Is it true what they say about names being descriptors of who you are? Does a name identify or label a person? How important is a name once you know the person?
People should pay attention to how names sound rolling off the tongue. Or perhaps how they do not roll off the tongue very well. Take the example of a name beginning with R and followed by a last name beginning with the letter W. Sometimes it works like in Richard Woods -no problem with that name, but try Rhonda Wright which doesn’t sound very right because the tongue gets twisted around the R and the W quite easily and ends up sounding more like Wanda Wight. The mouth just has to go through too many gymnastics to say the name properly.
At least the name Rhonda is common, understandable. In today’s generation anything goes. My daughter named her two boys Otis and Ogden (both after a famous musician and a poet), but when she and her husband came up with the name Otis, all I could think of was some farmer standing in his barn in the late 1800’s (which was when Otis was at the peak of its popularity). I felt like the child would be ridiculed and made fun of. I pleaded for her not to name the baby this ,but she was resolute. Much to my relief when I tell young people his name, they all think it’s cool. When I tell older people his name, well let’s just say they see the farmer.
In many cultures names do identify a projected meaning. They are selected carefully to identify the wishes and blessings that come with the name, or in some ways, the travail and hardship of the time the child was born.
In my on-line dating world I have come across some really interesting names. They range from childlike (Rusty, Denny, Jimmy, Kirby, Billy, Bucky-note: any name with a y on the end of it becomes very juvenile) to literary (Burton, Stewart, Ned) and of course the normal names (Michael, Tom, Gregg, Jeff, and Dan). The names of my father’s generation are – Bill, Bob,George and Henry. Depending on the person, I sometimes feel like I am talking to my father.
I’m not knocking the above names. I’m just observing what some men continue to call themselves as adults even though they were nicknames given to them as children. Women do the same thing with names like Bunny, Mitzy, etc.
I changed my name fifteen years ago. I was legally named Vickie and never settled into the name. As a child I wanted a more sophisticated name. Vickie seemed too cute. I changed the spelling to Vikki (though that really is a “cuter” spelling) out of boredom. Finally, I just decided as an adult in later life that my name really should be Victoria. I called myself this and because I was entering a new job at the time, it made it easy to label myself Victoria with everyone following suit. I was married at the time to my husband Adonis (now tell me that isn’t a hard name to live up to!). I told him to start calling me Victoria and much to my surprise and his credit he did and never skipped a beat. I never heard him call me Vikki again.
I embraced my name and love it a lot! It speaks of so many obstacles I have had to overcome and come out the victorious one. A few years ago, my close friend Gregg who is a talented silversmith made me a necklace out of a 19th century British coin with Queen Victoria’s image on it. I was beyond delighted. I wear it a lot, especially when I am going through a difficult time. I rub the coin with my two fingers and tell myself if Queen Victoria could rule a kingdom and reign successfully for a long as she did, I can get through the day or the challenge.
At the end of the day, it’s not the name but the qualities of a person that make them appealing or not. Any person you love and care for, any person who is a kind soul and bears a brave heart can be called anything and the name will sound like tinkling chimes or melodious chords being strummed across our hearts.
Otis and Ogden are two names I adore! Otis is no longer a farmer but a spunky and delightful toddler! Ogeden is just a baby so he will have to grow into his name and define it with his own personality.
I have been accused of renaming people or formalizing their name. Take the name of my friend Larry. His real name is Lawrence, and he’s too handsome to be called Larry. So I call him Lawrence and he loves it. Pardon me for takng these liberties. I guess as a writer, my imagination gets the best of me!