Monday, 8 December 2014

What's in a name?

I recently received a phone call from a saleswoman at work, asking to speak to Blemence Flamey. Obviously I told her I didn't know anyone of that name and tried to get her off the phone before she launched into a sea of sales speak. 

She quickly continued with her spiel before asking for my email address. Upon hearing me recite my name she said rather snottily 'OH, you have the same surname as the person  I was asking for so it must have been you that I meant.'

It was at this moment, after 23 years of my name being Clémence Flamée that I realised people are getting more and more stupid. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only rightfully huffy, annoyed person on that phone call should have been me. 

I understand that people are busy, trust me I've got the backlog of emails to prove it, but if you can't take 5 seconds to ask how my name is pronounced I don't have time for you either.

This is not a new problem, but perhaps over 20 years of it are finally starting to grate on me. As a child I'd brush it off and skip away to play with my Sylvanian Families without a second thought. It's only recently that I have really started to notice the way people react to my name, with an impending wedding, names have become a lot more important than they ever have before.

I am lucky enough to have a wonderful, 21st century fiancé who doesn't belittle me with age-old traditions and is even taking my name when we get married. At first, I worried that he'd suffer the same uneducated jumble of preconceptions that I face on every introduction, but have reassured myself that having an unusual name in a world full of 'Smiths' and 'Jones' is a blessing and we'll battle through as a powerhouse of uniqueness together.

If someone has an unusual name, I accept it, I don't say 'that's weird,' or 'that's posh' or 'can I call you something else because that's too difficult' because that's ignorant and downright rude. (And I've been greeted with it on numerous occasions, yawn.)

So on behalf of all the 'unusual' names, here's a hint: next time someone introduces themselves and your brain can't compute, think about what you say. Because the chances are this isn't the first time they've heard it.


  1. Haha, Amazing! Your Fiancé sounds Mint.

  2. Love this post, I don't think my name is unusual but I do regularly get people calling be Bradwell. It's not offensive but like you say, after 29 years it's rather irritating. It was lovely to meet you & Jacob last night, I hope we embraced your 'unusual' (but rather lovely) name!