Jun 012011
 
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stupid baby namesYou don’t know Le-a (Ledasha). You haven’t met Abcde (ab-see-dee). But even without those urban legends (whether or not there was one to begin with, there certainly aren’t as many as people claim), there are plenty of weird names.

Yesterday on MamaMia there was a post about parents in Israel calling their daughter ‘Like’ after the Facebook button. A lot of amusing names came up in the comments. My favourites from the comments and my own experiences are Wayne Kerr, Peter Ness and Jenna Tahlia, Hye-Min, Lordes Arrogante, Princess, Gross and my favourite of all time – Fanny Pong.

But the purpose of my writing a post is to complain about my own name, Tamsin. It’s hard to spell (apparently), hard to pronounce (the world is dyslexic), is constantly replaced with Tasmin, sounds an awful lot like Tantrum (thanks, brother of mine) and a specific kind of feminine hygiene product.

To add insult to injury, my parents felt it necessary to make my initials TV and my full name Tamsin Claire Veitch. Say it quickly. Yep, that’s right.

Throughout the years I have been called Tasmin, Tamson, Tamsen, Tam, Tammy, Tanzen, Fanny, Tarzan, Thompson, Samson, Pamson, Tasmania, Ashton, and my favourite one ever… Jessica. For that one I swear they just took a wild stab at it.

Frequently conversations go like this “What’s your name?” “Tamsin. T-A-M-S-I-N.” “… Your first name….” “That is my first name.” “What… Pamson?!” I don’t know who all these Pamsons are. If I met one, I’d think it was pretty weird too.

I did consider changing my name. The one I picked was Alison. But it didn’t suit me. A friend of mine called me Amber for a while because he decided that suited me better than Alison, but my best friend in grade 2 was named Amber, so it didn’t sit right with me either.

At the end of the day, I think your name does reflect your personality. Or is it your personality that reflects your name?

Either way, I will always be Peter when ordering takeout.

T.

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  • Clansi

    I know exactly what you mean.
    I have gotten: Casey, Tracey, Claris (seriously), Candy….
    And one guy who used to mutter random syllables ending with “see”

    People can’t reconcile a “boys” name with the fact that I’m a girl.

    And my Mum inventing a more “feminine” spelling has not helped things.

    I always used to get “Roy Clancy” at doctors offices.

    I intended to use my middle name in high school, but the girls who came from my primary school told me they wouldn’t use it.. boo

    Using Peter’s name for ordering is smart!

    • Miss T

      The thing that amuses me about using Peter’s name is that I’m quite obviously a female voice, and there is a female name Peta, I know one. So sometimes I get a little offended that they all (correctly) assume I’m using someone else’s name. To the extent that when we walked in to the Good Indian at Hornsby after I had been ordering for a while, they smiled at Peter and said “Hi Peter!” then asked me what my name really was.

      I didn’t realise your mum invented the spelling of your name, but it makes sense. I admit, I spelt it Clancy for a long time.

      Now I can’t remember if your real middle name is Skye or Nadine. Nadine is what you called me. In my head, you will always be Clansi Nancy Skye Roy.

      • Clansi

        I can’t believe I forgot Nancy! That’s the most common one I get.

        Skye is the real one :) Nadine is the fake middle name John and I bestowed on you.

  • Michelle

    “What’s in a name? ….”

    After a bit of a kurffle right after I was born, I was known as “baby” or similar term of endearment until an aunt visited when I was six weeks old. Apparently she took one look at me and said I looked like a Michelle – and thus I was raised being called my middle name. I considered switching to using Andrea when we moved to Australia but my mum pointed out that we already knew quite a few people here (like your hubby’s family) who knew me as Michelle. So I didn’t bother. But I did decide that when (oh such youthful confidence) I got married, I would change my whole name around so that I would officially be Michelle, instead of having to deal with people who didn’t know better calling me Andrea. Well I did achieve that, finally, in January this year.

    But now that tale is out of the way…. I think it’s interesting to think about how much we “are” our names. I’ve certainly never left like Andrea suits me, but I guess if I was raised being called that I might feel differently? Or I might hate it and be part of the group of people who try to change their names by telling people to call them something else….like my friend at uni who didn’t like being Kate and asked us to call her Sway… and yet how different is that to people choosing to use a nickname most of the time?

    Sorry. I’m rambling all over your blog. Blame it on me being home sick again and boooored!!!!

    • Miss T

      I love people rambling on my blog. In an ideal world, this isn’t my blog – this is a forum for discussion.

      I think you’re right. Perhaps if my name wasn’t a little bit odd then I wouldn’t be, but it is, and I am. You can look at a baby and know their name fits, I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

  • Wallflower

    Good evening Miss T!!!

    i have 2, maybe three experiences to share. The first would be a similar experience to yours, where in High School i actually experienced a guy share with me that “if youre Last name was Vidge, then you would be ‘Cle Vidge’…. hah!! geddit?!?!” mmmmmm…. i miss those days. really….

    My second would be going back about 50 years when my mum was unhappy with her name, possibly not quite unique enough for her that she began introducing herself as “”Bobby” to her new friends. She loved this name so, SO very much that she intended on calling me “Bobby Lee”…. (could you see me doing a Dolly Parton? like really??) Thank god she came to her senses and gave me a slightly more feminine name… that could also be associated with boobs…

    My final experience, was not so much the first name, but the last. I was dating a lovely young gentleman with the surname “Butt”. if we ever ordered take away or were required to enter/supply a name, suprisingly.. it was mine. He did however marry, and take on his bride’s name.

    I wont deny, when he first told me, I did have a little giggle. but the name didnt make the person.

    Ive heard that people who are given “winning names” are less likely to try, put in the effort, and succeed, and people who are given the “loser” names are more inclined to put in the extra effort to prove that they are winners, and successful.

    But all in all.. I think ultimately, with the exception of such original names as Abcde and Nevaeh *eye rolls*…. we are the cool, maybe slightly quirky …. well… awesome people that we are.

    • Miss T

      At least your last name ISN’T Vidge. That’s close to how Veitch is pronounced. To rhyme with Beach.

      His first name wasn’t Andrew was it?

      My husband’s aunt married a man named John Woodcock. Her name is Anita. Needless to say, she kept her maiden name :P.

  • Denise

    I think Tamsin is a perfectly lovely name, there is a touch of the exotic about it that ‘Denise’ completely lacks. I have always thought my name to be completely undistinguished, it is allegedly french but I have my doubts. I mean it didn’t even sound that great when it was spoken by actual french people… IN PARIS!!

    To me it just says ‘girl born to middle class parents between 1965 and 1970′, so I didn’t give it much thought and I couldn’t even muster enough mid-teen angst to think what I would rather be called. I had bigger issues in the name department than boring but innocuous old ‘Denise’. My surname was October… I’m not even kidding. Hearing “Miss October? I have your photo on my calendar – nice bikini…” when I’d only recently come to terms with having boobs, did not fill me with affection for my surname.

    My chance to change all that came when I got married. Had I been born Smith or Jones I would have kept my name or double barrelled it but I went the whole white-frilly-apron hog and took my husbands name of Barendse. That looks normal right? Well, not so much. Try pronouncing it, unless you are familiar with Germanic pronunciation you will get it wrong. It is not Barenzi, Barendez, Bardensee, Bardeneez, Behrens, Barandso, Barenose or Bakenose, it is pronounced Bah-rindt-sir, unless you roll your r’s then Bah-rindt-sah is close enough. The first six mis-pronunciations are caused by understandable, and perfectly normal, dyslexia; even Barenose is forgivable but Bakenose? Seriously? Who would even do that let alone take it on as a family name? How would you explain that?
    Mrs Smith: “My husband’s family come from a long line of blacksmiths.”
    Mrs Chandler: “My husband’s family has made candles for four hundred years.”
    Mrs Bakenose: “My husband’s family have always baked noses.”
    So yeah, much as I never thought I would say this, I actually miss good old pronounceable ‘October’ just don’t get me started on… “October? That’s unusual! How do you spell that?”

    Oh well, I guess I am happy to be a Denise; at least it’s not ‘Trevor’ because as we all know, that’s Kiwi for ‘brother-in-law’ ;)

    • Miss T

      Except that it’s particularly common in not-so-upper-class England :P. (Tamsin, not Denise).

      I couldn’t wait to get rid of my last name. Yet discovered I’d been mispronouncing it for years right before it came mine. It’s not House, like I had been saying, it’s Howz, like How’s it going.

      I pronounced yours in my head as Barenz. I can’t roll my R’s anyway.

      • Denise

        My husband anglicised it to be pronounced Barenz when he emigrated from South Africa in 1978 because he realised that it was the easiest thing for a diverse group (he is an academic with lots of international contacts) to pronounce. And unlike most/all South Africans he can’t pronounce his R’s either; it’s fall down funny when he tries to speak Afrikaans.

  • Jessica

    I have never really liked my name for the absolute opposite reason. It’s common. The most common girls name of the 80′s and 90′s. There were four Jessica’s in my primary school class, to the point where some of my friends still refer to me with my last initial for convenience sake. I have learnt not to turn if someone calls my name in public until the third call to avoid the awkward ‘not you.’ If some one tells me to ‘go to bed Jessica’ again I swear I’ll slap them, (stupid drink driving add when I was in high school). I always use a different name in Cafe’s or Boost bars in case someone else in the line is also Jessica and takes my order or vice versa (actually happened once).

    To make it worse I do also have a common last name. If you do a facebook search on my name the results are in the thousands. I had to field a ridiculous number of questions from people who obviously didn’t listen to the news properly about my murder. (Tragic killing, rather than joke).

    Not that I think it’s worse than having an uncommon name, I do benefit from never being asked to spell my name (though I do get Chatman occasionally). It could be worse, my name could be Prunella Bottomsworth, or something ridiculous and my parents didn’t know that every other parent in the next two decades would also think it was a great name.

    What I don’t like about it is that I just don’t think it suits me because it is common. I’ve always fancied myself a bit unique and eccentric. I’d be really offended if anyone called me common; I’d much rather be called a bit weird. And since I can remember I’ve wanted a name that reflects that. I’ve had about twenty different ‘other’ names I invented for myself, the longest one I stuck with was Ava Koerstz. In fact if I ever get published I still might use it as my pen name. My friends of course would never call me anything but Jess or Jess Chap because they couldn’t think of me as anything else but that. (Which used to leave me a bit crestfallen).

    As I’ve gotten older I’ve wondered if maybe my dislike for my name is a bit silly as there isn’t really anything wrong with it. Maybe the fact that I fancy myself a bit odd is a reaction to my name and if I had been called Cyclamen or something else a bit strange I might have spent my entire life trying to fit in. And that would have been more of a tragedy then having a common name.

    • Miss T

      I have to admit, no intention here to name my imaginary children Jessica – there were a few in every grade when we were at school. I remember that ad! Ha!

      Loving the name Ava! Nothing wrong with Chapman, but Rachelle also wished she were Koerstz instead of Chapman (pronounced like a cross between Courts & Quartz for those of you playing at home). I wouldn’t call you common. And if you’d prefer to be Ava, I’d call you that too. I have two friends who have changed their names, and I don’t mind calling them what they prefer :).

      xox T.

  • Linzi

    Hello! My name is Linzi. Yes that is how it’s spelt!
    I am not a dude.
    That is all.

    • Miss T

      Ha! That made me laugh

      • Denise

        That made you laugh? Ask her what her middle name is.

        • Miss T

          Linz…?

        • Linzi

          You bitch!!!!

          • Linzi

            Not you Tamsin, my sister!!! She’s hit a raw nerve with that one.

          • Miss T

            I didn’t think it was me! And to clarify – I was laughing at your whole comment, not your name. I’ve known your name for years (it was attached to you) so I’ve never thought it was an unusual spelling. Actually when I first saw Lindsay I was like “Lind-say?”

            Also, I’m SO SLOW. I didn’t realise you guys were sisters!

  • Rose

    Tamsin is an absolutely beautiful name! Also I don’t get what is unfortunate about your middle name?

    • http://tamsinhowse.com/blog/ Tamsin Howse

      My last name is pronounced Veech. Say Claire Veech quickly :)

      • Rose

        Do you mean it sounds like cleavage? I would never have made that connection :o)

  • http://www.seanasmith.com/ Seana Smith

    Haha, I like Tamsin, it sounds very English and of a certain era, my era I think. Not one person has ever pronounced my name properly I swear. It’s just like the boys’ name Sean, but with an -a… so Sean-a… is that see hard? yes, I am always referred to as See-ana… what’s that about?? Names are a topic that will never be old.