Kate when she meets people that I already know. Most people would classify this as unimportant or just reactionary. Most people would just say "Hi (insert acquaintance name), this is my wife, Kate." I've never really liked this approach. It seems old-fashioned and possessive to me. Like it's some kind of code for saying "This is the woman who cooks the family supper while I tend to the land." Also, of all of the things that she does and is, I don't think being "my wife" is the most impressive. It isn't something she'd put on her resumé. So "this is my wife, Kate" is out.

I've also tested out "Hi (insert acquaintance name), this is Kate." What I've found is that when I avoid using any label/title, people start thinking that you have some kind of complicated relationship that is too complex to sum up in one word. Like we're some kind of Jerry and Elaine or Ross and Rachel or Dawson and Joey or Seth and Summer couple. This is clearly not the case. So using no title/label won't work.

Lately I've gone with "Hi (insert acquaintance name), this is Kate, my wife. This method puts her in front of the possessive "my wife" but the downside is that usually as soon as someone hears the name, they don't wait through the comma pause to hear the title - they just usually go in for the awkward handshake or side-hug. So even though this is the method that I'm going with right now, I'm not convinced that it's the best.

There are definitely worse introduction techniques. Kate and I had a former coworker who always led with "This is my Beautiful Wife [pause] (insert wife's name). That one was really bad. Whenever I'd see her around the office, I'd just think of her husband's introduction and I'd throw up a little bit. We had another coworker who was in her mid 30s and thought that the term 'boyfriend' seemed too high school, so she'd just refer to him as her 'partner'. That one would lead to people making false assumptions about her sexual orientation. I guess 'partner' is one of those words that no longer means what it used to mean - sort of like 'urban' no longer has anything to do with living in a city.

So if you've met me and you haven't met Kate, just come right up and say "oh you must be Kate - I've heard so much about you." Or I guess you can just stand there and watch me struggle through the introduction - that's probably what I'd do. If you have any suggestions on this one, let me know. Even if you're suggestion is for me to stop thinking about stuff like this.


Al Iverson said...

You have a wife?

. . . said...

How about spousal unit, partner in crime, or as my mother-in-law likes to say...beautiful about throwing up in my mouth.

Jessica said...

I love three things about this post:

1) The following loaded sentence...

"Also, of all of the things that she does and is, I don't think being "my wife" is the most impressive."

2) Dawson and Joey

3) Seth and Summer

Pisces75 said...

What if you said...This is Kate, I am her husband. Then it is like she owns you. Which we all know is the truth

bojengle said...

is your coworker being called beautiful bride bad because she is ugly?

what about "this is kate, my better half" or "this is my better half, kate"

Caitlin said...

When me and Kate's parents were dating, so for the 89892048390 years before they got married, they would refer to each other as "friend". Hi, this is my friend, Mary Jo. Or, this is my friend, Bill. I remember being about 9 and telling my dad this was insanely strange, but I got the same response as your co-worker, that "boy/girl friend" sounded juvenile. Since they've been married for 8 years though and were "friends" for 6 years before that, I suppose maybe they're onto something?

p.s. introducing just your wife...wait til you have to introduce Bill, your wife's mom's "friend" who is now her husband.

or try explaining john peters.

Neal said...

what if you switched it around like this:
"kate, this is "insert acquaintance name>"
is this even an option?