I don’t mean to get all Chandler Bing on you, but I have found that I can’t sustain a relationship with any girl who doesn’t have a pretty good name. If she has a bad name, it will bother me. It will irritate me. Eventually it will haunt me. And eventually we will break up.
I once dated a girl named Mariah. This couldn’t last because I had a golden retriever as a kid named Mariah. It was impossible for me to separate the girl from my memories of my childhood dog. It didn’t help that both Mariahs were redheads.
I dated another girl named Melody. I knew this wouldn’t end up well. What if she wanted to name our kids Octave, Chorus, and G-flat?
I dated another girl named Rhetta. All I could think of was Rhett Butler, Clark Gable’s character in Gone With the Wind. It interfered with, well, just about everything, but particularly the things that were important. There are certain times when I just don’t need to be picturing Clark Gable.
One of the first loves of my life was named Jessica, which proves the entire point I’m making. Jessica is a completely neutral name. It could be good or bad; there’s no way to tell. It was the absolute perfect name to start with, because it was a blank slate. (She turned out to be very nice, and so I am predisposed to like Jessicas.)
Once I crushed hard on a Stephanie, and I don’t think it was because it felt good whenever I could make her laugh. It’s just a very good name. It starts out with three syllables, but can easily be shortened to “Steph.” It is a flexible, adaptable name well suited for the rigors of love.
Some guys tell me that they like brunettes, or that they are “ass men.” I say that I’m an “assonance man,” with particular emphasis on hard consonants at the beginning and smooth sibilants at the end. People look at me funny when I say things like this, but that’s fine: they are the ones who will end up married to someone with a bad name, not me.
I don’t want to overstate my point. I am not saying that a bad name will rule someone out entirely. Naturally, my preference is not live out my golden years with a Margot or a Leticia. But even if the name “Leticia” sounds like a cat parting ways with a hairball, it can easily be shortened to the breathy, friendly, inviting “Tish.” If there’s one thing I understand about relationships, it’s the need for sacrifice and compromise.