Friday, January 14, 2011

What's in a Name?

Do you have one of those names that people are constantly mispronouncing or just plain getting wrong? It's annoying as crap, isn't it? Probably as annoying as people asking my husband, "How's the weather up there?" (Mitch is 6' 11") And this is precisely the reason why I go by the nickname Kat. It's not a name that I'm particularly fond of--it's just easy. A friend way back in 7th grade gave me that nickname and it's just been easier telling people ever since that my name is Kat rather than Kathleen. See, Kathleen is one of those names that you can screw up easily. When you see a Kathleen walking down the street you suddenly panic. Shoot--is her name Katherine, Kathleen, Katarina, Ka...uhhhh??? And out you blurt, "Hi, Kathy!" Which is the worst in my book. Call me Katherine any day, but please don't don me a Kathy. No offense if your name is Kathy. I like the name. Just not for me. I'm not a Kathy. So, ya see, it's just easier to call me Kat. Now for family and old timey friends, I prefer Kath. It has such a sweet ring to it. It really does make me all warm and fuzzy inside when I'm beckoned by that name. Mitch just calls me Kathleen. And I'm okay with that. Since it is my name after all.

I don't know how it's even possible, but sometimes people would mispronounce my former last name: Barnes. Well they wouldn't mispronounce Barnes, how could you really? But they would mispronounce the plural form of my last name. Which would be Barneses. More than one Barnes is Barneses. It would drive me insane if someone would say, "We're going over to the Barnes." That doesn't even make sense. The Barnes what? Barnes house--fine. But not just Barnes. Most people would and still do say, "We're going over to the Barneses." I understand, it can get a little tricky when your name ends in an s. The only other name I can think of off hand is Kalas. Harry Kalas. For those who don't feel a certain level of fondness right now, Harry the K was the former Phillies announcer who was the best in the game. He had the perfect voice for the job. But anyway, getting back to my wouldn't say, "We're going over to the Kalas." The first thing I think of if I were to hear that is a huge formidable callas on the bottom of a sumo wrestler's foot. "THE CALLUS." So anyway, please pluralize someone's name when needed if it ends in an s.

When choosing our boys' names, we wanted to go with names that were unique but not way far out there. So we chose Ryder for our firstborn. Okay, so maybe it's not a Tom, Dick, or Harry as far as commonness goes, but it's not like it's a strange name. We had someone ask us if his name was Ryker. Like that's a common name. This happened on two separate occasions. Seriously people? So keep that in mind when naming your precious offspring. You will have idiots mispronouncing your kid's name.

So if you're one of those lucky ones who can relate to years of mispronunciation or just plain wrongness in the name department, it's okay. We all make mistakes. Maybe it'll make you more aware of other people's names and you won't call someone by the wrong one. And for all of you John Smiths out there, get it together, would ya?


  1. I just love it when someone asks what we're naming the baby and when I tell them, it is so obvious that they don't like it! This look just comes over their face and they say, "oh, that's cute." :)

  2. Hey Kat!

    I guess I never thought that you had a hard name to pronounce. My name, down in the south, especially, is pronounced nothing like the northern version. You know how to pronounce my name. Ca-ree. Down here, it's pronounced more like Care-ee. I've had to get used to it because people don't hear the difference between my version of Carrie and their version of Carrie. Sigh. Oh well.

  3. First of all your husband is so tall, how tall are you?
    Of course everyone gets my last name wrong and my maiden name they would always use a d instead of a b and add a s on the end.

  4. My 3 year old is so sick of people thinking her name is Ashley that she has started spelling it to people....

    Stranger "what's your name?"
    3 year old- "Ansley, A N S L E Y" This is said incredibly fast too! LOL.

  5. people are forever calling me by names that are not mine. Working in an office where i answer the phones i get called numerous names every day. for some reason people like to call me Judy?? In what world does CHARITY sounds like JUDY??!?!??!??!

  6. Vanessa--I'm a mere 5'6" which is not too shabby except when standing next to Mitch. Then I look like a dwarf.


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