Once upon a time, no one complain even for half a pre-cummed second about the frustrations of your name no. do not. Unless you got named Friendless or Sock. Then, we’ll pour some wines and have a talk.
I grew up with the story that each of my grandparents got to give me a name. (It’s true; they did.) My mom’s dad gave me my first name, and my dad’s dad gave me my second name. And, for my entire childhood (I grew up in the eighties. shit was not ok, name-wise, in the eighties. don’t be named Bertha in the eighties. I wasn’t but that’s the bar, and my middle name lived on a rusty line running lengthwise across it), I hated my middle name to the point where I flat out refused to tell people what it was. I was six and teachers would ask, “What does the ‘E’ stand for?” and I was all, “No.”
People would guess. They would say, ‘Oooohhh Esmerelda!’ Please. ‘Enid!’ Not great, but also: no. ‘Ellen.’ ‘Evelyn.’ ‘Esther.’ Nooooooo. My middle name is Ethel. My parents swore that I got lucky, because originally, my first name was going to be Ethel, but when the nurse came by to ask, my mom was so tired that she mixed the two names up. So, whew! The end.
Except no because on my 21st birthday, my dad sent me my birth certificate which clearly showed that my mom had not mixed anything up and my entire life is a lie. NOW The End, right?
My first (middle. whatever bite me) name sounds a lot like other words, apparently. In the way that ‘Claire’ sounds a lot like ‘tuna salad’ and ‘Sarah’ sounds a lot like ‘barnacle’, my name sounds a lot like, ‘pigeon.’ Which is what a whole mess of people thought my actual name was, even after much correcting and slow training. Any good friends I had at the time were probably sorely tempted to nickname me that because….come on. But, there was a lot of racism involved in me getting called that, so my friends steered clear. I count myself lucky that I never had to axe a friendship over my name.
Then, one evening during my freshman year of college, a friend and I were walking up the path to a building that was mostly a huge kegger party. A dude stops us on our way to the front door, and introduces himself. He asks us our names (I’d like to interject here just to say that my friend’s name wasn’t particularly normal either and she escaped just fine. whatever karma. i see you.) and decides simultaneously, in the way that only the severely inebriated can, to both hit on me and fully believe my name is Kitchen.
He’s all handsy, and he roars, “Kitchen!!! Who names their kid ‘Kitchen’???”
And I shake myself free, and I’m all, “Ha yeah, wait till you meet my brother Vestibule!”
He doesn’t get the joke but it’s ok because he still thinks my name is hilarious enough on its own. He trails us throughout the building, loud and confident about both my name and my desire to sleep with him. My friend is unamused, I’m in denial, and eventually we shove our way out of the party and back onto the relative quiet of the street.
We stand there a minute, and I say to her, “That was awful.”
And my friend goes, “There there, Kitch.”
And now ‘Kitch’ is how I sign a lot of my online stuff.