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July 12, 2012 2:21 PM Subscribe
In your subjective experience, would you say that you have been treated differently after going by a different name? How so? Tell me
posted by vivid postcard to Human Relations (41 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Let's just say that my name is Jeanne Odette Harvey. I've always, since birth, introduced myself as, and responded to, Jeanne. No nicknames, since my name doesn't lend itself to any, no pseudonyms, no cutesy aliases - just Jeanne. I've always been very curious to see what would happen if I were to start going by Odette. Would people treat me differently? Would my subjective experience of my relationships, new and old, change? Would there be some undeniable, concrete shift in how others treated me? I thought about introducing myself as Odette to the new people I meet, but never got around to it, because I thought it might become confusing (with half my acquaintances knowing me as Jeanne Harvey, and half as Odette Harvey). But it's still an issue that, for whatever idiosyncratic reason, intrigues me.
Have you ever gone by one name much of your adult life, then switched to another (in a situation analogous to the one above)? If so, could you answer the following questions:
1. Would you say that, in your experience, people treated you differently based upon which name you used? How so? What did that difference look like?
2. If you do feel that you were treated differently, what do you think explains it? I already have some friends and relatives who switched over to shorter names, or adopted names, to avoid the hassle of dealing with the omg your name is so unique and foreign and hard to spell! set, but I am interested in hearing all explanations, for all situations.
3. Did you experience some difference, but feel that it something grounded in your subjective experience, or in how you interacted with the world under you new name? How so?
4. Do you think I should just go ahead with my little experiment, giving poor, unused Odette a chance to shine in the sun? Or will going by two names with two different sets of people be too convoluted and, frankly, weird?
Thanks; this questions seems a bit random, and possibly a tad frivolous, but is one that I've thought about off-and-on for a while (though never acted on). I'm totally cool with hearing whether you've experienced different reactions after a change to a last name (such as after marriage), but, truthfully, I am more interested in hearing about first name changes and the differences experienced. Or not. It's all good, though.