It seemed, growing up, that people didn’t have a lot of imagination when it came to baby names. For instance, in my freshman history class of 30 kids, 6 of us had the same name. That’s 20% answering in unison when our name was called. It meant that for my entire school career, my name was always followed by my last initial.
Of the 6 of us, I don’t see very many similarities. One of us was tall and fair skinned with long, curly blonde hair. Another was willowy and freckled and loved hiking. Yet another was a cheerleader with eyes so dark they appeared black. I was the chunky drama geek, and I barely remember the two others. And that’s just in one class. There were other girls with my name in other classes, as though everyone named their daughters the same thing that year.
And while I can’t find any similarities among women with my name, I have noticed similarities among people with other names. So many that I find it a bit eerie sometimes. Here is a partial list of those things that, in my opinion, people with the same name share. When I call out a particular name, I am including every spelling variant of that name. For instance, when I say “Catherine,” I also mean Catharine, Katherine, Kathryn, etc.
Theresa: This is the first name that I began encountering often as a child. What the name means to me now is someone who has in the past or will in the future, date or marry someone I have dated or married. Almost without exception, every man I have been with in any romantic capacity has also been with a woman named Theresa. I have not met most of these women, and I’m sure that most of them are perfectly nice people.
Stephanie: All the Stephanies I know are kind of self-absorbed. They don’t really do anything that isn’t in their own self-interest. Even when it looks like they’re doing something charitable, there’s always a hidden reason behind it that’s less public-spirited. And most would argue that this is not a bad thing.
Kyle: All the Kyles I have known have been solid, working-class guys who wear baseball caps and get sunburnt necks.
Keith: All the men I know named Keith are black. That wouldn’t be strange except all the black men I know are named Keith. Except one. Who should probably change his name.
These are just the ones that occur to me off the top of my head. I know where are more. I wonder if I’m the only one who notices this.