A ‘Proper’ Name

My name is Sandy. It’s not Sandra, Alexandra or Cassandra. It’s Sandy. With a Y.

Warning: This may be a bit ranty.

It annoys me when people call me Sandra. Especially when it’s work related. It blows my mind how nowhere on my website does it say my name is Sandra, yet I still get pitches all the time addressed to Sandra. My signature in my email is Sandy Pedrogao, so why would you reply with, “Hi Sandra”? Do your homework before you hit send peeps! Doesn’t everyone follow the “never assume because that makes an ASS out of U and ME” code?

I was born in 1975… sadly, I was not a teenager then. That would have been way more fun than the 90s. I digress… I was born in 1975. My Portuguese immigrant parents wanted me to have a “Canadian” name (whatever that means). I guess that’s why they didn’t give me a middle name or name me after anybody. My name doesn’t include Maria and I don’t have an ethnic name. It’s short and sweet…

What I didn’t find out until my teens is that my older sister is the one who was given the honour of naming me. She was seven at the time. My lovely parents decided to hand over the incredibly important task of naming their beautiful ahem, ahem newborn daughter to their seven year old. Who, might I add, was probably cheesed at the fact that she got a baby sister instead of the baby brother everyone told her she was getting. You see, my mom’s doc assured her that she was having a boy… I really don’t know how he did that seeing as I’m pretty sure my mom didn’t get an ultrasound to determine the sex of her baby back in 1974. There I go again…

At the start of my relationship with my husband (who has a Cypriot Greek background) my father in law couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that I didn’t have a ‘proper’ name.

‘Proper’ being that there isn’t a Saint named Sandy (I have high hopes that this will change during my lifetime). It turns out that Greek Orthodox (and other cultures/religions) routinely name their children after saints. I believe that the fact that I don’t have a saint name was perplexing to my father in law. He probably still thinks it’s a pity that I got such a raw deal.

Fact: If I had married my husband in a Greek Orthodox Church the priest would actually have had to give me a ‘proper’ name. Yes, I would essentially have to be renamed and be a Sandy no more.

This brings me to a funny conversation I had with a Greek family member this summer. She was so insistent on me having a ‘real’ name that she decided that I should be called Kyriaki. Which actually means Sunday in Greek… Sunday, Sandy, Kyriaki, Jesus… Whatever right? Although on the plus side, it would mean my name day is every Sunday.

I find all of that hilarious and a tad bit insulting. My name is important. I am important. I don’t want to have to change that to please anyone. It may be true that my sister actually named me after a dog in a children’s book, but what do you expect? She was seven.

Thank you Teresa Monica! (My sister got a saint name and a middle name!) Great naming job you did because I like being Sandy! I like that you may not know if I’m male or female… I like that I’m not a Sandra, an Alexandra or a Cassandra. I also like that I describe beautiful beaches…

All jokes aside, names are such an important part or our identity. I put some serious thought and time into the naming of my babies. What do you think of your name? How much time did/will you invest in naming your baby?

  • Daisy

    My dad told my mom Canadians didn’t have middle names. So are the kids named Apple or a new name which combines their parents’ names etc, not count?

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know. What about that person who named their kid Hashtag?

  • Teresa

    I like that you’re a Sandy too.  I liked the name then and I like it now.

    • Anonymous

      Well… at least you like it and weren’t being mean. hahahaha

  • Duque20

    I read your articles all the time and it’s funny how similar we are.  I am also a Sandy, and Portuguese.  I was born in ’79, but my parents named me for the same reason yours did.  Most of my siblings got second names and I got jipped on that too! lol

    We are on the same page with calling me by my proper name.  I HATE it when people call me Sandra, assuming that’s my name.  Or people who ask me how to spell my name???

    Nice to know I’m not the only Sandy out there with this issue. 

  • Chris

    I get irked when people assume my name is Christine or Christina and even had an elementary school teacher call me ‘Christina’ all year insisting that ‘Christie’ (my actual name) was just a nickname… I think its part of the reason I detest my name.  I go by Chris now as that makes the possibilities for my “proper” name too many for (most but some still do assume) to guess at (and I like how in the digital world I could be female or male).
    We spent the entire pregnancy thinking of names for our son (and then 6 extra days), never announced to anyone in advance, but still had people question our name choice after it was announced.  It’s not even an outrageous choice!  People need to learn more respect when it comes to dealing with others’ names.

  • Sanciab

    my name is Sancia, try getting people to pronounce that.  We named our daughter Lilli and my aunt used to send her mail marked Lillian.

  • Shannon

    loved the article. Reminds me of my own story, expect my name is Shannon (middle name Megan) but people seem to prefer calling me Janet (Shan, Jan… I guess you might be able to confuse these??)
    My sister is 17 years older than me and she was the one who named me. Picked my name out of a name book. Several years ago she showed me the book with all the choices she made.. April, Jasmine, Shannon. Glad she settled on Shannon. Even though people look at me funny when they see an Asain girl show up with 2 Irish names. *shurgs* that’s my name and I like it!

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