like my wife…

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colleague: where are you from?

wendy: Reading town at the moment, originally from Bristol

colleague : yes, they’re very similar

wendy: NO! Bristol is beautiful!

colleague (and 2): my wife (girlfriend) is from Bristol, she sounds like you

In my new job I’m being compared to wives or girlfriends at least once a week, I suspect its intended to be flattering, it feels slightly creepy.

I’ve learned that I am not spontaneously told the wife/girlfriend’s name. The ‘wife/girlfriend’ stays defined by their relationship. She is theirs (‘my’) as opposed to belonging to someone-else (‘his’), or even being a free-agent that chooses them (I am ‘her’ lover). Lack of a name makes this person into a role rather than a person, it’s subtly dehumanising. Knowing that I’m rarely spontaneously told the name, I now always ask, to raise the wife/girlfriends status in our conversations to that of the unique and special person that she is:

wendy: what’s her name?

Being compared to sexual partner is creepy, but not quite as creepy as being told they wish their partner was more like me. I’m still new, that kind of comparison may yet come when they know me better.

like my wife…
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