Would You Not Date Someone Because They Had An ‘Ugly’ Name?

“When I found out his name was Ronald, I realized I couldn’t go out on the date with him. It’s such a bad name!”

This is an actual statement that a friend of mine said to me last night. She, who is actually looking to get married with fervor that is usually unheard of, was at a bar last night and started talking to a “relatively attractive guy, but not our type of attractive, if you know what I mean,” and things were going quite. They laughed, they realized they both read McSweeney’s obsessively and they both work in the same industry. Things were great! So she asked him out for drinks later this week. He accepted, then they continued their chat.

Before she left she realized they had not exchanged names. She apologized for having missed that crucial point, said her name then was told his: Ronald. To quote her: “Who names their son Ronald unless they hate him?” No truer words have ever been uttered, but we can probably say that about a lot of names. Normally being the one who totally supports any jackass decisions like not dating someone because of their name, I couldn’t give her that. It’s something about all the sun, the dry heat and the fact that I’ve been running everyday that has done some fucked up shit to my personality and my usual callousness appears to be on hiatus. I told her she was being dumb, superficial and fucking up her chance at possible happiness since she’s so dead set on getting married within the next 500 days. My rationality went ignored and she deleted his number.

But what really is in a name? I know that I’ve never met a Heather I’ve liked. I usually steer clear of people named Amanda or Mandy because I feel like I’m talking to myself. I dated a Warren, and despised his name so much that I referred to him as “W” — in fact, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever written it. Even Tattoo Guy’s name, who is half Italian and half African American, has an extremely ethnic name that I just couldn’t bring myself to say. It was too much of a mouthful (that’s what she said!), that I actually usually call him “Tattoo Guy” even to his face. And the nickname that his friends and family called him “Ang” just didn’t work out so well for me, because it reminded me of Angel Perkins from high school. So while I didn’t make a date with some guy named Ronald that I plan to cancel as my friend is about to do, I definitely have an issue with certain names. How does one call out Ronald mid-climax, if calling out names is your thing? Is Ronnie any better? Donald? Ricky? Ray? Crystal-Anne? We can’t all be named Amanda or Christopher or James or Jennifer or Kate.

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

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    • L

      “She, who is actually looking to get married with fervor that is usually unheard of”

      really? in that case, she’s a dumbass. sorry. for her sake, i hope she didnt miss out on a great guy!

    • samwise

      my friend was seeing kinda a guy names stu. STU?!?!?!?
      Stewart? terrible.
      All I could think was ‘his name is stuballs.’ Life and time of Tim ISN’T EVEN A GOOD SHOW!
      Last time I was thinking about someone who’s name I didn’t know, I found myself to remark:
      GOD I hope his name isnt Stu. Stuballs.
      It kind of makes a difference!!!
      Sometimes people grow towards their name, it’s not totally superficial.

      • Spastastic

        I immediately thought of Disco Stu.

    • Lo

      I am heavily biased toward certain names, so it’s at least a bit true for me. However, I don’t like my given name, so I can’t really point any fingers. Maybe someday I’ll change it to Sparklepants McAwesome, and insist that it be yelled out during sex.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Oh, please please please do! That would be AMAZING.

    • Jenn

      I dated a guy named Ronald, but he went by Ron. So it’s all good. I also dated a guy whose name looks like it should be a girl’s name. But the weirdest was the guy with the same name as my dad. Luckily, they went by different nicknames, but at a certain point, I was tempted to trot out the line from The Importance of Being Earnest: “Your Christian [name is] still an insuperable barrier.”

    • NotThumper

      I once dated a guy whose last name was MacDonald. Come to find out he had been going by his middle name rather than his legal first name, which was Ronald. Ronald MacDonald.

      I kid you not. I wish I was. Now you understand why the poor kid went by his middle name.

      I don’t really take issue with either name on its own but together? What were his parent’s thinking?!

      Luckily I was a kid then because honestly I don’t think I could have married a man named Ronald MacDonald.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Perfect example of parents hating their kid!

      • NotThumper

        OMG Amanda! I was just surfing another website (omg-facts.com) and there’s a story titled Ronald MacDonald robs Wendy’s. I clicked the link thinking it could not possibly be the same guy I dated once as a young teen…but OMFG it was!!! Here’s the source link for the news story…it’s from 2005.

      • Amanda Chatel

        SHUT THE FUCK UP! And in Manch-Vegas, NH of all places!

        Did we already cover that you’re a New Englander, too? Or were you just lucky enough to date a really AWESOME New Englander?

      • NotThumper

        I know right?! Considering the age of the story what are the freakin’ odds that it would run today? I almost died when I saw it and I swear, my first thought was “must tell Amanda”!
        Yes, I am a New Englander, outside of Boston though, not NH.

        Also, this exchange might be my favorite thread of comments EVER and I think I’ll screenshot it for posterity. ;)

      • Amanda Chatel

        Ha! Yes, please screenshot it! Also, I was born in Beverly, FYI.

      • NotThumper

        I am currently living in Peabody, my daughter was born in Beverly hospital. ;)

      • Amanda Chatel

        Beverly hospital like me! Well well… maybe you’ll get lucky and she’ll end up just. like. me.

        I was going to give a shout out to Putnam Pantry, but according my sister it’s not in Peabody, but Danvers instead. Oh well.

      • NotThumper

        Well from what I have seen from your writings you don’t seem too dissimilar to me so if my daughter turns out like either one of us I think I’ll be ok with that. At the very least she’ll be strong. ;)

        Yes, Putnam is in Danvers but it still deserves a shout out, not too many places like that still exist.

      • Lemona

        That means Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar are THE SAME PERSON. Thank you, NotThumper –you’ve done more for me than you can possibly know.

      • NotThumper

        @ Lemona

        Glad I could be of service ;)

      • Sarah!

        Hi, I live in Concord! I work in Manchester.

      • Amanda Chatel

        Shout out to Sarah! hard at work in Manch-Vegas right now! I’ll meet you at the Olive Garden the next time I’m in Londonderry.

        I feel like a DJ.

    • Spastastic

      Ronald would be okay with me if he went by Ron, because I am a Harry Potter nerd.

      I used to always associate the name Spencer with my dad’s friend of that name — good guy, but not exactly someone I’d want to date (it’s weird to even type that). Then I got a MASSIVE crush (which didn’t go anywhere) on a guy named Spenser (spelled with an s). So now I’m totally cool with that name.

      (Also, it’s the name of Dr. Reid on Criminal Minds.)

    • Donald Donaldson

      There are so many names worse than Ronald.

    • Pippa

      It’s horrible to admit but my boyfriend and my middle brother are both called Tim- it’s been 5 years so it’s almost normal now…but can lead to some VERY confusing conversations!

      There are names that I would definitely not call my children, but none that I think that would stop me from dating someone. One of my friends started dating a guy named Chris Brown around the same time as the other Chris Brown beat Rihanna… but our Chris Brown is super lovely and in no way misogynistic which is nice.

    • Alexandra

      I really enjoyed reading this article for many reasons! First, my grandfather’s name is Ronald, goes by Ronnie. Then my childhood best friend’s name is Heather. But I can’t say anything I’m very biases towards names as well. The last three guys I dated back to back were all J names (Justin, Joshua and James) and I’m currently single! After the third failed relationship with James, I decided I most be allergic to all males with J names! Haha!

      • Alexandra

        **Must be allergic

    • holleeta

      I don’t know. I’m torn. My high school heartbreak was named Larry. I never liked that name so I called him “L” . My next boyfriend was Damon and I’ve been in love with that name ever since. I’ve also dated a Joseph and either called him by the nickname I made for him “Grizz” or Joseph, but NEVER Joe.

      I think the last name is more important than the first name, especially if you want to marry this person and take their name. My longest boyfriend was a Scientologist who I dated for four years and his last name was McDonald. I could never marry him for both of those reasons. I just couldn’t imagine being called “Holly McDonald”…

      I think your friend did something stupid that she may regret down the road. Ronald isn’t TERRIBLE name. She could’ve called him by his last name or made a nickname for him.

      • JenniWren

        To be fair, if he hadn’t been a Scientologist you could just have kept your name ;-)

    • M

      I was on and off with this guy Rick for years; we’re still friends. I was doing some part-time work for his start-up to help him out earlier this year and learned, after knowing him for about seven years, that Richard is his middle name. His real first name? Sheldon.

      I have to say, if I’d known that right off the bat it may have colored my impression of him. Because SHELDON.

      But the true implication didn’t sink in until about six hours after I found out. I was sitting in bed puttering around on my laptop when suddenly I shot bolt upright and literally yelled out loud ‘OH MY GOD I HAD SEX WITH A SHELDON.’

      • Amanda Chatel

        I immediately thought of this scene from When Harry Met Sally the very second your comment popped up in my email (granted, I had to head to IMDB to get it straight):

        Harry Burns: Shel? Sheldon? No, no, you did not have great sex with Sheldon.

        Sally Albright: I did too.

        Harry Burns: No you didn’t. A Sheldon can do your income taxes, if you need a root canal, Sheldon’s your man… but humpin’ and pumpin’ is not Sheldon’s strong suit. It’s the name. ‘Do it to me Sheldon, you’re an animal Sheldon, ride me big Shel-don.’ Doesn’t work.

      • M

        There’s some truth to it though. On the plus side, it did help alleviate some of my boyfriend’s paranoia about our continuing friendship. Because nobody is sexually threatened by a Sheldon.

    • Amy

      I wouldn’t not date someone because of their name, but I would probably call them something else. For instance, I was regularly hooking up with a guy who has the same first name as my brother and I immediately changed it for him because I cannot, in good conscience, moan that name in a sexual manner. Ickballs.

      I lied earlier because I did decline a coffee date offer from a man whose name is Pierre St. Pierre. First of all: Pierre?! Ugh. Second of all: the same first name and last name is just cruel. I didn’t really lie though because I mostly declined the date as a result of his ugliness.

    • Lisa

      I am a judgmental asshole. I have disliked my BIL since I found out he is named Ron. He could have redeemed himself, probably, if he didn’t also conduct himself like a Ronald.

      In a dream a few nights ago I dreamt my boyfriend, Dave, told me his name was Jason. I said, “Cool, but I’m never going to call you that.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that name, but I always thought Dave and Adam were the best man names.

    • JenniWren

      I think this is dumb, but no dumber than only dating people of a certain hair color or rejecting someone because they’re too short. I just think love doesn’t go by types- someone you might not expect to be attracted to can be someone who changes your life. I just can’t imagine meeting a guy, finding him attractive, and then not pursuing him because of something quite minor like that. Obviously, it might be something you might not be able to forget about, and then you’d end up thinking about it all the time- but she’ll never know now.

    • Lisa

      A few years ago, I was really into this guy I worked with and we fooled around sometimes, but I never would’ve dated him because his name was Walter. WALTER. It’s an old man’s name! I also briefly dated a guy named Ashton and I found it an okay name but a friend of mine laughed every time I said his name. Weirdo. I know it’s silly to judge people on their names, considering they have no control over it, but I’ve never met a Heather I liked, either!

    • isabelle

      My (now ex) boyfriend shared a name with two of my uncles, my best friend from childhood, and my brother in law. Almost backed out of that one.

    • Nadia

      Oh my god,im 15 and i have been scared of having this happen to me for years on end. I am a girl and my mother named me Aidan back in 1997 when it wasnt even that popular, the name was even considered unisex. But, nowadays, Aidan has been clearly, established as a name for a male and now I feel like no guy would ever want to date me because my name is Aidan. Its gotten so heartbreaking to the point of when Im outside of school and guys ask me my name I say “Nadia”, because its a girl’s name, its much prettier, and its Aidan spelled backwards…

    • Nadia

      Oh my god,im 15 and i have been scared of having this happen to me for years on end. I am a girl and my mother named me Aidan back in 1997 when it wasnt even that popular, the name was even considered unisex. But, nowadays, Aidan has been clearly, established as a name for a male and now I feel like no guy would ever want to date me because my name is Aidan. Its gotten so heartbreaking to the point of when Im outside of school and guys ask me my name I say “Nadia”, because its a girl’s name, its much prettier, and its Aidan spelled backwards…