I hate my name. Well, I hate 2 out of 3 of my names. I do like “Faith,” my middle name.
What do you suppose is the effect on a person who must go through life disliking her name? It’s such an important part of our identity. When you all planned your children’s names, did you fast-forward to think about whether they would like them?
My name came from a Ronald Reagan movie called “King’s Row.” My mother, whose name was Tobie – a traditionally male name – thought the female character’s name, “Randy,” was just charming. So that’s what she named me, except she changed the Y to an I.
She should not have bothered. Everyone spells it with a Y anyway, and everyone thinks anyone named Randi/y is male. Even in work email, where my name is PRINTED right there, I get responses from people who have known me for 20 years, saying, “Hi Randy!” Or people on the phone ask me (when I answer my work phone by saying, “This is Randi Mezzy”) “Is HE there?” You’d think I’d be over this by now, but I am not.
Here are some other reasons I hate my name:
1. It has a semi-naughty meaning in British slang (i.e., a version of “horny”). I have visited England 3 times and Scotland, Wales and Ireland once each. Very humiliating to say my name there. When I worked at the YWCA in London between my junior and senior years of college, some people on staff couldn’t even bring themselves to say it, and just called me “Faith.”
2. It’s what I call a “toy” name. It has no gravitas. It’s a nickname without a real name. I’m named after my grandmother Rebecca. What was wrong with using Rebecca? “Too old-fashioned,” said my mother. Well, I long for an old-fashioned traditional name instead of the silly one I got. How can ever be a Supreme Court justice with a name like Randi? OK, perhaps that ship has sailed, but you get my point. It’s like “Muffy” or “Farrah.” No one can take me seriously with a name like Randi
3. I could never ever buy anything at the souvenir shop with my name on it. My childhood friends Susan and Linda could, but I just stood there, watching the names on the display whirl around, knowing mine would never appear. This was foremost in my mind when I named my sons David and Andrew. I knew they would enjoy name souvenirs galore — pens and mini license plates and shot glasses — as they went through life.
4. There are absolutely no songs about anyone named Randi.
Then there’s my last name. Originally it was Mezekofsky, and in fact, that was still my father’s last name in his high school yearbook. I don’t know how it came to be shortened, but again, someone must have thought it seemed more modern. Well, it’s been a problem for me forever.
First of all, I get a lot of “Randy Mezzi,” transforming me into an Italian man against my will. I had a law professor who pronounced it with the double Z sound in pizza: “Met-zy.” Even in law school, when people are over the age of 22 and supposedly professionals in the making, they are reduced to laughter when a teacher mispronounces someone’s name. I thought after 13 years of cringing on the first day of each grade of public school as the roll was called, I could leave those giggles behind. No such luck. What is so hard about the name Mezzy? What you see is what you get. Just say it, goddamn it, don’t ponder it.
Those same fun kids throughout my life thought it was HILARIOUS to say “Messy Mezzy.” Oh har, har, har.
Then there is the fact that when someone says, “May I have your name?” I say it and automatically spell it, because I know that no one will be able to figure it out. So my name is really “Randi Mezzy, R-A-N-D-I-M-E-Z-Z-Y.” And still they get it wrong.
When it came time to name my own offspring, I thought first about abundant access to souvenirs, as well as easy spelling. I also thought their nice ordinary names were strong and masculine. I never intended for them to have nicknames, because I had wanted a “real” name so badly myself. Unfortunately they did become Dave and Andy when they got older, but never to me.
What inspired your children’s names? A lot of people name their kids after relatives, but I have also noticed a lot of movie-related names (AHHH! Shades of Randy in “King’s Row”!) and soap opera character names. Did you want your child to have a unique name? Did you want it to be a classic eternal name? Why doesn’t anyone name their babies Yetta or Seymour or Hortense or Bernard any more? One of our bloggers has a baby named Mabel, which I think is quite adorable. Some of those old names are really charming. There was a big Max explosion when my kids were young, but all I could picture was my crabby old Uncle Max who smoked cigars. Now I’m used to it and I think it’s cute.
I’m eager to hear about the scientific methods that all the other moms used to name their kids!