Growing up, I didn’t now many other girls named Andrea. In fact, I only knew one from the time I was like, five until I was about 20, and then I met a really crazy girl also named Andrea who left a sort of bad taste in my mouth.
(Not even gonna go there.)
At the same time, though, I never thought of it as a rare name. And it’s not, really. It’s not like being called Moonbeam or Myfanwy or something. But somehow, people have still struggled with my name my whole life.
EXAMPLE 1: Growing Up.
Andrea, on any day of her life as a young child meeting anybody new, at a class field trip, say.
ADULT: What’s your name?
ADULT: Okay, Amanda, here’s the craft we’re making today – all you have to do is choose the colours you like and paint it!
ANDREA: My name is Andrea –
ADULT: Okay, kids, who wants to join Angela at the craft table?
As I became an adult, I would learn that my first name wasn’t the only issue.
EXAMPLE 2: The Phone Call.
Andrea, on the phone with any company she’s ever had to phone for customer service. But let’s use Rogers Wireless as an example, because they were the WORST to me and I had to phone them at least once a month.
ROGERS: Before we get started, I just have a few questions to verify your identity.
ANDREA: Sure, no problem.
ROGERS: Can I get your full first and last name?
ANDREA: For sure, it’s Andrea Bessa.* (*That’s phonetics, y’all.)
ROGERS: Okay, Mrs. Becka, how can I help you?
ANDREA: It’s Bessa.
ANDREA: Andrea Bessa.
ROGERS: Yes, Mrs. Becka, how can I help you with your wireless account today?
But wait, let’s go back to my first name, because this one from last year takes the cake.
EXAMPLE 3: The Smart Arse, A.K.A. Are You Fucking Kidding Me?
Andrea has just finished selecting some clothing at a store, and is at the till, about to pay for it.
SALES LADY: All right, and do you have a loyalty card?
ANDREA: Oh, yeah, I do. (Rifles through purse) Here we go.
SALES LADY: (Scanning the card) Andrea?
ANDREA: That’s me.
SALES LADY: Okay, but did I say it right?
ANDREA: Yes, you did.
SALES LADY: Because with Andrea, you never know. It could be AN-dree-ah, it could be ON-dree-ah, it could be On-DREY-ah…
ANDREA: Yeah, I’m AN-dree-ah.
SALES LADY: There’s another weird way to say it, too. Gosh, I can’t remember what it is. It’s like…it’s like, weird. Gosh, I just can’t remember. It’s a weird name…
SALES LADY: Yeah!
ANDREA: Yeah, that’s how they often pronounce it in the UK.
SALES LADY: Really?
ANDREA: Yeah, when I lived there, I got used to it.
SALES LADY: So how do you pronounce yours?
SALES LADY: An-DREE-ah?
ANDREA: No, just AN-dree-ah.
SALES LADY: You’re saying it wrong.
ANDREA: Excuse me?
SALES LADY: You’re pronouncing it wrong. You said An-DREE-ah.
ANDREA: I don’t think so.
SALES LADY: Yes, you did. You’re pronouncing it wrong.
ANDREA: Well, it’s my name, so –
SALES LADY: You just called yourself An-DREE-ah.
ANDREA: No, it’s AN-dree-ah.
SALES LADY: No, you’re saying it wrong.
ANDREA: Look, I have to get going – could I have my bag?
SALES LADY: It’s a tricky name.
ANDREA: Yeah, maybe I’ll get the hang of it one day…
SALES LADY: Because you just said it again, An-DREE-ah.
SIDENOTE: In reality, I think of my name as being both AN-dree-ah and An-DREY-ah, because I’m Portuguese, so in my world, I see them as two different pronunciations of my name. But there was no way I was going to explain that to this woman. Because I hated her.
Lesson learned: People aren’t listening. When you find one who is, hold onto them. Or just thank them or something. Because they’re rare nowadays.
PEOPLE: Oh, your name’s Andrea Beca? You have two first names.
PEOPLE: Is it Andrea Becca? Like Rebecca? You have two first names as a name.
ANDREA: Oh, I guess it seems that way. It’s Beça though. It’s just not always possible to put the accent on. It makes the ‘c’ sound like an ‘s’.
PEOPLE: Okay, Becca, what can I do for you? Oh, sorry – Andrea. Sorry, it’s confusing when you have two first names.
ANDREA: It would be confusing to have two first names, yeah…
I could go on, but I won’t. What are your name stories? Because I bet you all have at least one, no matter what your name is.
*I will forever RUE THE DAY I threw that stupid woman that conversational bone.
**Marry me, Alison Brie.