What’s in a name? Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But what if you’re allergic to roses? The names would be very different, much more colorful, and far less flattering, than if you weren’t. Admittedly, he was referring to surnames and not adjectives, but it must be considered. Therefore, and contrary-wise, you could theoretically come across two people having an argument describing roses as, “One heck of a sweet flower,” with the opposing view, “That darn detestable plant.” To be sure, those names have very specific meanings.
Conclusively, Shakespeare was wrong. (This should have been obvious, simply because he disagreed with me.) Besides, he is the only person I know of that wrote with a lisp. Just look at the words he used; Thee, Thine, Thy, and don’t even get me started about all those Prithees. I understand I am getting off topic, but let me state the facts one more time. He wrote with a lisp, and I am right, end of story. I’m not saying he wasn’t a nice person, but facts are facts. Now, where was I? Oh yes, Names Mean Everything! This is just one more issue that has me lost in the past.
Last month my son told me he was going to hang out with his buddy, Charlie. I of course said, “Great,” and went back to my crossword puzzle. An hour later, I was still being frustrated by the puzzle. I don’t do them for fun, I consider them an exercise in anger management. Anyway, my son called me from the hall asking if I wanted to meet Charlie. Well, my stress level was high enough for the day, so I threw the puzzle across the room in disgust and went to meet Charlie.
Charlie had long brown hair, and jeans with rips in them and a little too tight for my liking. I know I shouldn’t judge. These things are quite common in this day and age. Actually they were OK, the issue was simply, Charlie was a girl. Now don’t get me wrong, girls as friends is just great. In truth, half of the people I know are, in fact, girls. I quite like girls. The thing is, I thought, Charlie was a boy’s name. When you’re a little stressed, and expecting to meet a boy, I can tell you, suddenly seeing a young feminine figure, can take you by surprise. Trust me on this!
Well, I regained my composure without making a fool of myself. I also swallowed any comment which would have been rude or stupid. Saying, “You’re a girl,” in an astonished tone would have accomplished nothing. Surely, she would have known this, long before meeting me, and if she didn’t it certainly wasn’t my place to tell her.
Next, I double clutched my brain, ground the gears a little, misfired on a couple of cylinders, (perhaps my eyes turned red and my head spun around, I don’t know), and greeted her politely, shook her hand, and asked if they wanted an ice-cream sandwich. They said, “Yes.” Forgetting that I had asked the question in the first place, let alone the answer, I went back to my chair to think and hide my shame. I guess I did do a couple stupid things. But in my defense, my son is well aware of where we keep the ice-cream. Besides, I had some serious pondering to do.
I sat quietly, put my feet up, and thought. Now I’m not completely lost in the modern world. I know there are names which are acceptable to both genders. Like Chris and Pat for instance. So I probably shouldn’t have reacted the way I did. The thing is, names help identify people, and with the gender gap narrowing more every day, I am losing my ability to know. Kelly, Morgan, Leslie, Jamie, Jackie and Lee are all gender-neutral names, and the list keeps getting longer every day. How are we supposed to make random assumptions about people if you can’t even tell if they’re male or female?
I once got an email from Jesse Xyz, who offered to do some art work for me. I liked Jesse’s stuff and set up a meeting. Knowing that Jesse can go both ways, name wise, I looked through the samples to garner clues as to which side of the gender fence Jesse might fall on. Absolutely no help. As you might have guessed, the curvy lines, and bright colors of the pudgy characters did not give me a clue. In art and style the genders are equal. I also looked at the emails, no hint there either.
I was scheduled to meet someone at a coffee house with absolutely no clue of what I was meeting. (Girl or Boy) I mean if you know you’re looking for a man and you see a woman alone, you can pretty much eliminate her as the person you’re meeting, cross-dressing notwithstanding. Remember this was a business meeting, I couldn’t ask them to wear a red carnation. I was stuck, not knowing what to do.
Have you any idea how embarrassing it is to send a stranger a text asking what sex they are? Well I do! I am all for gender equality, but at least let us keep our names. I want people to be named Bob, or Mary. I want a clear distinction so that I don’t have to ask if someone’s a girl. Girls should have girl’s names. I should’ve known from the moment my son said her name that she was in fact a she. I actually know a woman named George, after her father, exactly forty-three years after him in fact.
Also, while I don’t care for his music much, I think we should all take a tip from Boy George. Even ‘A Boy Named Sue’ eliminates some of the confusion. Those names are clear. Those are boys. If Jesse had signed her name Girl Jesse then I wouldn’t have had to ask, and if my son would have said “Dad I’m going to hang out with my friend ‘Girl Charlie’ then all the stress would have been alleviated. That’s all I’m saying, just a simple change can make a world of difference.
Of course even that wouldn’t make it a perfect world. After I thought Jesse was a guy, and embarrassed myself by writing to ask and finding out she was a her, I still walked past her three times at the meeting place. She was wearing loose jeans and a work shirt. Her closed cropped hair didn’t help either. In conclusion, if she called herself Girl Jesse, and had ‘Girl’ embroidered across her shirt I might have noticed her the first time I saw her, Maybe.
If you have comments, want to discuss why there has to be sooooo many Law & Order programs, or have me take a sideways view at your favorite topic. Send me an E-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!