New rule: if someone mispronounces your name more than ten times and they're not under seven or verbally impaired, you get to punch them in the face.
Sounds fair, right?
Names are important. Mine is Rhiannon.
Ree-ANN-in, not Rye-hanna, not Ree-anon and certainly not Rihanna, whose first name is Robyn, anyway.
It's an old Welsh name and I come from an old Welsh family. Frankly I'm lucky I didn't get saddled with Blodeuwedd or Goleuddydd. Mine are a consonant-loving people, and I'm fortunate that the only double-D's passed down through my family remain safely in my bra.
Obviously the more lyrical Welsh pronunciation is ideal, but for regular gringos like me, the American pronunciation works just fine. Just say it like I say it, it's not that hard.
So what's the big deal about an occasionally mispronounced name, didn't Shakespeare's Juliet say there wasn't anything in them anyway?
Yeah, she also took a roofie from a priest and it's not like Juliet Capulet is that great of a name to begin with.
We all know there's only one fictional character who can pull off rhyming first and last names and that's one Mister Dwayne Wayne. You, Juliet, are no Dwayne Wayne.
Until I turned 30, it rarely bothered me.
Colleagues of nearly ten years would call me ReeAWNa or the like and I would give precisely zero damns, but something about Hot Latin Boy's name being botched with the same startling regularity as mine --his only has four letters, how dumb do you have to be to screw up four letters???-- made me draw a line in the mispronounced sand.
When folks on the board of a nonprofit receiving hundreds of dollars worth of free design from HLB and me gave up on saying our names correctly after months of constant correction, we walked away.
If they didn't value us enough as humans to just say our damn names then certainly they didn't deserve our work. We took our ball and went home. It wasn't just disheartening, it was dehumanizing.
There's nothing that says "I don't really care about you" quite as
effectively as failing to call someone by their name. Just ask Endora.
Which isn't to say I don't appreciate a learning curve. In my part of Mexico, people pepper their Spanish with indigenous words.
It took me ages to nail cempoalxochitl, the Nahuatl name for the special marigolds used to adorn Day of the Dead altars, but when HLB's nephew introduced me to his girlfriend Ixchel, I made sure to get it right. No need to tick off an already-angry Mayan jaguar goddess, amirite?
No matter what Shakespeare says, names are worth something.
That's why people don't name their kids Herpes McStrippershoes. Our names are the most basic personal identifiers we have. When a person not only fails to correctly pronounce, but fails to care about correctly pronouncing, someone's name, that person is a tool who violates the most basic of human courtesies and deserves the starring role in the one person play "Punch Me in the Face" a Punch Me in the Face Production for Seriously Now, Just Punch Me Studios.
I don't think that's unreasonable, do you?