nancylebov (nancylebov) wrote,

My name and me

CJ Cherryh raised the question on facebook of how people feel about their first names, and I'm continuing it here.

I live in my head so much that I find it odd to have a name and a face, though I've more or less gotten used to it. I've never seen anyone else mention that reaction to those very ordinary features of living.

I'm neutral about my name, and there's no other name that seems more plausible to me. For quite a few years, if people got my first name wrong, it was very likely to be by calling me Linda. Maybe I looked like a Linda?

I got my name because I was named after a Channah (guttural ch), but my mother didn't like Hannah or Ann.

The only thing I don't like about my first name is that it's occasionally used as shorthand for "man who is to be raped" as in "your cellmate is going to call you nancy". I could live without that.

I defend my last name because most people can't hear it, see it, or (of course) spell it accurately. It's Lebovitz. That's L-E-B as in boy-O-V as in Victor-I-T-Z. There is no I in the first syllable. That's a V in the last syllable, and it's pronounced like a V.

Mid-Westerners are more likely to get my name right. I don't know whether it's a tradition of courtesy, or less exposure to the more common spelling.

On the what-a-strange-thing-it-is-to-be-a-human side, I think the extent to which people get my name wrong (after they've been told it three times, had it spelled for them, and seen it in print) is evidence that people generally notice very little about the world, especially if they have a slot which isn't quite right to fit their experience into. I'm not saying that everyone is ignoring the same things, though.

I chose nancylebov for lj because a cute nym wasn't occurring to me and I wanted something which might be easier to remember and spell. I've been called Nancy LeBow. There's just no escape from that damned W.

There are unrelated Lebovitzes in the world, but the story for my family line is that the original name was Probolski (I'm guessing about the spelling), but it was changed at Ellis island. I'm not sure about why-- maybe an error, maybe a belief that Lebovitz sounded more American.

The Cherryh discussion turned up a lot of reactions and stories people have about their names... tell me about yours if you'd like.

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