Have you helped Jess decide on hir new name yet? Well, go on, and then come back here.
I admire Jess’s decision: it takes a lot of courage and certainty to choose a new name. Me, I’m in name limbo here. My real name is ok. It’s not one of the super-feminine female names, though it’s also unambiguously a girl’s name. Sort of like the gray wool skirt of names. My middle name is in the same general category. Nothing wrong with either of them, but I’ve never really identified with them, either. When someone says my real name, oftentimes, a ghostly image seems to appear next to me: the girl I think they’re imagining, the girl I thought I was supposed to be, the girl I’m definitely not. It’s a strange, disembodied feeling, and I admit I prefer it when people don’t use my name at all.
I read an old interview with k.d. lang (shocking, I know) where she talks about the song on Ingénue with the line “Where is your head, Kathryn?” For the less k.d.-obsessed, her full name is Kathryn Dawn Lang. The interviewer suggested that the line was especially personal since that was probably how she thought of herself in her own mind. k.d. laughed and replied that it was more the sound of her mother reprimanding her. She didn’t say what she calls herself inside her own head.
I don’t call myself anything, generally, or at least nothing like a name. In my own internal consciousness I’m nameless, which seems just fine to me, though I admit it could suggest some existential question.
But despite my lack of identification with my proper name, I’ve never sustained a nickname, either. In daily life T. calls me ‘sweetie’ or ‘baby’. Adorable, but not how I want to introduce myself. I’ve grown really fond of this “Leo MacCool” self, but I don’t think I want hir to leave the confines of cyberspace. Recently I’ve been trying out another nickname, derived from my last name, but it doesn’t seem to quite fit, either.
I tried this meme but the results ranged from silly to bad. Some highlights:
Your rock star name (first pet, current car): Casey Honda (um, no. Not even remotely rock star.)
Your gangsta name (favorite ice cream flavor, favorite type of shoe): Chocolate Doc Martens (tasty lesbian treat!)
Your Native American name (favorite color, favorite animal): Blue Sheep (sheep dip gone wrong?)
Superhero name (2nd favorite color, favorite drink): Red Beer (ewww)
Dancer name (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy): Soap Bounty (oh yeah, I think we have a winner... not. Bounty Bars are the British version of Mounds, coconut covered in chocolate. So good.)
TV weather anchor name (your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter): Kovaliv Kalamazoo (my personal favorite. What’s not to love?)
Spy name (your favorite season/holiday, flower): Spring Sunflowers (I. Don’t. Think. So. Seriously, if I were a spy, I’d really, really hope for something a little darker and edgier than this.)
Cartoon name:(favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now): Peach Boxers (awww)
So... do you identify with your name? How did you get a nickname that felt right? And how did you know it felt right? Any tips or thoughts or suggestions?
Until next time, I’m ... Soap Bounty.