10 Struggles People Who Go By Their Middle Name Understand, Because No, We're Not Trying To Confuse You
For reasons that don’t entirely hold up under scrutiny, my parents decided to name me in such a way that I'd go by my middle name, rather than my first name, throughout my life. Those of us who suffer from this strange affliction are usually told by our parents that our name “flows” better this way, although of course, parents are the only people that ever address you by your first two names in a row. The upside of using your middle name as your first name is having something in common with Mindy Kaling (first name: Vera), Rihanna (first name: Robyn), Dakota Fanning (first name: Hannah), and Reese Witherspoon (first names: Laura Jeanne). But the downside is a lifetime of confusion, triggered every time a person in any kind of official capacity asks for your name.
Despite this, we middle name users have a weird combination of pride and shame about our situation. On one hand, you hope the topic doesn’t come up, so you won’t have to field questions about the nature of your name. But you’re also aware that your faux first name gives you an air of mystery. What are you, landed gentry? Some kind of lesser royal? Hey, let 'em keep guessing.
The good news is, having a middle name as a first name is actually quite common! There aren’t official statistics, probably because middlenameites are too classy to make a big deal out of it, but we feel a kinship with each other. So if you've ever wondered what it's like to have to explain to the DMV that yes, you know your own name, here are 10 struggles every person who uses their middle name as their first has endured.
1. Every First Day Of School Is A Nightmare
You dread the moment on the first day of school when your name is called and you'll have to launch into an explanation of your name order. Classmates and teachers get used to it by the end of high school, but in university, the embarrassment starts anew.
2. Your Friends Forget Your First Name
While they eventually catch on, your friends will forget time and time again that your first name is actually different than the name they’ve been calling you. Which leads to...
3. People Vow To Call You by Your First Name When They Find Out
No. No, they won’t. They think this is an exciting new concept, having a secret first name, but you've been dealing with this every time someone has caught a glimpse of my I.D. your entire life. Trust us, it is not going to happen.
4. People Ask Why You Changed Your Name
People often perceive your use of a middle name as a self-styled name change that you decided to give yourself one summer, in order to re-brand your personal image between school years. Not the case!
5. Every Trip To The Mail Box Is An Identity Crisis
Letters addressed to your middle name, bills addressed to your first name, other bills addressed to your middle name...who are you, really? And that doesn't even touch on how confused your neighbors get when when they accidentally receive your mail.
6. You Fill Out Paperwork Differently Each Time
Every middlenameite has a unique system for filling out paperwork. Mine is to ask myself how official the form is: if it’s for the government or health care system, I'll probably fill it out using my real first name; otherwise, I'll use my middle. This leads to a cyber paper trail with so many slight name variations, it seems like I'm trying to commit credit fraud to score a new Capital One card, when I'm just trying to do my taxes.
7. Your Dubious Paperwork Catches Up to You
Especially at the airport. If the name on your flight booking is different than your passport, expect delays. Your decision to list your middle name as your first name on credit cards in an effort to create some semblance of an identity will come back to haunt you every time.
8. You Get Caught Off-Guard When Asked to Identify Yourself
Remember when Homer Simpson was impersonating Mr. Burns, but he couldn't come up with his first name when asked? Yeah, that's how I sound whenever a hotel clerk asks for my name. Because saying "Well, you might have me down as..." doesn't seem sketchy at all...
9. You Wonder if You Should Just Start Using Your First Name
Using your first name across the board would make your life simpler, you think. You might even give it a try. But being called by your first name by every teacher, receptionist, and customer service rep leads to an imposter syndrome after awhile.
10. You Decide That You Don’t Need to Change
At the end of the day, your middle-name-as-first-name is one of your defining quirks, and a part of you enjoys the look of surprise when someone discovers the truth. After all, who doesn't want a secret identity?