At this point, I’ve been a part of The Writer’s Post group here on Facebook for over a year, so many of you know me and, I can only assume, are comfortable with my name. You probably wonder why I’m making note of this.
Lemme tell you, going through life with such an unusual name hasn’t been easy. Growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s, girls around me were named Amy, Lisa and Jennifer; Sarah, Mary and Julie.
And then there was this girl named Daphne. I don’t suppose I need to tell you that Daphne is unlikely to ever be in the top 10 girls’ names for a given year or, for that matter, even the top hundred. It just isn’t very popular. But that’s okay. After nearly 44 years of living with it, I’ve just about “grown into” my name.
“What exactly does she mean by that?” you’re probably asking yourself at this moment.
Some of you more “colorfully” named writers here on the post can probably relate to the following reactions that have occurred when I’ve answered the age-old question, “What’s your name?”: “I’m sorry, what’s your name? How do you spell that?” or “Oh! So nice to meet you Stephanie!” or “Was that Delfine (pronounce Dehl-feen)?”
In my travels, I have been called just about every name in the book. Debbie, Dabby (Seriously? Who names their kid Dabby?), Delfine, Daphen (pronounced Day-fin) and, most frequently, Stephanie. I’m especially fond of Daphen and Delfine. The latter always leaves me scratching my head in wonderment about where exactly the “L” is in D-a-p-h-n-e.
And as if it weren’t enough that I have this name that’s way out of the mainstream, as a child, the only Daphne references people knew of were Daffy Duck and Daphne of “Scooby Doo” fame. Throughout elementary school, I would get asked in shrill tones, “Daphne! Where’s Scooby?!” I was also called Daffy Duck for longer than I can remember… .
Take heed, would-be parents, Daphne is not the greatest moniker with which to ensure that your young daughter (or son, if you’re really progressive) is surrounded by friends.
Unless, you live in Israel, which I did for a year and a half. There, the name Dafna (pronounced Dahf-nah) is almost as commonplace/popular as Mary is here. So one more Daphne or Dafna, just blends in.
To my great surprise, after standing apart from the crowd for so long, I found that I didn’t like just being one of the masses.
When I returned to the US from Israel, I began to strive to live up to my namesake by being unique, wherever possible. It was a thrill for me to be told by a teacher when I worked at a private school that a student had referred to me in conversation as, “that cool lady who works for the Headmaster.”
Being named Daphne really does put me “a full degree below normal,” I think. And, by me, that’s great. I rest pretty well assured these days, that no matter where I go, there won’t be another Daphne there.