Bitter

The Burden of Having a Popular Name

I have a pretty popular name. Well at least when they’re together.

Since I was young, I only hear one of two replies from people who ask for my name:

  • Isn’t that a chocolate/candy?
  • How about when you grow up?

(When the person is nosy, they ask both.) In which I would answer (without enthusiasm):

  • Yes. From Nestle.
  • It’ll stay the same.

My first name is Baby Ruth. Now you understand why. You’re probably asking the same thing on your mind right now. Or maybe more. Why Baby Ruth, why not Hershey? Why did her mom name her after a chocolate? Is that her favorite? Did she crave for that while she’s pregnant? What will happen when you grow up, will you change Baby to Lady and then Granny? Can I actually call you Baby?

Most of those questions spring up when the person becomes my friend. You know the times when you’re hanging around talking about anything under the sun and names were suddenly brought up, those types of conversations. My response varies depending on my mood: Baby Ruth seems fine to me than Hershey. Let’s not talk about it. I will not change my name (that’s expensive). I was not named after a chocolate. Whoa.

When I became curious I asked my mom why my name’s like that. She told me she got Ruth from the Bible. But it was too short, so she asked her friends what other name they could add up to that. They suggested Rona and Ruby. But nothing appealed to my mom, and those names are already taken by kids she knows. So when she got some time by herself she thought of putting Baby instead. Because it could be a nice name for a person. That is a girl. That is her daughter. And so she opted for Baby Ruth. It just so happened that there is a chocolate with the exact same name. But of course it was there long before I was born. (Just last night I asked my mom if she named me after Baby Ruth the chocolate. And she told me for the nth time that Ruth was from the Bible and Baby just sounds so good, especially when they’re together. End of story.) So basically, according to my mom, I was not named after a chocolate. Whoa.

But honestly, I like my name. Or perhaps I’ve grown to like it. I’m rather grateful that it was Baby and it was Ruth, or it will sound weird otherwise. But the burden comes with the first meeting. Okay, maybe burden is too big a word and we could use struggle, but no matter. Instead of talking about something else, my name becomes the conversation. It annoys me most of the time so I try to divert from the topic but they won’t let that happen unless they get what they want. You might think hey at least you’ve got something to talk about in the first meeting, it becomes less awkward. Yeah, right. That only happens once in a blue moon. If you liked the person enough!

Some of us have it worse. Popular names like Britney, Adam, Taylor, Facebook(!). What with getting clouded to the image of the celebrity or a brand or a product (in my case). I even got teased before when I was in grade school. The song Chocolate Choco Choco got really famous and some of my classmates sang that over and over in front. of. me. I cried once.

There are also a number of people who carry a lot more burden than us. Just because of a name. Those children or relatives of famous personalities, I think they have it worse (though I really don’t know). I just feel like they will always be compared to the bigger figure. And the last thing we all wanna hear is who has done it better, or who IS better.

High school came and one of my friends started calling me BR. And I’m grateful for that. Since then I’ve used that name to introduce myself. The only problem is it sounds intriguing. So even if everyone who knows me calls me BR, I couldn’t get away with the whole what’s-with-the-name thing. And until now, my friends make fun out of my name at times. Only now I make fun of theirs, too!

My surname is Estrada. The last name of a bygone actor slash former president of the Philippines slash current mayor of Manila. And you wouldn’t wanna hear about it!

Now let me ask this, what's with your name?

Daily Post’s Say Your Name

P.S. This post was published last year on January when I was just starting my blog. Seeing the prompt made me happy for I can share the story behind my name again!

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34 thoughts on “The Burden of Having a Popular Name

  1. My name is Mariella (not popular at all). There are so many names starting with “Mar” and “Mari”, and nobody can remember mine, so they start inventing or saying random names that start with those 3/4 letters. Pretty annoying, but you get used to, in a way or another πŸ™‚
    My friends at university started calling me “Ella”, and my friends from school and other places call me “Mary”, so nobody that I know gets confused.

    http://jumbleskine.wordpress.com

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  2. I like you name. It is different and cute, a refreshing change. Though I understand why it might be a bit of a struggle it is better to have a unique name than have one that every other girl has.

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  3. I really like this, it’s an interesting perspective. My name is pretty unique so it’s the opposite situation for me. I often find myself teaching people how to pronounce my name and it gets frustrating sometimes. Nicely done!

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  4. My Mama (maternal grandmother) was always called Babs (short for baby) though her real name was Lizzie. She often said it was funny being called Babs in her nineties, especially when she wasn’t the youngest in the family!

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    • How did Lizzie become Babs? Haha. It’s nice she enjoys it! Just yesterday another professor asked about my name. But this time he mentioned Babe Ruth. He was the second one to ever mention him.

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      • I’d guess they called all their babies Babs but in her case the name just stuck – her youngest brother was quite a lot younger than her. Sadly she’s no longer with us but she was an amazing person and left a lot of precious memories. You have a great name!

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  5. Your name is so original! I’ve never heard of a name like that, i think it’s something you should be proud of, especially because of its individuality!
    ps. I really love your blog and its theme/layout.

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    • That’s another thing! I have three classmates whose names are Ayvee, Ivy, and Ivhie. Different spelling but same pronunciation! They always don’t know who the professor is referring to unless they’re called by surname!

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      • LOL – I have a colleague by the name of Eva – the amount of emails we have to forward to each other because peeps got us wrong.
        Today i’ve got an email starting ‘It was lovely talking to you just now.’ Bit embarrassing for the lady who send it because it wasn’t me she talked to but the other Eva!

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  9. Okay, your name is awesome! I loved this piece, it was neat to get backstory about its meaning to your mother, and now what it means for you. πŸ™‚

    My own issue with having a popular name (Alexis was high up there on the list the year I was born) is that everyone tries to shorten it to the nickname Alex. So many girls don’t actually seem to go by *Alexis*. I do go by Lexi for close family and friends, but I’ve gotten Alex, Alexi, Alexia… Sometimes I just wonder. πŸ˜‰

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      • Ha ha, a couple of my friends actually call me Al, which I think is ridiculously cool. The only issue is that my name is a male name everywhere but America, and so everyone mistakes me for a guy until I say otherwise. πŸ˜› So, Lexi is the only suitable nickname, but it sounds young….I think I have a complex about it.

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  11. It could definitely be worse. Hubby once worked with a girl whose name was pronounced shih-theed.

    It was spelled (excuse the expletive): Shithead. No joke. And she wore her name on a tag on her shirt for work, so people were constantly coming to her for assistance. “Excuse me, Shi–wait, is that a joke? That’s not funny!” and she’d have to tell them, “No, it’s actually my name. Pronounced shih-theed.” I really think I’d have changed my name with that one.

    And then my friend, a nurse, saw plenty of crazy names in the baby ward. A set of twins with names pronounced leh-man-geh-loe and oh-rahn-geh-loe. Spelling: LemonJello and OrangeJello. Yes, like the gelatin.

    Nice to meet you, BR. πŸ™‚

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  12. My name is Prashant, It means silence. So I am a very introverted and private. Baby Ruth is normal compared to “moon unit” (Frank Zappa’s daughter), besides it is pretty close to Babe Ruth the baseball player

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