Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Something about names and roses and something that smells.

Yeah, I spent a long time trying to think of a good, clever name for this post and all I could come up with was that old overdone Shakespeare quote. So yeah. Whatever. (Today was another no-nap day. That may have something to do with it.)

Following up on yesterday's discussion about words that are tainted by association, I just want to take a moment to talk about names.

Everyone, I'm sure, has had the experience of a name being "ruined."

In elementary school I met a girl named Lizzie. I won't go into details, but the experience was so unpleasant that I've had issues with the name ever since. The only reason I'm still okay with Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice is that when people call her by her nickname, it's spelled "Lizzy."

Another example is that several of the boys' names I liked growing up ended up going on to be the names of boys I dated.* So I could never use them for a child, which made our quest to find a name for the Little Guy that much harder, since most of my favorite names were now off the table. (Also, Shallow Man didn't particularly like most of the others, but that's neither here nor there.)

I'm also pretty sure I could never name a child any variation of Isabella now.

Of course, name associations don't have to be bad. Positive associations with names are what lead to namesakes. Which are pretty awesome. The Little Guy's middle name is actually in honor of one of our dear friends (who was not only Shallow Man's roommate, but also his best man, our wedding photographer, our chauffeur, our bouncer, etc.). My nephew is named after my maternal grandfather, who passed away a few months before said nephew was born, and now I have two awesome associations with that particular name.

I don't really have any grand conclusion about this. It's just something I've thought about in connection with the rest of my word musings. So if any of you has a pithy way to end this, please feel free to share it with the class.

*Oddly enough, almost all of them also had a sister named Amy, or some variation thereof, which was also one of my favorite girls' names. Go figure.

That's it for Day 23—we are now entering the final week of NaBloPoMo, yo. (Okay, sorry for that. Couldn't help myself.)


Barb @ getupandplay said...

I agree that names can be completely ruined by personal associations. And I just have to add a resounding AMEN! I've been waiting for sixteen years for some validation about that particular person's awfulness and I'm so glad that it wasn't just me!

elliespen said...

Thanks to you as well for the validation! I have to admit, in all fairness, that she did grow up quite a bit and was much nicer by the time we graduated high school, but by then it was much too late for me to learn to like either the person or the name.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I remember running into her in high school at some student government activity and I just couldn't bring myself to be as cheerfully oblivious as she was to me. I wanted to take her by the shoulders and say, "You ruined my life for a whole year." That is the biggest downside to living in a small community forever- you actually still run into people from your past that you'd rather forget! (This happens to me all the time with boys that I embarrassed myself in front of...)

Motion DeSmiths said...

I've always liked Kristen(s)
I've never met a Jared who wasn't...a bit off.
Todds are not to be borne.