What’s in a name?


My name is Holly. 

So why then, do people insist on calling me Colleen? Colleen? Are you serious? I don’t even look like a Colleen.

Polly, Molly or on occasion Dolly I get – it rhymes, but Colleen? Jesus. 

Last week I was at a book launch, I agreed to go along as a guest of the author thinking ‘perfect, we will be best friends all night, I’ll pick her brains about France and we will drink champagne until the tab runs out. Yeah, NO.

I rocked up only to realise I had not thought the whole situation through. I didn’t know anyone else there and the author was busy welcoming everyone in. It suddenly dawned on me I would be forced to either spend the night alone with my phone or attempt to make friends.

I made my way to the bar, grabbed a champers and stood in the middle of the room, willing someone to look at me. An older gentleman caught my eye and I gave him a smile he simply couldn’t refuse. He said hello and I launched into a story about how the venue was actually a nightclub, did he know. Stellar conversation starter on my part I must say. Well, that started what turned out to be a very valuable friendship for the evening, or so I thought. He introduced himself as Peter and I told him my name was Holly.

“Colleen, lovely to meet you”. “Oh no”, I replied, “It’s actually Holly”. “Yes, yes, Colleen, so what do you do?” 

Well what does it matter now, Peter. You’ve just ruined everything. 

Unfortunately, the situation got worse. Peter was one of those people who knew everyone there, and I mean everyone. Being the friendly and helpful gentleman he was, he proceeded to introduce me to everyone he knew . . . as Colleen. So in the end, after attempting to pull every other person aside and correct them, I just embraced it.

So I put to you the question, what is your name and what do people decide they want to call you? 

17 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. I usually get Robyn or Rachel. Considering that my surname is David, I also get that a lot in email correspondence. My favourite instance was the time I had emailed a cop for a news story I was writing. His email reply began with “Hi Rebecca…”. A few minutes later he emailed again saying: “Sorry David, I just called you Rebecca.” I replied: “Right the first time. My first name is Rebecca, surname David.” His one word response: “Damn.”

  2. Quite often get called Marcus and it drives me insane, it’s Mark!!! For now on I’m calling you Colleen and Carmen, Charmaine…this is going to be great

  3. Well ‘Colls’, start calling yourself Kelly and for some strange reason you’ll get called Holly…. This happens all. the. time. My personal favourite is people who spell my name wrong in a reply email… Kellie- NO, its Kelly and its right there people!!! Google John Travolta introducing Idina Menzel at the Oscars… it’s name butchering at it’s best! And should make you feel somewhat better about Colleen… Anyway, I think it’s pretty… on an 87 year old….

  4. My name is Pippa and I always ALWAYs get Debra when people return my voicemails. I know I have an English accent, but Debra and Pippa are not the same!!

    1. I’m not even sure the English accent could be blamed for this. Debra, from Pippa? You should work from home. I feel like then you could comfortably swear at people and no-one would mind.

  5. David – from James. They don’t even have the same number of syllables!

  6. I used to get ‘Chloe’ from my boyfriend-at-the-times family Constantly, which is actually a nice name so could have been ok, EXCEPT Chloe was his ex-girlfriends name.. Burn. Also at work I get post delivered to Mr Courtney reguarly. I’m not a Mr and I’m not sure how to explain this to the offenders.

    1. Oh Courtney. This is terrible. The ex-girlfriend thing is rough. As for the Mr, I would just embrace that. Use it to your advantage. You can order crazy things to work and then me like ‘oh, that’s not for me, that’s for Mr Courtney’.

  7. I get ‘Mary’ ALL.THE.TIME. and I too give up, especially when I’ll never see the person again. I also get ‘Amanda’ when people assume that Mandy is short for something. And even when I correct them, they act as if I don’t know my own name.

    And then, of course, there was that time when I was working in the Myer shoe department and I was calling another store about a shoe and they kept insisting my name was Jane. WTF?

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