Chuck Berry—he of rock n’ roll game-changing and general funkiness—(and subsequently Paul Simon) was on to something when he sang, “Oh, Maybelline, why can’t you be true?” If my dating history is any indication, the deduction from said-tune is that people with unique [or more bluntly: weird] names, have a tendency to be vainglorious Vanna Whites. See what I did there?
My penchant for gents with one-off monikers began in high school and proceeded to balloon in college so blatantly that my friends would constantly deride me for it. It’s not that I sought out these callous-by-way-of-christening fellows, but I just happened to be attracted to a certain breed of man-child that also cultivated a personality you might describe as elusive artiness coupled with a strong aversion for anything mainstream or, you know, remotely pleasant. We could analyze how this reflects on my own character, but I’ll save the examination of my daddy issues and masochistic inclinations for therapy. And lest we forget [or they will surely remind us], this [no, everything] is about them, not me/us.
I’ve never dated, nor had a dalliance with, an average Joe. I got the ball rolling in high school with two serious boyfriends named Brandon and Grady. During the first few months of college I lusted after a prime-cut of asshole named Elliot, and spent the next three years playing cat-and-mouse with a Harrison who took the term ‘confused’ to a heightened playing field [sidenote: he is admittedly what I would call “reformed” and now one of my favorite romance-related confidantes, like my personal Oprah or Dr. Phil]. I’ve since liaised with a Miles, two Jacksons, a Travis, and a Madison. None of them have proved to be the virtuosos that all of them seem hell-bent on believing they are.
Initially, I was seduced—quite questionably, as is my wont—by their humbling diatribes about feeling alone in the world or deeply insecure (despite any actual appearance that this was the case), along with their extreme efforts to be capital-d DIFFERENT. They all made a point to dress ironically, speak-tweet-text ironically, listen to obscure music and only obscure music, and, of course, make defiant life choices [“I don’t drink” and “I hate Jay-Z” were the most common, with “I’m a vegan because 2 Chainz is too” coming in at a close second]. Note: they were not reformed alcoholics…and does anyone with a non-debased soul hate Jay-Z?
There is nothing wrong with these individual qualities at their core, but in combination they work as one giant put-on. These guys who so vehemently loathe mainstream society and all of its embellishments—raging most loudly against its superficial tendencies—are really just as superficial as the world they try to discount. These are the men who jerk off to Nietzsche and want you to know it, who refer to any typically attractive female as “a trophy wife” because they could probably never win her over, refuse to pay for a meal or take you out on a formal date [see: “I’m promoting the feminist cause” which is singlehandedly the most hilarious line coming out of a dude’s mouth who is just trying to stop n’ shop in your vagina]. They are the men with comic book fetishes or an unhealthy attachment to Star Wars (acceptable in small doses), and those who idolize David Foster Wallace, J Mascis, Jeff Mangum or all three. They probably have lots of books in their room that they’ve never read.
To put it more succinctly, here is my mother’s amazing take on the situation: “I just want you to date someone with a normal freaking name. All these weird-named dudes think they’re so much more interesting than they really are. It’s like their parents knew their children were duds from the get go and needed all the help they could get.”
Is this a vast generalization? But of course [after all my sociology degree was awarded from The School of Getting Fucked Over By Hipster Scum Repeatedly and is laced with my new perfume, eau de bitter]. However, is it more often on-point than not? Absolutely. Though most of my closest guy friends have common classifications, I do have a best friend named Marshall. Is he a raging narcissist? Not even remotely. Have I ever been involved with a normal-named creature that led me astray? Yes, there was a Josh once—but only once. I’d even venture to say that a few of the above named gents—those closest to my heart being the high school lovers and the confidante already mentioned—would make for amazing companions to some lucky lady in the present tense.
So the point is not to go running the minute you meet some chap with an unusual name, but, rather, to be aware that people [including those with more common aliases] who preach to the choir of idiosyncrasy are often putting on just as much pretense as those who wear such simulations on their sleeve [see: the fake-tanned, EDM-proficient male monsters that also propagate in the land of desperate-twenty-something-vagine].