Thursday, 22 July 2010

Who Are You? Names Part I

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Juliet: Act II Romeo and Juliet

When Juliet learns that Romeo’s surname is that of her family’s sworn enemy, she is certainly surprised. However, she’s already decided she’s in love with him; not his last name or his family. She is willing to set aside the issue of family origin and focus on her infatuation or love, depending on the interpretation.

When people use the first sentence of the quote these days, they’re mostly referring to the different terms people use to call things. However, it is a nice way to start this post, since I want to talk about names.

Names mean a lot of things to different people.
I know people who say they don’t mind if they are called by the wrong name. There are some who are also fine if their names aren’t spelled correctly. Either of these is tantamount to an insult for others, however.

Some people live their whole lives being called a nickname. In fact, some of their friends don't even know their real names. There are others who refer to each other by their last names all the time. For some people, their middle name is their preference.

Of course, there are also those who absolutely HATE their names. There are those who dislike their names because they are unusual and hard to pronounce. They are the ones who live in dread when the substitute teacher arrives and calls their name (incorrectly) in attendance. Sometimes they dislike their names because they think their names are dull or boring, or because everyone else has the same one.

For women, there is also the decision to keep their maiden name or to take her married name. There are many reasons to keep your original last name, or even to take your husband’s name. For most women the decision isn’t related to the traditional reasons of old, but rather according to their personal desires.

Our names hold so much meaning and weight for so many of us.

What is the big deal about names?
More to come in my next post....

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