Famous Names

Humans of New York - Beyoncé

By Gabrielle. Photo by Humans of New York.

Apparently, I am the last person in the world to read the Humans of New York story about a school girl named Beyoncé. She says:

“Sometimes I hate my name because it always draws attention to me, and I’m not a very social person. My family moved this year from Pennsylvania. I was so scared the first day of school that someone would notice me. I wouldn’t even adjust my seat because I thought it would make a noise. One time I really had to cough, but I held it in. When the teacher started calling attendance, I got really nervous, because every time people learn my name is Beyoncé, somebody starts singing ‘Single Ladies.’ And some did, of course. But the second day of school wasn’t too bad. Because everyone knew my name.”

The comment section on the Facebook post is pure gold. If you need a grin today, I highly recommend taking a look. : ) Of course, it also got me thinking about my own name. It’s not a famous one, but when I was growing up in St. George, Utah, “Gabrielle” was considered unusual. I remember every first day of school, as the teacher took roll, there would be a conversation like this:

Teacher – “Gaww-breeee-ellle?” (Always said in an attempt at an accent.) “Is that how to pronounce that?”

Me – “That’s me, but you can just call me Gabby.” (I always offered this because Gabrielle seemed hard for people to pronounce.)

Teacher – “Gabby? Why? Do you talk to much?” (Cue laughter from classmates.)

Me – “Well, actually…”

And then in 7th grade, which was the first year I had different class periods with different teachers, I had the realization I would need to have that conversation 7 times in the same day. And I totally did! But I didn’t mind the name Gabrielle, or Gabby. Other than the first day of school, people rarely gave me flack about it, and I ended up liking the fact that I had a memorable name.

It made me wonder, do you, or your kids, or maybe your siblings, have names that have dual meanings, or sound famous, or are memorable in one way or another? And if yes, did you like having a remarkable name? And when you named your kids, did you search for, or avoid, remarkable names? I’d love to hear. I get such a kick out of name stories!

P.S. — Remember when we talked about nicknames?

123 thoughts on “Famous Names”

  1. Mine isn’t hard to say? Just frustrating when people spell it wrong. I had teachers ask me if their list was correct because my name had an H in it. But yes it was correct…. I’m Chrystal with an H! :)

    Now I just go with however people want to spell it, unless it’s an official government document.

  2. J.A. from Amsterdam

    I’m a flemish speaking Belgian, born and raised. I moved to the USA when I was a preteen. My name is “Joke”. Yup! I used “Yoka” the first couple of years but then just went back to my real name, which is Joke. “Like yoga with a k” I always say. Anyways, I love my name. And now I live in the NL and people know many women with my name.

  3. My husband is John Daley, which isn’t that famous unless you follow old golfers or know the supporting cast of Bones. But together we are John and Jacqueline, so when we first met people we say “like the Kennedy’s, only we’re Mormon and not rich.” John’s dad is Richard Daley, his flying name was.”the Mayor” and we had a bishop in Utah who kept talking about meeting the mayor of Chicago. We thought he was joking but he mentioned it so many times and with such seriousness we realized he might not know what the mayor of Chicago looks like-or what race he is.

  4. My name is Chania. Pronouned Chaun-ya, with a Ch, not a Sh. NOT Chan-ya. I always tell people like Tanya with a Ch…..but then that name can be pronounced Tan-ya too. In general people totally disregard the pronounciation and I get Chandra, Chan-eye-a, Chan-ee-a whatever they please. Because of all my name nonsense, I make sure I take the time to learn people’s names and say them correctly.

    After flubbing my name 5 time people then ask where it was from. I was named after a waterfall in Kenya…where I was born. Which then leads to the whole “you don’t look African bit”, which is when I give up.

    1. “After flubbing my name 5 time people then ask where it was from. I was named after a waterfall in Kenya…where I was born. Which then leads to the whole “you don’t look African bit”, which is when I give up.”

      HA! That cracked me up!

  5. My name is Gabrielle too, but it is pronounced with a long A like the angel’s name + elle. I’m at college now, and each professor pronounces my name uniquely. My dad nicknamed me Gabe when I was younger, which is a bit odd for a female. Nevertheless, it stuck.

    1. Wow. My name is Gabriella with a long “a” and I’m called Gabie. Pronounced “Gay-bee”. People ALWAYS ALWAYS get my name wrong and it’s so frustrating. I was named after an old relative who pronounced it that way so my mother kept it that way. I am constantly having to tell people how to say my name, spell it, and talk about it. People also think I’m saying “Debbie” when I introduce myself over the phone and sometimes in person too. It’s really weird. I’m really careful to pronounce people’s names correctly because of all this so perhaps it’s made me a better listener!

  6. I was born Amy, in 1973. Second most popular name, right behind Jennifer. And Amys were everywhere in the ‘burbs that I called home. I would’ve LOVED to be Gabrielle. Or Hephzibah. Or whatever the 1973 equivalent was of Beyonce. (Farrah, maybe?!)

    My mother had a really unusual name, so she insisted her children have short, easy American names. None of us love them.

    I legally changed my middle name as an adult, so now I’m Amy Abigail Sandel – Abby. It’s very rare to meet another woman my age with the same name, but everyone knows the name – perfect. I’m so much happier.

    Our son’s name is a family name, both classic and popular – Alexander, called Alex. He’s happiest that way. (He rejected other nicknames – Alexei, Aly, Dex.)

    Our daughter is Clio – a true stand-out of a name, and one that fills me joy every time I say it.

    Our choices definitely got bolder with baby #2. If we’d had a third, our shortlist was Leif, Romy, Thora … more stand-out names. But here in Washington DC, everyone has a standout name. Which means that they all fit in!

    1. As a Jennifer I totally relate to this! My mom named me Jennifer because she liked the name Jenny, but she never called me that. No idea why she didn’t just name me Jenny – it would have been at least a little more unique. I tried to switch to my middle name when I went to college (Rose), but I found I never responded to it!

      I’m in the process of converting to Judaism and I’m looking forward to picking out a unique Hebrew name.

      1. Welcome to The Tribe, Jennifer. My Hebrew name is Yael, pronounced Ya-elle, a very popular name in Israel. Mazel Tov!

        1. Also, another Jennifer. In my kindergarten class there was a Jennifer, a Jenny, and a Jen. So I became Jenn – the second was VERY important! Very old friends and family still call my Jenny and it gives that variation a semblance of intimacy.

  7. In general, the comments on HONY are so amazing and uplifting… whenever the internet feels like a downer or people are just negative trolls, that is THE spot to go check out & remember that there are wonderful people everywhere. :)

    1. Great observation! And I love that even when there are crabby posters, Gabby is so measured and thoughtful with her response to them.

  8. Funny topic. I got made fun of a lot as a kid. “Ginger Snow”-got “Ginger-bread-man”, “Snowstorm”, “Spicer”, “Too bad you aren’t a red-head”, “Ginger-are you a movie star?” “Do you spell that with a J or a G?” I actually kind of hate it. My husband has a girl’s name with a man’s spelling, “Loren”. So that’s awesome. I’m not even going to tell you my married name because that’s awesome as well:)

    When we started to have kids and were picking names, we had three rules. The name had to be gender-specific, common, and easy to spell. We came up with “Sam, Leah, Brian, Matthew, and Joy”, each with very specific reasons that are too complicated and long to write here. Leah gets confused a lot with Princess Leia from star wars and Joy isn’t really so joyfull when she is throwing her 2 year-old tantrums, but that’s it. We are pleased so far:)

    1. the other robin

      I never thought of Sam as being gender-specific. I know more female Sams than male, and their names are not short for anything. Cute names!

  9. Growing up, I HATED having an unusual name. I once overheard friend’s mom, who was a pharmacist and therefore my go-to medical authority as a 6 year old, say that my name reminded her of a disease. Youch. HOWEVER, when I got to middle school and there were so many kids coming together from different schools, it was so nice to be the only Blythe and to have instant recognition when people referred to you– no fear of someone having to ask “Which Blythe?” As the years have gone by, and I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin, I’ve come to truly embrace the name… I kinda love it.
    When I named my kids, I wanted to give them less popular names, as my parents did, but ones they could shorten if they so desired. That way, if they ever hated their names like I once did, they could alter them a bit.

  10. I didn’t realize that I had a “famous” name until I was married several years. My married name is Martha Kent – Super Man’s mom. I have embraced it. I love Superman, especially Christopher Reeves. And I do have a pretty super son and daughter. : ) I am just waiting for them to fly. : ) : )

  11. My married name is Heather Peterson. Living in Minneapolis, there are many of us–there is even one a few blocks away! Whenever they looks me up in a store database, they always need my address or phone number in addition to my name. It makes me miss my maiden name, Duggan. Yes, I was sometimes “Doogie” and “Doogie Howser” in the 90s, but I’ll go for unique over common any day.

    We chose uncommon (but not “weird”) names for our girls, and have learned an unexpected lesson with each. My 8 year old is Clio, but people always remember it as the more-common “Chloe.” She has learned to correct people kindly, or with humor.

    Our 6 year old is Eleri (pronounced Ellery). Well, it turns out that it is NOT pronounced that way–we looked it up after it was on her birth certificate and it is Welsh, pronounced e-LYE-ree. We thought people who pronounce it phoneticaly but no one ever does. So she will have to have that conversation for the rest of her life (“It’s pronounced Ellery. It means “wild river.” I was born accidentally at home and my parents sort of scrambled.) At least it’s a good story….

  12. I have the most 70’s name imaginable, but I like my name. My pet peeve however is when I introduce myself as Tamara and people immediately start calling me Tammy. What??? Didn’t I just say Tamara, and now you’re calling me Tammy. I don’t get it.

      1. I’m a Melissa. People also immediately want to shorten it to Missy. Which, NO. Omg, NO. I just said I’m Melissa, I do not remember introducing myself at Missy. Or Mel. Gah. Hello, TAMARA, nice to meet you :)

  13. My name has been massacred since I was born. Corynne (pronounced Kor-Rin) I get Cory-ann a lot which bugs me because there is no A. My middle name is Gentri – I like it but its so not feminine. My dad just liked it. I learned to like it ove rthe years and even gave it to my daughter as her middle name. My sisters and I all have his initials so the G is kinda tough. I always give kudos to people who pronounce my name right on the first try. I do get a lot of comments that it is pretty – once they know how to say it. My last name is Person – just like it looks. It gets massacred regularly too – like that just cant be a name. I told my husband I wish I would have known taking his name was going to be such an ordeal. Even on our wedding announcement in the paper they wrote Davis-PEARSON wedding. I was ticked! My kids names are Laila and Trenton. Laila has become a lot more popular than I would have liked over the last 8 years and you don’t see many little African American boys named Trent! I did want their names to be easy to pronounce but not common. My husband’s name is Barry – when people write it they often spell it Berry – really people? My sister’s names are Camille and Carmell – easy to pronounce but not common. We pay a lot of attention to names in my family – Uncommon but not strange. No Lemonjellos or Shanene’s here! As a teacher I have seen MANY names over the years and for that reason I purposely named my kids things I did not hear at all or not very often!

  14. Pamela Balabuszko-Reay

    My mom considered naming me Veruschka (after the model from the 1960’s). Honestly it would have suited me. And I love the idea of Veruschka Balabuszko- Very for short.

    Growing up in Chicagoland my Polish last name did not give pause. My first name back in those days (Pam) was as easy as pie for the first day of school. Now it is like finger nails on a chalkboard when I hear it. I prefer Pamela (who the heck is Pam?)now. A couple of dear friends from my childhood get to call me Pam.

    It is interesting how people with common names go for unusual for their kids and the other way around. Our experiences in life are awfully influential.

  15. So, my name is Kristian (pronounced Christian, like the religion). I’ve gotten some of the strangest reactions. Mostly it is just persistent mispronunciation, even after I’ve instructed them how to say the name, but…

    Once, after introducting myself, the other person got a really strange look on their face and then said hesitantly, “Um… I’m Jewish?”

    I’ve been to Europe twice to teach English and housing needed to be arranged both times. The first time, a local college kid met me to give me a tour. I figured out pretty quickly that they usually have boys guide boys and girls guide girls because for literally five minutes the guides kept saying to one another, “I thought she’d be a guy, didn’t you think she’d be a guy?” However, I got the most through tour of any of the other teachers, so I’m guessing my guide wasn’t too upset I was girl!

    More awkward was in Italy when I walked into the room I’d be sharing with three other teachers during training and guy walked out of the bathroom at the same time wearing nothing but a towel. Um…awkward. But not as awkward as waiting (in the unseasonal) torrent of rain for four hours while they found me another room.

    Oddly, my mom really wanted unisex names. I like my name, mostly, and that it is unique, but will definitely be picking something people can recognize and that is less likely to be neutral.

    1. I have a good friend called Kristian who went to high school with my husband. It’s been over 20 years since they graduated but to this day my mother in law can’t say his name. She constantly calls him Kristen and it drives him crazy because Kristen is a girl’s name! The crazy thing is that she pronounces the name Christian correctly, but when it’s spelled with a K she gets it wrong – even after 25 years of being corrected!

  16. Oh my gosh – those comments! Classic. We had a Michael Jackson in my school, and I always felt a little bad for him, having to share his name (at first with a really cool King of Pop, and then with whatever MJ became).

    My name is Mary – easy, right?, but going to Catholic school, there were several of them – my teachers tried to make us all go by MaryMiddleName to differentiate us, and I fought back. I was the only Mary. :-)

    I married into a long Polish last name that requires spelling every time, and often a corrected pronunciation, so when we chose names for our boys, I wanted them to be easily spelled and pronounced. I also didn’t want nicknames if possible. Tough with boys! But Aaron and Nathan are working well so far.

    1. Funnily enough, I had a lot of trouble while i lived in Australia, when I knew an Aaron. In N America, I find it sounds like Erin. In Australia, they pronounce it differently, somehow in the back of the throat, maybe “R-n”. I struggled with it, couldn’t even really understand the difference, until my friend just said call me kiwi, everyone else does! (he was from NZ originally). Just like when I say Dawn to my Aussie husband, he thinks I mean Don.

  17. I am Sonia with an “i” and have my entire life had to explain that it isn’t with a “y” or “j” not because I care (spell it as you like, I know what you mean!) but I always had well meaning teachers and acquaintences who wanted to get it right. Add a crazy Polish last name that was eternally butchered into “Kawasaki” and you’ll understand why I was pleased to marry a plain ole Irish Duggan. Our daughters are named Lola & Coraline simply because we liked the names, but not a day goes by that someone isn’t singing the Kinks song about Lola or asking if we’re huge Neil Gaiman fans when we tell then about Coraline.

  18. This happens to me all time now as a grown up. Anytime, someone sees my name in writing they struggle. I tell them to think of Gina or Giovanni…Anytime where the written version of my name isn’t important (Starbucks order, restaurant reservation) I just say Julia…makes life easier. This was also why I readily changed to my married name Doyle…Caflisch (my maiden name) had me spell things out ALL the time…
    In Switzerland where I grew up I had no issues at all. My daughter’s name is Maëlle, which works perfectly in her French school, but most Anglophones mispronounce it or call her Maya.

  19. I have a daughter named Ryan. Before they meet her, everyone assumes she’s a boy, of course. Our ballet studio director told me that when they saw her name they were so excited to get another boy in the studio and then were surprised to find a girl in class on the first day. She does not like her name now, but I’m hoping she does later. Everyone teases me that I’m no good at girl names. My three other kids are boys. I can take it. ;) I love her name.

    1. I love Ryan for a girl’s name! I’m turning 40 this year and I had a girl named Michael in my class. Everyone figured it out after the first day and all was well.

    2. I met a female Ryan and a summer job in high school. At first I was skeptical it was her real name. I figured she’d just been given the wrong name tag. But it grew on me, and now I like Ryan better for a girl than a boy.

      We named our only daughter Riley, and have had the same issue with people seeing her name and assuming she’s a boy before the meet her. But it’s becoming more and more common for a girl, so I don’t think it will continue to be an issue for her.

      1. LOVE the name Ryan for a girl! My son’s friend spells it with an ‘i’, Rian. My daughter even has a girl in her class named Stuart! That’s a different one. Also met a girl named Evan, and I thought that was cool for a girl.

        We went with Sophie for our daughter just b/c we love the name. It suits her perfectly, but part of me wishes we’d been more creative.

  20. Summer. Like the season. Strangely, that description is rarely enough.

    I really like my name. Of course there was confusion with other kids. “Why does your thermos say Summer on it?” Me: “It’s my name….” *still met with blank stare* “…the same reason yours says Julie.”

    Also, my grandmother famously told my mother, “Well… I guess you can call a kid anything and they’ll learn to respond.”

    That being said, I’ve always liked traditional names if I had kids (especially for boys).

    1. I love your grandmother’s response to your name! That sounds just like something mine would say!

      My parents named me Rebecca but insisted from the very beginning that I was to be called Becca. In spite of that, I’m told my grandma always called me Becky. She died before my third birthday, so I don’t remember any of that. But I’ve wondered what might have been different if she had lived longer and continued to call me Becky: would I be more fond of the name Becky than I am because it was her nickname for me, or would I have resented her for it like my mom did?

      1. Oh, grandmothers! It’s funny, because I do think of how my parents would pronounce certain names I like. My sister had a Trevor and that took them years to master. I like Liam, but I’ve always been pretty certain it would be pronounce “limb” with a southern accent. ;)

  21. What a fun topic! I thought my name wasn’t too unusual, but unusual for a girl. I grew up in the 80s and there were plenty of unisex names and plenty of boy “Corys.” Upon meeting me, the first thing people would ask is “What’s your real name?” It is my real name ( : And role call, combined with my unusual maiden name would always be Karrie with my classmates correcting the teacher. I always liked it though, perfect fit for me -a little tomboyish and a little feminine!

  22. My daughter’s name is Ines. I knew it would be mispronounced, but I hadn’t anticipated it would be pronounced so badly in so many different ways. I fell in love with the name while living in France and since I live in a very bilingual part of Canada, I thought it would be easy for the francophones in our city. Not so. It’s not a French-Canadian name at all. Sigh. But my daughter totally owns her name and doesn’t care. If she asses that someone is never going to master the pronunciation she gently suggest they use her nickname which is has a no-fail pronunciation.

    1. *If she assesses that someone is never going to master the pronunciation she gently suggests they use her nickname which is has a no-fail pronunciation.*

  23. My maiden name was Montgomery and Donya K. Montgomery always seemed to turn into Don. K. Montgomery on every school attendance sheet at the beginning of the school year. I was also a military brat with 13 moves under my belt during my first 15 years of life. The first day of school was always difficult. First there was the guess at “Don? Donald?” and then “Donya – that’s an interesting name, you’re the new girl aren’t you?” I’ve come to like my name, a gift passed down from a Great-Aunt, but am still trying to come to terms with my gypsy life. We live in Brazil now. TCKs are my life. I love reading about yours! Blessings!

  24. My husband’s name is Tom Jones. He gets A LOT of remarks about it. Total strangers burst into song when I introduce him. But the good this is nobody forgets his name–which is awesome for business!

  25. My name is unusual, but I typically say, Gwyneth like Gwyneth Paltrow- and most people can get that! I enjoy having a less common name and don’t get too bothered when it is misspelled, mostly as Gwen.

    Thanks for commenting on my unusual name last night, Gabby, it was great to meet you at the Trident book signing- you are as lovely in person as you come across on the blog!

    1. I am a Gwyneth too…and it annoys me to no end to have my name mispronounced as Gwen. My dad used to call me “Gwynnie the Pooh,” so I use that to help people with the pronunciation (rhymes with “Win”.) I’ve been called Glynnis, Guinevere, Gwendolyn, Glenn, seen it spelled Gwenyth, Gwynnette, Gywnth, and any random combination of letters stating with a G. And I sigh and answer to all of them.

  26. My name is Lee and I am a girl. It has always been frustrating because this is the typical male spelling of the name so people that do no know me tend to assume I am a man – I even got placed in the boys’ dorm when I first went to college. I had to go to the housing office and tell them that wasn’t going to work for me LOL. I do tend to enjoy the slight surprise I get when I have professional interactions where the other person assumed I was male.
    I love my name though, my mom says she named me Lee because you can’t say it without smiling.
    However, I did give my daughter a more feminine name.

  27. I was the first Caitlin that many people met, so teachers always said “Cat-lynn” when calling attendance on the first day. I hated that I had to correct them, even though it was an honest mistake. Now, everyone knows many Caitlin’s (and Katelyns, Catelyns, Caitlyns…), so everyone knows how to pronounce it, but I always have to spell it. When I have children, I will be giving them names that are easy to pronounce and spell, but hopefully aren’t really popular.

  28. pronounced “Brin” , i say like Lynn, just with a Br in place of the L.

    LOVE my name, not many have it. but yep! to this day as an adult, having survived many a roll-call, if i know my name is going to be called out, i will just give them my last name (Nelson) because i hate listening for Bryan, Breanne, Brine, etc. the only place i can’t use my work-around is the doctor’s office ;)

  29. Penni, with an *i*, no *e*…. add in that my maiden name also began with a *P* and it was very sing songy and as not a few people pointed out, sounded like a Stan Lee comic character. My full initials spelled out a street drug, 1st &2nd initials spelled out a bodily function. yikes
    After second grade I had heard pretty much every “Penni” joke people could come up with and learned to just laugh along and roll with it. Now as an adult, it’s Penni Brown, “smallest coin and like the colour”…. I get a lot of “too bad your last name isn’t copper” and “hahaha! like a brown penny!” (could have been worse, I dated a boy with the last name “Nickles”! Much of my mail is addressed to “P.Brown”, which just sounds unhealthy! People have fun with my name and that’s ok.
    I realized if I didn’t want to be in a constant state of being miffed, I needed to understand my name would be a joke and always be spelled wrong, I’d never get a bike license plate, or key chain, and it was ok.
    I’ve always like my name, it’s a happy name, and that’s ok too!

  30. My name is April and my maiden name is Snow so yes, I dreaded the first day of class and all of the ribbing I took because of it. I joke now that my parents must have wanted me to be a stripper with that name but the truth is, my mother hates it and I was supposed to be called Elizabeth. While she was exhausted and asleep after my birth, my father put April on the birth certificate (because he was born in April; my birthday is July!) and my mother never forgave him. But to top it all off, I married a man whose last name is White so yes, I am now April…Snow White. :)

    1. My best friend in elementary school was Sunny. Her husband’s last name is Day, and I’m still surprised that she took his name when they married.

    2. My husband used to work with a guy called Rocky Beach! I honestly think that he has a brother called Sandy too. I am not making this up!

      Also, I went to school with a kid whose last name was Virgin. His mother’s name was Mary!

  31. My daughter Annie has just named her daughter Scout. People either love it or hate it, judging from their reactions. When Annie was 13 she read To Kill A Mockingbird. From that day forward, she said ” if I ever have a girl, I want to name her Scout.” 20 years later she has her little Scoutie. Names are so individual and each individual is so unique. I love them all for who they are, not what their name is.

  32. My name is Erica, and it was not common where I grew up in the South. However, when I went college in Pennsylvania, I became one of many Erica’s in my graduating class. When I was young, people often asked me if I was named for Erica Kane from the soap opera. My was a huge fan of the soap opera, so I suspected it may have inspired her. However, she said she actually named me after a character in a book. Funny enough the character was the villain of the book. I did not like my name when I was a child because I wasn’t to have a more common and more feminine name. However, I have grown to like the name as I grow older.

    My husband and I tried to choose names for our children that we hoped that they would like as children as well as adults. Our son’s name is Brendan, and while it is common in the Northeast, it is not common here in NC. We never considered how problematic the name would be, as it sounds like so many other names and it is easily confused. He is often called the more common “Brayden” or “Brandon”. He also goes to school with a “Rendan” and a “Randon”, which is also miscalled. He said that he likes the name Brendan though despite the confusion.

    We chose very common names for our daughters, and I think that they like their names as well. Our middle daughter’s name is Alexandra Lauren, and she goes by Lauren. Our youngest daughter is Claire Madeline. I think both of the girls like their names and they are easy because no one ever misspells them or mispronounces them.

  33. My name gets all kinds of comments. I also used to work for my family business which is retail tenant improvements (general contractor) and one of our clients was/is Chanel. Talk about confusing. We also just named our third child California Marie. We wanted something slightly feminine and unique but not totally unheard of. So California it was. We get a lot of fun reactions from people, especially when asked to spell it. I simply say, California, like the state. It usually sinks in by then :)

  34. I am a girl named Michael. I have always gone by Michelle and considered changing it when I became an adult, but didn’t because it wouldn’t change my many years if being Michael (plus my husband was fine with the fact that we either looked like two brothers or a gay couple on paper)! Yes I would say my name has been attention drawing. I was horribly teased as a child. I was always so nervous the first day of school, even through college. I have been asked everything from ‘Dis your mom think you were a boy’ ‘What was your mom thinking’ to ‘I like it’. I am fairly uncomfortable with attention so I don’t like that aspect. I have become accustomed to answering the phone with people asking for Michael with “this is she. I am a girl. My name is Michael.” My mother named me after the archangel Michael, so I haven’t changed it because of that.

    I would say though that if I could go back and talk to my pregnant mom, I would ask her not to name me that. It has drastically influenced me in naming my own children. I have my two daughters strong feminine names (although one daughter had a boyish nickname). I named them Alexandria and Elizabeth, and ned my son Theodore. I call my older daughter Alex, which is androgynous, but am happy knowing she had a feminine full name and can choose for herself what she wants to be called as she has many options.

  35. My daughter’s name is Cassiel (pronounced with the same inflections as Gabrielle.) We named her after an angel in a movie we both liked while we were dating. And it has some very special private meaning for both my husband and me. Some family gave us silly judgemental flack for it when she was a baby, and people pronounce it wrong all the time. But she just recently went on some important musical auditions, and every professor asked her about and complimented her name. It’s very much who she is.

  36. My name is Irina which in greek means “the one who brings peace” or just “peace”. When I grew up I used to hate it because it wasn’t so popular, but I grew to love it exactly for that reason. Also because I started to get its meaning. I am from Romania, so the only other people who pronounce it correctly were in Greece, for others it’s usually Irene :)

  37. I picked very special rare names (here in Switzerland) for my children, but made sure it’s hard to make fun of it. So far that worked out, but most people pronounce my daughters name, as it would be done in africa, but weprefer our version.. her name is Naïma..and here we we say Na-eemaw.. but in tunesia, as it is an arab name (” a soft and sorrowfree life”), they would say Nimaw..and we , she.. don’t like that.oh, and often people look twice because she doesn’t look like an “arab”..with her golden hair and green eyes. :-) for our boys we picked french names, both with those cute two dots above one letter. ( my polkadots-kids… :-D )

  38. My name is Danielle and I’m happy with it, altho as a little kid, I wished it was shorter. 8 letters is a lot when you’re learning to write! My only complaint as an adult is that it’s often misspelled as ‘Daniel’. I think most people are familiar with Daniel as a man’s name, so I’m not sure why they assume the spelling is the same – I only need another L and E, people! To make things easier (and to entertain myself), I sometimes give my husband’s name (Bob) when I’m ordering pizza. No problems spelling that one! :)

    1. Your post made me giggle. My Canadian husband (white as can be) was named after a popular artist at the time, Donovan. I love his name, it’s sing songy and sounds so romantic. But somehow everyone always hears “Jonathan” when we say it, so especially when we order we say my first and easy to understand name “Emily” or pretend that our last name is his first, also easy to say. Our children were named after meaning (baby #1) and a family member (#2) and while I thought in theory I wanted a more “trendy” name (e.g. “Imogene” “Daisy” and “Charlie” are a few) I am very happy. When I think of their names I think of the meanings and the people who they come from including our faith background and the people who share the same names in the Bible. It makes me so happy.

  39. In one occasion travelling to the US, the immigration agent began to sing the song and dance it also, kind of funny but I was really embarrassed that everyone was looking at us. I really like my name, in Spain or South America is not a common name but not a strange one, however in Guatemala I’m the only one.

  40. My best friends name is Tuesday. You can imagine all the different jokes she got. I even became annoyed from the responses throughout the year. She hated it growing up but now she loves it. I married a man with the last name Flowers. As a boy he caught a lot of teasing for it. When we had our son I felt like we needed to give him a strong traditional name since he would have Flowers as a last name. I love my married name, I feel like I really lucked out!

  41. My husband’s name is Francois – which inevitably is pronounced in a variety of hilarious ways. He’s a good sport about the mispronunciation – especially because it’s so memorable. I’ve grown accustomed to simply being “Francois’ wife” instead of my own name. ;) What’s also funny is the mental image that comes with the name Francois. He is not a slight, darkhaired French-man. On the contrary, if we named him after his looks if give him a strong Viking name. He’s 6’4″, blond, fair and big!

  42. We like to use family names for our children’s middle names. So we paired Grandma Leesa with our little Ramona: Ramona Leesa. We like to see people do a double take when they hear it.

  43. I’ve been surprised when I introduce myself lately as “Janet” how much people mangle my name, even when I speak loudly and clearly. I”ve been called Jana, Tanya, Jenna, Jabit, etc. I recently started a class at a local community college, and people of regular college age are the worst- it’s like they’ve never heard of the name.

  44. Let’s just start with the fact that my kids have simple, four-letter names. Can you guess why? Having a name like mine is quite simply a curse. I get comments on a daily basis about it. The worst one was when a poll worker asked me if my mother ate something rotten before she named me. I wish I would have said, “Maybe she did, but at least she taught me to have manners.” Also, my name was submitted to an article about the worst names in Utah (which had some pretty awful names). Watching people react to a unique name is a great litmus test for their character. But my advice to all mamas out there is to opt for simplicity over uniqueness when naming your baby. Let their character make them memorable….not their nutsy name.

    It’s pronounced Suzy and no, I’m not a Sioux Indian.

  45. My husband and I named our son Evan, so his initials are EZE. Yes, Easy-E. We’re children of the 80’s so we think it’s funny that he’s “named” for a rapper. Granted, we listen to Depeche Mode, but whatever.

    What we didn’t anticipate is that naming him Evan would also lead to this gem: During his baptism, the priest started referring to him as “Eric” as in Eric Estrada. The entire congregation thinks I named my son, Eric Estrada.

    My father’s name is Delyle. My grandfather paid a guy $10 in a bar to come up with the most unusual D name. It worked. I’m sure there is no other.

  46. My legal name is Elizabeth Alley, and because I work for the government that is what I put on my resume (background check!) and in a cascading series of events Elizabeth is what I’ve been called at work for the past 12 years. BUT everyone outside of work- my parents, my husband, my friends- have and will always call me… Salley Alley. It has been my nickname since before birth. It feels high maintenance to have two names, and I haven’t figured out a way around it but I am never ever going to give up Salley Alley. That nickname represents a thick skin from having a silly name, and a silly personality because a name like that is contagious, and the hard earned confidence of being able to tell people- grown adults!- that they can call another grown adult Salley Alley and know that I’ve got my stuff together enough to be taken seriously even with a very non-serious name. Typing this out I just finally fully realized….I really like my name!

    1. I got stuck with “Back Alley Sally” in my late teens and early twenties. The name had nothing to do with my character (just the fact that my name is Sally) but I hated what it implied – even though it was all in fun by my best friends. To make it worse my friends jokingly modified my surname (O’Hara) so that I became Back Alley Sally O-whore-a!

      My friend Marta still calls me this every now and then (almost 20 years later!) but I guess I have it coming because I still publicly refer to her as Marta Farter Fire Starter ;)

  47. As a kid I really didn’t like my name, mainly because I was teased. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love my name and can’t image having any other and to find out that there are men named Lovie – amazing.

  48. I love name stories, probably as I’ve got quite an unusual name myself. I am half-English, half-German now living in Germany, with an Irish name, Grania, which is the keltic way of spelling it, the gaelic way is Grainne, which my parents wisely opted out of. Lots of people in Germany think it is an English name, quite a lot even think it is Russian – like Tanja and pronouced like it, with a short “a” – Grann-ja, but actually I pronounce my name Graah – nee -ah in German (with a German throaty “r”), and Graahnya in English. I think the real pronounciation is more like Groinwnya. English people incidentally mostly think the name is German.
    As a child I used to wish for another name, like Annette, not too common but at least known to my fellow classmates, as Grania always singled me out, but now I love it. But I took care to give my children not too unusual names, but ones easy to pronounce and relatively known in both my home countries – Conrad and Lynn.

  49. Bri(like the cheese)

    My name is Brianne (pronounced BREE-in, not bree-ANN, bree-AWN, Briony, Brian – that’s my cousin – or bri-AWN-na). As far as it being memorable, people usually end up calling me Brittany when they don’t remember. In college, I shortened it to Bri (like the cheese) because people got embarrassed when they couldn’t remember my name & I didn’t want it to keep people from talking to me!! It stuck so well that I have a few college friends who swear the never knew my name was Brianne.
    My girls also have tricky names: Aine (AHN-ya) and Muirin (MUH-rin). People don’t tend to remember Muirin’s because it is typically the first time they have ever heard it. Nobody forgets Aine, but that may be more due to her personality….. My son is George. Everybody remembers his name because everybody knows a George. And I love that everywhere we go, we meet old men who are excited to meet him because they have the same name!

    1. Bri(like the cheese)

      Oh, and at work, I am Dr. Loomis, who is apparently a character from the Halloween movies…. :\

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