There are many professional situations in which I am comfortable being the spouse of another professor in a similar field of Science. For example, if my husband gets an award, I am happy to accompany him to a ceremony and be there, not as a professor or scientist, but as a partner.
And then there are situations that are a bit more odd. For example, my husband recently got an invitation to attend a special faculty dinner in honor of a Famous Person, and the invitation notes that the person hosting the dinner (a colleague of ours) "would like to invite you and your wife to join [list of names of Scientists and wives] at dinner to celebrate this [event/Famous Person]."
I saw the invitation when my husband showed it to me, and I didn't really think anything of it at first because I assumed that I would also get my own invitation, since the dinner party will consist of scientists celebrating another scientist. My husband is being invited because he is a scientist.. I am a scientist.. ergo..
But then later my husband asked me if I'd gotten my own invitation, and we realized that because I hadn't gotten one yet, I wouldn't be getting one. Other faculty (and their spouses) in the department have been invited, but I am not one of those faculty. So, I am either being invited as a spouse, but not as a scientist, and I would not otherwise have been invited; or our colleague hosting the dinner assumes that I don't need a separate invitation because he's already invited me as the wife of someone else he invited.
When we realized that I was an Invited Wife, I just shrugged, but my husband said "Well that's really obnoxious of [our colleague]". Kind of.. but this person is not known for his social skills, so I see no point in being offended.
I was relieved to notice, however, that the special dinner is for a date when I am out of town (doing sciencey things) and so I cannot not attend and wear my special Wife Suit. I don't think I will bother to send my regrets, though -- I will let my husband do that for me.
9 months ago