Baby Name of the Day: Pamela April 8, 2011 By appellationmountain 46 Comments Image via Wikipedia She’s a poetic invention and a twentieth century sensation. More names you might like:Baby Name of the Day: DeborahBaby Name of the Day: HadassahBaby Name of the Day: CitlaliBaby Name of the Day: SusanBaby Name of the Day: Ileana Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPrint
Pam Needs Coffee says
I was born a Pamela in 1970. I never horribly minded my name growing up because at least I wasn’t one of a dozen Jennifers. I was tired of my troublesome maiden name more, so I married an Anderson boy in 1989. Well, that name combo soon brought me trouble with a Double D and then some.
I found this blog because it occurred to me to shorten my name to Ela. I think I might.
It’s so interesting reading all of these comments. I laughed so hard that I snorted when I read about the “Pam-bomb!” This is exactly how I feel! It has also felt very rude to me when strangers take it upon themselves to just go right ahead and shorten “Pamela” to Pam. I don’t like it one bit. “Pam” sounds like a harsh sound to me… not even really a name. I hate the sound. It’s just harsh and pierces my ears. I have tried to embrace “Pam” because people will forever be shortening it to that… which irritates me. Is Pamela really so hard to say? Are the extra two syllables too much work for them?
I’m sort of thinking about starting to go by “Ela” from now on… just not sure if I have the boldness to do so. I’m now in my late 20’s. I wonder if it’s too late for me to make that change.
I tend to cringe when I have to introduce myself, as another poster stated above. Sometimes I just don’ feel comfortable with the name Pamela. It’s almost as though I feel it sounds oversexualized or something (thanks to Pamela Anderson). I feel too froo-froo or something introducing myself as Pamela at times (if that makes sense). I sometimes wish I had a name like Elise or Lauren… something that just rolls off the tongue — and a name where people won’t be constantly choosing themselves to shorten it without my consent! (lol… kind of).
Like others stated, I do like the meaning of the name. I feel it suits me in that sense. I also love Winnie the Pooh – so the honey reference makes me feel kind of happy with it.
However, I have just never grown into this name. My biological mother is the one who gave me this name. I am adopted and she didn’t raise me. I haven’t seen or spoken to her in over 25 years and I’m still in my 20’s. So in many ways, this name just doesn’t feel like it’s right for me… someone named me who I don’t know and who didn’t raise me.
My name is Pamela. People call me Pam for short. I like Ella better, but it never stuck as a nickname. I was named after my moms sister who died in a car crash when she was 19. I’m 15 years old and personally, I dont really like my name. It sounds really old lady-ish
You will grow into the name. I did not like it but now I love it.
I am in the same page, My name is also name Pamela. I mostly hated people calling me ‘Pam’ It kept them reminding them I was ‘The cooking spray’ I always wish that spray was named as something else but Now I appreciate telling my teachers, friend, and Family call me Mela instead of Pam
Pam Sommerville says
Why are people refering to Pam as a nickname?!?!?! It is a shortened version of Pamela NOT a nickname. I am Pam ~ through choice ~ I like being Pam. I am not dowdy or any of the other things people have called Pamelas/Pam’s. People are just so rude!!!
I love the name Pamela and never shorten it for myself. If another Pamela shortens hers to Pam, I honor that choice. I don’t think Pamela is too fancy; it’s lovely and is Greek for ‘all honey’ and some of us aren’t suited to it being shortened and some are. I always appreciate people honoring how I call myself and try to always return the respect to them with their own names.
Pamela Lyn says
I am a Pamela circa 1994. So I am usually the only one in my schools with the name and I love it. I feel like my name is somewhat unique for girls my age. I am glad to have a unique name because I would hate having 3 or 4 people in the same class with my name. I have been told that Pamela is a perfect fit for my personality. I do agree with the automatically being called Pam. It’s kinda frustrating but I’ve learned to accept it. Pam is a dull nickname, I would much rather be called Pamela or even Mela. But no matter how hard I try to correct someone it never changes. Personally I would name my daughter Pamela. I think it’s a beautiful name and it is truly underappreciated.
I love the name Pamela! So, I named my daughter Pamella. To make it different and her own I added the extra l. She is named after someone dear to my family who passed not that long ago and thought it was fitting.
I personally think that older style names are beautiful. <3
If we had a boy his name would have been Vincent.
My daughter was born in 2010. One of her Uncles calls her Pamalemella.. Pam-ah-Lem-ella. Which I think is adorable! I don’t like “Pam” or “Pammy” nothing worse!
Well, it’s logical that they wouldn’t want to name their daughter that, since the name won’t be in style again for another 40 years or so. But I bet that your great-granddaughter will be absolutely thrilled to learn that there is a Pamela in her family tree! Then she will be able to say, “Yes, we named her Pamela. We thought it was very elegant and beautiful?! I know it’s a bit popular for baby girls these days, but it’s a family name for us.”
My name is Pamela, and I’ve always hated it and wondered what in the world my mother was thinking. I don’t look or feel like a Pamela. It means sweet as honey, and I am sour as a pickle. My daughters say they like it but wouldn’t name their own children that. Smart girls.
I do see what you mean about others not ALLOWING you to go by Pamela. Of course, I do get my share of this, but I have a feeling that it is no where near the level of what you have gone through.
It may have something to do with the fact that I’m not in a stage in my life where I meet a lot of new people. I don’t have kids in school, or work with customers every day. I also don’t have a lot of telemarketers call, because I only have a cell phone. I don’t communicate through email either; my friends just find me on facebook!
Do you think it’s possible that our age difference could also have something to do with why they insist on calling you Pam more than me? What I mean is… for example, if I met a 50 year old man named Robert, I would think there is a great chance he goes by the nickname Bob (although, given my experiences with my own name I would NEVER just start calling him that… I would ask him what he prefers to be called). But these days Bob is less fashionable, so if I met a little boy named Robert, I would assume he goes by Robert or Robbie (or maybe even Rock).
It could also have something to do with the age of the people you most come in contact with. If you go to your friend’s birthday party, and it is filled with people your own age, the people there are the same people who grew up when Pam was more fashionable. So they would be more likely to assume that you think Pam is more fashionable as well. Most people around my age (and especially those younger than myself) don’t particularly like Pam, so they wouldn’t just use it, unless it is requested.
I live in Texas. I’m not sure if it would make a huge difference to be just a few states over from California (although I’m quite aware of many differences between the TX and CA). But I DO see how it would make a difference in Europe! They do seem to prefer more elegant names (for the most part). There is also the visibility of Lady Pamela Hicks (Prince Philip’s cousin), whom I would bet NEVER went by “Lady Pam”! Haha.
Oh I just thought of one thing that seems to have helped deter the nickname Pam. (Maybe it could help you?) I have realized that most people tend to go for a nickname as a term of endearment, rather than simply regarding it as a time saver. So I’ve (somewhat subconsciously) formulated a system for drawing out nicknames other than Pam from my friends. What I do is create a unique nickname for each new friend, which is a play off of their name, and they usually have done the same for me. Each of my friends calls me something different. Some examples are Pameswa, Pamamela, Pamelam, pamEElah, Panama, Manamana, Pamcakes, and Pamda Bear (<– my favorite one). Despite the fact that some of them are plays on the nickname Pam, I love every one of them, because they each represent a special friendship. When they are tempted to call me a nickname, they subconsciously go right for the more personalized nickname that is just kind of an inside joke between that person and myself, rather than even considering the generic Pam, which they know I don't even like. Does that make sense? You should try this!
On a different note, did you ever see that episode of "I Love Lucy", where Lucy writes a play about a Cuban tobacco picker, with Ricky in mind for the lead role, then he refuses to play it, so they change it to a British theme and ask Fred to play the role? In the British version of the play, Lucy's character's name is Pamela! I guess that was the most British sounding name they could think of at the time. Haha. (Lady Pamela was around 23 years old at that time.) Anyway, Ethel says in her best British accent, "Oh, here comes my daughter Pamela." I just LOVE the way she says it! I tried to find the clip on YouTube, but it's not on there. Anyway, I'm sure you've seen it.
What do you think about these theories, my friend?
The problem is other’s inability for me to “come around to having the name.” Pamela IS my name. But even many people who normally call me Pamela slip up and call me Pam. With strangers, it doesn’t matter whether I am introduced as Pamela or somebody sees it written, they invariable call me Pam. Even if I persist in referring to myself as Pamela when signing an email or telephoning and saying, “Hi, this is Pamela,” they will respond with Pam. If I go to a doctor’s office, they will call me Pam. I am NOT Pam. Ironically, people say I don’t even look like a Pam.
How frequently do you correct people? I would have to do so on a daily basis…and in some situations it risks embarrassing the other person (they may deserve it, but sometimes it is not to your benefit to risk doing so.) The name does have a lovely meaning and it is attractive, but I can’t get overcome the Pam part. BTW: I’m older than you…so I’ve been fighting this for a long time! 😉
I’m wondering where you live, and if that makes a difference? I found that when I lived in Europe, Pamela was not a problem. It was not even as much of a problem in some areas of the U.S., but it absolutely is a problem in California!
I correct people if they shorten my name; I introduce myself as I am and if they say ‘Pam’ I let them know right away that “I don’t use that shortening” and usually it makes a smile.
If I’m comfortable being called Pamela and don’t feel the need to explain (which is huge) then I find others automatically accept that. Even some diehard name changers no longer do that with me now. It’s all in being comfortable BEING who I am and that is Pamela and never, ever Pam as well as no longer associating with people too rude and disrespectful to use my name properly.
I was sorry to hear your comments about not liking your name, Pamela.
As a Pamela myself (born in 1983), I completely relate to your issue with being called “Pam”. I have always considered the “-ela” to be the prettiest, most feminine part of the name. For this reason, I have always insisted that people call me by my full name. I remember as early as kindergarten saying persistently, “My name is Pamela.” At some point, my friends even began correcting others when they called me Pam. Many people would begin to slip, but catch themselves quickly, and it would come out, “Pam… ela.”
Later in life (high school) I worked at a grocery store. Oftentimes customers I had never met before felt so comfortable with me, that upon seeing my name tag, they took it upon themselves to assume I preferred the short form. Although I thought it was a rude assumption, I could not say anything to correct them, because they were customers. This was the only time that I became frustrated by my name.
But despite our similar experiences with Pamela, I have actually grown to LOVE my name! Although I still despise the name Pam, I have somehow over the years subconsciously disassociated the name Pam from my name. They seem like two completely different names to me. When I watch Jim and Pam on “The Office”, I don’t think, “We have the same name!” And when someone tries to be funny by referencing Pam Anderson, it doesn’t even bother me (sometimes it actually takes me a minute to get what they are saying), because my name is not Pam.
Some things I love about having the name Pamela:
~I love the meaning, and feel that it has actually impacted my personality to some extent (or maybe it was the name I was just meant to have, because of my personality?)
~I love the literary associations, and the fact that it was created by a poet (whose name I also love).
~I love that it’s not too popular among my generation, but still popular enough that I have met one or two others throughout the years.
~I love the fact that MOST comments on the name that I see while perusing my favorite name websites tend to be favorable. I’ve seen comments like “feminine”, “sophisticated”, and “delicate”.
~The worst thing they seem to have to say is “Pam = Cooking Spray”, but again, my name is not Pam, so that particular comment doesn’t bother me.
I can’t imagine my name being anything else. I sincerely hope one day you will come around to having the name too, Pamela. 🙂
I love your comment and I love the fact that we are around the same age with the same name and have come to the same conclusion 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂
I am also a Pamela, circa 1983 🙂 I’m the opposite…I don’t like ‘Pamela’ and only go by Pam. I feel Pamela is a little too fancy for me so I like being boring old Pam. People have told me ‘Pam’ doesn’t suit my personality and I should be something more interesting but I’ll stick with it 🙂
On that note, did kids in school call you Spam? I was stuck with that moniker for years. I’m in the workforce now and work in a professional setting but yet I’ve been lovingly re-christened as Pam-a-lam, haha
I’ve hated being a Pamela ever since I can remember precisely because even MOST strangers insist upon calling me Pam. It doesn’t matter whether I’m introduced as Pamela, a cashier sees it on my credit card, or a doctor’s office reads it off my chart; they invariably drop the “Pam bomb” on me. Even if I correct people, they will continue to call me Pam. It honestly seems as if Pamela is, perhaps, too much of a mouthful and uncomfortable to say? I even find it awkward to ennunciate it properly myself sometimes. Because of all this, I literally cringe when I have to introduce myself.
A couple of friends call me Ela, which is better than Pam but doesn’t feel quite right. I was surprised to see in an above post that another person knew a Pamela that went by Mela! A friend began calling me Mela (pronounced mee-lah) many years ago and it stuck with quite a few people. When people read Mela, the pronunciation causes some confusion, however, I’ve had people tell me that “meh lah” is pretty.
Although Pamela is a pretty name with a lovely meaning, it has been tarnished and dated by the Pam nickname. I’ve always wanted to change my name but could never decide to what. I used to collect every baby name book I could find, even the scholarly and historic ones. Over the years, I continue to have a very eclectic rotating list of at least fifty “favorite” names at any given time. (Perhaps it is the Gemini in me!)
Although yoo-neek names bother me, I actually thought of changing it to Xela just to make a point and “X” out the Pam, LOL. Seriously, however; if I changed it to Mela, I might spell it Mila so people would not want to pronounce it like, what to me sounds like “melon.” Yet, there are so many other names I like more than Mela…not to mention it doesn’t really fit with my last name so I’d definitely change that, too (but to what???)
So I have remained undecided in Pam-limbo and am now addicted to spending hours and hours on name-related sites, making an ever increasing list of wonderful names!
I cannot stand the “Pam-bomb” either. I always correct people when they shorten my name and then I show them just how annoying it is by shortening their’s. I also don’t like it too much because there are not a lot of Pamelas in their 20’s, it seems to be an older name.
On the up side, it isn’t very popular and that makes me unique 🙂 I’m not a Jessica or Jennifer or Ashley whom seem to have to go by intials or rely on nicknames to tell them all apart.
I also love the “ela” part of my name. If I have a daughter I plan on naming her Ela because she’ll be a part of me and will have part of my name. For many years it was the only part of my name I liked (esp. after the cooking spray came out).
I also feel that having an older name gives me a slight advantage in respect from older generations and that can help in being accepted for job interviews or other professional standings.
I have spent time before on name-related sites to find something more “suiting” for myself (my siblings all have “S” names and so I spent lots of time searching through “S” names) but at the end of the day I turn to learning more about my name and finding new reason to love it and relate to it. After that I find the beauty in it once more.
Charlotte Vera says
I actually think I quite like the pah -MEL-ah pronunciation, although I think it would be next to impossible to get people to use it. Pamela, pronounced the normal way, is pretty too. However, I agree with almost everyone else in thinking that Pam is a wretched nickname that will hopefully remain dead despite future resurrections of the full name.
Pam Sommerville says
Well as a Pamela that goes by the shortened name ~ NOT a nickname ~ I don’t think it is wretched!!! How dare you be soooooooooooooo rude?!?!?!?
I went to college with a Pamela who went by Mela (mee-lah). A nice option!
PAM = cooking spray
If I remove the all associated pop culture and the people I know in real life… it’s a pretty name with a nice meaning, but it just doesn’t thrill me. Another one of those names where there is absolutely nothing “wrong” with the name, but it not quite ready for a comeback.
When I was in middle school Pamela was one of my favorite names. I don’t like the nickname Pam, though. It reminds me of the cooking spray. I don’t know why, but I tend to like names from the ’40s and ’50s that most people dismiss as being too granny-ish.
You know, I like Pamela – I really, really do. I think it would be refreshing today to meet a little Pamela. And she could always go by Ela/Ella.
It’s really funny you say that because I’m fifteen and my name’s Pamela and my mom’s name is Johanna! But I usually go by Pam altough my brother calls me Ella for fun sometimes!
When you think about it, Pamela sounds extremely similar to Pomeline, a sweet, unique name that has not yet peaked. Pomeline might be a good choice for parents tempted to use Pamela but wanting something more distinctive.
Sarah A says
I actually really like Pamela. I just don’t like Pam, at all! How much cooler would The Office’s Pam and Jim be if they were Pamela and James?! I’ve never known a Pamela so I don’t have any particular associations with the name; maybe that’s why it doesn’t sound dated to me.
I just love how Pamela sounds in my mouth when I pronounce it, like an elongated Plum; it makes me think of eating a delicious fruit. Is that weird? 🙂
Maybe I just like Pamela because I love Paloma. I actually think Pamela could be a good option for parents who like Paloma but want something more familiar, or who like Isabella but want something more uncommon.
I also agree with the previous comments that Pamelas born now and in the near future are probably going to be Pamela, not Pam or Pammy.
I kind of like Pamela, but have mixed feelings about it. I’m not sure why I’m pretty ambivalent about the name. It probably has something to do with Pamela Anderson and not wanting a child to be named after her or associated with her. I do know a Pamela that is about 28. I think it’s rare though that someone in that age bracket bears the name.
I would also like to suggest a name for the name of the day. My suggestion is the boys’ name Levon. I kind of like this name and would like to know more about it.
C in DC says
I have no positive associations with this name, having known several growing up. Futzy is the word that comes to mind.
I love this name! Both my grandmas (both born in 1929) are called Pamela. It gives me a warm cuddly feeling and I’m quite tempted to use this name (my current fav is selma, quite similar). I think pammy is a cute nickname but I don’t really like just plain pam…
Have you thought Melly? That’s what my cousin goes by, or Pell-Mel!
I like Pamela, she’s one of my favorite cousins! In fact, she’s part of my favorite WTH”? sibset in the family: Cynthia, Pamela & Jennifer. One of these days I have to ask My Aunt what she was thinking, bestowing a classic on one twin,while giving the most popular name of the year on the other (They were born in 73 or 74, I forget).
But Pamela remains a love, she’s the cousin who looks most like me! No, really. I love Pamela’s warmth and comfort. It’s so sweet!
Now, have you done Marilyn? There’s one I’m toying with to honor the Aunt with Cyntthia, Pamela & Jennifer. I think Marilyn sounds pretty current. But then, I’m a little weird. 😀
And FWIW, I like Martha, a lot!
And a very Happy Birthday to Pam! 😀
There’s also the Beatles song “Polythene Pam”!
I’ve always thought this was a nice, light, feminine, very pretty name. It helps that I have a positive association with it: Pam was a playground friend of mine back in the late ’70s. She was a cutie, and I had a serious crush on her. 🙂
I pretty much agree with everything photoquility said. (Though I think Martha is due a comeback sooner than the others.) I do, however, really like Patricia. Have you done that one, Abby?
I actually like Martha…. surprisingly.
Now on to Pamela, I predict that our children will use it as a middle to honor and the next generation will be pulling it out like it is Eleanore or Beatrice.
Not my style because it is too Anderson in my head.
Soooo dated. In fact, I think Pam on the office illustrates this. If you go back to the first season, she had a frizzed out perm and dressed pretty dowdily. She was such a Pam. I don’t think this name is ready for a comeback. It’s a Doreen. It’s a Martha.
Pam Sommerville says
Well I’m a Pam and in the 80’s I have the perm, along with the rest of the population but I’m certainly NOT dowdy in any way, shape or form. In fact my son and his friends have a job keeping up with me!!! A very narrow minded sweeping statement!!!
Christina Fonseca says
I was born slightly after Pamela peaked, so I grew up with a bunch of Pams. I predict that when parents start using this name again as a first name (as opposed to a middle name to honor grandma), most of them will go by Pamela in full instead of the monosyllabic nickname we associate with middle-aged women.
Another tv connection: what about Pam in True Blood? It’s certainly not the most interesting name on that show but she’s one of my personal favourite characters
I do know a couple of Pam(elas) born in the 70s but it seems to be still somewhat stuck in the 60s – give it another generation or so and it’ll probably be the next Isabella since it does have a lovely meaning and artistic connotations.