The Columbus Dispatch recently reported that a Pataskala woman has had her name legally changed to Sexy because her first name, Sheila, was ugly and she hated it. (No offense to Sheilas everywhere). When the judge asked her for her reasoning, she said, “I feel like I’m a free-spirited person, I love to have fun, and this is the last piece to make my life complete.” Her proof of her claim was that she always wears Victoria’s Secrets clothes. (No offense to those who wear VS clothes. I wonder why she didn’t change her name to Victoria? I suppose that’s a secret.)
She is now officially, legally named Sexy Crabtree. (Yes, you read that right.) Her husband and daughters approved. That must make for interesting situations at school and the bank. Will Sexy use her middle name at church? I guess there’s no law against being Sexy under the steeple.
At any rate, after reading the article, I started thinking about the power of names. My sister, Gayle, changed her name several years ago. She ridded herself of a few names she disliked and took a new name which better defined her. (No, her middle name is not Sexy.)
Names are powerful. Am I the only one who remembers the song “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash? The poor kid had such a rough life that he grew up tough. From his father’s point of view, Daddy dear had done the boy a favor. Since he knew he wouldn’t be around to rear him, he gave his son a name that would either kill him or make him strong. (I don’t swallow that.)
I thought of the names of Austen’s characters. How could Wickham be anything but bad? The makings of “wicked” are right there in the name. Edward, Fitzwilliam, and Frederick are all honorable names. Think of Willoughby. He bends with the winds like a willow tree. Anne is not forceful, though she is not weak. Elizabeth means “oath of my God” and is a name of queens (as are Anne and Catherine). Neither of Austen’s Elizabeths are passive, sweet characters. They take charge. How could Elinor be anything other than practical, and how could Marianne not be flighty?
Dickens and Hawthorne were masters of matching names with character. I could do a thesis on that subject.
Would Thor or Hercules be as impressive if they were named Sammy or Junior? I think not.
Names mean something. Parents should reconsider before saddling their child with an unpronounceable, badly spelled, hyphenated, name which is sprinkled with apostrophes. The name which is cute for a toddler is not as suited to a adult in a dignified profession.
I would change my first name, but my mother gave it to me, and I never use it. Not many people even know what my full name is, but it should be a little less stiff. My middle name, Robin, is androgynous. No wonder I’m so confused. I’m named for a soap opera star and a comic book character. However, I do have a cool logo, even if I am a sidekick.
If you could choose a new name, what would it be?