Okay, let me say up front here I do not want to be judgmental about anyone’s name. Short of changing your name, which I plan to do one day, you’re pretty much stuck with what someone else stuck on you. It’s like your parents have first strike capability to make up for all those sleepless night when all you can do is wail, perhaps about your name, or your nickname, but that won’t help. I’ve tried it. No, the vast majority of people have affixed to their identity a name that they might not have chosen for themselves in a million years.
Some names were once popular but have fallen out of vogue. I really don’t understand why names get old, or become unused but they do. You don’t hear of very many girls named Ethyl anymore, or little boys named Bertrand. I have a dog named Bert, but you could name a dog anything you wanted and the dog wouldn’t mind at all. Of course, there was this poodle named Dexter and I wonder if he had been named Spike or Rover if things would have turned out better for him.
So anyway, I had a friend who was dating a truly hot and appropriately named woman, He wanted me to go with them to the movies and tagging along was her less hot friend who had one of those names. Worse, she had been stuck with one of those nicknames people give their kids with no understanding it might just follow them into adulthood. Really now, do you want a guy to enter High School with a nickname like “Binky”? Of course his real name wasn’t much better but I digress. Anyway, I got stuck with the woman whose name I couldn’t use without a weird hitch in my voice that said, “Your nickname is irritating but your real name is worse” but it was too late. We were both in our early twenties and there was no way to rename someone in a small town at that age.
I’ve been renamed so I know what I’m talking about here. Believe it or not, “Mike” isn’t my real name. That is what my parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers at school, and everyone who has ever known me has called me. Except for that group of people who have always known me by the name of “Snakes” and that’s a long story in and of itself. When I transferred over from one side of the state to another I just told the new people my name was Mike, and Snakes was lost forever. Snakes isn’t a bad nickname but snakes have a bad reputation and some people react poorly to even the word being used so I dropped it.
Drinking a lot of alcohol has lowered a lot of inhibitions and many a pair of blue jeans. The woman with the double name curse and I wound up in a cheap hotel room and it was very odd to have even shallow conversation with someone whose name you have difficulty using. Not to be graphic or anything like that, but there are certain phrases in that situation that you just can’t use if you aren’t comfortable with the woman’s name. We may have just discovered why people use names like “Baby” and “Darling” when they speak to loved ones. Perhaps it is possible to love someone and not like their name at all. It’s like not liking an eye color or a shape of a nose. Man, you’re stuck with that thing unless you do something drastic.
I wore a necklace at that Saint Christopher pedant at that point in my life, a gift from my sister, and as we were getting ready to leave the next morning it was gone. Now, I remember taking it off because it kept getting in the way, and I remembered putting it into the ashtray on the tiny table next to the bed. I came out of the bathroom and looked for it and it was gone. “I didn’t take it” was the first words out of her mouth so I pretty much knew she had. I think she thought if she admitted she had it I might leave her there, and finally I told her if she didn’t give it back I was going to leave her, but she started crying and no man has a defense against that.
On the upside, me accusing her of stealing from me during a one night stand pretty much put a bullet in the double date outings, but it made for some very awkward social situations. I was fairly vocal about what I thought had happened, and she was petulant about her side of the story. Fate intervened when she found a new boyfriend and he moved in with her. She was living in an apartment in someone’s attic and this guy wandered in from another state, a cousin of a friend, and they were an instant pair. Of course, he was more or less homeless at the time, didn’t have a job, and bummed cigarettes off of everyone, but he did have a great name.
She came up pregnant, he left town like he was afire, and she started telling everyone he left because I was the real father of the baby. She even went so far as to threaten to go to my father and tell him the baby was mine, but in the end she had to confess to being a liar as well as a thief.
I can’t remember what she named the kid, but it was a nice simple name, and I do remember she went down to Florida looking for the baby’s father and wound up standing on a doorstep for a couple of hours trying to get in. I’m not sure what happened after all of that, but I did remember thinking she needed supernatural protection a lot more than I did and in the end, had worse name problems than I.