April 27, 2015

5 Things Only People with Unusual Last Names Can Understand

Surprise! My real last name isn't "Bee" or "B". Nope. I use those cute little abbreviations because my real last name (Bezirdjian) is usually met with blank stares and comments like "Is that from another planet or something?" Though my last name may be unique, the struggle is not. If, like me, your last name is rather unusual, here are five things you've probably experienced by the time you are an adult:

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1. Describing your ethnic background whenever you meet a new person.
More than half the time I introduce myself to someone, I'm asked about my ethnic heritage. And while I don't particularly mind sharing this information, I am willing to bet that people with last names like Jones or Smith rarely have to deal with this. 

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2. You have a phonetic spelling system for your last name memorized and you can recite it on autopilot.
"B like Bravo, E like Echo, Z as in Zebra..." and so forth. Bonus points if you learned your little spelling monologue by overhearing a parent on the phone so many times.

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3. Having anyone about to introduce you painfully go over the pronunciation of your last name in private only to end up butchering it in public.
I normally do not care if someone mispronounces my name; I'm well aware that it is extremely rare and does not follow typical English spelling rules. That said, me and my family really could have done without my last name being totally mauled by the speaker at my college graduation. I had to get a Master's just so the name could finally be given some dignity at a commencement ceremony! Currently, I present at conferences and workshops regularly and, well, let's just say I usually begin by restating my name correctly to my poor, confused audience. 

Something strange I've noticed over the years: at some point when it's just us practicing, the speaker WILL totally pronounce my last name correctly and dismiss it as "not that tricky after all" only to end up stammering and flustered moments later at the podium. Apparently, last names like mine can give people performance anxiety?

4. Your friends feel really, really accomplished when they spell your last name correctly. 
This comes in handy when determining who is truly within your closest circle of friends and also who you can trust to forge documents on your behalf. 
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5. But you still sometimes get letters from close friends with your last name slightly misspelled or even abbreviated.
My favorite letter I ever got from a decade-long friend had nothing to do with the contents of the letter itself. Instead, what so endeared me to it was the envelope's labeling: "Melina Bez....". That I could see the hesitation between the "Z" and the ellipse still makes me chuckle from time to time. 


Well, there you have it folks: 5 things you find out when you have an odd last name. I must conclude by saying that I absolutely love my entire name. It suits me perfectly and contains 2 of my top 5 favorite letters (B, Z, M, V and X). The 10 characters that make up my last name have really informed a large part of my personal character, particularly since I went to a largely WASP high school. 

What about the rest of you out there with less common surnames? Have you experienced all the things on my list? Anything else I left out? I'm also very curious to hear whether you've enjoyed the experience of your last name or couldn't wait to change it. And for those of you with more common last names: do any of the above still happen to you?
-heart-
Melina "Bee" Bezirdjian

5 comments:

  1. Gabrielle Haselden RobertsApril 27, 2015 at 4:20 PM

    All my life. Urs is much more difficult but this has always and still does happen.

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  2. I love how you characterized Aries through a specific designer and pulled in everything from Aries' firey and passionate personality with color and cartoon and sports references! I can't wait to see what you do with my sign, Gemini!

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  3. I love the idea of pairing each sign with a different designer! The way you characterized Aries was dead on in my experience. I will def be coming back to see what you do when Virgo rolls around.

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  4. I love this idea of matching zodiac signs! pretty cool!(: I've always loved Moschino for their bold and fun designs! If i could i would want to try wear some of their pieces!

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looking forward to hearing from you!