Monday, 17 January 2011

In which I consider what's in a name

“So, I had a cheeky snog on Saturday,” The Intern said first thing this morning, as we clutched cups of tea close in the hope they’d help us to feel less like drowned rats.

“Oooh,” I said, grateful for someone else’s love life to be the focus of attention for once (even though the only attention was mine, as we were the first and only two in the office). “Spill.”

“Well, we were in a bar, and they were on a rugby club night out…”

In my experience, there only tends to be one end to stories which begin that way, but The Intern seemed to have a remarkably well-behaved night.

“He’s tall,” she said, homing in on what is, clearly, a man’s most important attribute (to be fair to her, the girl’s about 5’10” – she’s rather more entitled to be picky about height than I am). “And he has nice arms. And I’ve heard from him a few times already.”

I could hear the slight hesitation in her voice as I turned up the radiator to give my shoes half a chance of drying before home time. “But…? What’s wrong with him? Two heads? Dodgy hair? Wedding ring?”

“His name…” She looked at me sheepishly, clearly expecting me to tell her I was appalled that she could be so shallow and that she should get over herself and just go on the damned date.

Except I didn’t. As one of slightly judgy demeanour, there are all kinds of superficial traits men can have that will cause me to see past their kindess, generosity or intelligence and just Put Me Right Off.

“Oh…? How bad is it?”

She told me. “Which… oh, I don’t know. I suppose it’s not terrible. I just can’t ever imagine myself saying it out loud. And especially not saying it… you know, in the throes of passion… And…” Not faced with the contempt she’d so clearly anticipated, she eased into her stride. “And it’s already shortened. The long version just makes him sound like a 90 year-old, and I don’t think there’s any other way of abbreviating it. Am I being ridiculous?”

“Sort of,” I said, “but if it bothers you, it bothers you. I’m the same with jewellery – you can try to look past it, but it will always irritate you.”

I would have thought that I was one of the few people bothered by such superficialities, but it does seem there are plenty of us out there. I have previously considered the topic of faux pas so bad as to merit the ending of a dalliance. For me they’ve included, in no particular order, vegetarianism (I know. I’m a terrible hypocrite. Deal with it); making terrible career decisions; and Tuesday afternoon coke habits. For others, poor spelling and grammar; negligence in paying council tax; and mediocre sex have all entered the mix.

And The Intern isn’t the only person to have a mental block about bad names. Back in the mists of time, I was sitting in the pub with Nutty Cow, discussing my then-newly embarked upon dalliance with Rugged Scotsman.

“Oh, you can’t date him,” she said, with apparently amazing foresight (yes, yes – he was the one who turned out to be gay). “His name makes him sound like a footballer. Seriously. End it.”

My advice to The Intern thus far has been to date the man. If the name gets too much, use a middle name instead. Or “darling,” which gets round the pesky issue of even having to remember it, thus allowing her to date as many men as the diary can hold. Problem solved. So long as he’s not wearing jewellery. Or gay.


nuttycow said...

There are certain names which are just a big fat no. To be fair, The Crush has one of these names. Maybe that's the reason it's never going to work out between us.

I am, however, *dying* to know what the name of the Intern's snog was.


Redbookish said...

Oh, Monty'd be OK. Herbert wouldn't ... (and a relative-by-marriage of mine almost named her son this!) and I'd have difficulties with Albert, but he could be called Al. Amongst the men I've gone out with, three of them have had the same name. And only one was gay.

Blonde said...

NC: He DOES?! I feel you've neglected to mention this previously. There are some terrible names out there...

Red: I would definitely find Herbert difficult - your options are basically Bert, or Herb. Not idea. Three having the same name is pretty good going. (And, not that it helps you particularly, but I am glad other girls go through the dating-gay-men experience too!)

Zstep said...

Anaxamander? Montague? Wilber?

HC said...

Zstep, what are the chances of you picking each of my middle names.

Girl Friday said...

Arthur? Is it Arthur?

Blonde said...

Zstep: How? How did you guess so easily?! (Er, nope. And, Anaxamander? Seriously? Is that a real name?)

Girl Friday: Nope, 'fraid it's not Arthur.

Zstep said...

born 610 BC, Miletus—died 546/545 BC) Greek philosopher, often called the founder of astronomy.

My Dad has a fondness for stupid names (the swine wanted to name me Rufus for god's sake. In the States, no one is named Rufus except dogs and illiterate country bumpkins...hmmm, actually the same can be said for my given name come to think...) and we always used to try to come up with one dumber than Anaximander. We failed.

normanmonkey said...

In recent times things have ground to a halt with a litany of women for a number of reasons:

- Declaring Blossom Hill to be 'nice'
- Going on about their Porsche
- Crashing their Porsche
- Being vegan
- Not reading newspapers
- namedropping Soho and Shoredtich house ad nauseum
- Teetotal
- Gym obsessesed
- Asking if I could buy them a car
- Saying I could do better with my choice of company (that depends for what purposes one chooses one's company and I've chosen mine astutely)
- Liking house music
- Disliking classical music
- Not having a clue whom Martin Scorcese he was on TV
- Psychosis
- Bursting into tears when Michael Jackson
- Having olive oil that wasn't extra virgin
- Not having ever heard of Raoul Moat (which seems unreasonable, but shows a deplorable lack of current affairs)
- Being overtly Australian
- being unable to read a train timetable and thinking it hilarious
- Saying 'I quite like Danny Dyer'

theperpetualspiral said...

I am racking my brain trying to think of bad, 'old man' names.

Stanley? Norman? Cuthbert?

lenmarsh said...

Gareth? Frank? Anthony?

Rebecca said...

About ten years ago, I dated a Clive. My friends have never let me forget it, and rightly so.

Politigal said...


Normanmonkey: Was the Australian not fairly easy to spot in advance?

Redbookish said...

It's the corks that hang off their hats that give them away.

Amy said...

I'm going to go for Cornelius, because it's the most ridiculous name I know (It was my Grandfather's) and it's shorted to Con, which means bastard in French. I can't imagine saying any of those in the throes of passion.

I am currently dating a man with a normal first name and a ridiculous last name. I am trying to convince him that if we ever get married he should change his last name to my normal one. So far he is resisting, but I'm possibly going to refuse marriage if he doesn't accept.

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