Monday, August 3, 2009

Goth Names

After reading Sarah Vowell's essay, "American Goth," (in Take the Cannoli) my sisters and I decided that we needed to pick some goth names for ourselves. In this wicked little essay, Vowell recounts her experience of getting a "goth makeover," in hopes of turning herself into someone more menacing less sweetie-pie, someone the waitresses don't call "Hon."

She signs up for private goth lessons, complete with goth homework, like listening to sad songs, writing goth haiku, and picking a goth name. After running through some of the darker, more sinister choices, Vowell looks in another direction for inspiration: post-war Pleasantville, USA. Now there's Goth for you! Amazing her goth instructors with her insight, she settles on "Becky." Perfect! I like it too, for it suggests that maybe I've had a goth name all along and didn't even know it.

If you look in the baby name books, names like mine and my older sister's: Kitti Beth & Peggy Linn, turn up on lists entitled "Freckle - Faced" or "Comfy," or "Short & Sweet" (compiled, apparently, by non-goth editors who know nothing of "Becky"). Whereas Peg and I got the "girlish" names, our younger sister got the "feminine" names: Teresa Diane, both of which are likely to appear on lists like "Sheer Elegance" or "Goddess - Given."

When picking our new goth names, we decided that Di has a lot to live down, after all those years of elegance, so we're just going to call her "Goth" for awhile. For Peg, it's "Coyote," in reference to a card she received upon her recent retirement, likening her to a Wild * Free * Coyote. And for me, "Ramrod," derived from my newly acquired reputation for forcing my opinions upon the rest of the family. We love our new goth names, although a couple of times my sloppy hand-writing has led my sisters to call me "Raymond." But, hey, that also sounds kind of goth, doesn't it?

I guess my only other way of being goth (besides being named "Kitti" -- haha) occurred when I got my first pair of prescription sunglasses and started wearing them all the time. One overcast day, I ran into a bothersome acquaintance at a bus stop, who asked me why I had my sunglasses on when the sun wasn't out; I said, "Well, the sun may not be OUT but it is UP." That was back in the day when I cultivated my "Doberman" attitude in order to dissuade people (that guy at the bus stop, for instance) from speaking to me on the street. After reading Sarah Vowell, I realize, that was my "Goth" stance. Nevertheless, all the grocery store ladies still called me "Hon"!

Peggy, Kitti & Diane *AKA* Coyote, Ramrod & Goth

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