Dear Urban Diplomat: How do you start a conversation without asking “What do you do?”

Dear Urban Diplomat: How do you start a conversation without asking “What do you do?”

Dear Urban Diplomat: Partner of a partner (Image: yelp dotcom)
 

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I’m a graphic designer, and my husband is a lawyer. He recently made partner at his firm, and we’ve been invited to a slew of parties with his new work friends. The trouble is, I’m tongue-tied when it comes to starting conversations with their spouses, because, as I’ve discovered, they’re mostly stay-at-home husbands and wives. Any advice for getting the ball rolling?
—Partner of a partner, Don Mills

Consider your conundrum a blessing from the conversation gods—i.e., a directive to come up with icebreakers other than the grievously overused “What do you do?” (which is also a passive-aggressive way of establishing socio­economic hierarchy in new settings, but let’s not get into that). Try current events, recently read books or, in a pinch, “How about those Jays?” If the endless talk of overpriced landscapers and peanut allergies is a snooze, politely excuse yourself and go chat with the lawyers.

Send your questions to the Urban Diplomat at urbandiplomat@torontolife.com