Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September edition of the name game

On August 12, my mom sent me a seemingly random text message that said:
I named you after Lauren Bacall. Cool. Babe.

First of all, can we just pause here to recognize how suave my Mom is? She's a pretty crafty chick and an amazing woman. You should check her out.

(Also: my dad says that he named me after Lauren Hutton, but that info isn't really going to do this post any good, so let's move on.) 

The text seemed random to me, because I don't pay much attention to the news and didn't know that the actress had died. When I learned that info a few hours later, I felt a little sad and started reading more about the life of that "cool babe."

And that's when I learned that Lauren Bacall's real name was Betty.

All of this is really just another excuse for us to talk about names again and how much influence they have over our lives. This piece by The Atlantic does a nice job of conglomerating multiple studies on names - from how they influence others' perceptions of us to how we like things that with names similar to our own (yes, really).

It made me wonder if my life would have been different had I been named Betty. I don't know if I could have pulled off being a Betty. Not that there is anything wrong with that name, but Bettys require a certain level of sauciness that I associate with Archie cartoons, Betty Boop's shimmy and a svelte Jurassic-era next door neighbor. That image doesn't gel with my pigtails-on-the-weekend mom lifestyle.

If you could rename yourself tomorrow (without all the government paperwork) what name would you choose? Tell me in the comments.

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