It’s hard to imagine what’s in a name until you have one like mine. Every time I see a celebrity make up for the fact they didn’t finish high school by naming their child after fruit or midwestern city, I cringe. I have a weird name, and my mother chose it for me, and for that matter, my husband chose my last name. So aside from going to a courthouse and demanding to be called Queen Mother, I’m stuck with two sir names.
Would I have chosen Hays?
Most likely, no. Although, there was always a little thrill saying it as a teenager, like instant street cred. My name was “cool.” But then I grew up and had to continually spell it for everyone, including family members. It sits boldly atop my social media, and people still write “Happy Birthday, Hayes.” My mail is addressed wrong, government forms are wrong, and sometimes even the pronunciation is wrong: Hays is in no relation to Hailey, btw. Some also grandly assume I am male. Mr. Haze Blinkman. I had an entire press article written about me once using the “he” pronoun. It was a review of my feminist artwork. Not a very perceptive reviewer, dare say.
And my name can be forgettable. Yep, Hays is just bizarre enough that minds can only retain the “h” sound, and it’s lost from there. “Hey you, with the funny name.” I also turn and say “Hey” back, thinking someone called me.
I chose simple names for my kids. If I am going to make fun of Liberty and Apple and Saint, I had to walk the walk. I find myself poaching the names of my offspring in coffee lines and take-out orders. One son is Max, which is a convenient, “Order for Max!” name. It’s never misspelled, and the baristas never mistake it for Delta or Zuma or Radix. Yes, they heard right the first time, Max.
Also, no one ever describes the pressure a name gives to a child. Could I have really been the manager of a hedge fund? Would Goldman Sachs have said hire that girl/boy/ whatever? I was predestined for the arts because that’s where Frank Zappa could get away with naming his kids Moon Unit, Dweezil, and Diva Thin Muffin. And poor Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof-Cohen, RIP, would she have been more suited to Suzanne or Madeleine?
Now I am not saying parents shouldn’t push the creativity factor; the world needs Ansels and Lotties, but Blue Ivy, Bear Blu, or Bear Blaze, really? What if the grown adult bears absolutely no resemblance to a furry, mountain creature prone to salmon? Again would a CEO of Microsoft be named Fuscia or Sparrow?
I like my name to a point. It is what it is, even though Blinckmann could remove a consonant or two. But as for my kids, I don’t want them to have to spell theirs, explain they pee standing up, or their parents didn’t once party with Prince. I don’t need them to be different or unusual. They will figure that out all on their own.