“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” — Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
I silently berate my parents every time I have to spell my name for someone, or shake my head ‘nothing’ at the question, ‘What’s that short for?’ I’m usually more content to leave the misspellings (Kristy, Christie, Christy, Krystie, Kristee) and mispronunciations (Kirsty, Kristen, Kristine) as they are, rather than make any kind of deal about it and correcting them. Clearly with a name like Kristi, the chances of my name being spelled correctly first time are zero to none.
I’m also the most picky person you’ll ever meet when it comes to spelling and grammar.
These two things combined meant that choosing a name for my daughter was something I agonised over for months.
We finally agreed on Kalee.
Kalee, I’m sorry. You will spend the rest of your days spelling and pronouncing your name for people. But here are the reasons why we ended up with it.
- Not Kaylee – I didn’t want people to abbreviate her name to Kay.
- Not Kaelie – this is how I really wanted it spelled. Her dad’s response to this one: ‘It’s our daughter’s name, not a spelling contest’.
- Not Kaley – because if I couldn’t have Kaelie, I wasn’t budging on the double e, for no other reason than I think it’s pretty. It’s the one argument I won with Kalee’s dad when we decided on the spelling, and while we’re on the topic, I think just because I like it is as good a reason as any.
This got me thinking.
I wonder if people who call their kids such gems as D-r (pron: Dasher) are deliberately being obtuse or if they just think having four daughters with the names Molly, Polly, Dolly and Lollie is pretty or cute? Perhaps I am too harsh a judge.
I will be horrified if I hear that someone has been judging Kalee’s name, is that how Shaznalina’s parents feel too, when people snigger behind their backs?
Surely not… surely calling your kid Abcd (pron: Abeecity) is more than just giving your child a name you think is pretty. There’s something to be said about making an example of your child simply because you have attention-seeking issues. Just ask my friend who works at Centrelink and sees all manner of names and awkward spellings.
At the end of the day, when you first meet someone, your name represents who you are. Imagine trying to employ a chemical engineer and seeing the name Fairy Elektra on the top of a resume. Imagine taking a booking at a restaurant under the name of Princess Leia. Imagine hearing your teacher call out the names of twin brothers Furkin and Gurkin during roll call in class.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for unique and beautiful names. The biggest focus for Kalee’s dad and I was to choose a name that wouldn’t hit the Top 100 ‘most popular’ list for the year she was born, but we were also cognisant of the fact that we needed to be fair to her. I think more parents could benefit from using the ‘resume litmus test’ to ensure the moniker they give their son or daughter will fair them well over the course of time.
Save the non-resume-appropriate names for your next goldfish.
LUPIN: And this is Nymphadora
TONKS: Don’t call me Nymphadora, Remus. It’s Tonks.
LUPIN: Nymphadora Tonks, who prefers to be known by her surname only.
TONKS: So would you if your fool of a mother had called you ‘Nymphadora. — Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling