As Juliet once said (via Shakespeare’s quill), “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.”
The Romeo and Juliet heroine is suggesting that it’s not the names of things that matter, it’s what they are that is important.
So is that true when it comes to a boyfriend or girlfriend’s name?
A friend recently told me about a guy she started seeing. He’s kind, smart, cute and treats her well. But when I asked what his name was, she hesitated.
“Bert,” she finally said with an expression that looked like she’d just bitten into a rotten apple.
“As in: ‘and Ernie’?”
To be honest, I did try to bite my tongue, but it seems as though the strongest muscle in the body had a mind of its own. However, it did get me thinking. Could you date someone whose name you disliked or found silly? Personally, I could never be sexual with someone whose name I associate with a children’s TV show, like Bert. Or Grover. Or Cookie Monster.
Lest you think I am strange or superficial, allow me present exhibit A, a quote from When Harry Met Sally:
Harry: No, no, you did not have great sex with Sheldon. 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 Sheldon.” Doesn’t work.
I suppose you could immediately start referring to him as babe or sweetie, but what do you do when introducing him to your friends? You could come up with a nickname for him: “Bert, did you know that a popular moniker for your name is Rick?” Or you could, upon learning his name, feign deafness and start using American Sign Language with him. Spelling out B-E-R-T doesn’t have the same cringe-worthy effect.
Or maybe, you could read Romeo and Juliet again and learn what love is all about.
[Five minutes later]
Ok, I read the rest of that passage and apparently Shakespeare and I are of the same mind. Juliet goes on to say:
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.
To which Romeo replies:
I take thee at thy word:
Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptized;
Henceforth I never will be Romeo.
Turns out my friend didn’t need to worry about his name, because he broke up with her. She is now dating someone named John. And that got me thinking: could you date someone whose name is slang for toilet…?