Here at the HexMyEx office, your invaluable service to sort out your (once) loved ones, we have been analysing irrational fears, mainly based around ex’s names.
I, Agnes Mildew, have a morbid fear of the name Hazel, although I do like Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut still, and I adore Topic bars, which are teaming with these nuts. However, as a primary school child, a tough girl called Hazel used to hang around the local shops, coshing any youngster who looked at her in the wrong way. The fashion, at the time, was to wear a ‘flick’ in the hair (think Farah Fawcett Majors) and Hazel would stand at the bus stop with a curling brush tucked into her fringe on a permanent basis. Added to this, her mouth moved in perpetual motion, chewing an ever-hardening lump of Wrigley’s, which added to our opinion that she was a total cow. She would frequent the off license at night, purchasing single cigarettes. As pseudo Scousers, we would call these ‘Loosies’. If we had an extra 2p, we would also purchase a single match…hence the expression, ‘A loosie and a match, please’. None of us were surprised when she fell pregnant at age 16 and her first daughter was called Lucy. Her second, following a year later was called Anna. We expected the third child to be called ‘Match’.
I also intensely dislike the name Heather, as it reminds me of a ginger-haired girl from secondary school who appeared to have an incontinence problem. However, she had two really hard older sisters called, of all things, Zilla and Zelda (we called Zilla, Godzilla, when she was out of earshot.). Zilla and Zelda were both very dark girls and thus rarely got singled out for any skitting. But as Heather was a red-head, she got lots of carrot-top name calling. I generally kept out of it, being an ardent pacifist and a champion cross-country runner, and so I tended not to get beaten up by Zilla & Zelda, but Heather was a smelly snitch and when I innocently commented about the pong in the library one day, she had me pulverised. I will not purchase lucky Heather from any gypsies, so please do not call at my door.
Ken is a very unfortunate name, too, in my book, although I do not have a morbid fear of it. I once had the misfortune of dating a Ken whose pathetically plaintive declarations of love left me cold. He was considerably older than me and as a nubile 30-something, he probably pinched himself every morning, despite me being on the hefty, brutish side at the time. Even in my raddled state every morning, feeling like death warmed up, I would look about 18 next to him.
Many moons ago, I was visiting a Health Clinic (as a world famous psychotherapist) and happened upon a 16 year old shouting for her daughter. As my hearing is not too great, I thought the young girl was shouting, Abby, Abby…As my ears attuned to the West Country accent, and the nurse came out to call the child’s name (no, not the mother, despite her youth), I realised it was Ebby, short for Ebony. The child was portly, blonde, rosie-cheeked and blue-eyed. The complete antithesis of an Ebony. Why do people do this to their children?
India, Sienna, Paris, Brittany, Preston, Dale, Devon etc…place names that rarely reflect the child’s very unexotic upbringing in a council estate in Runcorn. If you’re going to call a child after a place name, why not consider Blubberhouses if it is chubby; Lampeter if it looks a bit belligerent or Mouldsworth if it soils its nappy more than three times an hour. Farquhar was almost called Mouldsworth, but Oswald and I realised that saddling a child with the name Mouldsworth Mildew was grossly unfair. At least Farquhar has some dignity…
So, if you are really stuck, what about John for a girl and Susan for a boy?