Join 3,430 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Deciding on a new name for myself
January 4, 2014 8:30 PM   Subscribe

I am female, I go by like 10 different names (and respond quite well to all of them). I never really had one name as a result. I have reasons for changing from my birth name, including that there are porn stars with the same name online lol!

The names I use the most include:
Engel/Angel
Sades/Sadie/Mercedes. I've been using all three for over 8 years.

I am not looking exactly for a "real" surname with lineages, nor will I look to my grandparents to see what other surnames there were, but I just want something that won't make people think "is this made up?"
For example, I wouldn't like something like Smith or Goodman, but I like something like Fields, Northfield, or Brook. I am also fine using one of my used names as a surname, such as Mercedes. I feel like that may obviously sound made up though!

My concern is that hopefully my names aren't too weird, nor would give people the wrong impression (names do matter unfortunately). Hopefully these names also make good business names.
I've been thinking of these combos but I was wondering what you all thought:

Angel Mercedes (trashy? sounds made up?)
Engel Sades
Engel Fields (Engel Mercedes Fields?).. I think I would sound like some botanic garden if it was Angel Fields.
Sadie Fields (or Sadie Northfield, similar to the village I was raised)
and so on.. you can suggest a combo if you like.

I want to fit the Angel/Engel in whether as first or middle, not too sure about what for the surname though. Even though my friends have no problem with Sades or Sadie, I get told that Mercedes is a trashy name because it's associated with the car brand that tacky folks name their daughters after (I think Mercedes is a beautiful name though).

But yes, please throw in your opinion!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (70 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I think Mercedes is a nice name, but I wouldn't pair it with Angel. If you go with Mercedes definitely go with Engel.

Personally I really like Sadie Fields. I think Mercedes Engel Fields is also nice.

I agree with you concerns about Angel Mercedes.

I'm coming at this from the perspective of how would it look on a resume, which may be an overly dry approach to something very personal.
posted by whoaali at 8:40 PM on January 4


I like Sadie Northfield a lot.
posted by Quilford at 8:41 PM on January 4 [16 favorites]


Mercedes seems salvageable if you pair it with a fairly stodgy last name; Mercedes Fields actually works pretty well. Sadie Fields is normal, but boring and colorless. Northfield sounds made up as a surname, to my ear, but if you wanted a similarly landscape-y, geographical feel to it, you could maybe go with Sadie Norbrook or Sadie Bradfield, both of which sound pretty and professional imho.

Sades, unfortunately, evokes de Sade. Angel is trashy, Engel sounds unpleasantly Teutonic and abrasive for a woman's first name.

Also, you might try cross-posting this question on the forums at Baby's Named a Bad Bad Thing. Lots of people there who spend a lot of time thinking about names and how they sound.
posted by Bardolph at 8:44 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


I quite like Sadie Engel.
posted by lalex at 8:44 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


I like Mercedes Northfield. I read in a book on writing once that the best character first name/last names are off by one syllable from each other.
posted by spunweb at 8:45 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


(Also, IDK if this influences you, but IME when people say names are trashy/tacky, they mean they're ethnic. I PERSONALLY would not consider that a major factor in renaming myself bc that's covert racism.)
posted by spunweb at 8:48 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


spunweb - I think there are absolutely times when it's a race issue, but I think more than that it's a classist issue. My own family has put forth some lovely people with some truly horrible monikers that I wouldn't be at all surprised to see on a strip club marquee. Just sayin'.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:54 PM on January 4


You could go with Mercy (Mercy Engel Fields) instead of Mercedes, though Mercy Angel would be a bit much.
posted by 445supermag at 9:04 PM on January 4


If it were me, I'd flip them around: Mercedes Engel.

The only caveat is the name would sound very German, but if that doesn't bother you, it should work. Engel is a legitimate (not made-up last name), and Mercedes is a real first name.

Combining and translating them, your name would mean something like Mercy Angel, which may or may not fit your perception of who you are/who you want to be.
posted by sardonyx at 9:04 PM on January 4 [7 favorites]


I think the name Engel makes a nice last name that doesn't sound fakey/stagey/porny at all.

Congratulations, your name is Mercedes Engel!

Sadie and Sades are nicknames. Keep them that way.

I don't think Mercedes is a "trashy" name at all. It's a perfectly ordinary Spanish first name. I mean, Mercedes Angel Brook sounds fake, and thus like a porn or stripper name. But give Mercedes an ordinary last name and you're left with a totally appropriate name. And, again, you've got a selection of good nicknames people already call you by.
posted by Sara C. at 9:08 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


Sadie Mercedes.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:09 PM on January 4


Also, keep in mind that any name you choose, people are going to find a way to pass judgment on it. I was randomly browsing the web the other day and somebody referred to my name, Sara, as "obviously a white girl name" (in a really dismissive sort of way). Wow. I didn't know I had the ultimate white girl name. I've never felt particularly shitty about my name, but in that moment, suddenly I did. Even though Sara is a perfectly nice name, and I am a white girl, and who cares?

There's going to be somebody out there who thinks that any name you could possibly choose is trashy or pretentious, too ethnic or too trying-to-be-white, to trendy or too old-fashioned, or really any opinion that any person could have about such things.
posted by Sara C. at 9:14 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


Oh, I think Sadie is perfectly lovely as an independent name, and there's some history there.
posted by lalex at 9:16 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


You have some lovely options here! Personally, I like Sadie Engel Fields, or Sadie Engel, or Sadie Fields. So, clearly, I'm pro-Sadie for the first name. :) As for the rest, any of those will pair beautifully with Sadie. Sadie Engel Brook perhaps? I'm steering away from Mercedes partially because I think pop culture has created a lot of negative connotations with the name, but also I just think Sadie is pretty and unique.

One of these is bound to feel more "you." I'd experiment with introducing yourself to people and see what feels most "you" or "natural." Don't do this with people you'll probably encounter again, mind you, but this is something you can easily do with those one off introductions. You'll figure out pretty quickly what feels right. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 9:27 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


FYI, Mercedes was a first name before the car company existed. It's a Spanish name and means mercy. One of the founders of Daimler-Benz had a daughter named Mercedes and insisted that the cars be named after her. So use Mercedes if you want and tell your friends to bone up on their history.
posted by nooneyouknow at 9:30 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


If you're going with Engel, but want it to be pronounced like Angel, (I'm assuming you are because those are paired) be prepared for a lifetime of people pronouncing it wrong. And, in my blunt opinion, if I saw Engel and pronounced it the most common way (like pringle), and someone told me "No, it's prnounced Angel" I would totally think they were making it up to sound cool, in a 12-year-old sort of way.
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:30 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


I've never heard the name Engel pronounced any other way than with a hard G. I don't think most people would say "en-jel" – would they?

("Sadie Engel" sounds totally Jewish, which you haven't mentioned being a factor. It's just that if you're not Jewish, you'd occasionally run into people assuming you were.)
posted by zadcat at 9:43 PM on January 4 [8 favorites]


Mercedes Engel Fields.
posted by heyjude at 9:44 PM on January 4


Ugh, I am sorry you have run into such name grief! I think both are beautiful names, and either I am dense and don't get the trashy reference (I even googled a few combos!), or you're running into a bunch of people who haven't experienced or accepted other cultures yet. Anyway, that aside, I vote for Mercedes Engel, with Sadie as a nickname. But, agreed that people will likely pronounce it "ingall" or "ENG-el" and ask if you are German.

Also, if it makes you feel any better, in high school a friend once introduced herself as Alexis and bro at the shore was all, "dude, your parents named you after a car?"
posted by NikitaNikita at 9:47 PM on January 4 [6 favorites]


Sadie Engel is a great name, and there's no need to restrict Sadie to the nickname-only category. However, I would never in a million years see Engel and pronounce it "En-jel," though, so if it's important for you that there's no ambiguity regarding the pronunciation, you may have to consider a different spelling. Engell, maybe?

Also I agree that "Sadie Engel" may very likely trigger the assumption that you're Jewish, so that's something to keep in mind regarding your desire for an ethically neutral name.
posted by scody at 9:50 PM on January 4


I'm with zadcat. I've never heard it pronounced En-jel. It should be a hard G.
posted by sardonyx at 9:50 PM on January 4 [7 favorites]


Ah, sorry. Typed that before seeing your follow up comment! I would go with Sadie then.
posted by NikitaNikita at 9:52 PM on January 4


FYI, Mercedes was a first name before the car company existed.

True. But people then started using the names for aspirational purposes, who were then savaged by classicists and racists.

A chunk of the population, including some slightly bigoted hiring managers, will regard it as a "trashy" name for a non-Latina, even if individual posters here do not.

I like Sadie Engel Fields. Including as a legal name.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:52 PM on January 4


So much of this depends on your general mien - think of it like wearing clothes. Some names are the frilly fifties prom dress, some are the minimalist charcoal silk-satin opera coat. I personally could wear a minimalist silk-satin opera coat and look great, but I'd look really stupid in a frilly prom dress. I could be a Minerva (a relative for whom I was almost named) but would have trouble being a Maggie (another one).

"Angel Mercedes" seems like a name where you'd need some presence and gravitas to really make it work - consider being at a job interview where people associate "Angel" with the children of evangelicals and "Mercedes" with people who name their kids after expensive objects. If you're cute or demure, I think it's going to be hard to deal with that name; if you have a lot of presence, it will sound unusual and fancy. But bear in mind that it also sounds Christian.

Sades will confuse people - it sounds like a high school nickname, like the Marquis de Sade and a bit like "sad", plus if people read it first, they will wonder if it should be pronounced like the singer.

Absent some strong family reason, I would not use "Engel" as a first name. For at least some people (like me) we'll be thinking "Marx and...?" Also, it is so different from existing first names that it will sound a bit affected.

"Engel Sades" sounds made up, honestly.

I'm a bit in favor of "Angel Mercedes" myself. It has some drawbacks (tackiness potential, Christianity) but it is euphonious. All the names you suggest have a slightly "made up"/storybook quality to them, but "Angel Mercedes" seems like the kind of storybook name that people actually might have. "Angel Mercedes, the architect"; "Angel Mercedes, PhD"; "Angel Mercedes, CPA"; "Angel Mercedes ran for City Council on the Green ticket"; "Angel Mercedes, spokesperson for Occupy Homes"...or you could get your law degree and become "Justice Mercedes, a proponent of a restorative justice approach" and that would be a kick. I think it's the fact that "Angel" and "Mercedes" are both a little bit over the top, so together they seem intentional rather than just a naive selection.
posted by Frowner at 9:53 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


The issue I have with Angel is that it's a verb, like "tree".

I'm not sure I understand?
posted by Justinian at 9:56 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


I'd have to look up "Angel" to even be aware how it could be used as a verb, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Most people won't see it as being a verb.
posted by yohko at 9:56 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


(Just idly - if you actually have all this on a resume, you'll run into some problems if your references know you under your old name and if your legal documents don't match your resume. The greater the difference between what you go by now and what you used to use, the more difficult this will all be, particularly with a legal last name that differs from your resume. My legal name differs slightly from my everyday name, and it's a big nuisance. You might want to consider legally changing your name once you've settled on one.)
posted by Frowner at 10:02 PM on January 4


The thing with Sadie Engel reading as potentially Jewish (which is absolutely not a bad thing!) is that Sadie is a nickname for Sarah. Which, paired with a vaguely possibly Jewish last name could potentially lead someone to think that you might be Jewish.

Then again, people are going to read into your name and make assumptions about you regardless of what you use. Especially when you're choosing a last name for yourself, because a lot of people who care about such things will read a lot into what your last name is to make assumptions about your ethnicity, religion, nationality, etc. This is not something you can really escape if you plan to go by any surname that is not your birth name.
posted by Sara C. at 10:15 PM on January 4


I used to do the data entry for Barely Legal porn names. "Angel Mercedes" is in there, swear to God. Any time you take a cutesy female nickname and add it to a car? That's the kind of formula that leads other girls to their porn names.

German doesn't have a soft g — their "j" is pronounced like a "y." "Yungle" for "jungle."

Hence the famous Marx sidekick, Friedrich Engels.

"Sadie" is a totally normal name, and is more traditionally a nickname for "Sarah" than for "Mercedes." But yeah, Hebrew roots. Hebrew+German reads Jewish.

Also, the less you can change your name, the better chance you have of avoiding a weird artificial stumble.
posted by klangklangston at 10:19 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


Everyone I've met with Engel for a last name pronounced it with a hard G sound (not a j sound at all.) So Engel with your favored pronunciation would strike me as pretentious and juvenile. I feel bad for saying that but you wanted opinions!

I think both Mercedes and Sadie are lovely first names. To me, Mercedes has more gravitas; Sadie has more warmth. I don't really like any of the combos presented, they all seem fake-ish somehow. Like Sadie Fields is what you would name a character that is really supposed to be the actress Sally Field but you're covering it up.

There are many, many names related to nature and the outdoors. You could even taken a last name from someone famous for their love of the outdoors ... Muir, Goodall, Lewis, Clark, O'Keefe ... and then if people ask if you're related, you could quickly move the conversation to nature ...
posted by stowaway at 10:19 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


The reason to be aware of having a name that could be Jewish is IME (I mean, my name does not sound Jewish at all, but due to circumstances, I've been in situations where people have assumed I must be, so I've had to tell people that I'm not; also, this does not again IME have much to do with "looking Jewish") that Jewish people might feel awkward about it on finding out that you aren't - at least, that's been my impression when people have assumed I am. I have also been anxious to make it clear that if I am commenting on cultural or religious matters that touch on Judaism, I am not commenting as a Jew so that if I say something stupid no one will be like "and Frowner, who is Jewish, said [blah blah ignorant thing that I will use to justify my awful ideas]."And I think with some historically significant names it can seem a bit culturally insensitive for a non-Jewish person to use them. (Like, I have an intensely Scandinavian-gentile aunt whose name is Esther, like Queen Esther, and I always feel a little odd about that, since Esther is such an important figure.) I assume that if anti-Semites think your name "sounds Jewish", they'll discriminate, but any name that isn't "Chauncey Phillips White III" or something opens you up to discrimination on some valence.

In general for me as a white gentile of Northern European descent, the reason to steer away from "ethnic" names is much more about my own unwillingness to treat those names as exotic accessories when they actually have specific cultural and historical meanings. Just as I would not wear a sari or a kimono or a strongly ethnically marked garment [absent some pressing reason to wear one, such as participating in an Indian friend's wedding and being asked to wear a sari, or receiving one as a present from a friend of that heritage] I would hesitate to use a strongly ethnically marked name from another ethnicity unless I had an unusual reason to do so. With names it's a slightly greyer area, I think - I'm pretty sure my aunt was named for Esther because although Esther is a Jewish queen she is also a biblical heroine - but I would still want to tread lightly.

(I too am looking at changing my name, although it's slow going.)
posted by Frowner at 10:24 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Don't change your name based on what some dumb judgy friend of yours thinks.

Maybe instead of changing your name you need to change your friends.
posted by Sara C. at 10:59 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


Maybe if you told us a little more about your location or cultural backdrop, it would help. The assumption on Metafilter tends to be that we're talking to someone in an anglo-western location, so I suspect it's harder to triangulate on what's culturally neutral against a different background.

On another topic, so many anglo-western given names are Biblical in origin that nobody is necessarily going to assume a random Sarah or Rachel is Jewish. Pair it with a surname like Engel, though, and that ups the ante.
posted by zadcat at 11:05 PM on January 4


[OP, moderator here. Sorry, but Ask Metafilter isn't the place for a back and forth conversation. Just relax, read the responses and use whatever is helpful. You can answer specific questions and wrap it up in the end to let people know what you've decided, but this isn't a spot for ongoing discussion/processing.]
posted by taz at 11:05 PM on January 4


FWIW, the car was named after a girl, not the other way around. And it's a first name, not a surname. It would be very weird as a surname.

To me, Northfield doesn't cut it as a surname either. It seems to me too "Which soccer field are we playing on today?" to be a real surname.

Mercedes Brookfield?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:06 PM on January 4


I would shy away from Engel because as you can tell from comments here, it has a bit of an ambiguous pronunciation and people are going to have a really hard time spelling and pronouncing it.

I personally wouldn't go with Angel because I think it reads as overly Christian or new age-y.

I think Mercedes is a nice classic name. Mercedes Brooks? Mercedes Fields?
posted by radioamy at 11:19 PM on January 4


The French put an h after a g that normally would be softened before i or e to harden it. You could spell it Enghel.
posted by brujita at 12:16 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


You could also go with Mercedes Engel-Fields. (Perhaps with "Engel" being pronounced as "angle".) It sounds better, breaks up the consonant repeat that comes with having two names that end with S, and is rather distinguished sounding in my opinion.

You could also do Mercedes Engel-Evans, or for something totally different, alliteration, like Mercedes Martin. I say this as someone whose name is regularly butchered because rhythmically it's just off unless you mispronounce my first name, so I am really sensitive to pairing names by syllable so it all gels together better.

I could get behind calling you Miss Sadie Fields, though, with the Miss being a mandatory part of the first name. ;) That sounds super cute.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:37 AM on January 5


Mercedes Field is elegant but professional to my ears.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:49 AM on January 5


I would warn against having both first and last names be nouns. People will find some way to be irritating about it. Trust me.
posted by Quilford at 1:43 AM on January 5


What about Ingalls as a last name. A lot of people are fond of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls-Wilder.
"Hi, my name is Sarah Ingalls; just call me Sadie"
posted by sciencegeek at 4:44 AM on January 5


I think that the thing about Mercedes being fairly common in Spanish is that Spanish names on the whole sound less foreign than they used to. I think that if you pair it with the "Angel", people will make certain assumptions, but that if you're worried about how stodgier types will take it, "Mercedes NotSpanishSurname" is not going to raise very many eyebrows in this day and age. Most educated (or in other words, prone-to-be-judgmental) people are aware that the Mercedes car was named after a girl. Mercedes Lackey, Mercedes the character on Glee, it's not that weird. The name's got a Spanish origin but that's not the same as it being used exclusively by Spanish-speaking people.

I am totally all about just rolling with whatever feels good to you, but if you mind people thinking your name sounds made-up and making judgments about it class based on it, I'd avoid the Engel/Angel thing. Maybe borrow the surname of someone you happen to admire greatly? An artist, a poet, a historical figure, that sort of thing. Something that will give it some personal meaning to you.
posted by Sequence at 4:46 AM on January 5


Sades Engelhart
posted by plinth at 5:00 AM on January 5


I like Mercedes Fields (or Northfield); maybe you could make it Mercedes Angela Fields (or Northfield) --- Angela not Angel, because it somehow sounds a bit classier. Plus you could use either M. Angela Fields or Mercedes A. Fields and it still comes across as a good professional (i.e. not stripper-ish!) sort of name.
posted by easily confused at 5:39 AM on January 5


If it's the meaning of Angel that you like, how about Seraphina? You could opt for the variant of Sarafina and get to Sara and then Sadie that way if you want to use Sadie as a nickname.
posted by amarynth at 7:03 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Another vote for Mercedes. I know so many people with that name (of several different racial/ethnic backgrounds) that I don't even think about its association with the car anymore. Angel, however, is weird on a white girl IMO.

I wouldn't bat an eye at "Engel" with the hard G, but I'm from Wisconsin where everyone is German. If you want something else, you could take a look at, like, the 500 most common surnames and see what sounds nice. Mercedes Russell? Mercedes Jenkins? Evans, Thomas, Meier, Clark...
posted by goodbyewaffles at 7:05 AM on January 5


Working off the complaint that "Northfield" sounds made up, how about "Nuffield" (pronounced Nuh-field)? It's solid enough and boring enough to carry most names, but it has a bit of history behind it.

Personally, I quite like Sadie Nuffield, but (stealing from easily confused) I think Angela Nuffield has a good sound to it too.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 7:06 AM on January 5


> My current legal name is something that most people would look at, think "oh she must be x,y,z" and toss into the trash

If I saw the name "Mercedes" I would presume you were Latina. I don't know if that's one of the "x, y, z" that gets resumes thrown away where you live.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:00 AM on January 5


What about Anjelica Fields? To my ear at least it seems ethnically neutral, and it gives you lots of nickname options so you can continue to use either pronunciation of angel/ahn-gel.
posted by aspen1984 at 8:49 AM on January 5


Although Mercedes is a beautiful name, I would personally avoid it because of the brand association and if you're trying to find something that's ethnically neutral. My vote's for Sadie Fields.
posted by three_red_balloons at 9:23 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


IME when people say names are trashy/tacky, they mean they're ethnic. I PERSONALLY would not consider that a major factor in renaming myself bc that's covert racism

OP mentions they would like to use this name professionally - I think finding names that are not distinctive in a "other" fashion, is, sadly, still very important professionally. There was a recent article about how hiring personnel make choices about people within seconds of seeing their names/resumes - not even like 60 seconds, more like 10 seconds.

I have a perfectly conventional name and though I'm occasionally mildly jealous of people with very interesting sounding names, in naming children I absolutely tend towards a name that would not make them stand out to bullies on the playground or HR managers.

Go for something that sounds like it could be conventional. I think Mercedes or Sadie Field sounds wonderful, distinctive and interesting, and doesn't stray into that "eyebrow raised" realm.
posted by arnicae at 10:10 AM on January 5


The reason to be aware of having a name that could be Jewish is...

Outside of a few names that are simply rare outside of Jewish communities, I wouldn't worry about this too much. The use of Old Testament names has been ingrained in American culture since the Pilgrims. Certain "gentile" names in the northeast end up coding as Jewish simply because lots of Jewish families chose them because they wanted to assimilate. Then again, names like "Susanna/Susan/Susie/Sue" for most Americans sounds like an average, everyday name, but to a Russian it sounds like the most Jewish name that a woman could possibly have.

Most people will read "Engel" with a hard-g.

Angel Sades Lastname will work fine.
posted by deanc at 10:12 AM on January 5


Is there a reason you have to spell "En-jel" with a g? It sounds like you're more tied to the pronunciation than the spelling, so you could just switch it to Enjel or Enjell. Though then I'd probably make it a middle or last name and not the first.
posted by vegartanipla at 10:25 AM on January 5


Sadie Angell.
posted by mlle valentine at 10:42 AM on January 5


How about other nature-ey alternatives to "field"?

Mercedes Glen (or Glenn)
Sadie Glenn
Mercedes Dale
Sadie Hill
Mercedes Vale
Sadie Green
posted by mon-ma-tron at 11:42 AM on January 5


"The French put an h after a g that normally would be softened before i or e to harden it. You could spell it Enghel."

No, that would be an aspirated hard g, because it would still be assumed to be a German phoneme origin.

You could change the vowel sound with diacritical marks, but that's also more likely to result in misspellings. Engel is a dead end for a first name pronounced Ahnjel in English.
posted by klangklangston at 1:22 PM on January 5


I knew a girl named Sadie growing up; that always seemed like a cool and somewhat unusual name. I like it. As for last names, I like nom-ma-tron's suggestion to find a different nature-related last name. All the options you have otherwise sound either fake or cutesy.
posted by limeonaire at 1:46 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


Some nature-related European surnames that might sound good:

Sadie Sorcha
Sadie Zola
Sadie Morgan
Sadie Silva
Sadie Auster
Sadie Mason
Sadie Kane
posted by limeonaire at 2:00 PM on January 5


Angel reads to me as Hispanic (which, whatever) and male. What about Angela?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:06 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I am unfamiliar with Hill as a surname. Has it reminded anyone of Hank Hill

If it reminds you of Hank Hill (or Henry Hill), then obviously you are familiar with it as a surname.

What are your goals here? A lot of your thought process is really hard to understand.

Middle class Anglo/German/northern European surnames are occupational-- eg, Cook, Smith, Taylor, Mason, Miller, Bauer. Scandinavian surnames tend to be patronymic -- eg, Anderson, Johnson. If you're interested in names like "Fields" and "Hill", you're interested in Toponymic surnames.
posted by deanc at 3:55 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


> Sadie Lee

Sadie is a nickname for Sara.
Sara Lee is a poundcake.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:09 PM on January 5


OP, I have 2 suggestions.

1. Come back here in a week and repost when you have narrowed down your desires and parameters and can post a question without so much back and forth.

2. Whatever name you decide, do not post it here. Askmetafilter has great search engine powers and your origin story will be all too googleable. If you do end up choosing something that's been posted here, you'd do well to ask the mods to delete that question so at least it would be slightly less visible to searches. It's a kind of funny Askme where the success of the question should result in its deletion but I don't think this is a thread you want coming up first when a potential employer googles you.

Finally and maybe undermining my second point, I will suggest a name. Actually just a first and middle name - I think you should do Angela Mercedes Lastname. You can easily tell people to call you Angel or Sadie or Sades, and you can write Angela M. Lastname on resumes and be pretty darn neutral.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:16 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]


I just skimmed so apologies if this has already been pointed out. But Sadie Field(s) makes me think of Sally Field. She's not terrible or anything but I'd personally not want to go down the road of possible Sybil or Not Without My Daughter type teasing.

I also agree that 2 nouns together sounds a bit fake. If going with Mercedes- I think northfield is ok. How about northbrook or Brookfield? (Okay, those are a couple of suburbs where I live but I think they sound kinda nice!)
posted by GastrocNemesis at 6:31 PM on January 5


Sara Lee is a poundcake.
And a great bass player.

Sadie Glenn gets my vote.
posted by artdrectr at 7:37 PM on January 5


Re surnames, I can't exactly put my finger on what makes names like Fields, Brook, Morgan, Kane, etc. sound fake. The first thing that comes to mind is that they sound like names of characters from romance novels. Or porn stars. Or maybe strippers.

They're just... glib, maybe, if that's the right word? Now, obviously there are people born every day with those last names, and if I met someone named Meghan Fields or Elizabeth Brook I wouldn't think OMG PORN STAR LOL. But Angel Brook? That just sounds fake and weird. I'd be much more likely to hire Nadhezhda Voskovoynikova or Pooja Dixit (as examples of hypothetical names that might not be desirable for various reasons) than Mercedes Morgan, who sounds like she might be shooting cam girl videos from the ladies room. What is Sadie Kane trying to hide?

I really think you have the following choices for a last name:

- Just keep whatever you use now, regardless of how you feel about it. Will people probably know your ethnic/religious background that way? Yes. However, it will (likely) match what you look like and feel more natural as a name than something like Lee, Brook, or Angel.

- Pick a really ordinary and unromantic name like Green, Mason, or Hill. Something that sounds great with any first name and reads as Anglo/neutral. Something where there are going to be 50 of them in your local phone book. Mercedes Green sounds great. Sadie Hill also sounds great.

- Pick an off kilter but completely plausible name. Engel falls into this category. As do Glen, Evans, Goodall, Muir, O'Keefe, and Lewis (just to mention things already suggested in the thread). Note that most of these names are going to have some kind of ethnic, national, or religious identity associated with them. That's life -- all names are that way. I'd say pick something that isn't a terrible mismatch and just make your peace with the fact that if you call yourself Sadie Muir people will probably ask you all the time if you're Scottish.

- Pick a completely far out name and just own it. Everyone will know you changed your name. But who cares? I'm specifically thinking here of someone like the style blogger Gala Darling. It's pretty obvious that her parents didn't name her that. But she carries it well and doesn't seem like a potential stripper at all. Change your name to Sadie Angel. Why the fuck not? DARE everyone you meet to comment. Who are they to judge what you choose to call yourself?
posted by Sara C. at 7:56 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


"Sadie is a nickname for Sara.
Sara Lee is a poundcake.
"

Honestly, that makes it sound more normal — if your name was Sarah Lee, you'd go by Sadie too.
posted by klangklangston at 10:17 PM on January 5


"I just skimmed so apologies if this has already been pointed out. But Sadie Field(s) makes me think of Sally Field. She's not terrible or anything but I'd personally not want to go down the road of possible Sybil or Not Without My Daughter type teasing. "

Also, every name gets some teasing. Trying to isolate from having to pretend you've already heard the obvious joke too many times is only going to lead to uncanny valley names.

(Unporn name generator: Female scientist you admire, plus Old European Hydronymy. Oh hi, Marie Haill.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:27 PM on January 5 [3 favorites]


I am unfamiliar with Hill as a surname.

Hill is the 41st most common surname in the US (#30 in the UK).

Has anyone met a black or a latino Hill?


Yes.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:06 AM on January 6


I should also add that as far as social class implications, having multiple nicknames is itself considered lower class. Middle American people generally have at most a diminutive form of their given name as the only variation (eg-- Jonathan -> John, Katherine -> Kate, Demetra -> Demi/Dimi). Going by multiple different nicknames, some of possibly dubious origins (eg, the person who just decides one day to call themselves "Danger", or the person who says that among her family she's called "Pop" because of her love of popcorn) can be seen as an indication of a flaky personality or chaotic background.

As I said, this question would be easier to answer if we could get a better idea of what your end-goal is. It sounds like you want something both in line with the names you go by but also "adult"-sounding. I am not sure that it is possible to do both, for the reasons that Sara C. outlined. It sounds like you will have to narrow the number of different names you go by and also find a surname that sounds like a surname instead of a stage name.
posted by deanc at 9:05 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Has anyone met a black or a latino Hill?

Yes.


Also Grant Hill and Dule Hill.
posted by Pax at 12:57 PM on January 6


« Older If I paid back an employer for...   |  Other questions address other ... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments