Thursday, January 21, 2010

What's In A Name?

I'm almost sick of answering this one, but I guess if you're going to walk around with a name like Jenny Swallows, you have to expect a few questions. So let's get them out of the way now.

It's my real name. My father was a Swallows and his dad before him. His grandfather as well. And so on. It's not that strange a name, either; I once did a few telephone number look-ups on line and there's families of Swallows all over the country. And I expect they get the same looks and laughs as I do.

It started when I entered High School, of course, because that's the age that boys (and some girls) are when they first start wondering about such things. I was oblivious at first, I really did think they were simply making a remark about my eating habits. Does jenny swallow? Of course she does, she'd starve otherwise. But then I noticed a sexual subtext creeping in, and somewhere down the line, I figured it out. And shortly after I started college, I discovered it was true. I do.

I was used to the jokes by then; now if anyone asked, I'd either laugh (if I liked them), scowl if I didn't) or invite them to find out (if I really liked them). Which doesn't mean I then spent my entire college life imbibing the salty nectar. Just that I learned very early on that some girls do but most girls don't, and most boys... and men... spend their entire lives searching for one of the former. Or so the messages I get from my Facebook "friends" would suggest.

So I tell them what I tell everyone. If I didn't like my real name, I'd have changed it long ago. The trouble is, Jenny Spitsandpullsaface just doesn't look so good on my library card.

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