I’m a girl named Gregg. It’s along the same lines as a boy named Sue. That is my sole credential for having strong opinions about names for children and my license to express them.
My father wanted me to be unique. Isn’t that always the reason? As the story goes, he saw a picture of Gregg Sherwood in the paper. She was on the line at the Copa Cabana at the time (for you younger folks–she was a dance girl). He liked the name–which I think translates to he thought she was hot–and he named me after her. When he was alive, I enjoyed telling people I was named after my father’s boyfriend. That didn’t please him.
People have asked me about my name more times than I can count. Some are curious, some are rude, some are just making conversation. Long before my current mature adult status, I recognized that having a unique name is more a burden and an inconvenience than an asset. I regret not changing it when I was younger.
Recently, I called in to cancel my Macy’s credit card. I explained that I did not want the American Express card they planned to send. After asking me for ALL my identifiers, including my driver’s license number, the operator transferred me to the fraud division, where a rude man subjected to more invasive questioning. When I asked why it took five minutes to get the credit and an hour to cancel it, he responded with a load of double talk. I believe they thought I was an angry wife canceling my husband’s credit.
Oh, and the Marine Corps offered to make a man out of me when I was eighteen years old. I thought it was more than even the Marines could handle.
Those are only a couple of examples. I could go on for pages, but I won’t belabor the point.
I met a young woman named LATARSHAW and pronounced it la-tar-shaw. She said, “My name is Latasha.”.
I thought, not spelled like that it isn’t.
This young woman has to go through life explaining why her name is spelled wrong. I think the obvious answer is that the adult who named her didn’t know how to spell it and didn’t bother to check.
Then there are the parents trying to be cool at the expense of a helpless infant. Take, for example, the child named La-law. When questioned, the parents said to pronounce the dash. The kid will grow up explaining Ladashlaw. And probably trying to do it in a way that doesn’t put my parents and stupid in the same sentence.
People have a right to name their children anything they want, and they do. The thought occurs to me that if a parent thinks a name should be unique, spelled in an unusual fashion, or totally cool, then they should change their own name and live with their decision for the next seventy or so long years.