All posts tagged: Names

14 Things Only a Person With a Tough Name Would Understand

1. I grew up with a tough name. Siobhan Adcock. Look at it. There’s almost no part of that name that’s not sort-of a pain in the ass. 2. People don’t tend to remember it, and when they do, they can’t pronounce it. Siobhan is an Irish name — it means Jane, or Joan, or Joanne, or if you’re feeling like a sparkly unicorn fairy, “sea foam blowing off the waves.” My father told me (incorrectly as it turns out) that it means “Queen of the Emerald Isles.” He and my mother had heard of it by way of Siobhan McKenna, the famous Irish stage actress who was in Dr. Zhivago. (But not the famously beautiful actress who was in Dr. Zhivago. And also not the second-most beautiful actress in Dr. Zhivago. The other one.) 3. My father’s name, by the way, was Dick. They don’t really name kids that anymore. Especially with a last name like Adcock. Dick Adcock, Jr. Because his father’s name was also Richard. So when my dad was growing up, there was …

Mommy and Mookie: Living Up to Our Nicknames

I reluctantly befriended my mother on Facebook last month. It was a move I’d resisted for obvious reasons. I regularly fire f-bombs and reveal snippets from weekly sessions with my psychiatrist. Plus, I have a weird phobia that one of these days someone with whom I’ve had sex will tag me in a post about my vagina. And it won’t be euphemistic. In fact, it’ll be horrifyingly accurate. It might even be a selfie that I sent him while we were sexting. I trust that my partners have more discretion than that. But you never know. And when it comes to the fear of social-media humiliation, your mind spirals into worst-case-scenario thinking. And, I mean, we’re all capable of being crazy muthaf*ckas on Facebook. Until a month ago, I’d taken a hiatus from Facebook for nearly two years.  But when I became active again, my mom’s name popped up in my “people you may know” queue. So I sent her a friend request. I should tell you: My mom had sent me a friend request …

Talk TueNight: What’s In a Name? [Photos]

Last Tuesday, over 50 people joined us for storytelling and conversation about “Names” — the ones we choose with a purpose and the ones we get by happy accident, the ones that let us know we are loved, and the ones that seem like a bad joke. Held at WeWork Park South, we heard from Penny Wrenn, Siobhan Adcock, Kathleen Warner, Neil Kramer, Naama Bloom, and TueNight’s Margit Detweiler, all read their fabulous posts from that week’s issue. Amy S. Choi and Rebecca Lehrer, co-founders of one of our favorite websites, The Mash-Up Americans, moderated a panel on names, identity and ethnicity with Mash Up contributors Sharda Sekaran and Sy Yang. Mash Up contributor and panelist Sy Yang let us raffle off one of her unbelievably soft and gorgeous baby blankets, which are good enough for adults, and make great shower gifts. Here is HelloFlo founder Naama Bloom reading her story about changing her name. Attendee Dori Fern listens in with a cold brew.  Amy S. Choi, Rebecca Lehrer of The Mash-Up Americans and contributors Sy Yang and Sharda Sekrahn had a great discussion about …

My Fantasy Name Is…

What if, just for kicks, you could change your name? What would you call yourself? At our Talk TueNight event on April 28, we had a fantastic roundtable hosted by The Mash-Up Americans, and one of our favorite parts was when they asked folks on the panel — and then in the audience — what their fantasy name was. Some wished for a simpler, more easily pronounceable name while others longed for something more exotic. What's yours — and why? It's super easy to record a video right from your phone or screen and hit submit, so join us in the fun. You'll have 22 seconds to tell your story and you can redo as many times as you want to get it right. And don't be disappointed if it takes a few minutes for your video to show up; we're doing some light monitoring behind the scenes.

You Say Rachel, I Say Rebecca

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) “Pooooooosh, Rachel! You can do it!” The delivery nurse had a strong Brazilian accent. It was one of the things I’d noticed most about her while she repeatedly shouted my name in her role as coach in the final throes of my labor. She’d appeared halfway through the pushing phase, after the entire previous team ended their twelve-hour shift. I also noticed something else. “Rebecca!” I wheezed, between pushes. “My name is Rebecca!” There she stood, at my right side, her eyes fixated on the doula across the delivery table whom early on she’d deemed an unwelcome adversary on her turf. Whenever the doula would suggest something to the medical staff in an effort to be helpful, the nurse would exaggeratedly roll her eyes to the ceiling and whisper a little complaint in my ear. When the doula would give me verbal encouragement — “Rebecca, you’re being so strong!” — the nurse would toss in her two cents: “Almost there, Rachel!” As though, on principle, refusing to be on the same …

Sounds Like Target

(Photos from left to right: Margit Brandt, Fashion Designer. Photo courtesy Ilovebeauty.dk; Margit Pearson Gray, Margit’s Grandmother. Photo courtesy Margit Detweiler; Saint Margit of Hungary. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.com; Margit Detweiler. Photo courtesy Margit Detweiler/TueNight.com; Margit Mutso, Architect. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.com) “It’s Margit. M-A-R-G-I-T,” I say. As I always do, I emphasized the “I.” The barista doesn’t look at me, but I watch him scrawl out “M-A-R-G…” on the familiar white cup. He pauses for a moment. He continues with his Sharpie, “A-R-E-T.” It happens almost every single day, but for some reason, today, this misspelling seems hilarious. A little blip in his brain told him, “No, what you’ve heard her actually say is wrong, go with what you know.” Hi, I’m Margit. It sounds just like Target. In fact, that’s the only word that rhymes. Or I might say, “It’s Margit, like Supermarket, but with a g instead of a k.” I actually love my name. It’s weird. It’s funky. It makes people stop and scrunch up their nose. It’s a cross I have to …

Hey, it’s Juice! How My Camp Nickname Gave Me Confidence

(Photo: Courtesy Neil Kramer) When I was eight years old, I attended my first year of Camp Kinder-Ring, a sleepaway camp in upstate New York. Our first breakfast of the summer was served in a wood-framed dining room, where bunkmates sat together at large oval tables. The waiters, 16-year-old campers, served us soggy scrabbled eggs and individual boxes of Kellogg’s cereals, my favorite being Sugar Pops. In the center of each table was an aqua blue plastic pitcher which held the watered-down orange juice. “Can you pass the juith?” I asked another bunk member. “The juith?” he asked, and the rest of the table laughed at my slight lisp. “Do you mean the JUICE?” For many, an alias allows someone who is normally a Clark Kent to find their Superman. Now I know some of you are already gripping your easy chair, preparing for an unsettling Lord of the Flies-type essay about mean boys and the bullying of the weak, but that is not the story here. I was lucky that the story veered off …

Giving My Daughter a Chinese Name

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) When I was expecting my daughter, my husband and I of course started to talk about names for the baby. The discussion dragged on for months without really getting anywhere. The names I liked, he didn’t, and the names he liked, I was like, “Really?” I began to appreciate how much culture is just as tied up in a name as the meaning or the sound. While all this was going on, I confided in my Southern-born Mom.“Well, I wanted to call you ‘Scarlett’ you know,” she told me. I vaguely remembered. “Yes,” she went on. “But your Dad didn’t want to because he was worried that you’d be a bookworm with a name of a hoyden.” Thanks, Dad. My husband’s last name is Ha, which was something we had to take into consideration. We both rolled our eyes when random servers at restaurants would give him back his debit card and invariably say, “Aha!” To note that, yes, his first name begins with an “A,” and yes, his last name …

Frankly Speaking: How I Named My Business

(Graphic: Nancy Gonzalez/TueNight.com) When I was a young kid, the first thing my father would do when we sat down at a restaurant was find out our waiter’s or waitress’s name. Sometimes the server would give this information independently. But if they didn’t, my dad would ask. And once he knew it, two things could be counted on to happen. First, he would introduce himself, and always in the same way: “Nice to meet you Barbara, my mother named me Frank and she named me well.” And second, he would use Barbara’s name every time she came back to the table — as if the two had known each other for years. Now as a kid, this embarrassed the hell out of me. Because depending on the server, this didn’t always go gangbusters from the jump and could be a little off-putting at first. I’d see this fog of recognition slide down the waiter’s face and I imagined this internal monologue of, “Oh man, what kind of nut-job is this table going to be like?” …

The K. Warner Guide to Naming Your Child

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) When Kelsey McCook Warner was born in June 1989, my husband and I were grateful, ecstatic and a bit relieved. But nearly eight years later, during my second pregnancy, I realized that the name “Kelsey” — one that we both loved — had created a problem I could have never imagined. Not too long after we learned the sex of our second child (a boy!), I blithely pulled out a yellowed list of names that we had considered when naming our first child in 1989. I added a few new names to the list, then rambled them off to my husband. He didn’t say much. At first, I didn’t pay attention to his non-responsiveness, but after it went on for a good 20 minutes, I realized that I was talking to myself. “Hellloooooooo?” I said. “What do you think? We’ve got a good ten names here, and we’ve got a few months to decide.” Silence. I chose to ignore the body language. “Ken?!” Looking uncomfortable yet determined, and with a certain set …

Margit’s Note: You Can’t Call Me Al

“That’s not my name. That’s not my name.” That punchy ditty by The Ting Tings is popping around our office. We, too, get irked when you don’t call us by our proper handle. (TueNight is pronounced TOO-night) This week, we’re all about the monikers we love and loathe — the name our mama gave us; the nickname that makes us cringe; the way we designate our kids or our company; and why the barista misspells us. Every. Single. Time. It’s a big issue — because, well, this is a big issue — all about how we dub ourselves, which ultimately shapes our identity. But as W.C. Fields once said, “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” We’re also having a Talk TueNight party TONIGHT that is a benefit for the children of Nepal. One hundred percent of our proceeds will go to Save Our Children, an organization that has been on the ground in Nepal since 1976. You can hear some of this week’s storytellers LIVE — as well as a special …