Why Janes and Jims are Less Prone to Trouble


I find that some people tend to struggle with my foreign sounding name. Usually when I think I’m not going to meet someone again, I give them a fake name. Not because I enjoy deceiving them, but simply to spare us both from a 5-minute conversation on how to pronounce my name (at the end of which they will still not be remotely close).

This strategy of mine has served me well most of the time. However, I had the misfortune of meeting one of these people again. Someone who remembered me introducing myself as Abigail. Rather than consistently using the same fake name, I’ve always said the first name that popped into my head.

The gentleman who knew me as Abigail was an acquaintance of my roommate, and before I knew it he had invited the two of us to dinner and she accepted for both of us. My roommate warned me that I should come clean but I was adamant about going along with being Abigail. I couldn’t possibly bump into him again, right?

I find that most people use names maybe once or twice during the course of a conversation. Maybe 5 times at most. This gentleman insisted on saying Abby or Abigail every 2 minutes. My roommate reluctantly agreed not to out me but repeatedly insisted I come clean. In her final attempt to get me divulge the truth, my real name slipped off her tongue. Unfortunately the gentleman picked up on that and demanded to know why she was referring to me by another name.

Miraculously I talked my way out of a potentially catastrophic situation by saying I’d idolised the name Abigail since childhood. Despite the extensive eye rolling by roommate, the gentleman happily agreed to continue calling me Abigail. Until about a month later when he saw another acquaintance come up to me and say “How’s it going, Amelia?”