The Curse of the Unusual Name


I have an unusual first name. It is a name that is gender-neutral, although a lot of people assume it is a male name. Au contraire mon frère. I am called many things, but male is not one of them. Also, my name is one that many people assume is a nickname for another, more formal name. “What’s your real name?” is a question I’ve fielded many times in my life.  Is my name not real enough for you, people?!

Because of my unusual name, I have never been able to purchase any personalized items with my name on it. Coffee mug? No. Key chain? Nope. Necklace? Nuh-uh. One of those cool little license plates for my bicycle? Nada.

When I was in junior high, it was popular to exchange personalized leather band bracelets with the boy or girl you were “going with.” (I still haven’t figured out where exactly we were “going”).  These bracelets were about 1″ wide with a snap closure. The leather was embossed with your name and you exchanged bracelets with your true love to put your stamp of ownership on them. Of course, I could not partake in such a ritual since my name was nowhere to be found on the face of the planet. I had to buy a bracelet embossed with just flowers, and it was just not the same. Junior high is a hard experience to suffer through to begin with, especially with my hair, so this was just another injustice to my self-esteem.

Fast forward to today.  Coca-Cola is currently marketing coke bottles personalized with names. If you have been in Wal-Mart or on Facebook, you probably have seen this new strategy to persuade the public that Coke is It and that they really care about you.

I recently was doing some shopping in Wal-Mart and came across this.

coke bottles walmart

It was just way too tempting to not dig through the bin in the search of a Coke bottle with my name on it.  I found my husband’s name, one of my best friend’s name, the names of Cienna, Bree, and Manuel, but no Caffeinated Ginger.  An employee walked by as I was digging my way through the red bottles and asked if I had found my name.  She was very confident that my name was in there somewhere.  But when I told her my name and how it was spelled, her crestfallen face told me what I already knew–I wasn’t going to find my name no matter how many Coke bottles I displaced in my search.

coke bottles


Apparently I was going to have to relive my junior high days and the generic leather bracelet and have to settle for the generic Coke bottle.

coke bottle family


Life just isn’t fair sometimes.

A friend told me that I could go to Coke’s website to see if Coke made a bottle with my name on it.  When I searched for my name, alas I was told my name could not be found in stores.  On the upside, Coke told me I had a really unique name.  Really, Coke–tell me something I don’t know.

Having an unusual name does have its perks.  If I hear my name when I’m out in public, I can rest assured that the person saying it is actually talking to me.  Also, I never had to go by my first and middle names in elementary school, which is what some girls in my class had to do because they shared the same first name.

But the best part of my name is that someone very special picked it out for me–my dad.  Thanks, Dad!  I’d buy you a personalized Coke to show you my appreciation, but I just checked and Coke didn’t make a bottle with your name on it either.

Do you have an unusual name?  Do you find having an unusual name is a blessing or a curse?  Does Coke make a bottle with your name on it?


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