This is a piece I just wrote for Man Repeller’s ‘Writer’s Prompt’ – enjoy my amazing humour and wit.
In the outrageously awful words of Katie Hopkins: “I tend to think that children who have intelligent names tend to have fairly intelligent parents and they make much better playdates for my children.” Before you stop reading this, just let me tell you that I don’t agree with this. If you’re from the UK, chances are you’ve heard of Katie Hopkins and you’ve seen this gem of a video, but for those who haven’t, WATCH IT (it’s hilarious), and listen to one of Great Britain’s most famous proponents of never naming your child something that sounds even vaguely American.
All awkward laughs and condemnation of Katie’s beliefs aside, it is difficult not to see meaning in and consider someone by their name. Take our 4 best gals – how many times has someone told you: “Mmmhhh, you’re an unemotional bitch, you’re a Miranda!”, or (from a much better friend): “You love sleeping with sex gods, you’re a Samantha!”. Sure, when we say these things we are talking about their particular personalities, but doesn’t the connotation of the name stick everywhere we go?
Names remind us of people (or characters) we’ve met, or watched, or heard of in our past and in the past in general; everything has a connotation, be it positive or negative. Most parents want to inspire greatness in their children through their name, for example Daeneyres (from GoT) who is sexy and powerful as hell, but some are just plain T.A.I.N.T.E.D. Names which are actually amazing such as Chlamydia, Herpes of even Gonorrhoea (would work so well on a fiery dark Italian) have all been stolen away from us by science. Greek mythology is also an important factor – in some versions, Cassandra was an insane bitch and I’ve heard stories of people not using this beautiful name for their daughter because of the negative connotation. And no one (or so I would hope) would consider calling their son Adolf in the foreseeable future.
I myself was blessed with the name Ophélie. A name that either:
- reminds people of that girl who drowned in that play, either makes my parents’ drunk friend declare his love for me by reciting Rimbaud’s poem in front of his own children,
- either makes me get asked if I’m the daughter of an Irish immigrant (you’ll get this if you watched the video),
- but which mostly just gets greeted by blank stares by most English-speaking people.
Oh yeah, and French people just start humming a famous French 90s tune sung by an incredibly cringing artist of the unfortunate same namesake. Oh, and yeah again, my nickname is Toffee which I won’t even try to analyse, but needless to say that is slowly but surely on its way out.
But however much I rant and complain to my poor parents about my sexy name – which, I’m going to add, means (according to some books) snake woman who slithers into people’s hearts -, however many times I’ve wished I was called Chloe or Violet or Princess (I seriously considered this for a time), I don’t think I would ever actually change my name.
Because ultimately it’s the name your parents gave you, the one your friends, family and lover(s) call you, it’s YOU, so deep down, even if you don’t know it, you love it. Unless you’re called Yeast Infection.