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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Let Me Spell That For You

So it's The Girl's birthday soon and she's setting about organising her party with the social fervour of Paris Hilton.

'Oliver has to come.'


'Because he's my boyfriend mummy!' Cue rolling eyes.

And that's where it starts. I say she has to invite more than one boy or poor Oliver is going to feel a bit strange. So she suggests Mattheus as well.

'That's Mattheus with a 'z'.' A Z?!!! Where? It reminds me of a line in Sex and the City where a beautiful but particularly dim model introduces herself to Carrie. 'My name is Shaw. The Y is silent.'

And the list of unspellable names went on.

Anders. 'Is is short for Andrew?' 'NO Mummy don't be silly.' (More eye rolling)
Aurania or Oranya. 'Is her surname Otang?' 'No mummy. I'm starting to get cross now.'

Tasmin. 'Do you mean Tamsin?' 'No I mean Tasmin.'
Ocean. 'Does she have a little brother called Puddle?' (Just the eye rolling now.)

I once wrote an article about people giving children slightly odd names to make them stand out. It's not a modern phenomena - the Puritans saddled their children with names like Be-Worthy and Repentance. But now, living in the individualistic culture that we do - many parents get Individual and Unique, confused with Barking Mad. And sometimes giving them a well known name but spelling it oddly - like Kaitlyn. There is an Institute of Naming Children Humanely who look at the business of giving children a bonkers name with stern disapproval. They say that
parents who choose names poorly create misleading labels for their children. These labels can cause their children to be mocked, stereotyped, or ostracized. Mocked, stereotyped, and ostracized children grow to become demented adults.
I'm not saying that any of my daughter's friends' names are demented but a few at least have a No - this is how you spell it vibe. And the IoNCH reckon that we say our names about a million times in a lifetime so the amount of time wasted saying, 'No you spell it K.A.I.T.L.Y.N' - adds up to about FIFTY wasted days which could be spent rollerblading, writing a novel or shopping.)

Maybe I'm just jealous. Perhaps if I were given a slightly mad but glamorous name like Ocean - I wouldn't have been the shy, introverted dweeb I was at school but a mysterious figure of depth. Like an Ocean in fact. Or maybe the way kids do - I'd have been called Wet or Sloppy (I wore glasses) or Sloppy Four Eyes.

Unusual names - what do you think? Do you grow into them or can they stunt you emotionally?

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