Tiffani “with an ‘i’, not a ‘y’ on the end” Michele
I’m just going to come out and say it. My name irritates me.
I love that it’s what my parents chose. I love hearing the people that I care about say it to me. I love that I have a name rather than a number or a letter. But that’s about the extent of my appreciation for it.
My struggle with my name started way back in Kindergarten, when you have to learn to write your name. It didn’t take me very long to figure out that kids with the name “Adam” and “Jen” had a much easier time of it. When you only have 3 or 4 letters in your name, you learn it quicker, write it faster, and are done sooner. All the 3 letter named kids were off playing hopscotch and jumprope when I was still struggling to remember which letters were in my name in which order and goddamn it which way do the ‘f’s go again?! 7 motherfucking letters in my name, people. It’s hard to find someone with more letters than that, and I missed out on a lot of play time trying to learn how to write them all down properly.
It didn’t get any better, because by the time I learned how to spell my name, I then had to learn how to write it in cursive. Have you seen an uppercase T in cursive? It’s a beast. Look at it…it’s full of swirls and doodly doos and pen swipes and a bunch of different changes in pen directions. Uppercase cursive T was a bitch to learn, and I hated writing it, but for my entire 4th grade year I had to write it dozens of times a day. I couldn’t avoid it, it was right there in my name. My other friends without a name that started with T only had to write it when using “the” at the start of a sentence. They all agreed, uppercase T’s are a son of a bitch to write. Somehow mine always ended up looking like a sailboat that was taking on water and sinking into a sea of despair. A conscientious child, my dismal T’s concerned me greatly and so I spent hours trying to write them in a more beautiful manner so I could get on the “Star Student Handwriting Board” with all my other 3-letter-starts-with-an-A named friends.
Guess how many times I ended up on the perfect penmanship board? Go ahead, guess. That’s right, bitches. Exactly none. None times. That’s when I learned hard work doesn’t really pay off and so I spent my 5th grade year slacking off on homework so I could watch The Muppet Show.
In middle and high school it stayed just as bad. There are no cute little nicknames for Tiffani, no sweet rhyming words. I longed to be named Nicole or some variant, just so I could shorten it to Nikki and be totally badass. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said, “with an “i”, not a “y” at the end” after telling someone my name, I’d estimate that the stack would line up end to end and circle the universe. And then as soon as you say something like that, people lose their minds and write whatever stupid shit they want. Like, if you break one common rule then logic flies out the window for any of it. I’ve seen my name written “Tyffani”, “Tiffini”, “Tyffyni”, etc. This is only aggravated with my following name, Michele. One “l”. How obnoxious is this: “My name is Tiffani Michele with an I at the end not a Y and one L.”
This leads to my final irritant about my name. It’s really presumptuously snobby. I have a cousin in law who also has the name Tiffany. Or, she used to. At the end of law school they had exit interviews and the interviewer also reviewed name connotations. Apparently the connotation for “Tiffany” was so bad, she changed it to her middle name Marie before starting off on her career in law. It’s not like Nikki…thats the kind of name for a girl that will play a game of catch with you while picnicking at the park wearing jeans and a tank top. Tiffani is the kind of name for a girl that is too busy to have any fun because she’s at the salon getting her hair and nails done. Maybe if I really was named Nikki, I’d be better at sports in general. But no Tiffani has ever been or ever will be good at manual labor or dexterity. There are no Tiffani’s in the olympics. We’re only actresses, apparently. We get by on our well groomed looks and frosty personality.
So, to sum up…reasons why my name aggravates me:
*No one ever sings songs about Tiffani, except when The Eagles sang “her mind was Tiffany twisted…” in Hotel California and what the fuck does that mean? I’m snobby and crazy?
*It’s hard to write poems to me because of that whole non rhyming thing.
*It’s laborious to write my name because of the 7 motherfucking letters in it.
*It’s hard to write it and have it look pretty.
My sister hated her name and changed it in her 37th year. My 8 year old just asked me why I didn’t name her Eagle Nebula, so she might be changing her name at some point in the future, too. Me? I think I’ll stick with mine. Yeah it’s a pain in the ass, but it’s so much a part of me I think I’d miss it when no one said it anymore.
But I’ll still always have a part of me that wishes I was a Nikki.