“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.

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