What's in a name?

Think of names of people you know well, or at least those you’ve been around long enough to form a good impression of them.

Think of the ones who share a first name, not a nickname but a real given name. Diminutives do count, like Bill, Mike, Jim, Bob. You can even combine those diminutives for the same name: Bill, Will, Billy, Willie, etc.

Now of the people you know:

  1. Which name best fits the folks you know who share the name? That is, when somebody mentions that name it brings up those people about equally well, and none of them seem to be far removed from the connotations of that name. They all seem to have the traits that name suggests to you.

  2. Which name has the widest variety of types? If that name is mentioned you just don’t get a good solid impression. No clues as to what the person is really like.

For me, the name Mike conjures up good strong masculine qualities. A reliable person. Fun guy. I’m pretty sure I will like a Mike.

For me, Kathy (and its variants) runs all across the map. Fat, skinny, pretty, ugly, sweet, mean, kind, bitch. I get no good clue from that name. I’m usually a little shocked when I meet a Kathy and learn that’s her name. I’ll ask if she has a nickname or if I can call her something else.

How about you?

Does any one name stand out as applying equally well to everybody you know with that name?

What one name would you hate to have for your own?

'Scott’s have always been trouble for me so I tend to stay away from them
Nancy is sensible, but with an adventurous side.
Claire is studious
Jake would rather party than do most anything
Steven is level headed and dependable

Just to simplify this exercise, I’m going to use Anyrose’s list of names and my associations with them:

Scott is nuts.
Nancy is a really fun gal.
Jake is sweet.
Steven is a blow-hard.

And to me, Steve is a gay guy with pressed khakis and impeccable taste…

Mike is straight, Michael is not.

John is dependable.

Wendy is unpredictable.

Scott’s a great guy, very strong and independent, smart with money and although he’s got the mental power to twist and manipulate you, he doesn’t. Nobody’s safe from his scimitar-like wit, though.

Manny is emotionally immature and could stand to get his ass kicked once or twice.

Crystal cares a little too much about current pop culture. She’s always got the best weed, though.

Mike’s heart’s in the right place, but he makes some bad decisions sometimes.

Amanda is smart, sensible and good-looking. She’s a name-dropper, though.

Stephanie’s hot. Always.

Justin’s reliable and dependable and won’t let you down.

Courtney is blonde and sweet, but a little ditzy. It’s hard to carry on a conversation with her. It’s not that she’s quiet, really. She just doesn’t have anything original to say.

Rachel is like a well-trained cocker spaniel- she CAN sit still and will when appropriate, but she’d rather not. She doesn’t express her hyperactivity by misbehaving. Instead she’s just really REALLY friendly to the point where most people think, “aww, Rachel.”

Melissa is sort of aloof and too cool for the rest of y’all. She’s been here longer than you have. Or if she hasn’t, she acts like she has and hangs out with the people who have until she sort of assumes seniority. She’s the kind of person you’re surprised to learn is shorter than you.

Jason is like a cool baby brachiosaurus. Jason’s friends think he’s pretty badass, but he’s a mama’s boy. and “mama” isn’t necessarily his mama. It could be pretty much anyone older than him. He finds someone to take him under wing and goes to that person for help or comfort fairly often.

Andy is the kind of person you just want to fold up and keep in your purse. He gets along better with girls than with guys. He likes to talk and can spend hours just sitting and talking. He gets attatched very easily and once he decides he likes you, he REALLY likes you.

Ben is a gentleman. He’ll wait with you if your mom is late picking you up and it’s dark. If something’s bothering you, You can talk to him. People who don’t know him think he’s gay. He tolerates musical theatre. That is, he likes being in shows but doesn’t own any broadway cast recordings and he’ll see Wicked with you because he knows it’s your favorite, but wouldn’t ever go on his own.

Allison/Alison/Alycin is full of herself. She’s not COMPLETELY delusional. She does have some talent. You just wish she’d shut up about it.

Erin has someone living vicariously through her. She’s not really stuck on herself, but her mom or brother or best friend or someone who is with her a lot thinks she’s really hot stuff and won’t let her or anyone else forget it. She just sort of goes along with it.

Danielle tries to play mom. She calls everyone “hun” or “dear” including people who are older than her. She walks around playing with people’s hair or otherwise being sort of affectionately condescending in a way that leaves you thinking, “wtf was that?”

Emily is a diva goddess. You can’t quite put your finger on why, but when she talks to you, you feel sort of honored. She doesn’t act like a crazybitch diva, and is actually really nice to everyone. She probably encounters a lot of people she doesn’t recognize who know her name.

Jack is the boss and if something goes wrong, he’ll fix it. My mother probably thinks he’s sexy. I don’t know any real-life Jacks, but TV Jacks are all like this.

Jeremy is a self-centered jerk. Once, I thought I’d found an exception to this rule - great guy, do anything for a friend… then it turned out he spelled his name Jeramy. :smack:

Amber is a blond, sweet, smart but absent-minded girl, or a porn star.

Terri, Tammy, and Tracy are all major bitches that are great to be in love with for a couple of years (because they’re also sexy, sassy, and a lot of fun). The bitchiness is there the whole time, it’s just that it doesn’t really have major impact til well after I’ve become involved.

Guys named Darrin are always trying to prove something. Despite otherwise being straight up guys, their need to prove turns them into assholes.

Nancy is nice.

Betty is a dipstick.

Todd is blind. (I’ve known 3 blind Todds. See how they run?)

Robert is a bit stuffy, but alright.

Bob is cool but a slacker.

Why is Tim such a wuss?

Because his wife Jo is the man of the house.

Ryan the girl is a total sexpot. The girl can’t help it.

Ryan the guy always leaves you guessing as to his sexual orientation.

Ben is odd.

Shirly smokes.

Tom is a goofball.

Cassandra is always very pretty, but has esteem issues. Not just pretty, either, but every Cassandra I’ve known is a very sweet and giving person. The stripper I dated was named Cassandra. Tho she “knew” she was preety, she never “knew” how lovely she really was in every way.

Jamie is a country girl with a smile for everyone.

Unless Jamie is a guy, then he’s a dick royale.

(Basing all of these on multiple occurances of the name among my friends and acquaintances during my life time, btw. I have more if we’re doing single use names. Also, this post is only about #1 in the OP. Finding it hard to think of any #2s.)

Michaels are self-absorbed attention-seekers.

But I never met a Matt I didn’t like.

I don’t have many names I associate with behaviors or personalities, except Marc and Bob. Both are negative connotations but that is because the only people I have known with those names have not been the greatest people. If I met a Marc or Bob that was cool it wouldn’t take me too long to get past the name association.

“All gay men have track lightin’, and all gay men are named Mark, Rick, or Steve.”

Or Jason, as it turns out; or Matt. (An independent conclusion). Most Scotts, too. Ricky absolutely is. In Quebec, Serge is a pretty good guess; I know few who aren’t. And the same goes for Éric.

Also, Hamish tells me that for some reason, every second environmental activist in British Columbia is named Tzipporah, for some reason.

A very good reason, apparently… :smack: