Aside from being infectious and perfect to lend my horrible vocals to, I really connect with the catchy The Ting Tings song “That’s Not My Name.” You see, I go by Katie, but my real name is Katherine. But since I’m not Katharine Hepburn or Katherine Heigl, I see no need to go by my formal name except on official documents and for my signature. Katie is what I’ve been called since I was a kid, and it’s from my well-established Katiedom that I look at the world. What I find occasionally though, is that this nickname isn’t enough for some people, and they feel the need to abbreviate my name even further by calling me Kate.
What’s the difference, you ask? Well, that’s just not my name. Not only is it missing an entire vowel (the letter “i” has a lot of personality), but it’s also less an entire syllable. When I say the name “Kate” it seems so short–the name abruptly ends and leaves me wanting more. I can only imagine the same everyone else in the entire world notices that, too! Yet, since the differences are so minute, I’ve decided to take the time to really think about what is so unsettling to me about being called Kate. My first bit of research was putting it to the name game test: Kate Kate Bo Bate Bonana Fanna Fo Fate, Fee Fy Mo Mate, Kate.” Something about is so staccato. Is staccato a word I want to pop into people’s heads when they hear or say my name? Something’s definitely missing–I had to investigate further…
I decided the next step in understanding the world through the eyes of a Kate would be to look at some famous Kates to define what characteristics make a Kate, a Kate. One of the most famous Kates of course is Kate Hudson. We know she stars in just about every romantic comedy you’ve ever seen, her mom is Goldie Hawn, and for some reason she felt the need to name one of her sons Bingham. She looks good for her age though… And then there’s Kate Winslet. Gorgeous woman (bitch), also looks great for her age (bitch, again), very classy. Not a bad set of attributes to have.
Kates are also well-represented in the modeling world. We’ve got Kate Moss, one of the
oldest most prolific supermodels of our time. What do we know about her? She’s been known to uh, do some coke every now and then, and she’s been romantically linked to Pete Doherty, one of the strangest-looking most drug-addicted men on the face of the earth. Maybe that’s not the best model Kate example, let’s look at Kate Upton, instead. …I think we all know two big reasons why Kate Upton is successful. Moving right along…
What about royalty! In recent times the name Kate has become synonymous with Kate Middleton, also known as Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge. Another classy lady, but with an affinity for strange hats. Unfortunately, Kate Middleton is what I call a Kate impostor. Since her spelling of Catherine starts with “C,” she technically has no right to spell Kate with a “K.” It should really be Cate Middleton à la Cate (Catherine) Blanchett. Now I know I’ve left out countless other famous Kates worth mentioning like Kate Bosworth, Kate Beckinsale… okay, on second thought, maybe I did cover every Kate worth mentioning. So what does this all this data mean?!
I don’t know. I’m at a loss. I can’t get to the heart of what makes a Kate a Kate, or more importantly, what differentiates a Kate from a Katie. What I do know is this, I can’t imagine naming my son Bingham or dating the frontman from Muse, I don’t abuse drugs, I’ll never be best friends with Leonardo DiCaprio, my boobs will never be bigger than my head, and I don’t own any outlandish hats. I simply don’t think I have the proper qualifications to be a Kate. Yet, people seem to insist on calling me Kate anyway.
When I first started dating my current boyfriend, he had a penchant for calling me Kate, a habit which I quickly nipped in the bud. That’s not my name. Candidly, I still believe to this day part of his motivation for calling me Kate was not to give me a cute, “more grown up” nickname as he claimed, but instead to actualize some Evangeline Lilly fantasy, given how much he loves the television series Lost. Kate was her character’s name on the show. “You both have curly brown hair.”
…Sadly, that’s where the similarities end.
I digress, I’m sadly still not any closer to figuring out why I cannot picture myself as a Kate, or why I get so pissed off when people chop off that second syllable of my name. I sometimes imagine what it would be like if I just started calling myself Kate, but I think the implications of changing my alias at this point in my life are far too great. I feel like if I started referring to myself as Kate, I’d have to be a nicer person. I’d have to incorporate tweed into my wardrobe in some major way. I also feel like I’d have to scale back my profanity, and frankly, keeping that is worth wasting my breath on an extra syllable.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Yeah, okay, Shakespeare, as if you don’t roll over in your grave every time someone makes the “Billy Shakespeare” joke.