What’s in a name?

That's awkward, all right.

I started this blog because of Patrick, superstar coauthor of the hit blog “Everything Else Plastic Bag” (EEPB) at http://morganpatrick.wordpress.com.  Seeing the pleasure I took in drafting haughty comments in response to his posts, Patrick suggested I get my own blog.  But in a nice way.

So I did.  And of course was faced with every blogger’s first conundrum–what do I call my blog?  (See EEPB’s first post).

Naming a blog is something akin to naming a baby.  Ok, maybe not, but I’ve never had a baby, so I can imagine them as equivalent experiences.  And, much as I named this blog with no input from my husband–my alleged coconspiritor here–I hope to do something similar when we have actual, human children.

Names have long been a topic of discussion and contention between John and me.  Perhaps this is bound to occur when one person was given the 7th most popular name in America in the year of his birth, while the other’s best showing was in 1920, when her name was the 933rd most popular.  Maybe we understand names as serving fundamentally different purposes.  I like my unique name because it signifies only me (well, me and the famous swan-fucker and, according to Facebook, a fair number of Filipina women).  But to most people who know me, I am the only Leda.  John, on the other hand, must share his name with his father, his cousin, his uncle, several acquaintences, and approximately four million other men in the US.  Perhaps this also says something about our propensities to share, and our differing needs to be the center of attention.

The first time I met John’s mother, she said to me without malice, “I like names like Katherine and Elizabeth.”  Nothing wrong with those names.  I have a best friend named Katherine and might have been called Elizabeth myself, according to my mother, had it not sounded so horrible with Eizenberg and had my father been willing to consider it.  But being a Leda feels to me quite different from being a Katherine or an Elizabeth, and it’s a difference I appreciate.

But I didn’t always.  As a child I loathed my name.  Leda Murcia Eizenberg.  Not even a syllable approaching what I perceived to be “normalcy.”  Why didn’t you give me one common name? I’d whine to my parents.  I felt strange, like an outcast.  I had to learn to spell my name early because no one else could understand it, nevermind spell it.  And today, when asked for my name, I often don’t even give it, but launch right into spelling.  “First name: L-E-D-A  last name: E-I-Z-as-in-zebra-E-N-B-as-in-Boy-E-R-G-as-in-girl.”

My fifth grade remedy to this perceived humiliation was simple.  I added a middle name.  One that would allow me to wiggle my way into slightly more typical American girlhood.  Of course, it was Kathryn.  My parents were unconcerned, even supportive as I went so far to put the name in my yearbook.  “Leda Murcia Kathryn Eizenberg.”  The meter of it still sounds as normal to me as the rhythm of my real name, although I’ve long since booted the name from my own, a reminder of when I longed to fit in, rather than stand out.  Who am I kidding?  It was during a time when I wanted both to fit in and to stand out.

The current name debate in our household revolves around whose name should go first when we have children and hyphenate.  Yes, we realize that Eizenberg-Muckle and Muckle-Eizenberg both sound downright horrible, and that we’re potentially dooming our children to a lifetime (or a childhood) of dorkiness.  But I’ve taught high school, and let me be the first to tell you, you’d much, much rather parent dorks than cool kids.  Essentially, John and I are both jockying for first position.  We both know that children are more likely to use and identify with their first last name.  Tradition has it that the mother’s name goes first, at least in our culture.  But John is quick to point out that the Spanish culture with which I claim such affinity puts the mother’s name second.  I think Eizenberg-Muckle sounds better; he thinks Muckle-Eizenberg sounds better.  Surprise, surprise.  I tend to think that if I lug a baby around for nine months, I should get to call it whatever the hell I want.

And no, this post is not our way of telling you we’re pregnant.  We’re nowhere near pregnant.  Didn’t you see me at _____ (fill in recent party where I had multiple glasses of wine)?

No, the only thing being born today is Doubleawk, our “couple’s-blog”.  So what’s with the name?  Well, I wanted it to be short.  And I wanted it to be uniquely us.  But by us, I mostly meant me because John’s at school right now and I’m not sure of his blog-o-participation.  Awk is, of course, short for awkward, and it’s an English teacher’s favorite lil’ comment when her students have pooped the bed syntactically.  But in my classroom, and subsequently my life, awk became shorthand for any of those little awkward moments or beats we might encounter throughout the day.  And double is a favorite prefix of mine–perhaps borrowed from Orwell’s 1984–meaning very, or extra.  The pun here is of course that as a blog written by a couple, there is a doubling going on.  And if you know John and me at all, you’ll know we’re both capable of being quite awkward.

And thus our first baby was born.


10 comments so far

  1. sb on

    Funny! Congrats on the baby!

    The name also reminds me of that unfortunate 80s game show “double talk,” which was awesome.

  2. Morgan Faust on

    Hooray! Instead of contributing to my own couples’ blog, I am only going to comment on your blog. Keeps the marriage exciting if your partner has to work a little to uncover your online blogging persona.
    So exciting this new blog – secrets! who knew about the Kathryn phase. No one! ok, Not me! But that is similar to no one in my book. Modesty – as if your slim holiday figure were hiding a baby! Facts – that stuff about the names was very factual.
    Keep the posts coming, so I can have something to comment on!
    Morgan Alexandra Noyes Faust

  3. Jo on

    This is not only wonderful because it is wonderful, it is also wonderful because now my friends can start staging blogging death cage matches and other aggressive cybercompetitions. Plus, now I will know everything that you think! It is a dream come true! Long live Doubleawk! -J

  4. Patrick Noyes on

    Poignant. Relevant. Mostly true.

    If this first post is anything to judge by, our two blogs will balance each other out like kids on a see-saw. We just can’t let them stand in line for the water fountain together.

    Maybe one day they will both grow up, ditch the braces and pigtails, move into a double-wide together, and engender a little blog of their own named “Double Everything Else” or “Awkward Bag”.

    I vote for Eizenberg-Muckle…but not for the reasons you think I do.

  5. Allison on

    Is this an opportunity to vote on the last name for future offspring???…if so I say forget hyphenating and combine…I propose Muckleberg which I think has a far nicer ring then Eizenckle which people would mispronounce and confuse with Icicle. Or I think that you could reach back to your Kathryn phase and create a new last name for your child…I propose Allison which works equally well as a first or last name. In fact, should your future child be a girl you could in fact name her Allison Allison…and bestow upon her a lifetime of icebreaker conversation as she explains her name and that yes both her first and last name are Allison and she is names after you her incredibly awesome aunt (who really is her third cousin)…

    Speaking of children mine now requires my attention as she is requesting to see neigh neighs on You Tube. Neigh Neigh is her new word and I was encouraging this language development by showing her some on You Tube, big mistake because now anytime the computer is near she requests to see them! Alas parenting is a learn as you go experience.

  6. Colin JT Woods on

    I am not pregnant either.

  7. Karen on

    Umm…61 hits in 24 hours??? I don’t even think I know 61 people.

    Anxiously looking forward to reading more,


  8. Sam L on

    I am impressed “Leda” (Mrs. Eizenberg for me.) But how can you call yourself pedantic and not have a single “meta” anywhere in either of your first two posts?

  9. Michael E on

    Honestly have never read a blog before…

    The lengths one will go through for an offspring.

    Seems unfair that you are moderating everything I say…I never got to moderate much of anything you said…

    This is my third try at a posting!

    Naming…? Look at it this way, if you were a boy, I favored calling you OMAR.

    But that was 1978! Seems to me Leda has turned out pretty well. “Leda Eizenberg” returns only information about you in Google!

    Seems like we must have known something! Pity the poor people with common names…it is impossible to find out anything about them…

    I recommend you follow the Spanish system with preserving both last names…

  10. Ben on

    The turd-burgler stole my comment. I guess it was sh!t.

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