Monday, February 27, 2006

Different Names

Death Cab For Cutie - Different Names For the Same Thing

Anne, Annie, Annabel, Anna Banana, Cloudman, Cloudy...

Growing up, one of my best friends was named Annie, so I was pretty much just Anne. My parents called me either Annie or Anna Banana but I never really considered them nicknames because their usage wasn't widespread. I also had an imaginary counterpart invented by my mother for fables and bedtime stories named Anna Banana Tinker Rinker. My brother somehow became Cloudy, so that name was reserved for him until he went off to college and then some people adopted it for me. The uniqueness of my last name has lent itself towards usage alone. Almost every lesbian I've ever known has called me Cloudman rather than Anne (a correlation I can't quite explain), and there's also a distinct population of guys who call me Cloudman in that playful, teasing manner that guys have. My roommate in college loved to pretend that she was something of a Southern girl and so called me Annabel. I liked that she was the only one who called me that.

In truth, I like the name Anne. It seems like a good solid name that doesn't come packaged with many preconceived notions or connotations. I was almost a Rebecca and I have to say I'm glad my parents changed their minds. Fair or not, a name can really make a first impression. Whenever I meet new people I try not to hold their name against them (after all most people weren't involved in choosing their own first name), but it can be difficult to get past a Wayne or a Tiffany.

For more about names, I highly recommend the following:
  • Chapter 6 from Freakonomics: Perfect Parenting, Part II or Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?
  • the Baby Name Voyager (an endlessly entertaining interactive website)


At 4:48 PM, August 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anne,
I am a little bit delinquent in reading previous postings (obviously) but was glad to see that I got a shout out on your blog...And not I AM a southern girl :)
Hope residency is going well and a very belated Congrats on finishing vet school.


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