Do you fit your name?

Don’t you think I could pass for a Sloane in these photos? Or maybe a Lauren?


I’m totally a Maggie here.

 

Oof. Such a Sarah-with-an-H in these photos.

At a party a few weeks ago, a friend and I were joking around when he said something that totally got inside my head.

Like, one of those comments you find yourself considering at stoplights and during conversational lulls. You keep (annoyingly) bringing it up with all and sundry, seeking their feedback. It was the psychological equivalent to the hole left after you get a tooth pulled – a dark, weird place you keep sticking your tongue and then immediately regretting it.And what, pray tell, what the mind-shaking thing my friend said?

“Well, you don’t even seem like a Sarah with an H.”

To which I replied that HE didn’t even seem like an Aaron. HE WAS TOTALLY AN ALEX.

Now, I’m not even particularly attached to my first name. It was one of the top five most popular girl’s names for nearly twenty years. Once, I was one of three patients in a doctor’s waiting room and when the nurse came out and said “Sarah?” we all stood up.

Really, I was supposed to be Anne (with an e, obviously) but my cousin had the nerve to be born first and usurp the name. And because both my parents were school teachers, they had a difficult time choosing a name that wasn’t tainted by memories of horrible students. When you’ve taught hundreds of eight-year-olds there’s nearly always a stinker of a Megan/Ashley/Miranda. Sarah was one of the only names that hadn’t been ruined by spitballs or late homework. A friend in high school insisted that I was really a Rebecca which I can totally see.
Does this name connote trustworthiness and sincerity?
Does this name seem like someone who’d watch your stuff while you went to the bathroom?
Is this the name of your babysitter or that camp counselor who knew the theme song to Ghostwriter?

Sigh. That’s me.I have an inordinate number of friends with unusual names – Darcie, Rica, Shanda, Brekke, Helene, Cleo, Cadence, Shanai – which really only exacerbates my name envy. And for a while I wanted a sexier, more exciting name. When I moved to New Zealand, I briefly considering going by ‘Von’ (part of my last name) but I’d dissolve into laughter anytime I tried to introduce myself that way.

But my parents’ thought process holds: I’ve never met a Sarah-with-an-h who wasn’t lovely, hardworking, trustworthy. The Sarahs of the world are high school English teachers and pediatric nurses. They run Girl Scout troops and cross country ski. They have well-behaved rescue dogs and when they host book club, they totally serve themed food.

It may not be the world’s most exciting name (not by a looooong shot) but we are a solid people.

What about you? Do you fit your name? If you don’t, what name would be a better fit? 

76 Comments

Tiffany

Heh, I always think about that. All the Tiffanys I know are weird, fun people. I used to work with a Tiffany and when we see each other, we'd go "hey tiff", "hi tiff". People like to call us when we're talking together to see us both respond and then we'd give the same -_- reaction. Sometimes we'd start to imitate each other, didn't help that we both looked somewhat alike. 😀

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Corrin

I've never met anyone with my name (pronounced AND spelled the same way) so I think it's pretty fitting. I was *almost* a Samantha. Glad I dodged that bullet.

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katielookingforward

I'm totally a "katie". In college the career advisor told me I needed to put Katherine on my resume because "katie" wasn't professional. I was not so sweet to her when I said, "well I can't do that, because that'd be lying". But my unprofessional name hasn't gotten in the way, I've managed to always have the next job lined up before ending a current job. Although that luck might run out this year.

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Katie K

I'm also a Katie (not a Katherine), and while I've never really worried about Katie sounding unprofessional, quite a few times new coworkers have said "Do you go by Kate?" when first meeting me. I'm a children's librarian (technically, Head of Youth Services Librarian. So fancy!) so I think my name makes me a bit more approachable and sounds better with a Miss in front of it. 🙂 And it's definitely never kept me from advancing in my career.

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Kristen

I do think of myself more of a classic, old-soul type so probably better suited to a name like Mary than a 70s-80s trendy name of Kristen. That being said, even though I know a lot of Kristens, everyone spells it differently so I like having that difference among the trendy name.

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Nova

Well my name is Nova and I've definitely had periods of my life where I've envied the Sarahs and Jennifers of the world. Especially working in jobs where I have to wear a nametag. If I have to hear anything about Supernovae or Novocaine or that story where Chevy Novas couldn't be sold in Mexico one more time…

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Lu

I'm a Lindsey that has gone by "Lulu" for decades. There are like four people in the world who can call me Lindsey or Linds (shudder) and I won't get a little ruffled or skeezed out. Lulu just fits me!

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Katie

I don't think my name fits me, but I think Katie is also a salt-of-the-Earth, will-protect-your-purse-while-you-pee sort of name, and that is a noble thing, indeed.

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Lu

That is an awesome way to put it. I have a few Katie/Catie's in my life that are just that honest and dependable! Kudos!

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Unknown

I didn't know anyone else with my name as a kid and I didn't particularly like my name. But now I like it. And recently 'Carly' has seen a bit of a boon (even if Karlie Kloss spells it wrong) which has been cool.

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mariab1012

My name is Maria pronounced as Mariah, and yes, I've spent my entire life correcting people. I suppose that's what I get for having parents with English degrees ("it's a long i!") Despite the fact that I've had to correct every teacher I've ever had, I cannot imagine having any other name.

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Sarah M

I'm a Sarah with an H, too, and I've always thought it fit. Maybe I rebelled with traditional names, because my kids are Anikka and Lukka (like Luca). I went off the rails!

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Claire

I very rarely stumble on another Claire … and if I do they’re a Clare or Clair. My 2nd grade self was pretty traumatized when I learned our grouchy, old (guy) librarian was named Clare. I’ve always imagined I’ll make a wonderful grandma – Claire tends to have an “oldish” feel to it. My younger brother got the name Roy. We were destined to be old souls from the start!

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Madeleine Claire

Ooh, Claire with all the vowels is my middle name and I've always thought that I'd make a good Claire. There's to me there's something timeless – classic rather than old, but still fresh. Or maybe I was just desperate for a name people could spell!

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Anonymous

I appreciate my parents giving me a name that transitions so well between friendly and professional/formal situations, after we rarely act one way in all situations. Self prescribed "Ellie" works for me most of the time and some call me Elle/El which I'm fine with. Then when I need to sound professional, or be introduced somewhere formal, Eleanor is dignified and stately and makes a good impact, I think. It's definitely something I'd aim for when naming my kids.

My parents basically just tried to name us something "classic" and went by the long/short, short/long method for our middle names, Eleanor Faye, Catherine Alice, Julia Elizabeth and Simon Alexander. It does now occur to me that all our names include those of monarchs haha!

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Madeleine Claire

*raises hand*
Another long/short, formal/casual namee here. I haven't always loved Madeleine (at least not during the wilderness of bad spelling and constant huh?-ing and too many letters to fit in forms that was primary school), but I always appreciated being able to switch between Madeleine and Maddy at will. Sometimes I feel like a pedigree dog – this is your show name, this is your home name…

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Anonymous

My parents named me Elsa. I've always felt that it matched me well, and I liked that it was unusual without being difficult to spell or pronounce. This year, I have actually had people ask me how it feels to have been named after a Disney Princess, which is funny because I got my name 30 years before she did. So… that was an unexpected development.

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vanessa

Growing up, I only knew one girl with the same name – and I detested her. I think it was because I was a goody two shoes kid & she was smack in the middle of teenage rebellion. &I'm no stranger to rebellion these days.

Then there's Vanessa Williams & Vanessa Hudgens. I think we're all smart, sexy women. We tend to be risk takers & have a taste for the scandalous. So, yeah, my name totally suits me.

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Brekke

Haha! I love this! Considering that my Dad wanted to name me Jenny, I can only imagine who I would have grown up to be. Would I have been a cheerleader? Maybe an honor student? Who knows!! But I wouldn't change it for anything! Except in Starbucks- then I am Brenda. There is no reason to confuse the barista with a long explanation on how to say and spell my name over and over.. Yes its Brekke. Yes it has an E at the end. Yes its pronounced Brekka. …. It is just coffee anyhow 😉

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Mel

I feel you, Sarah! I've never felt connected to my name, Melissa, even as a child. Partially because I was rarely called by my name – growing up I was always "Sis" or "Sissy". Even now, at almost 40, my nieces & nephews all call me "Aunt Sissy". In high school, a teacher nicknamed me "Mo" and some of my friend started calling me "Mel". I pretty much adopted "Mel" in college and am now either "Sissy" or "Mel" for the most part. I use my full name for work, and BigBro insists on using it because he's a punk.

On the other hand, I was originally going to be Elizabeth, called Beth, which I don't think would've fit, either. *shrug*

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Vanessa

I'm Vanessa and I've always had mixed feelings about my name. My parents picked it because they could pronounce it in Spanish (though it always comes out as Banessa) and Americans can say it as well (unlike my sister Maritza).

However, people constantly misspell it. My diploma says "Vanezza" and I get invitations addressed to "Vannessa" or "Vanesa".

As a teenager, I went by "Jayne" online. Jayne was my super cool alter ego, she was a blonde (or a redhead) with killer blue eyes, rode a motorcycle and was getting a PhD in Roman History at NYU. She had a loft apartment in the Village and loved drinking very dry martinis. Oh and her boyfriend died in a horrible (and super romantic) accident. It was true love torn from her too soon! She had vowed never to date again.

I kinda laugh at the pretense of it all but part of me still wishes I was Jayne. I've noticed that my husband and most people don't call me by my name anyway. I'm from a big family so my name has always been "you".

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Ashley Hufford

My name is Ashley Sarah! So I get the "common name" issue. My name is literally the two most popular names of 1990 put together. I don't know if I fit my name, but i've gotten use to it 😉

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Anonymous

I am a Sarah with an H! AND, get this, I MARRIED a Sarah with an H. And we're both total Sarahs. I am an archivist and she is training to become a pediatric nurse, so you're pretty right on with your description. I just loved this post 🙂 My Sarah doesn't usually go by Sarah, mostly because of her personality and the fact that it confuses our friends when the both of us are in the same room. But, I've always connected with my name. I just love it, and it fits. We've been thinking about our names for a long time, ever since we met, and I just think it's no coincidence that we found each other. Also, there is one Sarah in my past who was a really bully and stinker (we were in 4th grade together). I've since determined that she was no Sarah 🙂

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Anne Hale

I'm Anne with an E (of course). When I was young I thought my name was plain & boring & I briefly considered going by my middle name (Elizabeth) when I got to college – but there were about 50-60 Elizabeths in the phone directory for my small campus – so Anne it stayed. Now I embrace my Anne with an E (and my red hair) – an am oh-so-grateful that I didn't get Mary Catherine as a moniker – which was my Mother's first choice….

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Meghan Arnold

As a Meghan, I can say that most Meg/h/ans (including all variations) have a definite connotation that I just do not fit. It always makes me think of the one sorority sister who poops on the fun, for some reason. Thankfully, I didn't live up to that.
My boyfriend calls me Tessa, which is a goofy result from an autocorrected "Yesssss!" I think that fits me best.

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Katie K

I once dated a guy named John, and I remember being shocked when I learned that he had an "H" in his name. He was such a Jon.

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Olivia

Ha! I love being an Olivia (easy to spell, traditional but not popular in my age group) but it's gotten to be so popular that I can't go to the store without spinning around when some mother is yelling at her six-year-old Olivia. I also love being the slightly-more-badass Liv.

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The Divine Miss Em

My sister is a Sarah with an H (the only way to spell it, duh). I'm an Emily. My mom was slightly ahead of the curve with me. I rarely meet Emilys who are in my age group. I've met a surprising number of Emily / Sara(h) sisters, though the Sara(h) is typically older.

I get Erin a lot. I have red hair and fair skin (read: Irish girl). When I was working retail, the manager kept calling for Erin over the walkie-talkie. No one responded. Finally I spoke up and said "Do you mean Emily?". That was awkward.

My first and last names both look like first names. My middle name looks like a last name. I get a lot of "Last name, middle name?". At this point, I answer to any iteration of my full name. Good times.

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Sarah Bishop

Funny, I'm a Sarah with a younger sister Emily.

So many Sarah's in my HS class that I toyed with the idea of going by my middle name in college, that didn't work for me. But I still think it's a better fit than the Martha Jane I almost was.

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Sarah

I'm Sarah with an H and the name my parents had picked out for a younger sister was Emily! I got a younger brother instead.

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Emily Anne

Mark down another for the Sarah followed by a younger sister Emily (Anne with an 'e' …. and also red hair). We all need to get together for a convention or something. We'd probably talk about Anne of Green Gables, Family & Blogging 🙂

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Anonymous

I'm Sarah with an H, and my middle name is Emily… the only two names my parents could agree on. Guess I'm in good company here!

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Melodie

I love my name, but am so not musically inclined! It's spelled differently than most but everyone new always ends up calling me Melanie anyway, lol. I've learned to correct people politely after years of just letting it go. Although I still have relatives( by marriage ) who think it's Melanie! After 22years!! The curse of an unusual name 🙂

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Susie - secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

I feel like the shortened version of my name fits me, I'm officially Susan, middle name Elizabeth, but go by Susie (when I was a baby my mum spent 6 months spelling my name Suzy, and my dad spent 6 months spelling it Susie, then they realised they were doing it differently, and decided on spelling Susie, which is a pain, cos it's not the common spelling of Susie!). I also go by Sooz/Suse and my family call me Zizzy/Auntie Zizzy (my brother's pronunciation of Susie when he was a baby), I hate being called Sue though, urgh, not me!

There aren't many Susie/Susan's of my age, and my last name is unusual too so people generally remember me, even though I've spent the past 30 years spelling my name to people! 😀

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katie

My sister is a Sooz, too! My 2 year old calls her "Doozie." 🙂 She is Susanne, which is the unusual spelling, too.

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lindsaymarie

i think i'm a pretty solid lindsay-with-an-a-DON'T-YOU-DARE-PUT-AN-E-IN-MY-NAME. whenever i meet another lindsay/lindsey we automatically ask "a or e?" and there is definitely a difference! when people forget my name, i often get lauren or leslie, both of which are just soooo not me.
one of my best friends is a sarah-with-an-h and i think you guys would get along. she had a theme party in the fall, at which attendees were required to wear flannel and bring a potluck item containing apples.

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Noelle

I love my name! I was invariably the only "Noelle" in every class, though I've dealt with being called "Nicole" by mistake my entire life (blergh). Our officiant called me Nicole *three times* during our wedding ceremony. But, I still love my name, and love it even more when people spell it right the first time 🙂 The only downside is getting asked constantly if I was born at Christmas time (nope, but I was conceived at Christmas, thankyouverymuch).

I did fantasize about being called "Viola" when I was 4 or 5 and playing school with my sister, but that's about the only time I've ever considered anything different.

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Noelle

And for what it's worth, I named my absolute favorite childhood toy (a floppy rabbit puppet that got super loved a la the Velveteen Rabbit) Sarah with an H. One of my first memories is a couple days after receiving it from my parents, I announced that I was naming it Sarah "because I like syrup" (Kind of makes sense? Not really? Also, once a sweet tooth, always a sweet tooth).

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katie

My sister runs into this problem: Her name is Susanne. Everyone assumes it's Susan. She HATES it. And it happened during her wedding ceremony. We kept trying to do *cough*Su-ZANNE*cough*. Ugh.

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Tami

I am so NOT a Tami, but I am also not a name changer. I have thought a lot about this and decided that none of my close friends actually call me by my name, it doesn't really matter.

What name do you think suits me?

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Michelle...

My first year of high school, one of the boys in the year ahead decided I was an Andrea so, for the next 4 years, I was Andrea to the people in the year above me, Michelle to my peers.

I've never liked my name. It's doesn't shorten "nicely" and I'm always having to spell it for people. Dunno what my parents were thinking….my little bro is Marc (yes with a "c"; no, not short for Marcus).

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Reagan

Lol! I feel you.. I always asked my mom why he named me after the last name of late president Ronald Reagan. It is kinda' weird especially when being teased by a japanese virtual friend of an anime character where he used the word "Reagan" in sending off his enormous power.. Just reminiscing the old moments though.

Rick and Clay County Bail Bands

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anobion

I never loved the name Lesley. No one ever spells it with an -ey, always -ie. Also, I prefer a soft s sound in the middle, where most people pronounce it with a z sound. I live in the south and people frequently think I'm saying my name is Lovely. I can only think it's because of my lazy southern accent. 🙂
However, I was going to be named Jennifer and I'm so glad I was not. I have at least 20 Jennifer friends/acquaintances. My mom says when I was born, she expected a tiny, feminine little baby, but I weighed 10 pounds, was 22 inches long, and completely bald. Also, I had a giant head. She and my Dad called me Buster for quite some time before deciding on Lesley.
My great-aunt's name was Mildred. She didn't have a birth certificate, and had to order one when she was around 70 or so for some reason. She decided she had always felt more like a Gloria than a Mildred, so that's what she put on her birth certificate.
My very best friend from childhood is a Sarah with an H. She is lovely, hardworking, and trustworthy. But she is also married to an incredibly handsome Frenchman, lives in a gorgeous renovated farmhouse outside of Antibes, and works for a company that books mega yachts for the wealthy and famous. So now I think of the name as less Sarah Plain and Tall and more Sarah Super Glamorous.

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Anonymous

As an Elizabeth, I was always questioned on the first day of class if I went by something else and it drove me nuts. No. My name is Elizabeth (same as I don't straighten my hair ever, but thanks for asking). However, one summer I was Betty at camp and I loved it. Eleven years ago when I started my job I was asked what I wanted my email to be and I unwisely chose Liz and now EVERYONE calls me Liz all the time. Which I guess, fits, but I miss Elizabeth. Only two people call me Elizabeth now. One friend always uses Lizzie. One friend is allowed Liza (which I hate from everyone else). And one old friend uses Elsbeth. And when my husband uses Litzi, which is what my Chinese tutor translated my name into, it makes my heart happy. I love having so many names from different friends – it feels like we have our own special space in the world just between us.

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S

"a dark, weird place you keep sticking your tongue and then immediately regretting it."

HAAAAAAA, I love this. Fab.

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saroy

Another Sarah-with-an-H here, and despite the name's popularity among our generation, I've always kind of liked it anyway. I totally don't do themed book club snacks though. 😉

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Laura Rezko

I'm a Laura! I've never hated my name, but only in recent years have I come to appreciate it more. I like that it's not super common. I like that if you take away the "l" you're left with another nice word, "aura".

I know some other Lauras, and besides being just good people in general I haven't noticed many things in common(well, except most of the Lauras I know-and myself- are involved in the arts somehow). The Lauras I know range from more quiet and reserved to more loud and wild, and the name still seems to fit. That can be said of any name, of course, but for me it means Laura is name of possibility.

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Sally

I always hated my name growing up. I felt I was destined for something much more sophisticated with a lot more syllables — like Alexandra or Samantha. But I've grown to love my name. I've traveled & lived overseas a lot and now work with international students, and I've discovered that almost every country has a Sally. In Japan and Saudi Arabia they have cartoon characters named Sally. And, according to my host family in Nepal, Sally is a nickname used for flirtatious sister-in-laws (or something like that… I didn't quite understand the explanation). Plus, I have a really great story as to how I got my name. Short version: my older sister who was four at the time named me. Which I should probably be grateful for, as my mom had some pretty horrible names picked out for me. I think Eunice might have been one of them. (No offense to any Eunices out there! I'm just REALLY not a Eunice.)

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Jenna

As a Jenna, I was totally jealous of the girls who could find custom trinkets at souvenir shops. Since becoming more popular in the last 20 years, now I'm playing catch-up — even if I don't want whatever it is, if it has my name on it, the 8-year-old in me needs to buy it. I get Jena or Gena (said "Gina") on occasion. A lot of people ask if Jenna is short for Genevieve or Jennifer (it's NOT). My mom actually used to say she made up the name (though she will deny it to this day and I think it's hilarious). She liked the name Jenny, but it was so popular in the early '80s, so she wanted a variation of it, voila, Jenna was born. Literally. Unfortunately in high school we were assigned with name speeches, and we were in the school computer lab searching the new "world wide web." This was mid-90s, so there weren't firewalls or blocked sites; as all my classmates were searching "www dot sarah dot com" or "www dot michael dot com," in my naivete, I typed "www dot jenna dot com" into the address bar. Unfathomable things started flashing on my screen. I was nicknamed "Porn Star" by a few classy guys for the rest of my high school career. I think the name fits me well though (other than the porn star part); semi-traditional with a unique flair.

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Jen Letts

One draw back to the name Jennifer was that I never found trinkets with my name on them either, because they were bought up by the other 8 hundred thousand Jennifers who marched into that store ahead of me!

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Jen Letts

One draw back to the name Jennifer was that I never found trinkets with my name on them either, because they were bought up by the other 8 hundred thousand Jennifers who marched into that store ahead of me!

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Joss

Like Jenna I couldn't find any souvenirs with my name on. In fact it was only while on holiday in Nashville (I'm from the UK) a couple of years ago that I got my first ever named souvenir…at the age of 27!!! With my parents both being teachers, thinking of names was a tough one for them as they had to think of whether they'd taught anyone with that name before, and whether it was a good or bad experience. Surprisingly my younger sisters are called Lucy and Lisa, so normal names for them!

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Tsipa

I've actually thought about this a LOT – my name is Tsipa (tsee-pa). It's a Russian-Jewish name (I am neither), and I can feel people trying to find that heritage in my face after I tell them that, which is actually sort of funny. I used to wish I'd been named anything even remotely regular, and fantasized about changing my name but I couldn't come up with anything that seemed like it could possibly fit me – I'm a Tsipa! I'm unlike anyone else I know. It took me a while, but now I love my name.

Needless to say, I've never gotten a single souvenir with my name on it. I don't think it's a common name anywhere in the world, and Americans are especially rotten at comprehending it. Non-English speakers and classical singers tend to be the best at saying it correctly. 🙂

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Johanna Wolfe

My cousin is a Sarah, and she's absolutely evil.

On another note, I'm a Jessica, but that name has never fit me and it's way too common. I'm actually in the process of changing my name to Johanna! I've wanted to be called Joey since I was 9, so a lot of thought has definitely been put into this. I had wanted to be Josephina back then, but one bad boss has ruined the name Joseph and any run-offs for me, plus Johanna sounds more mature. I've already changed everything to say "Jo" on it, and am just waiting to get the money together to legally change it. I'll actually be changing my full name, middle too!

I tell you, having someone call me Jo just feels like coming home. And my argument against people who think a name change is ridiculous is, "If someone can change their gender, why can't I change my name?"

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Rica

You’ll always be the perfect Sarah in my book. When ever grandma and I would talk about you, she would always smile and say “oh I just love that girl.” you were her one and only Sarah! … Plus… At least people can pronounce your name! I will forever be irritated by people calling me Reeeeka…. It’s Rica… Like America… But only Rica. Matter of fact, just call me Ric. Can’t really mess that up right? LoL
Love,
Rica

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Eunice

Oh Sally! I am late to post this comment but I’m a Eunice. Does EVERYONE hate my name? I’ve only known two other Eunices in my life, personally. I’m in my late 30s and when I was growing up, Eunice was not a popular name and still is not. The first Eunice I knew was a female model. The second one was a male artist with long hair. Both of them were tall, quiet people with dark hair who liked drawing and reading. I wonder what that means about Eunices in general. I’m short… if that makes a difference. I always wished I had a name like Sally or Julie. I have been told that I resemble a “Becky” or Rebecca but I wish more people actually thought my name was pretty.

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Sarah

Well, as another “Sarah with an H” I just have to leave a comment!! I have two semi-well-behaved rescue dogs, I taught elementary school (K-1) for 7 years, love themed food at book clubs (but not if it adds too much work – I’m not THAT hardworking!) and… I do actually like my name! Now I do, at least. When I was 7 I tried to change my name to “Carol”, because I wanted to be like the Brady Bunch. I was raised in San Francisco in the 70’s and 80’s and we were the exact opposite of the Brady’s! My middle name is Jane, and I’ve found that there are quite a few other Sarah Jane’s in the world. 🙂

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