Over time, I’ve grown into my name

September 15, 2016

When I was growing up I hated my name because there was a kids’ TV show on the ABC called The Alexander the Bunyip Afternoon Show, so I was teased by other children with the terribly creative name calling of “you’re Alexander THE BUNYIP”. Mortifying. I remember it like it was yesterday.

A friend on my netball team was called Lisa. God, I wanted to be called Lisa or Kelly so desperately, but no, thanks to my father’s Greek heritage I got Alexandria – with an ‘I’ – as in the Great Lighthouse of, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

It was also the barometer by which I measured how much trouble I was in. If my father said to me—as he did recently even though I’m in my 40s and he’s in his 80s—“Alexandria, can I talk to you in my office?” I naturally assume it is very bad news. Past experience has indicated that these conversations usually end with “You’re grounded until you leave home!”

This is also true for former partners. More often than not my full name is used to take the mickey:

“Can you pass the salt please Alexandria?”

“It would be my pleasure Charles.”

I have grown to love my name. I sometimes answer my phone “Alexandria speaking”.

The rules of naming — there isn’t any, apparently

Isn’t it funny how there are basically no rules anymore about what you can call your children? Well that’s not entirely true. There are some rules in Australia –the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act says a name can be refused registration if:

  • It is obscene or offensive;
  • Cannot be established by repute or usage;
  • If it’s too long;
  • If it contains symbols without phonetic significance, such as an exclamation or question mark;
  • Is contrary to public interest; and,
  • Contains an official title or rank recognised in Australia such as King, Lady, Father, Sir or Admiral.

Sadly there is no rule against stupidity, and as such we have seen a flourish of ridiculous names such as Khaleesi, Shadeux and Segal, an unfortunate child named after the Manly Sea Eagles. True.

We aren’t the only country that regulates what you can call children. Thank God.

In France last year, a couple wanted to name their daughter Nutella because they were CRAZY – no, apparently they hoped she could emulate the sweetness and popularity of the chocolate spread.

One French judge wasn’t having it, and insisted that the name could only lead to “mockery and disobliging remarks”. It was ruled that the child’s named be shortened to the more conventional ‘Ella’.

The New Zealand government stepped in before some poor child had to spend the rest of their life with the name ‘Sex Fruit’. I assure you I am not making this up. And let’s be honest, if that was going to happen anywhere, it would be New Zealand.

Still across the ditch and making headlines around world in 2008 was the case of a nine-year-old girl who became a guardian of the court so she could change her name from ‘Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii’.

Of all the fabulous names there is one that for me takes the cake. You can see her on the big screen now. She is the one and only Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone.

You probably know her as Edina Monsoon’s best friend and partner in crime Patsy Stone.

Have you had to grow into your name?

Alexandria Bernard on BloggerAlexandria Bernard on Twitter
Alexandria Bernard
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.

Alex's voice and face may be familiar to you from her voiceover and television commercial work. She has been featured in national radio and TV advertising campaigns, corporate videos and has been a regular MC for major events.