47. People Who Dislike Their Names

Ed’s note: Don’t forget to read letter No. 46. I posted/wrote it yesterday on a whim because of the irony. By the way, My Play Mother hated her first name as well because no one could pronounce it though it was simple. Most people know her by her middle name.

Dear You:

I can empathize with your situation. I used to be one of you. As a teen, I despised that people would call me “Damien” and not “Damon,” even after I just introduced myself. My name is not that hard to pronounce.

I often thought to myself: “Self, if I say my name to a person, how can he/she try to correct me on the pronunciation of it? It’s my name.”


Gwenyth Paltrow really named her first-born after the above picture. Maybe her daughter is the "Apple of her eye?" Who knows? Hope Apple does.

Besides, Damien is that devilish kid from the “Omen.” That is not my name nor what I wish to represent.

I digress.

Before I left for college, the problem got so serious that I decided that I would go by my middle name. I got to my first class, Italian I*, and introduced myself to my instructor and class as “Scott.” But I never told anyone else to call me that. My class called me by my middle name for my entire freshman year.

I can’t tell you how many times I blanked out when a classmate called my name because everyone outside of the that class knew me as Damon. Sometimes, my teacher would really need to scream at me (some Italians really do incessantly raise their voices).

My plan to change my name failed. But my friends called me a myriad of other things: D, D-Man, Big D, Tenacious D, Dame, Vic Damone Jr. and D. Scott. There are a few more out there. But these are the ones that still illicit response.

But I no longer have a disdain for my name. See, I stumbled upon the meanings of my name. It made me appreciate it and my grandmother Darlene who named me (our initials match). Damon means “to tame,” which I find perplexing.

There’s also an interesting Greek tale about two friends, Damon and Pythias. They lived on Syracuse in 4th Century B.C. Pythias was sentenced to death, but asked the king at the time to let him go free to tend to his personal affairs before his execution. Damon agreed stand in Pythias place until his friend returned. Amused by it all, the king allowed Damon to serve as collateral just to see if Pythias would comeback. Pythias returned just before Damon was set to be executed. Their friendship’s faithfulness impressed the king so much that he threw out Pythias’ sentence. Both men were set free.

When I first read that story, I stopped disliking my name for the reasons I listed earlier. To me, Damon means to be a good friend.

If you don’t know yours, learn the meaning behind your name. Don’t know where to start? Go to Behindthename.com.

If you have a parent who decided to just start throwing together syllables or you’re one of Sarah Palin’s kids (naming her kids is the only thing Palin accepts responsibility for doing), I can’t help you that much. Ask your parents. If they can’t tell you … *crickets*

Try your middle name. If that doesn’t work, a name change wouldn’t be the worst thing… Or you could define your name through the vessel that is your life. That’s how these name things came about anyway, right?

Ciao bella,

Your Friend Damon

P.S. Humor the gallery with names that make you *smh* — celebrity or otherwise — in the comments, please. If you have a similar story, please do tell.


40 responses to “47. People Who Dislike Their Names

  1. I handle injury claims from auto accidents and my friends and I keep a running list of ghetto names. Sharing is caring:

    La-Shia (pronounce La Dash She A)
    Toprecious (pronounce Too Precious)

  2. @hge: I am astounded by the last name: Toprecious … To name a child Precious is awkward enough. But “Too Precious?” …. I don’t know what else to say to that. lol.

  3. thecomebackgirl

    “Try your middle name.”

    I was given a ghetto middle name with an apostrophe and such..so that is NOT an option. Before I embraced the blue box name sake that is my first name (and its store which I was named after)…I went through a stage where I thought it was for strippers. “Tiffany” was every strippers name.

    now im call with my first. And still hate my middle.

    • @cbg: you never use it, the middle name? I ended up with four names, and don’t use my first last name. My mom’s used to put all four names on everything, but I finally got her to stop my senior year of high school.

      on your first name: BehindTheName.com says it’s a Medieval form of THEOPHANIA. This name was traditionally given to girls born on the Epiphany (January 6). Also means the “manifestation of God” … kinda cool, huh?

  4. I’m sure you can imagine how much my name has gotten twisted and butchered throughout my entire 27 years on earth:

    Cleo (last time I checked I was a tacky psychic on tv)
    Cholee (people really have a hard time distinguishing the L and the O)
    Carly (yeah, I dunno)
    Chloree (I don’t ever remember placing an ‘r’ in the pronunciation of my name)

    I actually started using my middle name, which is also French like the first, in the middle of high school. Alot of guys thought it was hot, but after awhile when pronouncing it very fast it starts to sound like ‘DNA’….so yeah, I went back to the first name and today I embrace it because it is different and I think it totally fits me in every way…

    • @jlbd: I just don’t get how people butcher your name after they hear you say it AND it’s only two syllables … make that make sense … it’s not like your name is some six-syllable word that Michael Eric Dyson uses freely in debate.

      It’s two syllables. lol.

      • Lol, Dre always talks about the way Michael Eric Dyson debates too….lol, it’s like he practices at home and tries his best to make the most hard to pronounce phrase of words just flow so neatly off his tongue and he does it fast like an auctioneer….lmao!

        • I’m a fan of Dyson. I just can’t listen to him or get 25 pages into a book because I have to think entirely too damn hard.

          It’s like that part of If … “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch” … I think he knows how to do both, but just loves to hear himself speak/talk over everybody’s else.

          I’m like dude, just say what you mean with words that have fewer than four syllables, please. lol.

          And make sure you check out cbg’s new header.

          • Oh I like him too…but do you ever trip off the fact that what he’s saying could probably be put to a beat and it would flow right into the rhythm of his tongue….LMAO! I’m telling you, he practices at home!

            • yeah, he does talk with a rhythm. I’m not so much of a fan of that. But he has an authoritative voice, and that something I’m a fan of.

              • Yes, he does definitely have an authoritative voice. When he speaks EVERYONE listens…lol

                • But only about 3 percent understand what he’s saying. I could if I tried, and had a pocket dictionary handy. What good does that do anyone? lol.

                  • I bet $5 he doesn’t talk like that when at home chillin’ with his wife or amongst friends on a lazy friday evening…lmao! I think alot of these news anchors probably roll their eyes and hate to see him come to do a debate. He shuts everyone down before they can ever get a word in edgewise….

  5. i call myself nina because i dk..i just like it better.

    my name is

    felicia – happy
    christina – christian girl
    virginia – state or virgin girl.

    so..i’m a happy christian virgin. yay!

  6. I’m more upset (but not surprised) that her mother failed to name her Tooprecious instead of Toprecious. AND her mother had the nerve to have an attitude when I pronounced it Toe-pre-see-us.


    • @hge: Wow. Give your child a simple name if you want people to pronounce it right. Problem is, they’ll still screw it up, like Damon. lol.

  7. I’ve never had an issue with my name, although I did later discover that my Mom chose it because it was unisex and she wanted to have monogrammed decorations in my nursery.

    However, I just enrolled my daughter in daycare, and her buddies have the following names:

    Achilles (!)
    LaQuinta (yes, like the hotel)

    This still amuses me to no end.

    Also, I wrote a post about an entire family I knew growing up with the most interesting of names:


  8. Mkay I’m Nigerian so I have literally 5 names, and I love them ALL. However, school wasnt kind to the pronunciation of them so I pretty much went by a nickname so they’ stop butchering it so much.

    However, as an adult, more people are calling me by my first name. Though professionally, I still go by that nickname.

    Anywho, my first name means “Love of God”.
    My other names mean:
    *”Born during celebration” (I was born close to the New Year)
    *”Crown is loving”
    *”God gave me wealth”

    • @Luvvie: That’s the beautiful thing about African names … they’re completely different from anything you’d find over hear, but they have sincere meaning, and aren’t ignorant … a la Toprecious.

  9. How about SaPlegdra? The other name…I can’t even think of a way to spell it, it’s so bad.

  10. back in the day, i used to hate my name… Chantily ( Chan-Til-Lee). i felt it was sooo ghetto or what not, but truth be told it actually means “fine lace” and was derived from Europe. once i hit my sophmore year in h.s, i began to love and embrace my name. now that i am older and work in the bank and as a reservist in the AF, people that i come across and tell them my first name, absolutley LOVE it.

    when it is my time to have kids, i vow not to plague them with names that may deter them from getting the intial job interview. lol.

    • I wish we didn’t hate on people with odd/hood names. I have a few friends who have names that are clearly black names.

      But none of those people come close to representing anything that’s ghetto. It really sucks.

      And I’m one of those people that hopes to marry someone who wants to uses simple, two-syllable names.

  11. I don’t understand why people can’t pronounce simple names either. My name is Tam-A-ra, rhymes with camera. People insist on telling me that my name is supposed to be pronounced like the girl off of the show “Tia and Tamera” UMM NO! How are you going to tell me how to pronounce MY name…the name I’ve had since birth and you just met me 5 minutes ago.

    That name thingy said that my name is Russian which is news to me. My mom named me after a woman she met in Ghana while she was serving in the Peace Corps. She said the woman was strong, beautiful and proud despite all of the hardships she had in her life. I love my name and what it represents.

    smdh at these names listed in previous comments.

  12. People always mispronounced my name and I’ve ALWAYS had someone start singing “Bonita Applebaum” when I introduce myself.


    • @gizzle: That is one of the greatest hip hop songs EVER. I don’t know how to pronounce it, but hopefully it’s said the same way.

      still, you should be thankful your name isn’t “Mandy” or “Sarah” … could you even imagine people constantly singing those songs to you?

  13. as your editor

    I’m late, but here goes:

    My name is Cicely Kaiee’ (yes, there’s actually an accent) Dyson. It is pronounced SESS-ah-lee KYE-ee DIE-son.

    Throughout my 28 years on earth, I have spent the past 27 explaining my name. Yes, I know that my name doesn’t sound like it’s spelled. I also know that my name sounds a lot like that one actress. Yes, I was named after her. No, I’ve never met her. Yes, I’ve seen some of her movies.

    I’ve gotten into full-blown arguments about my name. When I was in first grade, my teacher made the class go around and say their full names. I said my middle name and Keona Browder thought I said coyote. So for a year, my name was Coyote. For five years after that, I didn’t tell anyone what my middle name was. When my uncle heard this story, he decided to only call my by my middle name until I got over my hatred of it.

    When I was a freshman in high school, I got detention for correcting a sub who consistently said my name wrong. When I corrected her, she told me that my name wasn’t pronounced correctly. I told her that if she had a problem with the way my name was pronounced, she should take it up with my mother. She kept mispronouncing my name, so I decided not to go to detention. My mother had to come up to the school to check her.

    I’m not even going to go into the many variations that people think my name is (OK, I will: Celie, Celeste, Stephanie, Leslie, Leah …)

    So , I’ve had issues with my name for a really long time. I’ve hated it, I’ve wanted to change it, but then I grew to love it. I’m now at the point that if I get married, I don’t even want to change my last name. So, I’ve finally come full circle.

    Sorry so long 😦

  14. I’ve grown so used to having people mispronounce my name that I no longer care. I even have friends that say it wrong to this day and don’t even tell them any different. They all know how to spell it “I-S-H-E-A-” but I guess saying I-Sha is a hard thing. lol…

  15. I am a teacher…so you know that I have seen some foolishness….
    Lucious (whatever you imagine, thats EXACTLY what he was)
    LaJessica (what exactly the purpose behind the La?)
    Anything with unnecessary –qu, La, apostrophes, or any other punctuation.
    I have more…have to dig though my inventory.

  16. I like this post for a variety of reasons. Good ish. Thanks for linking to it!

  17. I can’t believe I am just now reading this letter.

    I have always loved my first name. I have grown to love my middle name b/c I was named after amy remarkable grandmother, but it is not a cute name at all.

    My 1st name is JoRenda. It is a combination of my parents’ names-Joseph and Brenda. Thanks to my 3rd grade teacher(she made us say the meaning of our names at roll call instead of “here”) I found out what my name means- God shall add with enthusiasm or increasing enthusiasm. Which is fitting b/c I am the most stoic, non-enthusiastic person on the planet.

    What I can’t stand about my name is that it is pronounced just like it is spelled, but people see more than 5 letters and forget how to read. IT’S JOE-RIN-DUH not Dorinda(I am not a Clark Sister), not Sheniqua(I actually had a teacher say that), not JoRhonda(wth?), not JoLinda(again wth?), and not JoeBrenda(my ignant cousin used to get on my nerves. May he RIP)

    The worst name I have ever seen:
    La-a(pronounced Ladasha)

    • My name is JoRenda too! spelled just like yours! My parents got it from Grimms Brother’s Fairytales (Jorinda & Joringle) – I have the hardest time with people saying my name right as well. haha

  18. I hate my name…Tamika ,white ladies love it for some reason..
    I’m trying to go by my middle name Taylor, but its not working.
    I think I need a professional name as I’m am going to school for architecture in the fall.

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