David introduced me and his dad to his teacher, "Mme Weir, je vous present ma mere Bonnie et mon pere Joaquim."
Mme Weir smiled and complimented him, "Bravo, David". He glowed. She began to talk to us, but I could see David had something more to say.
"Excuse me, Mme. I think David wants to say something else."
[deep breath. throat clearing.] "Bonnie et Joaquim, Je vous present Mme Weir."
It was my turn to smile. I remember Dr. Paterson, my speech teacher, teaching me how to introduce people. I remember there was some rule about who you introduce first. I also think the rule depended on social status. And making social status judgments were both hard for me and seemed just wrong. Then I think I was told I am to let them know about something they have in common to help get the conversation going.
When I am especially nervous, I remember there are rules, I have a vague recollection of them, and this doubles my panic. Which person is supposed to be introduced first? Was it, "Dr. Patterson, I would like you to meet my parents Arta and Kelvin. Mom and dad, this is Dr. Patterson" ... or was it "Mom and dad, I would like you to meet Dr. Patterson. Dr. Patterson, these are my parents, Arta and Kelvin."?
- Who is more important here? My parents or my teacher?
- What do they have in common? They both shop at Safeways. Hmm. Not the best conversation starter. They both know me. Nope, that conversation aint goin anywhere. They are all parents. They probably already know that.
- Brain freeze. Oh, man. What is my teachers name again?
So, Bravo to David. He remembered his job, and persisted until it was done.
The teacher said they had practiced in school as a class. She had reminded them that if they introduced their parents as "mom and dad", that she would have to say, "Nice to meet you mom and dad". That would sound really silly since they won't be her parents.
Now it was David's turn to smile. I think grade three is going to be a great year for David.
PS: If you are looking for details on introduction etiquette, try http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/08/10/how-to-make-introductions-like-a-gentleman/.