A rose by any other name…still has bugs in it.

I have a thing for names. I don’t know why, but I love thinking of names for things and people and stuff. Probably because I’ve had such a contentious relationship with my name. (Which is Alyssa, by the way. Real name, not screen-name. I fail at privacy on the internets.)

My name came from a newspaper. Seriously. My parents had decided that if I was boy my dad would name me and if I was a girl, my mom would. But apparently everyone thought I’d be a girl, so no boy names were chosen. Then again, no girl names were chosen either, so I’m left to assume that my mom was expecting a puppy.

I was a few days old and my parents finally stopped calling me “the baby” and decided on Alyssa. Because my mom had read a story about a girl named Alyssa and her dad in the newspaper.

Which I’ve heard is Greek for “Loyal.” She seriously was expecting a puppy….

First off, I’m not even sure how my mom knew that my name was pronounced “Uh-LIS-suh”. When I ask her, she rolls her eyes at me and says, “How else are you supposed to pronounce it?” Well, MOM, according to nearly everyone I’ve ever met, it’s A-lee-see-a, A-lee-shuh, Uh-ly-see-a, U-lee-sy-uh, Al-lish-uh…the list goes on and on.

Secondly, my mom has no memory of the story that prompted her to name her child. NONE. The story could have been about ANYTHING, even something horrible. I have some sort-of-namesake out there and I have no idea who she is because unlike the loving mothers who record their child’s every movement and taped their children’s fallen off umbilical cord in baby books, my mom was too busy spooning up military hospital jello and breastfeeding to remember what the article that prompted her to name her DAUGHTER was about. (I kid. She’s appropriately sentimental. But still, come on, lady! No memory whatsoever?)

Anyway, I always hated my name growing up. No one knew how to say it (coupled with a last name missed pronounced which made for some irritating first days of school) and there was NOTHING with my name on it. All those little girls named Sarah and Amanda that had pencils and t-shirts and keychains with their name on them? I HATED them. Why could I have fun pencil boxes with my name on them and highlighted by a background of dancing dolphins? Where was MY bicycle license plate with my name proudly below our Texas logo? (I know. My childhood was hard.) The first time I saw something with Alyssa on it, a stamp with a dancing bear figurine as the handle, I squealed and then demanded that my mother buy it for me. I was 14.

Ironically, my name is now #20 in the nation for most popular baby name. And STILL people say it wrong…

The easiest way for people to know how to say my name is to say, “Like Alyssa Milano.” Which can be irritating because people assume I was named after her, even though she’s not that much older than me. I just say no, or ignore them outright because it’s easier than going, “No, I was named after some random girl in a DC newspaper who probably went on a rape and murder spree with her dad and my mom saw the article and thought, “Aww, Alyssa. That’s pretty….” (See how much pain this has caused me, Mom?)

However, her name did lead me to have the nickname “Alyssa Mulatto” in high school. (Cause I am.) Yeah, friend Michael is still proud of that one….

Anyway, names are a bit of a thing for me. I kept lists as a teen of the names Dean Cain and I would bestow upon our offspring, doodling “Sydney Marie and Sawyer Thomas” on the teal pages of paper from my Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper. I carefully chose names for characters of every story and play that I’ve written, attempting to make sure they had the right fit and conveyed the character appropriately; it might be a crap story but the names were awesome.

Jethro and I toss out names for our hypothetical children all the time, although I’ve had to veto several because they remind me of children that I worked with at the dance studio. OR, I know they are crazy popular because we had several at the studio – so no Sophia’s, Sophie’s, Emma’s, Ava’s, Eva’s, Mia’s, Madeline’s, Madison’s, Addison’s, Katelyn’s, Kayleen’s, Caitlin’s, Kalynn’s, Kyle’s, Jayden’s, Hayden’s, Reagan’s, Sadie’s, Avery’s, Isabella’s, Bella’s, Olivia’s…

Maybe we should have boys.

Which I’d prefer anyway. I’ve asked Jethro to put an order in to his swimmers, also with my request for red or blonde hair, but he refuses. He also hates when I refer to his sperm at all, but also when I call them swimmers. Especially in public.


So, moppets, let’s talk real names. How’d you get yours? (Even if you don’t share it.) What were your favorites growing up? Don’t tell me your future children’s names, because then I’d feel guilty for not telling you our top picks for our future children. (FUTURE children, y’all. Don’t start rumors.)

Cause they’re gonna be a secret, possibly until we have them. Along with the sex of the baby. Mostly because I know it’ll drive my mom CRAZY… (Should have named me Jennifer. Jennifer’s aren’t so cranky…)

126 comments on “A rose by any other name…still has bugs in it.

  1. Jenn
    May 23, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Jennifers absolutely are cranky. Trust me.

    Particularly when you nickname is Jenny when we don’t really like hearing Forrest Gump jokes all the time. O spell Jenn with only one n when your Facebook profile CLEARLY has two.

    see? 🙂

    • Jenn
      May 23, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      ugh got all excited and that sentence makes no sense. That should say “when they nickname you Jenny” and not…whatever the hell jumbled thing I typed.

      • kindofamess
        May 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

        Jennifers have trouble typing when under mental duress caused by their name.

        It’s true. I saw it on the Discovery Channel.

        • Jenn
          May 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

          I forgot to even mention how I was named, I got so caught up in horrid nicknames…My mother’s first ever doll, as a child, was named Jennifer. My dad likes to joke about how every conversation they had about naming me ended with my mom saying, “Well I like Jennifer.” So dad picked my middle name, and I have a favorite name from each of them 🙂

          I’m much less cranky after my evening Pinot Grigio.

          • Elizabeth
            May 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

            Somewhere in this house is a list of my favourite boy names and girl names followed by your father’s favourites on the other half of the paper. By the time we crossed off all the names we didn’t have in common there weren’t many left. So you got Jennifer – short for “Jennifer the most beautiful doll in the world!”

            • Jenn
              May 27, 2011 at 10:32 am #

              Mom, I am a bit creeped that you followed me onto other people’s blogs. Just saying.

              We could be having these conversations, like, in person, or something.

            • ddayporter
              June 2, 2011 at 10:00 am #

              this is hilarious.

  2. Emily
    May 23, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    If I had been a boy, my parents wanted to name me Kevin, Jr., though that isn’t my little brother’s name, so they must have decided they weren’t too into it. Glad I’m a girl!

    My dad wanted to name me Antonia–he said people could call me Toni. My mom wanted to name me Elizabeth. Because she apparently saw the future and realized the little redheaded Italian girl named Toni was a ridiculous sight, she took over and they compromised on Emily. I regretted that and wanted to be named Elizabeth until I met one of my closest friends who is, coincidentally, named Elizabeth.

    As for future kids, just name them something normal. Don’t start a trend like the Duggars, who have created new names to satisfy their needs. And if people start naming their kids Hat or Bookcase, I’m leaving.

    • I'mtellingyoumyrealnameinmypost
      May 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      My mom wanted to name me Antonia! She said people could call me Tonia (Tone-ya, not Tawn-ya)

      She watched Dr. Zhivago while pregnant. Please note that Dr. Z’s love interest is Lara, and the wife he left at home while having his tawdry and romantic affair was Antonia/Tonia. (“It was a wonderfully romantic movie, but I couldn’t name you after his mistress!”)

      My dad has a thing against nicknames, so I’m Tonia. This was okay until Patty Hearst got famous. Then it was Tawn-ya this and Tawn-ya that. Then there was Ms. Harding. I think my name is beautiful, but I wish they’d left it as Antonia. That’s easier to guess by looking.

      It doesn’t help that my last name has a silent d. Argh!

      • kindofamess
        May 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

        That’s funny, because I have a huge thing against names that are nicknames as proper names. Tonia can stand on its own, but the I’m adamant that if you want a Patty or a Jessie, name them Patricia or Jessica. Don’t give your kid half a name…

        • sera
          June 12, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

          I totally agree. no half-names. That means that Betty is actually Elizabeth.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

      Save me a seat on that bus, because I’ll be coming with you. (Although I do still think Moxie Crimefighter Jillette is kind of an amazing name.)

  3. Helen
    May 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    My name, Helen, came from my great-aunt. I’ve met about three Helens in my life that were younger than the age of 85, and I really disliked it for a long time. I still think it sounds kind of… old. But now, I can’t really imagine having any other name. Luckily, I wasn’t born a boy. That name was worse.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

      I think it’s pretty. Like Helen of Troy.

  4. Elisa (a nightmare of a name)
    May 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    My name is spelled E L I S A. Which I have been told should be pronounced eee-LEE-sah. My family pronounces it eee-LIS-sah. I have to say, I think I have got you beat in the “difficult to spell and pronounce and to remember and to explain to people” contest. At least you have a ‘y’ and two ‘s’s. Oh how I wish I had two ‘s’s. I get a lot of Uh-lee-shuh, Al-lish-uh, eee-lyz-zah, el-sah, and on and on and on and on and on…
    When I go somewhere that no one knows me, I write Elissa on my name tag. When I went to college, I decided my new friends would pronounce it the way yours is “Uh-LIS-suh.” I thought it would be easier for people to comprehend. I think, in general, I was right. Most of my friends and loved ones don’t even say the first vowel, its just “Lissa” or “Lis” which I like. My 8th grade basketball coach never could figure it out and just started calling me “E” which was alright and that nickname was used by all my sports-playing friends through middle and high school.
    Actually, one of the reasons I decided to keep my last name when I got married (a tiny reason), was that it is the easy part of my name and hubby’s last name is another one that is difficult/confusing to pronounce.

    • Elisa (a nightmare of a name)
      May 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

      Also, since people usually drop the first vowel when they say my name (something I’m totally cool with), sometimes when they write it they want to do the same thing, which ends up technically being “Lisa” which is a differently name altogether and it drives me insane.

      End rant.

      • Elisa (a nightmare of a name)
        May 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

        OH and Dean Cain was my in my first official sexy dream. Man, I thought he was dreamy.

        I’m really going now.

        • kindofamess
          May 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

          Lord, honey, you need a hug.

          I worked with and Elisa, so I know the troubles she went through. (She was an E-LEE-suh.) I’m a Lyssa too, but I HATE Lys or Lyssie. Lyssie sounds like a cat and makes me want to break things.
          I’m also Ally to Jethro’s family and friends. He started the Ally thing while we were dating and then introduced me a such to everyone. Which is fine, except sometimes I forget to answer to it… Plus, my friends hate it and refuse to call me by it. (They’re very possessive….)

          But yes…Dean Cain. I mean, come on, he’s SUPERMAN. Much better than that pretty boy on Smallville….

          • Another Lyssa
            May 24, 2011 at 9:48 am #

            Oh man, I am not usually a commenter but I feel the need to weigh in here because I am with you two on the ‘lyssa’ ending names. Mine is Elyssa, and people seem to FREAK OUT when they see that written on paper and have no idea how to pronounce it. I’ve heard many of the same names as you Alyssa, but people seem to be even more confused with an E in the front: E-li-see-ah and E-lee-shah are the most common, but I also have heard Eliza, Elsie, Alice, and my favorite, Elizabeth (cause you can just say entire syllabuls that aren’t written in a name, obv).

            The other issue I have is that while my name should technically be pronounced E-lys-a, many people say it like your, Uh-lys-uh (except my fiance, who likes to call me EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-lys-a). I don’t mind. I know its easier to say it like Alyssa, so I respond to either and often even pronounce my name that way. What is hilarious is when people who learn my name by hearing it an never see it written down find out it starts with an E and that they’ve been saying it ‘wrong’ all along, and then apologize a million times. They never believe me when I say I don’t care! If I minded, I would have corrected you. Promise.

            So yeah, we Lyssa’s (or Lissa’s) have some jacked up confusing names.

  5. Kristin
    May 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    My parents wanted to name me Jennifer Kristin (because they “liked the names” – great story, mom and dad), but my father had a friend whose daughter had two names that started with J, and they called her J.J. My father liked this so much that he decided they should call me Kristin Jennifer, so they could call me K.J., and I would match the friend’s daughter. This didn’t work for several reasons, not least of which is that I really, really, really hate nicknames and would never suffer through someone shortening my identity to “Kris” or “Krissy,” let alone a single letter.

    It does, however, seem better than the alternative, which my father swears was “Moondoggie.”

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

      Can I call you Moondoggie? No? Fine.

      (Moondoggie. Hee….)

  6. Nicole
    May 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    My dad picked my name because he didn’t want people to be able to make fun of me. Thus Nicole. And Nicole is a pretty difficult name to make fun of. It’s been tried. The best ones were, Nicole Simpson and Niiiicola (ahem, Riiiicola). There was a Nickelodeon joke at some point too.

    Now, I have a friend named Jadrian. He was named after his mom read an article about a dancer in Penthouse. I think that’s a classic naming story.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

      I think that’s BRILLANT. The story, not the name…. That poor child…

  7. Kerry
    May 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    My parents named me Kerry for no reason at all but I love the name and am quite impressed with their coolness at choosing it. Plus, I get to make people totally uncomfortable and annoyed by having to guess how to spell it and always being wrong: “Okay, so Carrie c-a-r….” “nope.” “okay, k-a-r-” “nope.” “okay, k-e-r-i-” “nope, GUESS AGAIN, BEYOTCH!”

    And also a caveat about last names – I love mine and kept it after marriage, but in my town there is this horrible, just awful traditionalist racist, homophobic, TERRIBLY MEAN radio host that has a political morning show and shares a last name with me. That’s the very first thing everyone asks me when they learn my last name “are you related to that…guy…on the radio?” they ask, with fear in their eyes that I might say “yes now get back in the kitchen and cook dinner for your man like you’re supposed to, woman.”

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

      You know, I had a friend in high school that spelled it Kerry. Her name was Kerry Anne, but she was named after the Hollie’s song “Carrie Anne,” it was the first song her parents danced to. (AWW!)

      And that’s horrible about the radio guy. Too bad you can’t sue for stuff like that. ‘He’s making my name be associated with douch-baggery!!!)

      • ElfPuddle
        May 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

        One of my friends was named by her siblings. She’s Kerri Ann after the song.

  8. mere...
    May 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Dean Cain? Yes, yes, and yes.

  9. Caitlin
    May 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    I was born on St. Patrick’s Day, so my parents wanted to go with something Irish… I’m glad they didn’t listen to my grandpa and go with “Patricia”– I just don’t think I’m a “patty”. And apparently Caitlin wasn’t that popular back then, although it quickly became popular and I generally had at least one other in my class, none spelled the same way though. To this day, when someone is writing my name I barely pause for breath between saying it and spelling it, because when people here it they start writing a “k” immediately.

    Also, as a kid, I wanted to name all my kids (yes, I was planning on six at this point) names starting with J’s. It was terrible. Thank god I grew out of that phase.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

      See, Caitlin is one on teh list that I would love (Jethro’s uber-Irish) but I just know too many of them!

      Jethro also really like Kaylee, but I suspect that’s because of Kaley Cuoco on Big Bang Theory and Kaylee on Firefly; both of whom he has a thing for. I tried explaining the whole “you don’t name your daughter after people you’d bone” but he doesn’t get it….

  10. Carrie
    May 23, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    I was named for my great-grandmother. Apparently her real name was Margaret Caroline, but everyone called her Carrie. My dad didn’t even know that wasn’t her “real” name until he read her obituary (and I was 2 by then!).

    I really like my name, although in middle and high school, I got asked if I was named for the Stephen King novel a lot and that got old really quickly.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

      “Yes, I was named after a telekinetic homicidal maniac. That’s exactly what happened…” Lord. People are dumb….

  11. d-day
    May 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    hahah well I love your name! and I can’t imagine why anyone would pronounce it any way except the way your mom decided. Just because people can’t read properly and decide to throw in extra letters where there aren’t any, doesn’t mean it’s not a good name. 🙂 but MAYbe I think it’s so obvious because I grew up watching Alyssa Milano.. but I mean, I also grew up watching Soleil Moon Frye, and I knew from a young age how bonkers That name was.. Anyway I just love your name! And I’m sure if it was a terrible story, she wouldn’t have used it. Might not have been super memorable, maybe it was just a picture of a girl and her dad at some local festival (I say that because I recently unearthed an old newspaper clipping, of a picture of myself at like 5 years old, clinging to my mom’s shoulder at some festival)..

    My name, Rachel (I also fail at internet privacy), came from my mom’s then-sister-in-law (she’s no longer my aunt, as of just a few years after I was born, but she and my uncle maintained a sort of friendship so I’ve been able to keep in touch). I have always felt a closeness with her because of this name connection (even though now that I’m an adult (!) I’ve realized she might be a leeetle bit crazy). Having a namesake is pretty awesome.

    I also had a big list of future kids names, but I can’t remember most of them! I know I was pretty set on Ethan and Devin.. Most of the names I remember are the ones I was thinking about using for my own future celebrity name (because obviously I was going to be a famous actress when I grew up), including Taylor, Terri, Rae, Daisy..

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

      My SIL’s name is Megan and I’ve ALWAYS loved the name, but Jethro thinks naming a baby after someone so close is weird. I think naming a baby after a dead person is weirder…

      I REALLY wish I knew what the article was, it makes me insanely curious. Maybe it WAS Alyssa Milano, in like some toddler debut and I was named after her. That would suck….

      Also? Punky Brewster rulez.

      • ddayporter
        June 2, 2011 at 10:11 am #

        tell him it’s not weird! it’s kind of a tradition in my family. my great aunt Margaret’s nickname was Marna, so that’s my aunt’s name. Her nickname was Marnie, so that’s my sister’s name. There is no nickname for Marnie so I have no idea how I’m supposed to continue this tradition.. anyway you could totally start a tradition of having a Megan in every generation.

  12. Ariel
    May 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    I was about 12 when Disney did The Little Mermaid but everyone still asked if I was named after the cartoon. My parents started telling people that I was originally named Cinderella, but the rodent problem got out of control so they changed it.
    I hated my name for quite a long time. My last name is also hyphenated. This wasn’t common 20 years ago and caused a lot of issues in terms of alphabetical order on the classroom.
    Actually, I was named after a character in The Tempest. I would have been okay with people asking about Hans Christain Anderson, but Disney? Really?

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

      Your parents are AWESOME. For the name (What up Shakespeare?!?) and the funny retort.

      But now that I’ve read your comment, I’ve got “Under the Sea” stuck in my head. *sigh*

  13. lani
    May 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    My mom wanted to name me Mandy but my French-speaking dad thought it was the stupidest sounding name ever. Then, they saw the credits for “Eight is Enough” and though Lani was a pretty name (Lani O’Grady). And my godmother’s name is Lina, so that apparently sealed the deal.
    As a person who’s had to spell out her name all her life, I beg of you: think of your poor child before naming them something weird! Or just spelled weirdly, “just for fun”! I like my name, but I wish I didn’t have to spell it every single time!

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

      But don’t you get like SUPER excited when people spell it right on their own. I’m always like, “OMG!!! You’re a genius!! be my best friend!!!!”

      • lani
        May 26, 2011 at 10:05 am #

        I wish… they never do! No one can believe it’s that simple!

  14. Kristy
    May 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    Alyssa, I ❤ you. I have no idea how my parents came up with my name – or the spelling of it – but maybe I should ask. Because you know there are about a million ways to spell Kristy: Kristi, Kristie, Christy, Christi, Christie. I even got Krysty once (???). And plenty of mispronunciations, but mostly Chrissy and Christine. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those names, but they're not MINE. Ahem.

    I'm one of those weirdos who always thought about what to name her future children, not her wedding. I've made lists since middle school, I think. There have been a few fairly constant names even since then, which must mean I really like them. But I'm with you on the secrecy. Unless our first is a girl, in which case I might have to tell the name so my cousins can't use it. (Yes, I'm possessive of it. And that's FUTURE first. No babies here yet.)

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

      My neighbor used my favorite name when I was in high school for her daughter; it was Michaela, but she spells it Mikayla. Plus the kid turned out to be amazing and one of my favorite kids ever…
      Although, I probably shouldn’t mind. I named a hypothetical baby in biology class Michaela; we had to write a journal about taking care of a child with a genetic disease and she had cystic fibrosis and died a terrible and tragic death.

      Also? A couple years ago I found my “Life Plan” list from when I was like 12. Artificial insemination was on there for me at 30…apparently I was a progressive child….

  15. Jenni
    May 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    My dad wanted to name me Guinevere, but my grandmother wouldn’t allow it (who knows why she has a say …), so they went with Jennifer instead.

    When my youngest sister was born, my other sister and I wanted to name her after one of the American Girl dolls. My parents strongly vetoed everything except Molly, which they said was okay, but they were planning to name her Sarah instead. The day after she was born, my sister and I went to church and informed everyone we had a new sister named Molly, thus thwarting my parents’ decision! We were crafty little buggers …

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

      I love Molly! And I love that you and your sister are devious geniuses. Don’t join forces, you’ll rule the world…

  16. Sophia
    May 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    I was named after two great-grandmothers (my maternal grandparents’ mothers), at a time when “Sophia” wasn’t popular and my middle name was (and is still) an odd spelling of a classic name.

    The thing about “Sophia,” especially if you’re Christian, is that it puts you in for a lifetime of people asking, “Did you know that Sophia is Greek for wisdom?” As if 3,462 people hadn’t asked that question before them. And since “wisdom” is much more difficult to define to a small child than “intelligence,” I spent a very long time frustrated that I didn’t know what my name meant, and then after I figured it out, I’ve spent a long time worrying that I’ll never live up to it. But I like it. (Although never, never, never, never call me Sophie. That was apparently one of the first full sentences I managed: “My name is not Sophie, it’s Sophia.” And it’s been that way ever since.)

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

      Sophia is lovely and a name I’d choose if too many bratty Sophie’s hadn’t ruined it for me.

      Sophia makes me think of Golden Girls. (Awesome.) Sophie makes me think of Sophie’s Choice. (Less awesome.)

  17. Ceej
    May 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    My mom wanted to name me Marina, my dad wanted Nancy, then they panicked and chose Christine because they each have one in the family. Also my dad loves the initials CJ (hence the handle). It’s been really inconvenient dating a Jew (the first and last I’ve EVER dated) and having a name that references the messiah. His grandmother and aunt were VERY distressed that I wasn’t named Rachel or Sarah. Not an insurmountable hurdle, but it ruined my chances of ever taking the birthright trip to Israel (my future brother in law’s christian girlfriend did this for free because she has a very Jewish-sounding name…jerk).

    One of my top picks that will never be used is Evelyn Sunday. At least, it won’t be used unless we happen to have twin girls because it kind of “goes with” another name that’s on the definite list. And that situation is highly unlikely. I also love Xander but feel like it might be a little too feminine for a boy name. And our chances of having an extremely effeminite boy are already off the charts.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

      That is AWFUL. It’s your fault you don’t have Jewish-sounding name?
      You should totally name your future kids Jesus. All of them….

      Evelyn Sunday is pretty! It’s one of those ones that you need to say out loud to see how pretty is it…

      And Xander worked for Xander Harris in Buffy. You can totally do it….

  18. Meg1113
    May 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    I feel your pain. I too, grew up without a personalized pencil box or key chain because of what my parents did to me.

    My parents briefly thought about naming after my two of my great-aunts, either Phyllis or Ethelyn, but ultimately decided that they just couldn’t do that to a child. So they settled on Meghan but my mom didn’t like the way Megan looked. Towards the end of my mom’s pregnancy, she woke my dad up in the middle of the night and she was panicked. If they kept the Meghan spelling my first, middle and last name would have six letters each, the mark of the beast. Since I was the first child and apparently they didn’t want to tempt fate they added the extra ‘a’ to make me Meaghan. And although it’s been almost 28 years, I still have some family members who cannot spell my name correctly.

    • Heidi
      May 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      Ditto. Every silly personalized shop had Heather and Helen, but no Heidi. I was named after the book. (you know, Heidi in the Alps and all that jazz). Thankfully my parents didn’t go crazy about insisting that I love my namesake so I wasn’t forced to read Heidi or watch the movie.

      My middle name is Rose after my grandma and I used to hate it because it was so uncommon. No one guesses Rose when given the middle initial of R. They’re all “Rachel”? “Rochelle” ?”Rocket”? (huh? now you’re just guessing R words). I just wanted a normal middle name like Marie or Lynn.

      I was very happy to shed my last name when I married. It started with a silent “G”…you know like Gnome. And then it had the Germanic “ei”- sounds-like-i vowel combo.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

      I just realized that my middle name is the only thing keeping me from being 666 also. And one of the name we like has 6 letters. GREAT, something ELSE for me to be neurotic about…. 🙂

      Meghan was on my list of favorite baby names for a while, until I met a MEE-gan and thought it might get confusing. Also, she turned into a raving heifer who hated me, so it ruined the pretty little H in the name for me….

    • KatjaMichelle
      May 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

      I had a friend in elementary school whose name was spelled Meaghan I always loved that spelling and have had it on the list of names for one of my someday daughters (I’ve long since lost touch with the friend as often happens with frequent moves) but it sounds like maybe I should reconsider…

  19. Jenny
    May 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    I am another Jennifer…thanks mom and dad! No, really though, its not a bad name. My first name is not after anyone, but my middle name is my Aunt’s middle name who is also my Godmother. And I still get the Jenny jokes from Forrest Gump. Even after all these years…

    I too like to pretend name all my ‘children’. Even though at this point I’m not sure if I’ll even have any, I still like to think of names. I do remember loving the name Claudia for a girl when I was younger…Party of Five anyone??

    I like names like Madison nn Maddie, Sophia, Eva, etc. but after growing up with SO MANY other Jennifers out there, I will not do that to my (potential) child (if I can help it. I know names can go bizerk without you actually knowing that a million other people just decided they like that name too).

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

      You know, I can tell you’re way younger than me. You say Claudia and think “Party of Five.” I say Claudia and think “Babysitter’s Club”…. 🙂

      • Jenny
        May 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

        LOL I don’t know how old you are but I’m 28. I didn’t read Babysitters Club, I was more into the Goosebumps and Fear Street books when I was growing up. Love me some scary stories!

  20. Jenny
    May 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    Oh, one more thing… I know there are different ways to spell Jennifer, but really people, can’t you try the regular way first? I do not have two f’s or two r’s in my name! Ok, that is all. 🙂

  21. lizzie
    May 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    oh man, names. i have been collecting tiny pets since i was 18 because i have too many names…which sounds terrible…but it’s true. i had a name when i was 12 i wanted someday for an imaginary child…not because i want children (this is taking a weird turn) but because i love names. and my aunt stole it. so YES to keep it private and personal.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

      Isn’t that the WORST? And it’s not like you can REALLY claim it, but still you’re like, “BACK OFF MY NAME, YO!!!”

  22. Chris C.
    May 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Okay, first of all, people are D-U-M-B. Alyssa just does NOT seem that difficult to me. But then again, my name is Christen and no one can get that right either. It’s like, seriously, people. Two syllables, both of which are very easy to pronounce and yet still I get called Christian, Christine, Christy, etc. So, in conclusion, unless you name your kid a one-syllable name like Bill or Bob, people are pretty much gonna find a way to get it wrong. 🙂

    That being said, I have no idea where my name came from. If I was a boy, I was meant to be Casey, but my parents hadn’t picked a girl’s name. I dunno why they didn’t just name me Casey, anyway — all of my sisters and I ended up with “boy’s names” (Chris, which is all I’ve ever been called, Ryan, and Dane) so why not use the damn boy’s name you actually already picked out instead of a DIFFERENT one??? Anyway, I’m not sure where they got my name from in the end. I do know that my middle sister, Ryan, was meant to be Scott if she was a boy, and AGAIN my folks hadn’t picked out a girl’s name. The hospital called her “baby girl [lastname]” for 4 days until finally my folks HAD to have a name for the birth certificate and just ended up giving her my grandma’s maiden name in a panic. 🙂

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

      I would totally call you Christian at first too, but only because I’m lazy and would have misread your name. (I do that all the time. I read stuff too fast and then I’m like, “D’oh! I’m an asshole….”)

      • kindofamess
        May 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

        Also? Boy names for girls are my FAVORITE.

  23. Alia
    May 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Oh man, first, I just want to say that I totally feel your pain. My name is Alia, which, like Alyssa, no one EVER knows how to pronounce. Ever. Or spell. (It’s uh-LEE-uh, if you’re curious.) And I was exactly the same about always being jealous of all the other kids whose names were all over everything, when nothing ever had my name on it. I honestly think that if I found something with my name now, at 26, I’d still have to buy it, just on principal. I also don’t have a story about how my parents picked my name; it was basically just one they thought was pretty.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

      See, I totally knew it was Alia. But I knew a little girl named Alia at the studio, so that’s cheating.

      Also? It’s very pretty!

      • Alia
        May 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

        Yay, you’re my hero. Whenever someone pronounces or spells my name correctly without having to be told first, I kind of instantly love them. 🙂
        And thank you! 🙂

  24. Fid
    May 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Hi. Fidelma (completely phonetic) here. Now that’s fine when I’m living where I was born – Ireland. But as soon as you take it out of the country it becomes difficult. I’ve lived out of the country for the last 6 of 7 years. It’s been tough. I think my parents just liked it. Nothing more to it. I used to long for an easier name when I was young, when class mates called me “thingymabob” because they couldn’t remember or pronounce it. Now I love it, difficulties and all.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      Kids suck.

      Jethro and I have looked at Irish names for our future babies (it was a long car ride and we were bored) but I just can’t do it. As pretty as Bronagh and Siobhan are, my poor part-black Texan children would kill me.

      • Fid
        June 16, 2011 at 9:33 am #

        haha! I only had a chance to come back to this now. Don’t burden your poor children with anything like that, others to avoid include Saibh, Caoimhe, Eoin, Ciara, Grainne, Oh, the list could go on for ever.

    • Madge
      May 25, 2011 at 4:04 am #

      that was always a breath-holding moment at the start of a new school term or a new teacher- would they murder the irish names in the roll call?

      we had a girl called Tegau (tay-guy) in our class. the pain never lessened apparently. i’m sure she’s calling herself “T” now.

      and kids nowadays have to get email addresses! there is some mail those kids are NEVER going to get.

  25. I'mtellingyoumyrealnameinmypost
    May 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    I totally agree about that “my name isn’t on anything” rant. I hate hate hate that! Sad note: I still look. I’ll be 39 in a week, and I still look at those keychains, ornaments, etc. I’ve found it twice in my life…both at state fairs. Sigh.

    If I were going to be a boy, I’d have been Chad Wade. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

    I had a list of names for future children, and for myself so that I could change my name to something “normal” when I got old enough. The top winner every time was Angelica Eve.

    When a college friend got pregnant, I almost had her convinced that she should name the baby girl Pollyanna Esther. Then I mad the mistake of telling her the nickname. For some reason, my friend did not want her baby being called polyester. I have no idea why. *grin*

    These are the warped things that happen to you when you’re name has rarely, if ever, been pronounced right the first time.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      Angelica! Like in Rugrats…

      Polly Esther. Hee hee….

  26. Sharon
    May 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I got my name because my aunts staged an intervention when my mother wanted to name me Stephanie. Stephanie’s a totally cool name right? Except that my older brother’s name is STEPHEN. Yeah, identity crisis just waiting to happen! I’m so glad my aunts insisted on Sharon, especially since my 7th grade class had not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 Stephanies. (Out of a class of 30 kids!)

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

      I’m just imagining your aunts sitting your mother down at the kitchen table and going, “You will NOT do this to my niece.” I love it! 🙂

  27. Beylit
    May 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    My mother wanted to name me Jennifer or Michelle, both very generic and popular at the time. My grandmother was however reading “The Thorn Birds” at the time and just fell in love with the name of the main character. She called up my mom and insisted she use the name. My mother chose the simpler spelling of Megan than the one in the book which involved a few more vowels and a couple of h’s.
    Still it was never pronounced correctly. I was constantly called Mee-gen (which I hate and was only made worse in college when there was actually a Megan pronounced Mee-gen, but you know she had h’s and accent marks in her name so it was ok). I even had an evil great aunt who called me moo-gen. I swear I can’t make that up.

    It isn’t so bad though. I have twin cousins who were named by the doctors and nurses pulling names from a hat. I have two friends who were named after their parents favorite bars (Toni and Joey, both girls), I once knew a girl who’s name was pronounced Or-onj Ah-pale, spelled Orange Peel. I had a friend who worked for a pediatrician and had a family named the Nidjakat’s (pronounced Ninja Cat) and one of their daughters was named Princess. Yes Princess NinjaCat.

    Still when Jessie and I get around to theoretical babies, he is not allowed any input on the names because he thinks Fancy Dela-ray is an appropriate name for our hypothetical daughter. Fancy! What is he going to do? Install a stripper pole in her crib? Honestly…

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

      MEGGIE! (I totally just realized that Beylit was you. I’m a bit slow…) I love that you’re named for the Thorn Birds. AND that she was Meggie too, so me screaming that at you is appropriate.

      Meghan with the accents ruined MEGhan with an H for me. She was so MEAN to me….

      And has the man never heard the Reba song, “Fancy”?!?!? “Be nice to the gentlemen Fancy, and they’ll be nice to you?!?”
      Terrible, terrible….

      • Beylit
        May 24, 2011 at 9:10 am #

        He has heard the song, but his only defense is that he is Cajun. I have no idea what sort of defense that is but he uses it for EVERYTHING! I say being raised in a swamp is no excuse for naming your children like hookers.

  28. Ms. Bunny
    May 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    I’m named after my grandmother. I hate my first name. It’s an old lady name. When I tell people of a certain age my first name, they break into song. There’s an old timey song that uses my name. I hate it. I don’t like the way it feels when I say it. It doesn’t flow off your tongue. It feels harsh to say. Also, I hate the long E sound it it.

    So when I was in high school I switched to my middle name, which I’ve always associated with being romantic. Much, much better. Also, my middle name is the female form of a male name, which is the French form of my dad’s name. Did that make sense at all? Anyway, moral of the story is that I like going by my middle name because it’s pretty and is the female, French version of my dad’s.

    • kindofamess
      May 23, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

      I love that you chose your name. I tried going my initals in elementary school and they would not let me. Bastards.

    • ElfPuddle
      May 24, 2011 at 8:45 am #

      My step-daughter and step-son (well, soon-to-be stepkids) both go by their middle names. She because she hates her first name, he because he’s a Jr. and apparently it was confusing the grandparents to have two boys with the same name (So they’re PapaMonkey and Monkey, not Papa and Papa Jr.).
      I like my step-daughter’s first name, because it’s my middle name, though we spell it differently.

      Sigh. There’s just no pleasing children. Whatever you end up naming them, it will be wrong.

  29. Becky Mochaface
    May 23, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Rebecca was the name my dad was to be given if he was a girl. I don’t know if they would have called him Becky though I doubt it.

  30. Emily Elizabeth
    May 23, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    So my parents named me Emily Elizabeth (Elizabeth as a middle name). Which I like, aside from having a first and a middle name that are about as common as girls names can be, and I grew up with many Emily friends and team mates (gets confusing).

    BUT I love that my Dad thought of the names at the hospital, and didn’t realize until later while he was reading to me… that he named me after Clifford the Big Red Dog’s owner. For real, that’s how he had heard of that name combination. So, I am unintentionally a namesake of a fictional giant red dog owner. Which is… actually awesome.

  31. Anna
    May 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    My parents wanted to name me Dawn. Eventually, they realized that since my dad’s name is Don, it wouldn’t work.

    I hated my name growing up. I was always called a fruit (Anna Banana or Anana which is French for pineapple). In adulthood, I have friends who call me Banana, but I’ve gotten used to it.

  32. KatjaMichelle
    May 23, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    I have no idea why my parents chose my name. Or which of them chose it for that matter. Mom says dad named me. Dad says mom named me. I share my name with both my aunt (dad’s sister) and a high school friend of mom’s, but I’m told I wasn’t named for either of those women. Although apparently when it comes to my name I can’t really take the word of my parents, now can I…but I’m not bitter…

  33. Donna
    May 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    I was named after both of my parents – my mother is Madonna (get this, her middle name is Lourdes – how freaky is that?!) and my middle name is a feminine version of my father’s name. My family actually calls me by my middle name and the rest of the world calls me Donna which is weird, and I don’t the why but that’s how it works.

    I hear you on the never getting things with your name on it, you’d think that Donna is a fairly normal, common name but no. Apparently not to the people who made pencil cases, bike number plates, cups etc. Bastards.

    Also, my twin brother and sister’s middle names are the names that I chose for them at age 4. Apparently I used to talk to them in my mum’s belly when she was pregnant and named them so my parents thought it would be cute to use those names (Brian and Amanda).

  34. Esme
    May 24, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    I had to get in on this as I’m feeling the misspelt/mispronounced name pain! I’m Esme (say it like it’s spelt!), not Es-MAY! It’s really not that hard! I once got told by my French teacher that ‘I think you’ll find your name IS spelt with an accent’. Er, what? I replied (age 11) ‘And how long have you been called Esme?’. When I get married (2.5 months!) I’m going to have a last name that gets misspelt too. Didn’t think that one through, did I?!

    My parents wanted to call me Emma, but they knew too many baby Emmas, so just looked through the baby name book E section. What a romantic story… I don’t really like my name that much, although I get told it’s pretty quite a lot. But I would never change it, because it’s me.

    As for siblings names, when asked what they should call my new baby sister, 1.5 year old me told my parents ‘number 6’. My sis says that she wishes they had listened to me… My other sister is Daisy Quinta, which is just beautiful. My Mum made Quinta up (much to my paternal Grandmother’s disgust!) to remind her of my brother who died very young – it means ‘5th born’, but Daisy is the youngest of 4 – does that make sense? I love to call her DQ and she loves to get people to guess what her Q initial stands for.

    I want to give my (future!) children names that people will be able to spell but maybe middle names that mean something, I think.

  35. Zan
    May 24, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Holy shizabox! Look how many comments you have!!

    My mother picked all of our names, my Dad says, “I didn’t care what she named you.” Thanks Dad.

    Hubs and I have already been discussing names (pre-emptive much?) we both like kind of old-fashioned sturdy sounding names. That makes us sound like we’re Mennonite.

    At any rate — whatever we choose they have to pass the baby name test: You stand at the back door — imagine your future child in a far off corner of the yard, and call them into dinner. So in your case:


    And see how it feels.

    (this is also a good excuse for a giggle)

    • Zan
      May 24, 2011 at 9:12 am #

      Oh and also, my father usually goes through both my sister’s names and the dogs names before he gets to mine and my Mother and all female relatives from her side of the family, only call me by my middle name — which no one else on earth uses. When I asked why she didn’t just name me THAT she looks at me like I’m asking her why she breathes oxygen. To date I have never gotten an answer.

    • Caitlin
      May 28, 2011 at 9:17 am #

      Ha- my husband has a similar test, I’ve noticed. When we talk about future children’s names, he tries them out by saying “so-and-so, bring me my slippers!”… I’m not sure what kind of ridiculously obedient dog-like children he thinks we’ll have. 🙂

  36. Madge
    May 24, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    I was born and I had no name. I was my parent’s first child and they had no name picked out for me. In the UK, you only have SO LONG to register your kid with a name at the city hall (and quite what happens if you miss that window, I don’t know. That’s never been explained to me. I could look it up, but I like the mystery) and my parents dawdled.

    Both my grandmothers were Margaret as was my mum’s SIL (who we don’t reeeally like), so they didn’t want to call me that, but time was ticking down. They looked out the window 6 weeks after I was born and saw a clump of Marguerites (big daisies that actually smell slightly bad) growing in the garden and thought “Close enough!”

    Which is kinda cool. So I’m half named after family and I have a flower.

    Although NO ONE can ever spell it (for reals. I get Qs thrown in there all the time)(oh, and my surname’s a NIGHTMARE. Also, my whole name does not fit on a credit card) and it’s unusual, so I longed for pencil cases et all with my name on as a kid. Even now, when I go to france (where it’s more common, but still not that common), I will look for the friendship bracelet made of cheap beads spelling out my name.

    Oh! But they have “marguerite” milk in france (like all cows are called “Daisy” in English speaking countries), which is a bit weird.

    my brother nearly got called archibald (after my grandad) and my sister Bluebell (desperate times call for desperate window-looking). they got slightly more acceptable names in the end. Ireland only has so much truck with fancy-schmancy names.

    oh, and i later found out a girl in the same year as me in the school next to mine (like, next door) is also called marguerite. weeeird.

  37. Chantelle
    May 24, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    I’m so confused as to people screwing up Alyssa. It’s phonetic, it’s soft and pretty and I’ve had it as one of my future maybe names. I think Hooked on Phonics needs more time in the classroom. It’s a beautiful flower, and the lead character in Chasing Amy is Alyssa 🙂

    My parents ended up naming me after a client of my aunt (who was a hairdresser). They thought it was pretty, and uber feminine. My grandma still mispronounces it (Shin-tell) and people always misspell it or mistakenly assume I’m French speaking (sadly no). I never found any pencil cases, although I was always mortally embarassed by the French lingerie company that had my name.
    I’m just lucky I escaped what they were originally planning, a god awful amalgamation of their names; mom is Charmaine, dad is Lynn (weird I know, but my grandma sticks by the fact that it is evidently a unisex name) and I nearly had the dreaded monniker of Charlynn. ugh.

    And I avoid my middle name like the plague. Maureen. It’s a pretty name, but one that easily turns into Moron,and kinda gives my name a limp.
    I’m digging reading people’s stories, I love name stories!
    I’m petitioning for Lemon for a future child, boy is holding out though.

    • Chantal
      May 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

      I secretly love the lingerie company with my name. Also the cookware company. It’s probably just because SOMETHING semi-famous has my name. Woo-hoo!

      • Chantelle
        May 25, 2011 at 9:32 am #

        cookware company? oooh, that’s exciting!

  38. Brenda H
    May 24, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    Oh names – my first name I was never a fan of as a kid despite the fact that it could be found on pencil cases etc. Why? I can count on one hand the number of people that share my first name (Brenda) that are even close to my own generation and that is all complete strangers I have encountered. I see it more often with people my mom knows which is just weird. Apparently my mom and dad found it in the baby book and liked the meaning – ‘sword’ or ‘fire brand’. The meaning was the one thing I liked as a kid… it seems to fit 😉

    As a kid I was asked to explain what my names meant and I jumped to my middle name first because I thought it was so cool. My middle name is Marie but my mom is French Canadian so it’s cultural as well as family related. When I was older (10ish?) I also made up a story as to why my parents actually named me Brenda though – it involved a dying bug, my younger sisters thought it was hilarious and said I was so awesome.

    My last name it is pretty much impossible to screw up (part of a major store chain AND spelt how it sounds AND steeped in Canadian history) but I am excited to have made the choice to take on my fiance’s last name. It is a very French Canadian one and I love it… however my fiance is driven to distraction whenever it gets mispronounced. I figure it’s worth it though – pretty sounding, spelled wonderfully and tying me back to my own heritage. 🙂

    Names for my future children? Not much yet but naming a piece of technology is always a well considered task and the name has to be ‘just right’ before I can settle on a name for my character in a role-playing game (so geeky but so fun)

    • Brenda H
      May 24, 2011 at 11:39 am #

      So smart – just realized my screen name already references my first name. Good times.

    • ElfPuddle
      May 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

      My bestest friend and sometime roomie in college was Brenda. (She just turned 39-is that close enough to be in your age group?) Her middle name is Jean, and she has always hated it. Too many people wanted to call her BJ and then tell her she had “something on her chin” or some other awful thing.

      • Kristy
        May 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

        See, that is exactly why none of our kids can have a B name. Not when our last name starts with a J. I know kids always find a way to make fun of each other, but that one is just TOO easy. It kind of makes me sad because there are B names that I really like; and it also rules out naming any boys we may have after either of our B-named grandfathers. But regardless of sentimentality, it’s not happening.

      • Brenda H
        May 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

        Haha I feel young – not quite my age group, thanks for trying though. The weirdest thing is the wife of a church leader of mine is named Brenda so he’ll start talking about his wife and, unlike my sister, I am not used to people sharing my name so I have to stop my head from turning in his direction every time!

      • Brenda H
        May 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

        Also: shame on them, that is just ridiculous. People can be stupid.

  39. bethanyrx
    May 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    You said Jethro’s real name! [neener neener neener!]

  40. Chantal
    May 24, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    K. Firsties: I LOVE how many posts there are with fake baby names that were planned since childhood. This validates me in a way that shouldn’t even make any sense. Secondly: Chantal. I am not french, I am Hawaiian. This is all kinds of weird growing up. Amongst the Maile’s, Kawika’s, Lani’s, and Pilialoha’s, I am Chantal. My mom saw the name Chantelle on a woman’s bracelet in a bank and went with it. Fast forward to preschool, I have to re-learn how to spell my name from Chantelle to Chantal because she found out that the French spell it with an ‘al’ and since we are so culturally sensitive, we change a 4 year old’s name. Whew. That felt good!
    Anyhoo, I am one of those mom’s who gave her daughter a name that no one can ever spell or pronounce correctly. My bad. I just really loved (and still do) the sound of her name AND the spelling of it. Caya (kay-uh). To the world she is Kaia and I think she secretly hates me for this. My son is Nixon, which means “son of Nicholas” which he is. I don’t think he’ll have any problems with spelling or pronunciation. He may have issues with being called a crook here and there, but hopefully his generation will be past all of that.
    Also, because I too could never find my name on anything (except for a little stamp in the shape of a heart with my name that an old co-worker gave, which I TREASURE to this day) I think I may have subconciously wanted my own children to suffer the way I did. It’s no fun unless you have company and why should they have cute little things with names on it? Being a souvenior keychain outcast builds character.

  41. Chantal
    May 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    P.S. Kindofamess is always Lyssa. Never Aly. It’s not Aly-issa. It’s Uh-lyssa. So there.

  42. craftosaurus
    May 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Alright, listen, I may have had all the little toy license plates and other trinkets I ever could have wanted emblazoned with my name, but having a common name ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. I am forever and ever doomed to being “Sarah [last initial]” so as to distinguish me from the hordes of other Sarahs in the world. Plus, bonus, I still get to deal with misspellings.

    (Note: my mother chose to spell my name with an H because she thought it looked better visually to have the symmetry of a tall letter at the beginning and end. This explains a lot about me.)

    Ok, so I don’t really dislike my name. I’m just pointing out the downsides on the other side of the coin. Grass is always greener, yeah?

    • no H, thanks for asking
      May 26, 2011 at 11:13 am #

      Sarah, ah yes, I feel your apathy toward name-labeled trinkets (enough is enough at a certain point, that is for sure!)… I do feel that the “h” ending is a bit more common (maybe?), but really it is irrelevant when you need to add last name initials to decipher among the hordes (and truly – my high school yearbook did a page of Sara(h)s just because there were enough of us for a whole page. Um…)

      At any rate, I like being named after my great-grandmother, but I can’t help being drawn to more unusual names; however, I will draw the line at some of the proposals my husband has been offhandedly pondering for future kids… let’s just say a lot have been types of vegetables… seriously? plus a potential hypen last name? poor poor future child. Actually, I have been thinking I could slightly relent and let him name the future dog, but even in that case you still have to stand at the backdoor and call it out to the world… so, we shall see. I’m not opposed entirely, but expect there might be some odd glances from neighbors who think I have some reason to be yelling at my garden…

      Oh, and also, I don’t think I quite understand Sally as a nickname for Sara(h), but kind of like Sez and Sass or Sassy, so there is that.

      • sera
        June 12, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

        I’m with you both Sara and Sarah. Although I remember there were never any spellings without an h on any of those license plates and whatnot. I say that because I was given Sara. And then I changed it because, oh, I don’t know, I got tired of just being another Sara. In my small alternative high school of 101 students, nine of us were named Sara(h). My mom insists that back in 1976, NO ONE was named Sara. But I guess we are just along with all of the other uber-popular names.

        Alyssa, can you keep us a list of the too popular names so when I have to name one of those baby things, I don’t screw it up?

  43. Moz
    May 24, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    How your mother pronounces it is exactly how I’ve been saying it, except with an Australian accent. And I don’t know anyone else who would say it exactly the same way.

  44. Moz
    May 24, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    Who WOULDN’T say it exactly the same way. Damn!

  45. ShuddUpSheridan!
    May 25, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    My family has a weird thing for initials. All the boy initials spell “RAM”. My grandmother had 5 boys, my father has 3; I hate every ram figurine I’ve ever laid eyes on. Thank goodness I was an emergency c-section and my mother got to name me (great grandma’s maiden name + the perk of an androgynous factor due to 60s sexual revolution). I tried the whole “You know, like the General” but referencing civil war history is no help when meeting strangers. So I stuck with the routine “Like the hotel, but with a D”, which certainly was a pain when the Hilton sisters were making headlines, but now I love my name. Plus I have the perk of being a SAM for any take out order. RAMs and SAMs, awful I know.

    • ElfPuddle
      June 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      My brother and sister-in-law have named all three of their children based on “what will their initials be?”. They have three kids. The boys were born before bro and sil were married, and are EVL and HEL. Their daughter, born after the wedding, is LGAL.

      I waver between mortified and proud.

  46. Madge
    May 26, 2011 at 3:49 am #

    the initials thing is interesting. my mum got name tape (for the inside of school uniform pieces) with “M E Lastname” made up. my initials are MM Lastname, so that didn’t work. apparently she did it so she could fold over the M and it would still work for my siblings (both Es).

    somedays i believe that they both have their names purely for frugal name-tape purchases.

    my reckoning is this is the 100th comment- woot! go Alyssa!

  47. Jackie
    May 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    I was named after my grandfather Jack although Jackie is a nickname for my full first name of Jaclyn. My mom always wanted to name me Elizabeth, but then my aunt stole it for my cousin so that was out. I was always irritated about that as a kid as I thought I would make a really good Liz! The other thing that always drove me crazy is the spelling of Jaclyn. I much prefer the French version Jacqueline. Apparently, my grandmother decided it should be spelled Jaclyn because she thought Jacqueline was too difficult. Way to have confidence in me, Nana!

    I do HATE to be called Jaclyn though and have made every effort to make sure that people do not even realize that it is my real name. For some reason, every Jaclyn I’ve ever met has been a snotty brat so I much prefer the more fun and laid back Jackie.

  48. Kelsey
    May 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    I was named after an evil twin, haha. Apparently, when my mom was pregnant with me, she and my dad went camping at some popular state park one weekend. A young family was camped in the next spot, and they had twin little girls. All weekend, my mom heard the mother next door screaming the bad twins name whenever she got into trouble, which was about every five seconds. My mom loved it, and that’s how I got my name. Isn’t that lovely? Thanks, mom!

  49. Another Emma
    May 29, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    I was named after my great-great-grandmother, but I think my parents just liked the name, and would have chosen it anyway. It’s been in the top ten girls’ names in Australia since I was born in the early 80’s. If I was a boy, I would have been named Joel. I’m glad I’m not a boy.

    And, ohmygosh DEAN CAIN. Yes.

  50. Katie Jane
    May 31, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    My name is actually Katie, but everyone in the universe thinks it’s Katherine or Kathleen or whatever Katie is normally short for. But I’m a real Katie. My parents couldn’t decide on a name for me for a few days. Every time my dad suggested one apparently my mom – who is known for this sort of thing – would say, “Oh, which old girlfriend of yours was that?” (She has some issues.) So their last day in the hospital, they were watching a John Wayne movie on TV – The Sons of Katie Elder. A light bulb apparently went off, and here I am. 🙂 My middle name – Jane – is from my mom’s sister who passed away when she was young.

    I’ve always had a fondness for literary names, so my future children – should they exist – will all be named after characters from my favorite books. Although my favorite literary boy’s name is becoming increasingly popular. :-/

    My husband’s grandparents were named Lucienne and Ferdinand. I am obsessed with that for some reason. I only met Lucienne once before she passed away, and my husband never knew Ferdinand – he died before he was born. But I just love that his grandfather’s name was Ferdinand. Not that I would ever name a child that, but it just makes me wish I knew him – I bet Ferdinand was a badass. I come from an Irish American family with very common names, so I love that my husband’s family is full of interesting and unusual names. Ferdinand. It’s just fun to say.

    • Trisha
      June 7, 2011 at 9:11 am #

      I have the same problem. I’m Trisha. Not, and never was Patricia. It bothers me way more than it probably should.

  51. Bessa
    June 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    I have to de-lurk, a week late, because my mom has one of the best name stories ever. She is the 8th of 11 children (Irish Catholic family…) and by the time she was born my Grandma had run out of good family names. Accordingly, my mother is named after the baby in the next bed at the hospital.

    Apparently Grandma heard the lady next to her discussing what they had just named their daughter, and thought that it sounded nice and would work as well as anything else. So my mom is the only one of her siblings without a family name. And somewhere in the world there is a woman with the same first and last name and the same birthday.

  52. Heather
    June 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    Apparently, while my mom was pregnant, my parents went out to breakfast and there was a really cute little girl at the next table named Heather. It seems that they both thought it was a nice name, and this other Heather was so sweet and cute, so here I am. My middle name is Lynne, after my mom’s friend, and people almost always leave off that “E” at the end, which pisses me off, ridiculously. There are a LOT of people my age named Heather, but I am the only one at my job right now, which blows me away…I have been one of many, practically my whole life. I’m sure another one will pop up soon.

  53. Trisha
    June 7, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    “All those little girls named Sarah and Amanda that had pencils and t-shirts and keychains with their name on them? I HATED them.” You and me both my friend. I got it one step worse even. My name is Trisha, with an ‘sha’ not an ‘cia.’ So every now and then places would have pencils of mugs or stuff with Tricia on them, bet never Trisha. My mom did get me an airbrushed shirt with my name on it at the fair one year though. That made up for a lot. It had unicorns and my name (spelled correctly!) I was in heaven.

    I was named after an actress on General Hospital. Yup, I’m named after a soap star. I was supposed to be Nathanial Leighton. Even the ultrasound said so. Yeah, I apparently had other plans. I was stubborn from the first. My mom didn’t have any girl names picked out. So she was watching General Hospital in the hospital and thought Trisha sounded nice.

    Of course, I’m still better off then she was. My gram had no names picked out at all. Someone visiting her in the hospital brought her slippers. The brand name? Terry Lynn. My mom’s name? Yup, Terry Lynn. (First and middle.)

  54. Ami
    June 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    The deal between my parents was that my Dad would name the children and my Mum, the dogs… So us kids got: Amelia, Piers, and Abigail… the dogs… Uistean, Tara, Ella, Lily, Elly (a pattern started forming in my Mum’s names for the pooches in the later years)… not sure which was the worse deal.

    I’m Amelia Phryne. I hated my name as a child – as so many do when they are the ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ names, but now there are so many ‘Amelias’ – most under the age of 10 that it’s become common-place. I’ve grown to like it over the years – there’s some cool people called Amelia like ummmm… Amelia Earhart… and ummmm… anyways…moving on…

    I’ve not heard of many ‘Phrynes’ and I’m not expecting to. When I asked my Dad where he got the name Phryne from he invariably replied that it was the name of a greek tart or sometimes a roman prostitute – nice. I’ve discovered that Phryne was the name of a famous greek courtesan (so he was right about that bit) – but, but, but apparently she was very beautiful – reputedly the most beautiful woman of her day – and a bit of an exhibitionist – she went skinny-dipping in front of a crowd, got her boobs out when she was on trial for ‘profanity’ (and got off scott-free in consequence), and is said to have been the inspiration for several artists of the time. So I was starting to think my old Dad wasn’t such a bad egg… until I discovered that ‘Phryne’ was the lady of ill-repute’s nickname given to her by other courtesans and meaning ‘toad’ apparently on account of the yellowish tinge to her skin (and the latter was a good thing to have??).

    Bringing back in ‘Amelia’ this is a (seemingly little-used) medical term to describe something without arms or legs. So the meaning of my name? Limbless toad… great, thanks Dad, love you too.

    • ElfPuddle
      June 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

      There’s also Amelia Bedelia, which was always one of my favorite sets of books when I was younger. I don’t know that it helps, but, well, that’s what I thought of first. *hug* sorry

      • Ami
        June 9, 2011 at 1:37 am #

        ooh yes I’d fogotten about Amelia Bedelia! Also from the same stable ‘Naughty Amelia Jane’ and a friend at Uni always used to call me Amelia Anne Stiggins which he said was a character from a children’s book.

  55. Ami
    June 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Oh names for kids… um don’t really do children. Whenever I suggest names they’re usually for animals (I take after my Ma in that respect) but until ‘Lord of the Rings’ hit the big time I always liked the name ‘Bodo’ for a boy – as in Bodo saltans which is a single-celled organism that jumps like a loon at every opportunity – it’s cool. Funnily enough I couldn’t convince my sister or my brother to call their beloved offspring ‘Bodo’. Now I’ve kinda cooled on the name as it’s so close to ‘Frodo’ and that’s just creepy (those feet *shudder*). On a similar line I rather like Emiliana as in Emilian Huxleii… which is another very pretty single-celled beasty (the theme goes on)…

    Lettuce is nice… I’d call a girl that but I guess you could call a rabbit that (but Skin or Ian is even better for a bunny)….

    Another favourite naming story was from a friend who was serving as a medic somewhere in a country in Africa where the locals had taken a fancy to words from outside their own language for children’s names that sounded nice. My personal favourite was ‘Omelette’… which is actually a very pretty word.

    Think it’s probably a good idea that I’m not having children…

  56. Sarah
    June 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Ok, I somehow missed this, but I’m comenting anyway. Neener!

    My name is common blah blah blah (litereally 80% of my Christian college’s female population had my name. No joke.). There were always pencil cases and keychains, but I hated them, so it didn’t matter. The funny bit is how I GOT my name.

    My dad wanted to name me Elizabeth for an aunt he adored. My mom said ok, got on a biblical name kick, and chose Sarah for my middle name. Elizabeth Sarah. Ok then. (I wonder … would I have been a Beth? I don’t think Liz would have worked for me.)

    WELL, my mom, being all happy and floaty on the painkillers directly after giving birth was asked by a nurse “What’s her name?” My mother said “Sarah Elizabeth”. Cue the stunned looks from my dad.

    So I went on the records as Sarah … though my dad, in a fit of annoyance at my mom, changed the Elizabeth to the proper Hungarian spelling of Erzsebet. (They changed it back when I was 3, because apparently my mom found it too hard to pronounce. Air-za-bet. How hard is that?)

    As a recap: Elizabeth Sarah became Sarah Erzsebet became Sarah Elizabeth.

    The last name thing was a pain though. EXTREMELY rare last name (constantly mispronounced) became an extrememly common name when I got married. (Also, somehow, mispronounced.)

    Who said this baby naming thing was easy?

    (Randomly, working in call centers, I would CONSTANTLY get people answering “Thank you for calling (name of company), this is Sarah, how can I help you?” with “Hi Beth” or “Hi Pam”. HOW do you get Beth or Pam from Sarah?!)

  57. VNikol
    February 21, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    “Alyssa Mulatto”,…gosh kids kids can be a-holes. Mom named me after a Bing Crosby juice jingle she heard while grocery shopping when she was pregnant with me. Hated my name as a kid… especially during the grade school years when the juice jingle experienced a commercial revival in the 80’s & I was teased with “100% Chocolate Milk” chants..seriously annoying. The result of being one of 5 brown faces in a sea of vanilla…go figure. Wanted my name to be Diana or Anastasia for the longest but puberty hit & guys started to like my name, some said it was exotic… made me hate it less. Dad wanted to name me Chastity, so there are worse things obviously. I’m used to it now, just part of me now.. 😉

  58. Amber
    March 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    I’ve just discovered your blog and had to comment even though I’m a bit late! My name is Amber which is ALWAYS the mean bitch and/or loosely-moraled chick in any movie without fail. My mom had a friend in grade school named Amber and since my mom’s name is Sheree (Sha-ree not Sherry) I think she wanted a name that was a no-brainer to be pronounced. However, she first wanted to name me Savannah but my Dad has a stutter and had a hard enough time getting Sheree out. Naming me Savannah would have just been cruel. Before they had my older brother named Jacob, they had a dog named Jake. They swear they didn’t name him after the dog but that didn’t keep me from teasing him about it. I’m his little sister, it’s my job. Anyway, my husband is set on the name Felicity for our future, hypothetical daughter. I love the name too but my dad stutters on the”Fa-lis” beginning so she’ll end up with a nickname my dad can say. Probably Flip if she takes after me and my reckless, gymnastic behavior as a child.


  1. I’m baaaacccckkkk….. | Kind of a Mess - January 13, 2012

    […] to say ANY name without at least someone shuddering and going, “Aw.  Really?”  As discussed previously, I already have strong opinions on names so I don’t need to sabotage our child with outside […]

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