Sunday 27 September, 2020

8 struggles of having a unique name

Names... we all have them.

Naming their children is something most parents take very seriously and their choices often reflect their heritage, values, tastes and personalities.

While some hope to leave a lasting impression by giving their children unique names, there's no denying that it comes with unique challenges.

1. Introducing yourself

For most people, introductions are just a quick pleasantry before getting into the conversation. But you? You can’t avoid the inevitable questions that follow when you introduce yourself:

‘How do you spell that? ‘What does it mean/Does it have a meaning?’ ‘Is it Arabic/Hebrew/African/(insert ‘foreign’ culture here)?’

Sometimes you just don’t feel like going through all those explanations.


2. Introducing yourself in a public forum

If you are not someone who enjoys the limelight, introducing yourself in front of a lot of people can be nerve-wracking.

Example - Visiting a friend’s church:

Pastor: Will any visitors please stand and introduce themselves so we can welcome you!

You: *stands uncomfortably* Hi, I’m Quantano.

Pastor: Sorry, could you repeat that?

You: *awkward shout* QUANTANO!

Pastor: Welcome, Guantanamo!







3. Being asked your whole life story/family history

You get it – your name is different from anything anyone has heard before and it has sparked people’s curiosity. But now you’re expected to share the entire backstory of how your parents came up with the name. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

How you feel having to appear as interested in telling the story behind your name as the person asking:





4. Being corrected on the pronunciation/spelling

After introducing yourself or being asked to spell your name, the other person asks, “Really? Are you sure? I would have thought it was [insert their version of how your name *should* be spelled/pronounced].”







5. Placing a takeaway order

Placing a food order over the phone can be more complicated than it needs to be when you have an unusual name. Sometimes it’s just easier to give a fake, less uncommon name to avoid being like this:


6. Nicknames

When you have an unusual name, people often take the liberty of inventing a nickname for you that’s ‘easier’ for them to pronounce or remember – whether you like it or not.







7. Rescuing those who really do try

You always know when someone reading from a list has reached your name, due to the long pause and hesitant ‘ummm’ that ensues. Class register, doctor’s office… you already know when you hear that awkward pause, you’re next!

So you jump in quickly with your name since you feel bad for the person trying so hard not to mangle it… 





8. No ready-made souvenirs

Ever been to a souvenir shop and found personalised items like mugs, key-rings and T-shirts with your name on it? 

We didn’t think so.

The best you can hope for is something with your initial and even so, letters like Q, Y or Z are scarce.










But despite the struggles of having a unique name, most of the time you still love it because at the end of the day:

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