What’s in a Name?

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

William Shakespeare

The quotation above is a line spoken by Juliet in a famous balcony scene from the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the name of something or someone does not matter, only what that something or someone is. This quotation popped into my head when I started reading a post by Cindy on Asian Model Escort‘s blog the other day about name handles (http://www.asianmodelescort.co.uk/choose-business-nickname-carefully/). I don’t really participate on forums and although I tried creating a profile on AdultWork once, it was so high maintenance and complicated to manage – I gave it up. Cindy does however make an excellent point. I often receive emails from people who have created such cheesy nom de plumes from themselves that I have to laugh. Sometimes unluckily, not only is it funny, it can also be rather off-putting. When I read a word like “gwatman” or “knobkerrie” in the header of my email, the clam slams shut. Once this has happened there is precious little one can do to change my mood and once the clam disengages I have no control over her whatsoever. Perhaps, I am overly judgemental but I like to know that I’m dealing with a man and a gentleman and a handle or email name such as the ones mentioned above or a man who refers to himself or his member in the diminutive form suffixed by “kie, tjie, ie” flies in the face of all of my preconceptions of what a gentleman should be.

Whilst on the subject of names…. I have had the same working name for over three years now, basically for the duration of my career. I chose five names off the contact list on my mobile phone and ran them all on separate advertisements. Carmen was by far the most popular so I stuck with it. At the time, I checked all the major websites locally to see how many other Carmen’s there were. At that time there were none but suddenly the name Carmen is experiencing a revival. In the words of Charles Caleb Colton – Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I don’t mean to imply that everybody is copying me; I’m merely suggesting that there is a hell of a lot more Carmen’s now than there used to be. It’s a fairly common name, so let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt. To avert any possible misunderstandings, I now refer to myself as Carmen from London, using my geographical location as a point of differentiation. Ironically people are picking up on this and are now calling me Carmen of London. I’m beginning to wonder if I should just call myself Lady Carmen of London and perhaps I can command a higher honorarium for my title?

Me, after rain, in London

There are many theories that people with multiple names suffer from multiple disorders such as escorts, courtesans, strippers, actors, authors and the likes. I like to see Carmen as more of a corporate identity. For example when you receive a phone call from a person at American Express, you enjoy a very professional introduction, a super polite voice and an efficient manner. During that person’s eight hour day they align their identity with that of their employer. I sincerely doubt that if I contact that person outside of working hours on their personal phone that they will communicate with the same aloof, super polite tone of voice. Does this mean that this person has two identities? I don’t think so. Just to make sure that there is no confusion in my head, I leave my real name all over the place just to remind myself who I am. Having said that, the room is something different. Once you are stripped bare, you really have no option other than being yourself. I make a conscious effort to keep it real.

I once went on a trip with a regular of mine. In order to do this flights and hotel reservations had to be made. My real name and passport was required so I told him. For me this is the highest honour and symbol of trust that I could bestow on a patron. I will never forget his disappointment. I never realised how much he had invested in my working name. There is nothing wrong with my real name, I think it’s quite nice and unusual but he was utterly devastated. He asked me if he could keep calling me by my working name because he could not align my face with my true name. Naturally I agreed but was quite humbled by that experience. I now keep name sharing to a bare minimum. Although sometimes I don’t always have the opportunity to share voluntarily, I caught a gentleman in my office once, rifling through my papers. I can’t complain though, I’ve had it relatively easy. I heard about a lady the other day who tried to turn over a new leaf and got herself an honest job. She was exposed by a previous client and was subsequently fired. I’m sure that she deeply regrets having trusted him and giving him her real name. Interestingly this happens quite often and I’ve heard a number of stories to this effect.

Rightly or wrongly, I hold my name/s in high esteem. I am punctual and polite but occasionally I receive emails and text messages that I am unable to dignify with a response. This seems to have given my name/s an aura of bitchery or snobbery. I have pondered sending an email saying, BTW I am in receipt of your email but do not wish to respond and have occasionally tried to acknowledge receipt and decline the offer without engaging in the actual conversation but find that this invariably lures me into further reams of correspondence on the matter. My strategy in handling emails like this now is to simply pretend that it didn’t happen and that helps me to remain in a happier frame of mind for the remainder of the day.