I have a weird name

INDIA LOPEZ
Last updated 10:44 29/03/2012
confused toddler
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THE VICTIM: Really, Mum and Dad? REALLY?

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OPINION: As a lover of soft news, one of my favourite genres of article is Baby Names, including but not limited to the sub-genres Celebrity Baby Names and Crazy Baby Names.

I also take a keen interest in the comments on these stories, many of which equate weird naming rituals with child abuse.

Because, you see, I have a weird name.

I'm not really sure why my parents chose the name they did - to this day neither of them have been to India, and show no great desire to do so. But I'll tell you what - I'm very glad they did.

Having an unusual name is like being a celebrity - people assume you're interesting, even if you're not. Sometimes when I'm introduced to someone for the first time they actually say "I've been wanting to meet you; you have such a cool name". That's gotta be good, right?

It also makes people remember me, which is useful when it comes to things like job interviews or speed dating.

Most importantly, although it's weird, it's not weirdly spelt. This is an important distinction - I doubt I'd be as accepting of it if I had to spell it out 20 times a day.

But what of the dark side of weird monikerdom?

Many parents veer towards Sam/Charlotte/Mike territory because they're terrified their kids will be bullied when they start school.

It's a valid concern, but I really think names have little to do with it. I mean, in this day and age you shouldn't name your child Dick without having a long, hard think about it.

And my brother's first choice for his as-yet-unborn son, Angel (pronounced Ahn-HELL) probably isn't a great idea outside of Mexico.

But the fact is, some kids are going to get bullied and some aren't. Maybe it's the way they come across; maybe it's just bad luck.

If the class bully decides your child is ripe for the wedgie-ing (do people actually do that?), a generic name isn't going to save him.

As for me, I'm pretty sure no one ever made fun of my name - at least not to my face (although I was a rather spacey kid, so it's possible their merciless taunts just went over my head).

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This is even more amazing considering for the first 20 years of my life I went by my mum's last name too, wielding the hefty double-barrelled Whitehead-Lopez.

That's right, readers, I escaped bullying despite being named for a form of acne.

As for my future children, I'm currently favouring Stella for a girl and Jesse for a boy (Paris was at the top of my girl list for years until...well, you know).

Stella because it's the name of my perfume (narcissist much?); Jesse because it reminds me of one of those cute little kids from 90s movies, with their flannel shirts and shaggy bowl cuts.

As names go, they're pretty tame - more unusual than weird. I just hope those hypothetical little people are as lucky as I've been.

Do you like your name? Would you change it if you could?

- © Fairfax NZ News

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