02 June 2011

"Say my name, say my name" --Destiny's Child

So, yeah, Sean Combs has changed his name again. This time for just one week. Do I care? Aside from the general absurdity of changing your name for one week, mmmnotsomuch.

On a more personal note, I know people that have changed their names for various reasons. Some of them legal even.

I have a distant relative who, in his 50s, decided that he no longer wanted to be known by his given name: Sol. He changed his name to David because he said it was a name people trusted. Forget that multiple heads already swiveled when the name David was called in our family. Most everyone made the effort to call him David. But I know one relative, let's call him Joe, who insisted on continuing to call this guy Sol or Sol-David.

I have another distant relative who changed her name in her twenties from something very ordinary to something truly strange sounding. I won't tell you what because even though there's probably still three or four Sols in the world, I'm pretty sure there's only one of these. Suffice to say it went from something like "Sue" to something like "Elbownee" because it translated to "unique form" in Urdu. Joe insists that this woman is Sue and will always be Sue no matter what she wants to be called.

Now, if someone wants to change their name to Butthead, maybe I have a problem with it. But these changes? I can honor. Am I wrong? Is Joe wrong?

Which leads us to the question du jour: If someone asks you to call them something else besides what you've always known them as, what do you do?


The Bug said...

I try to call them by the new name, but I'm not very good at remembering things (sorry nephew Bradley, I mean, Brad)...

AbbotOfUnreason said...

My family calls me by a different name than everyone else; if I can cope, others should be able to, too.

In general, my responsiveness to name changes depends on the frequency. When it's a teenager changing her name every three weeks, I just don't have the storage swap capacity to keep up.

I trust Sol. Sol is a character in Shadow Unit.

The other option is to pick a nickname for the person and stick with that. It's not just for girlfriends and wives, you know.

Mike said...

My freind Rich(middle name) wanted to be called Jim(first name). It didn't work, did it Rich?

magnoliathoughts.com said...

i have changed my name twice: marriage, then divorce. i will never. change. my. name. legally. again. it's the most obnoxious experience in the world. i had to carry a six-inch thick dossier for months, with every scrap of identifying paper i owned, to get it all ironed out.

i will socially use my next husband's name all day. but i will never go through this again.

Gilahi said...

I've reached the age where I can never remember anybody's name anyway, so I just tend to refer to everyone as "Joe-Bob". It's usually OK, but it's not a name you want to scream out at certain times.

Lemon Gloria said...

I've never found my name all that interesting and considered changing it - both first and last - when I got married. Start afresh! But then several of my good friends said, "Do what you want, you're always going to be Lisa Gloria to me." And I realized that at core, I always would. So I'm stuck with Lisa.

Vittoria said...

mmmmmmm i think you try your hardest to honor it. my hs friends still all me by my younger-version name and it pisses me off. but... i get it too, that's how they know me?

also - i miss destiny's child. that is all.

Toe said...

I'm extremely bad with names so if it stuck the first time it'd take a lot for me to remember a new name with the same face.

Barbara said...

It's really hard to make the switch after you have known someone under one name. This happened to me after I had known my boyfriend-to-be-husband for a couple of years as Dave. He suddenly wanted to be David and that sounded somewhat foreign to me. Just about as foreign as he looked the one time he shaved off his mustache and beard. We are such creatures of habit. After 35 years of marriage, I no longer know Dave and all facial hair is still intact, albeit a little gray.

I say you make the effort, but it is hard for a long time.

Alice said...

oh man it's HARD. i have several friends who, like vittoria, now go by more "grownup" versions of their names and it is so hard to convert! they're billy, or carrie, or ralphie to me.. i can't help it!

lacochran's evil twin said...

The Bug: At least you try.

AbbotofUnreason: Okay, Stinky.

Mike: You don't want to know what he calls you.

magnoliathoughts.com: I hear you. I did it twice myself. Never again.

Gilahi: Oh! ...Joe-Bob! Oh! ...Joe-Bob!

Lemon Gloria: Now I'm wondering what you would have picked...?

Vittoria: At least you try. And, yes, we all miss them. It's part of the national zeitgeist.

Toe: So, you're of the "be glad I call you at all" school.

Barbara: I agree completely.

Alice: I always find it a little strange when a grown man is called Billy, etc. Not quite as bad with Susie but there's my double standard showing. *pulls hem of skirt down self-consciously*

ellen said...

The only people I know who have wanted to change their first names also changed their sex identification, so it wasn't too hard to honor their wish. One person changed his entire name but not sex) and although I honored his request I just had to know WHY. The story was odder than the request.