I flubbed someone’s name.
I’ve known this person – distantly – for years. But just barely, connected by friends of friends.
She has one of those names with TWO distinct pronunciations. I was sitting next to her at a mutual friend’s house the other night, and wouldn’t you know it?
Yup. I chose the wrong pronunciation!
She pulled a mildly horrified face, corrected me politely but firmly, and we moved on.
On reflection, three things stand out to me:
- It is truly wearying to correct your name day after day after day.
- For some names, mistakes are inevitable. Even people who notice these things won’t always notice these things.
- Correcting someone is a kindness. Of course we want to get other people’s names right! And so it’s best to be prepared with a kind-but-firm response. (I’m fairly confident that her reaction was honed over many years of dealing with this. See #1.)
How do you handle such moments? Is your name often mispronounced?
Can we talk about Argyle? It doesn’t seem like a given name at all, right? But it’s a minor character from Die Hard. (He’s the car service driver.) We meet another Argyle in a later season of Stranger Things. And now there’s a movie coming out titled Argylle, a spy thriller/comedy. It is, of course, a pattern and a place name. And it was used in small numbers – for boys and girls – from the 1920s into the 1950s. But now it’s nearly extinct … or will it attract just a tiny bit of attention? My guess is no, but I’ll be watching when the next data comes out in May.
Is a girl named Elvis any more outlandish than Malibu Barbie? YouTuber Trisha Paytas revealed that her second baby is a girl and she’ll be called Elvis. Actually, Paytas and husband Moses Hacmon agreed to the name before they knew their baby’s gender, announcing it all the way back in November. I hesitated to mention this story at all, for All The Reasons, and yet … I do think that younger parents are much more likely to choose a name without considering gender and that is so very interesting.
Athlete namespotting: Teoscar Hernandez (baseball); Cutter Gauthier (ice hockey); Amon-Ra St. Brown (football). Cutter is used in small numbers, but I was surprised to see that Teoscar is pretty much unused, at least in the US. As for Amon-Ra? That hyphen makes it difficult to know for sure. There are absolutely babies boys named Amon. Not tons, but a few more than Cutter most years. Amonra, though? Not so much. But maybe they’re registered as Amon (first name) Ra (middle name) …
Fictional character namespotting: Colleen Hoover’s bestseller It Ends With Us is going to be a movie this summer, starring Blake Lively as Lily. The two main male characters are called Atlas and Ryle. Interesting choices. Ryle particularly caught my eye, because it’s an uncommon mash-up of popular 90s name elements. Ryan and Kyle and Tyler often result in Kyler and Kyan. But Ryle feels a little different. It’s been used in small numbers since the 1970s, when Ryan and Kyle were wildly popular. Will it catch on now? Probably not in big numbers, but it might see a tiny bump.
And let’s go to the movies … I haven’t seen the Mean Girls reboot yet, but seriously? I’m still waiting for Cady to catch on. I mean: it’s got everything. A fresh take on classic Kate, a worthy historical namesake, the same surname style as Avery and company. And Cady Heron is – ultimately – a likeable, relatable character. I think. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the original …