Say My Name

This is another blogging through my problems type post while I desperately seek perspective on something that has wound me up since childhood. My name.

My parents gave me an arguably pretty straight forward name. It’s got a hyphen in and apparently an inter changeable vowel but it’s a fairly common name. However the fact it’s short gives folk free reign to call me whatever the hell they like and it’s my fault when they get it wrong.

Over the years I’ve given up completely on the second half of my name and just use the first bit. This tragically seems to cause the most confusion and invites the most hilarious of attempts when saying it out loud.

My name is Jo.

In the 34 years I’ve been correcting people I’ve noticed everything gets totally awkward when you do. Folk seem to make a mental note or an actual note somewhere to remember you’re the fussy cow who demands you say her name right. I still correct them, my name is my name and people should say it properly or at least try to.

When I was in my 20s I genuinely got the forms from work (I worked at a Solicitors at the time) to have it legally changed by Deed Poll. When it came to the admin fee I decided to go to Barcelona for the weekend instead! Ah, life before kids. Looking back I can’t believe I ever felt so strongly about it.

I can usually laugh it off. When folk say something insane like “oh is it short for Jemima?” – er… no! I sit there and have a giggle but when people deliberately say it wrong after I’ve corrected them it winds me right up!

Just last week I had some fun and games with the new Locum Dr at my local surgery. She called me Joanne (not my name) then I corrected her and she called me Joan (nope still not right) then as we sat down she went right Jayne (not even close) how can I help you today?

Well love you can help by saying my name right it’s only got two letters in it for goodness sake! I didn’t obviously actually say this but mentally screaming it at her from inside my head was apparently enough as she quickly added with a sigh “does it really matter?”

Yes. Yes it fucking does.

It is my name and the decent thing you can do here is try and say it right not disregard it like something you stepped in.

This morning I had a trip to the Nurse for a routine Iron count blood test and I swear a note has gone on my file because when I got called she shouted Joanne (nope) when we got into the room I quietly said my name is Jo not Joanne and she rolled her eyes and pointed to the screen and said “well it says Joanne there

I looked for myself and it didn’t.

It said Jo-Anna, Jo.

That pesky interchangeable vowel again.


My nurse was seeming to be deliberately awkward, passive aggressive and couldn’t appear to be able to read a patient file. I mean what difference does a few letters make. I’m sure, for example, Hepatitis A and B are probably the same right?

Does it really matter?

No apparently not.

Their names are Edward, Oren and Lochryn.

It’s silly I know but I often hear people say my son’s names wrong and it drives me demented. Yes, in hindsight I should have expected this as two of them have non traditional names but they’re all phonetic so I go with the flow wherever possible.

I am also extremely insistent that they not let people away with it if they say it wrong.

My son is called Oren.

Oren the other day introduced himself as Fred because he had a run in with a lady the previous week who had selectively misheard him and called him Owen.

Oren? Do you mean Owen? It’s Owen isn’t it? That’s a hard sound to say but a lovely name. Hello Owen.


His name is Oren and he introduced himself as Oren and I still couldn’t believe she decided to change it and call him Owen! I corrected her and she said “really?!” An actual face palm moment right there.

When he introduced himself as Fred at first I thought it was funny but then I realised how sad it was. It broke my heart. He’d rather be Fred for ease of acceptance and less social awkwardness than correct someone calling him Owen.

His name isn’t Fred. His name is Oren.

I will be that Mum correcting folk from now on and I will be his voice until he learns to find his. The same way I did. Tragically a bit of family history repeating itself but I guess that’s often the way!

It is what it is.

Maybe we should have called them something different. Maybe they’ll do what I did when they’re older and take steps to change it. Maybe they’ll use their middle names. I don’t know.

Their names aren’t awkward and correcting people shouldn’t be either. I just hope they have an easier time of it than me!

Second thoughts

Should we be seeking social acceptance and just let folk call us whatever the hell they like?

Are we being difficult with apparently having clearly unrealistic expectations?

Does it really matter?

Are we the awkward ones?

I really don’t know. I think it matters, even if only to us. My name is Jo and my boys are Edward, Oren and Lochryn and that’s what we’d like to be called.

Do you have any name stories, hilarious or awkward, please comment below. It’d be reassuring to know I’m not the only one!




  1. I think you should insist, especially with your boys. When I was younger I struggled the other way and never corrected people or told them how to pronounce it properly – and now it’s a bit stuck and it makes me sad. I try harder now! I think that beautifully unique names should remain unique, not common-ised for the sake of ease.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My mother had the maiden name of May and she loved to recount the story of a particularly snotty Dean at her college insisting that she was being rude by telling her her name was Jinny May. She wanted her full name and it took a bit for my mother to convince her that her name was Virginia May. My name is frequently mis-pronounced and I will correct people, some do want to know if it is short for something. Our distinctive names are part of who we are and while I will at times complain that I was named after a boat(my name is Nina) it is what it is-me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful names and I completely agree, you should persist. Our little girl is Eskarina (Eska for short), we always get Esther, Francesca, etc. I ignored it at first, simply because I was too shy to correct people. I found it really embarrassing responding to the incorrect name. Now I always say something. It’s almost always met with surprise and asking where it’s from/if it means anything, but I guess that’s part and parcel of having an unusual name (though I admit it gets a bit tiring having to repeat yourself every time you meet somebody new!). Hopefully when she’s old enough to speak for herself she won’t be put off by it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My name is Kaman, pronounced “Carmen”, though I do not mind if people pronounce it phonetically as seen. However, it is not Carol, Carmel, Catherine (!), Karma, Karen, Carly, Carla, etc. I do not usually correct people if they genuinely misheard, but I have worked with colleagues who insist on calling me their fictional name for me, despite me correctly them more than once. I have either stopped answering to those names or just called them all Susan (apologies, to the real Susans!). These people get really offended, lol. So it works! I hear you, Jo.


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