In the coffee break of my Corporations and partnerships law lecture yesterday, a friend and I quickly ducked out to get sufficiently caffeinated to prevent drooling on the desk in the second half of the lecture.
We went to one of the most established coffee shops in freo- Moore and Moore, because it was close and guaranteed to get us the fix we needed. Moore and Moore is somewhat of an institution in the Fremantle coffee scene – it is renowned for it’s jazz music, it’s filthy dirty chai late (which is pretty much the king of all warm milk based beverages), in house art gallery and overall incredibly freo vibes.
As I ordered my standard Capp with 2 sugars, the girl behind the counter asked for my name. Having an unusual name which people (at least where I am from) don’t come across everyday often presents challenges when ordering coffee. People mispronounce my name, don’t understand what it is, ask why I have my name, write it down wrong and I almost feel bad for the awkwardness and confusion I cause for the unsuspecting barista.. In fact ordering coffee has come to resemble a kind of ordeal.
So I said my name and after a few failed communication attempts, I said almost flippantly, look don’t worry it’s all good, whatever you heard is close enough.
Somehow Mariko became Burrito. Seriously. If you don’t believe me, here you go…
Now I do not blame the girl who took my order and must commend the cafe on how , and they were incredibly good-natured about it. My first reaction was to feel embarrassed and like I was being almost selfish.
Perhaps I should stop being so self righteous in using my real name for coffee orders, and come up with a fake coffee name which is easy to pronounce and more socially understood…
I think not, Mariko is not that weird a name, not as weird as Burrito or a celebrity’s babies name.There does seem to be a recent trend towards naming, some of which can be linked back to the somewhat narcissistic, exhibitionist and attention seeking nature of our culture. Celebrities have a habit assigning words that exist in the cultural vernacular but aren’t names per see to their children– Apple, North and Peaches to name a few. And there was a recent court case about some parents in the chocolic country of France who tried to call their kid ‘nutella’. So maybe Burrito as a first name isn’t exactly too far of a stretch.. hey maybe someone out there someday soon will call there firstborn ‘Burrito’ and his two younger twin brothers ‘Taco’ and ‘Nacho’.
This burrito incident was interestingly timed, considering on the train to Uni I was reading a blogpost about ‘the surprising ways your name affects your life’. According to this post the ability to pronounce someone’s name is correlated to how connected you feel to them, and name’s are often something that we use to make quick skim judgements when we meet a first person. The post also cited a 2004 study which found that when it comes to callbacks for jobs, candidates with a common name such as ‘Emily Walsh’ were called back 50% more often than candidates with comparable experience and a more unusual name. This post highlighted the possible negative connotations of having an unusual name. As highlighted in the article and demonstrated by the burrito fiasco, possessing an unusual name certainly can lead to confusion and some level of social isolation and perhaps some soft forms of discrimination towards the person who possesses said name. However I also believe that there are merits in having an unusual name, you stand out from the crowd somewhat, and once people learn how to pronounce and spell your name they seldom forget it. Although it is true that we fear the unknown and unfamiliar we are also intrigued and curious about encountering the unfamiliar…
Usually after a bit of communicating, or after frequenting a place, my name becomes an interesting topic of conversation. As hard as having a somewhat misplaced and unusual name is, it serves as a great ice-breaker often serves as an interesting conversation prompt.
My little brother bless him, has a different approach – instead of using his unusual yet intriguing first name ‘Bede’ he simply uses our last name .
You may ask – why do I not just have a ‘coffee name’ to make life for the poor person taking my coffee order easier?
I vow never to adot a ‘coffee name’. Why not?
Well, I want to celebrate and embrace my unusual name, wholeheartedly. It is part of me, and I think a key aspect of self acceptance is being comfortable with projecting your true self to the world. We should not apologise or feel awkward or embarrassed for our unusualness, instead, we need to embrace our uniqueness.
Would you like a a can of self acceptance with you skinny Capp?
P.s. this is also now my contact in my friend’s phone.. FML.