Name Calling

While the name Rochelle isn’t bizarre, it still isn’t heard that often, so whenever I do meet someone with my name it becomes something of an event.

In fact, I have only ever met two or three Rochelle’s and they didn’t spell their name like I do.

It usually happens on the phone at work.  A customer will be surprised when I identify myself.  Then they go on, “Rochelle is MY name too!” We discuss how infrequently this happens, whether we have a nickname, who named us and why.

I doubt people with names like Mary or Kathy have this experience.

As a little girl I liked the name Patty. If I were named Patty I would have a long pony-tail that swayed when I walked and be Patty with the pony-tail. As I got older I thought of changing my name to Jennifer. If my name were Jennifer then I would be called Jenn or Jenny and surely I would be beautiful and boys would like me and life would be great. My Dad said there was a very sexy actress named Rochelle Hudson but none of my friends ever heard of her so it didn’t count.

I was never called Shelly but rather “Rocky.” Of course, once the movie “Rocky” came out I no longer found the nickname flattering or cool.

As I got older I learned to like my name. I got some pleasure out of knowing that all previous boyfriends would surely think of me whenever they watched the Seinfeld episode “Rochelle, Rochelle” or for that matter anytime they heard the name since it is likely I am the only Rochelle they ever knew.

I like that my father chose my name. I like that I need only my first name to identify me. Madonna, Cher, Beyonce, Rochelle…we share a special bond.

I read about a couple who named their daughter E.  That’s it, just the letter E.  They thought once she got older she could pick the name she wanted that began with that letter. Turned out she liked E and had no desire to change it. Her brother has the longest name in New York City: Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles. They call him, Yo. (Psychology Today, April 2010; You Named him What?!)

When it was my turn to name children I took great pains to choose well. I looked for unique but not bizarre, traditional but not boring.  I was not going to spell Alicia “Alyeesha” and my twin daughters’ names would not rhyme.  The initials of their first middle and last name would not spell out a wacky message. I am pleased with my choices.

Years ago I was told by a nurse friend that a new mother preparing to leave the hospital with her baby had not filled out the birth certificate. When told she needed to name the baby she said it had already been done.

“See, right here,” she pointed to the certificate, “baby: Female.”

I believe Fee-Ma-Lay Wilson is entering Middle School in September.



  1. Your Mom and Aunt don’t exactly have common names either. I mean, how many Goldies and Beatrices have you met in your life?

  2. rochelle says:

    Goldie Hawn… Bea Arthur? And it is a good thing my mom has blond hair.. a brunette “Goldie” just would not work.

  3. why didn’t you name me avangaline like dad wanted you too!!?!?!

  4. Winnie (not my first name) Hillard says:

    So .. yeah … “Name Calling”. My first name … it isn’t Winnie (and it sure as bloody heck isn’t Juanita either) it starts with an “A” and I will leave it at that. Needless to say, growing up I didn’t want to be a “Winnie” either and I sure as bleepity bleep didn’t want to be my first name. I wanted to be named … anything other than Winnie because as you (Rocky) well know, on the phones I commonly have to repeat my name and then add “You know, like the bear?”. As a child I didn’t find it terribly amusing to be called “Winnie the Pooh” I Hated it (yes I used a capital H) and I’m not terribly fond of it today but what is one to do? I cannae challenge everyone to a duel at dawn who dares call me it, so I accept it with as much grace as I can muster. Now where was I going with this … nowhere really, other than I like YOUR name but to me, you’ll always be “Rocky”. :o)

  5. rochelle says:

    Dad wanted to name you Bowlamina and Jackie Golfinetta after two sports he liked! .. Please… don’t even go there.

  6. I love this post… Names are fun. My first name is common, but I have grown to love it. My middle name is Judith, and I find that fun. 🙂

  7. Oh yeah, there are a bunch of “Katie Mahaney’s” on facebook that find it funny/ annoying when everyone realizes our name rhymes…

  8. Hahaha ange’s WoW character… Golfinetta!

  9. kate– i have a particular fondness to your name as it is my middle name! woot!

  10. try having a boy’s name as your name. or having your name be the same as a very famous basketball player. those who thought they were clever would call me #23!

  11. rochelle says:

    Jordan… that’s funny.. even though I know a male Jordan I never think of it as a “male” only name. I just think it is a very cool name. I yhink the peoploe who have names that are traditional but speeled in a weird way are the ones that drive me crazy. Example. Jeremy spelled Jerome…

  12. rochelle says:

    Geez are there enough typos in that last post?

  13. Rochelle says:

    Hi Rochelle is my name too, I read your Story it’s funny my Mum calls ms Rocky(I hate it) or Maggie(No Clue Why???) I get called a lot of things for Example: Shell, Shelly, Shelby, Shellzy, Shellza, Shells, Roach(Hate this One), Shell Baby(this is my Nana’s) I’m 16 I have meet a Couple of Rochelle’s like Four They spell their Names Rochelle, Rishelle, Roshelle And Richelle I personally like it Spelt Rochelle I found it Funny how you said Alicia when it is my Big Sisters name thanks so much for posting

    • Rochelle says:

      Rochelle, my boy cousins always called me ‘roach’ and I HATED it! To this day it can still make me angry.

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