Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Importance of Being Earnest...and not Just Another Tom, Dick, or Harry

What's in a name?  Well, pretty much everything.  It's one of the first things people find out about you and it's a symbol of your identity.

Skyping Baby Names

And I have just discovered that I have been calling one of my blogger buddies by the wrong name for the longest time.  What an unpardonable mistake!  For years now, yes, literally years, I have been calling Oreneta, of Oreneta Aground, Orneta.  Why?  I have no idea.  "Come on", you might think, "how could you possibly miss that?  After all, it's right there, in huge letters at the top of her blog!"

Yeah, yeah, I know, stupid of me.  And that's why today I wanted to apologize to Oreneta.  So, sorry about that Oreneta, I swear it'll never happen again.  I don't even know if that is your real name or just a blog name, but real or not, it's still your name.  And I should have gotten it right.

Because names are important.  Real names, blog names, company names.  They're all important.  Much thought goes into them.  And people want you to remember them.

How people treat you partly depends on your name.  I read once, long ago, in one of my psych classes, that having an "unpopular" name can mean getting lower grades at school and not being selected for jobs as often as those who have more "attractive" names. So a Haggetha might not do as well in school as a Britney...although that might also be due to other, ehem, behavioral factors as well. See, I'm jumping to conclusions already.  For all I know, not all Britney's are sluts and I'm pretty sure not all Haggethas spend their time mixing up eye of newt and toe of frog in cauldrons, but those are the first things that pop into my head when I hear those names.

So, names do affect how people see you.

Same goes for being good-looking versus being, well, ugly. So, if you're handsome, well-built, and your name is, oh, I dunno, say Jake, you'll have a much better chance of being captain of the football team than some scrawny guy named Howard, who has buck teeth and whose ears stick out.  Sorry Howard, I guess you could always become a stand-up comedian.  But change your name first.

How unfair is that.

Unfair but true.  So, you don't want to have an "ugly" or "weird" name, but you also don't really want to be just another Tom, Dick or Harry.  You want a name that sets you apart....but not too much.  Unfortunately, you usually don't get much say in the matter, since it would be difficult going around without a name until you're old enough to have an opinion.

My kids are old enough to have an opinion on the matter.  And they have decided that they should get to choose their names now.  Catgirl has added Sophie onto her real-life name because her sisters both have middle names, so she wants one too.  In fact, she's considering legally changing it when she gets the chance.  And Ro, who found out that the neighbor girl named her pet turtle after her, decided that she refuses to share a name with a reptile.  So, I asked what we should call her now.  Since her new mobile phone number has 007 in it, I joked that now she's a secret agent like James Bond, and she said, "Well, how about Secret Agent Mimi?"  So, from now on Ro will be SAM.  And Princess V., not wanting to be left out, said she also wants a new name, at least on my blog.  After much discussion with SAM, and a few inappropriate suggestions, such as Pulguita (little flea),  she picked Ultraviolet.  My husband once said she was a "Microvio", which in Spanish sounds like "microbio", meaning microbe.  She thought that one was amusing, but understandably doesn't want it as her name, because who wants to be compared to a microscopic blob-like creature.

So, now we have a Catgirl-Sophie, but you can still just call her Catgirl, a SAM, and an Ultraviolet.  And now we need a new blog name for my husband, because he should be in on the fun too.  I think I'll call him The Professor.  Kind of appropriate, isn't it?  After all, this is The Rain in Spain, which happens to be what Eliza Doolittle sings in My Fair Lady....and every Eliza needs a Professor, right?  Okay, so I'm not Eliza, but then, my professor isn't a grumpy old curmudgeon like the one in the film.  He's a fun professor, who likes to tell jokes and play Paper Mario on the Wii.

And now I'm off to smell the roses, which, if you believe what people say, would smell just as sweet even if they were called stink-blossoms.

I don't know, what do you think?  And speaking of thinking, maybe that Mexican couple who named their daughter Krisis Mundial (world crisis, but with a "k" instead of a "c") should have done a little more thinking as well.


  1. Thanks...and don't worry about it, I kind of assumed a spelling/typing error...I never thought of asking my family what pseudonyms they wanted, now I am afraid to!

  2. UV is an awesome nickname: invisible, required for life, but too much can burn you.

    At some point during the courting of my future wife, I became known as "Eriquito" to her family, who still sometimes brings it up.

    Eriquito, btw, is typed with only the top row of the qwerty keyboard.

    Yeah, I'm with Oreneta on this one, pretty scared to ask my kid, when the time comes, if she'd prefer another name.

  3. I have a colleague whom I love, and she has called me by the wrong name for ten years now.

    Your girls have chosen wonderful monikers! How creative they must be.

    Krisis? That's tough one!

  4. I like Ro's new nickname. :)

  5. I like the new names - your loved ones are obviously very creative!

    My parents gave all five of their children very unusual names, and, yep, we've never been leaders in ANYTHING. And my daughter is sealing her baby's fate if it's a boy - I won't reveal the name she has planned, but I will tell you the first thing people will picture is a famous cartoon CAT.

    Sometimes it seems a person's name dictates his profession - case in point - doctors. Since I work at the post office, I see a lot of odd names, and doctor names are sometimes hilarious. Among many others, I've seen Dr. Hart, the cardioligist, Dr. Rash, the dermatoligist, Dr. Katz, the veterinarian, Dr. Kidd, the pediatrician, Dr. Bush, the OB/GYN, and also Dr. Hurt, Dr. Payne, Dr. Schotz, and my personal favorite, Dr. Otis Campbell. In case you don't know that name, he was the town drunk on the Andy Griffith Show!

  6. So right you are on the importance of names and even moreso when you have a bicultural family.

    We agonized over each name, trying to find one that could be translated or at the least pronounced half way intelligibly by our families.

    After more than a decade together my poor hubs is still called Jacques-Quin by my mother (seriously? how hard is Joaquin to say???) and Baby Henry who now only responds to Quique is anything and everything but. If I hear her call him Tee-Kay one more time I'm gonna have to get nasty. Janet Jackson kinda nasty and dance all over her face.

    Names ARE important. God save the first person who tries to turn Charlie into a Chuck.

  7. Oreneta: I can't believe it took me that long to see it! But now it's fixed and I won't forget ever again. And I didn't really ask them, but they sometimes read my blog, so they feel entitled to having a say.

    Erik: Eriquito?! I love it! I was "Cerecita" for a time with my in-laws, because of the way the "th" is pronounced..they thought that was hilarious. And when the time comes, you won't need to ask, Nora will tell you. Catgirl picked her own middle name and she's determined to legally add it to her name...all her idea.

    Caution Flag: And have you ever told her or do you just play along?

    Asha: Me too, but I keep forgetting to call her that, and she keeps reminding me to do it.

    ethelmae: Yeah, creativity is something they have more than enough of. And I'll be waiting to see which famous cat, because several come to mind. Love the Dr. names! Good thing there's no Dr. Death among them.

    PicklePits: Yeah, that name thing can be tricky. SAM is really Rocío, and most Americans just don't know what to do with that name. But Tee-kay instead of Quique? How hard can it be? :D

  8. It's really important to know the right name. For example if my name was Peteromil or something else and people get my name wrong I won't be happy.

  9. I can totally relate to this post!! First day of school was the worst for me! Now I am in the land where little girls have my name.

  10. Oh, how I have enjoyed reading this post! But wait let me introduce myself, I am Juana Maria Aragon. Normal name right? Spain, where I am from originally, not bad. It's not really pretty...but passable. However in the U.S. I am Wanna. Yes, like wanna do this, or Wanna wanna ;)? Or try my name around MariWanna...sigh...My last name? Anything BUT ARAGON! In a way I will be glad when I move back to Spain,lol!
    I will be back. Love the way you write Theresa!

  11. Peter: Well, Peter is easy enough...I won't mess that up. :)

    Jimena: Yeah, I guess for kids having a "different" name is hardest. When you're an adult it's easier to accept or you can always change it, but as kids we don't get a choice. At least now you're in a place where people know your name. :)

    Juana: Glad you enjoyed it. Oh wow, you must have a really hard time with your name. People must just have a field day with that! Do you use a nickname over there?

  12. I can so relate to this post. Through out my childhood I was called Lory, which was my last name. When someone would ask me what my last name was they thought I was giving them my first name. In HS I gave up and just accepted Lory!

    But times have changed and now I go by Grammy, which is the best one of ALL!

  13. Bueno lo bueno es que Oreneta no se lo tomó mal, lo malo es eso es signo de que te estás haciendo vieja :P (golpe bajo por todas las fotos que no acierto)