Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What's in a name?

As I've mentioned in a recent post, I've had quite a few names. I'm not the IT guy at work's favorite employee, as I'm always making him change my profile in some way. I've had 7 email addresses in my 16-year tenure at MedLink. And I may be changing my name again.

But this post is not about my last name -- what it has been or may become. This post is about first names.

I mean, am I really a Beth? Well, I have never felt comfortable with Elizabeth. I mean, it really is a beautiful name. But it's so big, and formal, and emerald-studded, you know?  I used to always use it in work correspondence, but very recently just changed my Outlook signature to Beth. It feels weird when our subscribers and authors address me as Elizabeth, so I'm done with it. Beth feels more authentic to me.

Although, I must say that I don't particularly like the name Beth. (Sorry, mom ;) It's short and lacking in sound. Don't know what I mean? Well I bet Jeff and Seth do. These are names that when you say them when placing your lunch order you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have to repeat yourself. At least once. Usually more. If the person doesn't get it after I've repeated it once, I resort to "Beth, like in Elizabeth." Then it usually registers. It's something about the one syllable and the "th" (or ff) at the end. There is not enough there for people's ears to grab on to, or least that's my theory. (An adorable aside: Jacquie's boy called me Bef for the longest time when he was a wee boy. Bef is hard not to love, right??)

But having, as I do, a nickname from a long, grand name like Elizabeth, people do make certain assumptions, or, well, more like stupid remarks. Two immediately come to mind. The first was a guy at the Ziggy Marley concert I was at (with Jacquie and Mr Can) this very Labor day weekend. He asked my name, to which I replied, Beth (Duh!). He then immediately said something like you are definitely an Elizabeth, you are a queen, etc. Queen of the drunk bad pick-up line guys, maybe. But, um, I didn't say my name was Elizabeth, dude. I said it was Beth. This did not deter his love affair with the name Elizabeth. I moved on in the crowd. I mean, let's dance, not talk about dead queen names, k? Plus, you don't even have any dope, dude. (kidding!)

The second comment, which has obviously scarred me for life because it was said about 20 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday was my Portuguese professor at SDSU asking me what I liked to be called as he called roll for the first time. I told him Beth. (Duh!) His reply was, and I kid you not, "Well good, because Liz is a slutty name." !! In front of a whole class of students. Totally PC, right?  I may have laughed out loud out of shock or despair, I can't remember. But I must say that I think about this comment EVERY time I meet someone named Liz. Sorry, Liz! So sorry about that slutty name, Liz.

But you know, nicknames of Elizabeth have not been my only names. I've had my fair share of fake identities. Well, okay, not really fake identities, but fake ids; you know, to get into the bar when not quite of age. My very first ID was Yolanda something-or-other. Yolanda! I mean, what are the odds? Not very high, right?  Maryland, god bless that state, thought profile licence photos were a good idea. All us under-age drinkers could not agree more. I mean, c'mon, it's hard to tell if you're you by your profile, right? So Yolanda, who was quite a few years older than me, with hair of a redder tint, got me into some of my first bars in Ocean City, Maryland. I loved Yolanda, and loved making my then  boyfriend play along and call me Yolanda. I mean, well, it's not quite Elizabeth, right?

My next ID was Maureen something-or-other (I think. It was either that or Catherine). It was a Pennsylvania ID, and while she did have blond hair like me, the photo was frontal, and well, I guess we didn't look that much alike, because I ended up in the back of a cop car trying to use it one night. The undercover cop took my Maureen away and slapped me with a hefty ticket that involved a suspension my license. My mom had to take me to DMV back in Baltimore to help me get it sorted out. I wasn't really planning on introducing my mom to Maureen, but she met her nonetheless.

The next ID I had I used primarily here in San Diego, and it was again a profile Maryland ID. This time I was India. I friend of mine who was a few years older gave it to me. It worked well, and, who doesn't want to be called India? I loved that ID!! (Can you say, Winston's?!)

Present day, well, um, it's been a long, long time since I've needed a fake ID. I'm Elizabeth getting in the bars these days (as it is my official name). But once in the bars, you never know what people are going to come up with. Recently (again, because people don't know what the hell I am saying when I say Beth) someone thought I was an Evette. He told me how pretty the name was. I told him that wasn't my name. He came back with "Colette?" Also pretty. He didn't quite know what to say when I finally made him understand that it was Beth (Duh!). He looked a little disappointed. (I get it, I don't like it that much either.)

So, to sum this all up, why don't you call me Bef, Queen of the chaste Elizabeth nicknames. Or, if that's too much for you, how about Colette?

You got any good nick names?


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Aw, Bef. I love this!

I love your ever-thoughtful and -inspired analysis of various and sundry subjects. Not that your *name* is either various or sundry.

Yolanda! I love that! I never heard that story. And the only thing shocking about the India era is that you actually *needed* an ID to get into Winston's.

And you had me at emerald-studded.


Pat said...

Well I could have called you Betty or Liza or Liz or Lizzy or Elsbeth or Elsie or Helmer!
Love, Mom

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I also *love* the emerald studded Elizabeth, I don't think it's stuff at all! You can change your name to anything old or anything new, but you'll always be Bef to me :)



Got You Beat in Central PA said...

Something tells me you could do an even longer post on Dorothea and all the illustrious nicknames that have been bestowed upon me...it would make Beth seem quite satisfying :)