I was reading this really entertaining post by another (vastly more popular and successful) blogger. I started writing a comment in response to it on her page, but it was turning into a novel, so I figured I’d save her comment section the space and make it a post on my own blog. (Giving her a shout-out, of course: Read her experiences with mispronunciation misadventures here.)
You’d think Kaitlin would be a common enough name by now. Aside from the fact that it’s never spelled right, (which, okay, there are roughly a million ways to spell my name) people try to mess with it all the time. They try calling me Kait (that spelling is the only way I would even moderately consider answering to it), Kat, Katie, Lynn. No, it’s Kaitlin. Don’t try being cute and shortening it — I will mentally place you on my “people who suck” list. (And, actually, it turns out there are 155 plausible ways to spell my name. Who knew?)
But aside from that, people still somehow act like they’ve never come across someone with my name. It’s not like it’s some wild, exotic, hard-to-pronounce name. But, alas, during my very first winter formal as a freshman in high school as I nervously made my way into the spotlight with my date for grand march, I stepped forward to hear my name announced as “Cat-lynn.” Really?
I still get “Cat-Line,” “Kate-Line,” “Kathleen,” and even sometimes “Kirsten” … Yeah. People are either really lazy, or slowly becoming illiterate.
And you’d think a last name like “Ring” would be pretty straightforward. Nope. That actually poses more difficulty than my first name. I’ve gotten everything from “Ping,” “King,” and pretty much every other rhyming word. I have no idea if my Midwest accent prevents me from pronouncing my last name correctly, but everyone asks me how to spell it, originally writing “Reng” or “Rang.” I hate this, but I guess it’s my own fault for apparently not being able to pronounce my own name.
But the thing I really started thinking about after reading Tamara’s post, seeing all the empathetic comments from others, and reflecting on my own experience with name mispronunciation is this: Why do celebrities and, increasingly, normal people continue to name their children wacky names they know will plague them throughout their lives? It’s obvious that everyone hates to have their name mispronounced, but if you name your kid Princess Tiaamii, you’re kind of setting her up for a life of frustration in the name area. Since I just can’t get enough of weird things people have named their kids, here’s a list of some of the worst, including Tu Morrow, Jermajesty, and Harley Quinn.
Don’t get me wrong, I love unique names. (My boyfriend says I have no naming privileges for future pets or children.) But I think there’s a distinct line to be drawn between being unique and tormenting your poor kid. Not that naming your kid something common will ensure his name is never mispronounced. I don’t think my parents or Tamara’s, for that matter, expected no one to be able to pronounce it. People will never cease to be careless when it comes to pronouncing names, and it will never cease to be obnoxious.
What’s the weirdest way anyone’s ever mispronounced your name?