Emily has been the most popular girl's name in the United States for at least five years now, something which used to annoy me severely, so that I was driven to call myself Marie (which was my middle name at the time; I've since changed it). People who knew me as Marie always wound up finding out my first name and, upon learning, decided it suited me better. Some of the plainer responses I've had include:
"But you look like an Emily!"
"Emily totally suits you."
"I just knew you couldn't be a Marie."
"Emily is a prettier name than Marie."
The more creative responses I've gotten are few but wordier, and these are my favorites (both of which came from adults, if anyone wonders):
"I knew you couldn't be a Marie because Marie sounds like a fat little old Italian lady."
"You look like an Emily because you've got the big smile and the round cheeks ... if there were an American Girl doll called Emily, you could be her!"
There's only one person who still calls me Marie, and he does indeed know my first name. See, he must have been dropped on his head as a small child, because I am very obviously not a Marie.
The reason I stopped going by Marie, actually, is that I knew everybody was right -- because when people called me Marie, I felt a little uncomfortable. It wasn't me. And I came to realize that there is nothing more beautiful than hearing your own name on someone else' voice (especially when it's someone you really admire).
Not that long ago, I changed my name from Emily Marie to Emily Olive. I like Marie a lot, but had two problems with it -- a) I know at least three others with Marie as her middle name and at least ten others who know someone with Marie as her middle name and b) I have too many memories of a particularly unpleasant person scolding me as "Emily Marie!" throughout my childhood.
The name change is not legal but I hope it will be someday. I picked Olive because it was my great-grandmother's name -- and also because as soon as my mother thought of it (she helped me choose), she kelpt repeating it and it got stuck in my head like a song. EmilyOlive, EmilyOlive, EmilyOlive ...
I love names. I love names so much. I have far too much fun with names for someone who is not expecting a baby. I used to use baby name dictionaries to pick names for my characters -- and still do -- but these days I just have too much fun with them. One of my very favorite books ever is The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg.
So for anyone who would like to comment ... what is your favorite name? I am simply curious.
I really do have too much fun with them ....