As most of you know (I hope), my name is Shanna. That is pronounced Shhhh-anna for those who need a little assistance. I have been in a long-term love/hate relationship with my name since Kindergarten. It’s unusual. In fact, I still ask my parents regularly why they chose it. I’m named after my paternal Grandfather, Solomon, who passed away ten months before I was born. My Grandmother used to call me “her miracle” when I was an infant. Now, it’s a miracle that she hasn’t killed me.
I digress. When I first meet people and introduce myself two things usually happen. First, they say “I’m sorry what’s your name.” I reply (even more slowly) SHANNA. Now is where things get interesting. My new acquaintance will either go the rest of the day/evening without actually using my name or will continuously mispronounce it. The most common pronunciations of my name are:
1. Shauna. That’s Shawn-a. Yuck. This is my least favorite.
2. Shana. That’s Shay-na. Not as bad, but still annoying. Oh and Shanna Moakler pronouncing her name as Shay-na hasn’t helped on bit.
3. Shannon. That’s Shan-on. I have no idea where these people get the extra syllable.
4. Sally. I kid you not. I used to work with someone who repeatedly called me Sally. It was ridiculous.
The people who think they are smooth just not using my name throughout our conversations do not know who they are dealing with. I am President of the “Commonly Mispronounced Name Society.” I see what you are doing. You’re not fooling anyone. This tactic is most prevalent among the male sect. Do not hesitate to ask me how to pronounce my name. I will gladly tell you (a second, third, or even fourth time if you’re cute).
What I hate is not being addressed by name. I have gone entire weekends in Fire Island with boys I am sharing a house with not saying my name. It can’t be that they miraculously remember the other four girls names, but simply have no idea what mine is. It’s the fear of mispronouncing. I only know one other Shanna. We went to Middle School together and in a twist of fate, her locker was directly next to mine for a year. That was special.
My point is, please don’t be afraid to say my name. Not to get all Destiny’s Child, if you know what I mean.
Also, thanks a lot Mom and Dad!
Update: I forgot to discuss the love part of this relationship. It’s nice to be unique. And every once in a while after an introduction someone will say “that is a beautiful name.” I like that. It’s usually a much older person, but love is love, right?