Working at Borders for the first time in, oh, five months last week, I was reaquainted with a once-familiar phenomenon — older men flirting shamelessly with me. Most of the time I take it in stride — they’re nice guys, really, and they don’t mean anything by it. Though one man in a jaunty hat once tried to hold my hand, most of the time it goes no further than a smile and comment on my — ahem! — stunning beauty.
Take last week, for example. While I joined a customer in his quest to find a particular CD in the seriously downsized music department, he said to me shyly, “You know, it’s so nice to walk with a beautiful lady.” Okay, how can I really take offense with that? Then he asked me my name, of course, and I told him: “Megan.”
My name. Megan.
“I’m sorry?” he said, his eyebrows soaring to heights typically only seen by rocket ships. “Meeeegan?”
“Megg-inn,” I repeated patiently, taking the volume up a notch. “You know, Megan?”
By no stretch of the imagination would I call my name “unusual.” In middle and high school, I was often one of three or four spiritied Megans in a classroom. In fact, in an attempt to not have to reply “WHICH ONE?” every time a teacher called out my name, I actually tried going by my middle name for a short period of time! (It never worked — I’ve never responded to “Lynn” in my life. It’s just not me.)
So you can imagine my confusion that the name “Megan” would produce such a disoriented reaction from my customer. My own confusion turned to delight, however, when he uttered the following sentence:
“Are you British?”
Am I British? Am I British? No, sir, but I would certainly not argue with becoming British someday! (And if I continue to read so much British literature, obsess over Jane Austen and lust over London nonstop, I just might convert whether I want to or not.)
What he was referring to, of course, was the fact that I introduced myself as “MEGG-INN” — emphasis on the “Meg” in the beginning. From the time I was old enough to realize other Megans existed in the world, this debate has been raging: do we pronounce our names “MAY-GINN” or “MEGG-INN”? Which is right? Is there a right? How do I say my own name?
I told him I was definitely American and he replied, “Oh, that’s funny — because I’ve just never heard it pronounced that way before.”
I’ve grilled my parents on this topic extensively, and I always get the same response: they call me “May-ginn,” emphasis on the “May,” and they’re the ones who named me . . . so that’s my name. And the funny thing is that I agree with them — my own name probably should be pronounced with the “May”! But I can’t say it that way. In fact, I never call myself “May-ginn.” Do I answer to it? Absolutely. Do I pay attention to which form folks use when addressing me? Not so much. So I’d say I’m cool with it regardless, but I just don’t know.
How do I say my name?!
Other Megans have to be out there — and they have to stumble across this! (Meghan, I’m eyeing you!) Regardless of spelling, how do you say your name? And if you have a special Megan in your life (including me, you sweet things, you!), how would you pronounce my/her name? Has anyone else ever gone through a name crisis, or had to deal with a lifetime of pronouncing a unique name?