Thursday, November 7, 2013

What's In A Name?

When I was born, there was no such thing as the gender-determining ultrasound and IVF was still a dream (the first 'test-tube' baby was born almost exactly five years after me.)  Back in those dark days, if you were having trouble conceiving naturally, adoption and waiting it out were pretty much your only choices.  And when you were pregnant, you found out if the baby was a boy or a girl on the delivery date, no earlier.  Simpler times.

I'm the older of my parents' two kids, and for whatever reason, I was a long time in coming.  It was a cause for great celebration when my parents found out that I was on the way.  Since there'd been a lot of prayer involved, in gratitude, they decided to name me for Christ.  I would have been Christopher if I'd been a boy; my name isn't Christina, but it's along those general lines.

Given whom I'm named for, it seems a bit sacrilegious to even contemplate changing it!  Nevertheless, as anyone with a female name of this derivation (Christina/Christine/Kristine/Kristina/Krista/Kristin/Kristen/Kirsten/Kirstin/Kerstin etc etc etc) can attest, NOBODY ever gets the spelling of your name right on the first try, and most somehow manage to bang up the pronunciation as well.  It's very frustrating.  (Although it is also a very handy tool for the weeding-out of telemarketers.)

If push came to shove and I were ever to decide to change my name, the new one would have to meet two major criteria:

1) It would have to be beautiful, classic and simple
2) Fewer people would be able to screw up the new name than the current one.
I strongly suspect that I would end up as an Amy or an Anne, probably an Amy because it means "beloved" and I've always liked it.  And the day someone screws that one up, I will despair for humanity!

Monday, November 7: if you had to switch your first name, what name would you choose and why?


  1. Oh this is an easy one for me, since I legally changed my name four years ago!

  2. I legally changed my surname when I married and it was the most ridiculous hassle I'd ever seen...SS office, passport, driver's license (a special circle of hell), investment accounts, and then four different places in the company I worked for--HR, Payroll, the guy who handled the email, and then the other guy who handled the phone list. A girlfriend of mine in the same company who married a few months after I did kept her name after seeing the paperwork involved with changing it. Now, when I hear about someone voluntarily changing their name, all I can think is that they must really have felt very strongly about it to go through the bureaucracy involved.

  3. Yeah, though since I changed both first and last names, it's even more of a hassle - I can't just say "Oh, I got married" - no, it always looks suspicious if I'm forced to reveal it. Plus more than one place just changed the last name and didn't even register it was also a different first name. Oh well. It did take a while to get all the things changed but it doesn't rank as one of my top 20 most annoying things to deal with, though getting the bar to change it took a whole bunch of letters and phone calls and office visits. Does that mean I'd do it again? Ha. Hope I don't feel that compulsion.

  4. Is the story behind changing both your first and last names one that you share? I fully realize that it is none of my business (and feel free to tell me so!), but I'm curious what would cause someone to make such a shift in their identity. Part of the problem I had with my name change was that I chose to drop my original middle name and take my maiden name as my new middle name, both for professional reasons and because some part of me was very reluctant to relinquish the surname I grew up with. Since marriage documents only provide a legal basis for changing your surname, the drivers' license people in particular gave me a lot of grief about my middle initial.

  5. I never liked my name - never liked the way it sounded or looked, didn't fit me. Plus, my parents changed my middle name when I was a child (from a name I preferred), so it didn't feel strange to just change it - obviously people change names all the time. Why not? Of course other people think it's strange, but who cares? I'm the person who lives with the name. it doesn't shift my identity or who I am.


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Preview, Part 2

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