What lies beneath a name

A little girl came running toward me on the beach to play with my dogs ,her mother following,running after her and calling her by name: Chanel.The little girl was pretty and sociable(so was the mother actually),still oblivious to the fact that she was named after a perfume.A very nice and expensive one,I know because I use it,but still a perfume.Names are important,they define us.Naming a child is a big responsibility.Why on heart would someone want to name their child after a clothes brand,never mind how much expensive and tasteful .It would be like naming your child H&M!Who would do that.?!My point is:our kids don’t choose to be born,they don’t get to pick the life they will be born into it,at least as parents let’s try to be gracious with the name we give them,because that will stay with them for the rest of their life.Every name is a potential fount of prejudice as the association to someone else with the same name,for good or for bad,is inevitable .We should at least try not to make it worse giving names that,rather then a joy, will be a burden.Our name is our business card.It is the first thing people knows us for.Personally I love my name and I wear it proudly but it was not always like that.First thing first, I must say that when I was child my eyes were pronouncedly almond shape,very asiatic and my hair black and straight.Often question were asked about my origins.Small village,small minds:if your physical traits were not obviously Caucasian it was suspicious.Once clarified I was pure breed,I was addressed as a lovely boy,except I was a girl.Short hair and dungaree equal boy,right?!As I said before,small village small minds.Once established I was Italian and I was a girl my name was asked and usually they got it wrong 9 times out of 10.Two version of my name exist:without the “r”,more uncommon and that is mine and with the “r”,more popular in particular in the seventies and eighties.By the end of these encounters I was usually blamed to be grumpy and ungenerous with smiles.Well,I suppose every 4/5 years old little girl mixed up for a Chinese boy and called by the wrong name wouldn’t have been all giggles and smiles,would have she?When I reached scholar age,eventually my name was not a problem and I grew long hair.Through school I came to learn that my name goes back to Ancient Rome.It is a latin name originated from a region of the Roman Empire famous for being populated by beautiful women that the romans kidnapped in order to make them breed beautiful roman babies.Fascinating.I became proud of my name.I thought my parents have been unbelievably thoughtful and clever picking it….until I discovered it has been a coincidence.They couldn’t agree on any name and so decided to blindly pick a day in the calendar and naming me after the saint of the day.I am still proud of my name but I am also aware that I have it for pure luck and I don’t really have to thank my parents for it.On the contrary actually,they basically gambled on their first and only child name.When me and my husband had to pick the name for our first child ,we wanted a not too popular name but a classic one.A name our child could thank us for.In our case it also had to be easy to pronounce and write for both Italians and Irish .We knew it was going to be a girl and we picked it well before she was born.The grandparents to be didn’t like it.They kept saying it was an old person name.They said it was not a baby’s name.We liked it and didn’t care about their opinion,also,that baby was going to turn in an adult sooner or later.By the end everybody warmed up to the name .My daughter is happy with it and she loves to tell everybody she has been named after a very famous writer her mother loves and most important,nobody gets it wrong.Naming the second child was a bit more complicated.All the names we had in the wishing list for the first one we didn’t like them anymore and,let’s be honest,they were left over.Bad enough the second child gets second hand everything,passed down from the eldest sibling; giving her a recycled name too ,it was really too much.I have to confess that ,despite all the effort at the end we messed up a little.I did,actually! I first suggested a simple neat name.The travelling husband pragmatically agreed highlighting the fact that had 5 letters exactly like the one of the other child and we happily settled for it.Kind of settle.I am very close to my grandfather and wanted to honour him in some way so I decided to give her as second name my grand dad’s name.The name is very popular in Italy but quite hard to pronounce in Ireland.The same child doesn’t say it properly ,but at least it is only the second name.To be completely honest there is a bit of confusion with her first name too, but that only because we(more I)never thought at how similar”Carla”(the daughter)and “Clara”(the dog)are.Everybody got the two of them mixed up,family members included….but that is ok… none of them get offended.It is just that I refuse to call my dogs with dog’s names.If they must be part of the family I always felt obliged to dignify them with a proper human name.The problem is when you meet people called with the same name of your dog.Not everybody reacts gracefully.I have been lucky so far ,the only”Clara”I know when found out she share her name with a dog had a laugh about it.The same with the previous dog: he was called Rudy,that was also the name of one of my good friend’s fiancé and then husband.Thankfully she is a dog lover and when we were talking about naughty boys she always specified who she was talking about:”Rudy the dog”or “Rudy the man”.I am now waiting to met a good Teutonic character called Kurt like my German pointer and see what does he think about it.



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33 replies

  1. Should anyone be unfortunate enough to bare my offspring I will most definitely not be allowed to name them

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this story, it is a true magnificent one to share. Blu de Chanel for men is my favourite, i have the original one; and it is so costly at the same time. i enjoy the smell of it, it is irresistible scent. And long last.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A great story today “Ortensia”, I like your name too… My parents were very kind to me, giving me my stand out name…. Ivor.. very much Welsh name, from way back in the Viking days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You’ve been nominated for the Liebster award

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved reading this! Names are very important and I feel the names I chose for my children are very fitting. I was wondering if you were using a pen name. I love Chanel btw. I’ve been contemplating a Creed lately. You are a great writer! Looking forward to reading more. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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